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I have previously been impressed with some of the surveillance cameras from Annke. The Annke NC400 that I reviewed back in 2021 was a highlight, providing true colour night vision for under £100. Reolink, who I consistently praise, have only just released their first ColorX 4MP colour night vision.

The Annke NightChroma NCPT500 appears to be an amazing camera which has superior 3K  resolution with robust pan-tilt (PT) capabilities, all the while ensuring seamless Power over Ethernet (PoE) connectivity. The standout feature, however, is its colour night surveillance, courtesy of its NightChroma technology.

In this review, we’ll dissect the various aspects of the Annke NightChroma NCPT500, evaluating its design, performance, ease of installation, and of course, its night vision capabilities.

Specification

  • Resolution: 3K (2304 x 1296)
  • Video Compression
    • Main stream: H.265+/H.265/H.264+/H.264
    • Sub-stream: H.265/H.264/MJPEG
  • Min. Illumination: 24 hour colour: 0.001 Lux @(F1.0, AGC ON), 0 Lux with Light
  • Sensor: 1/1.8″ BSI Sensor
  • Aperture: f/1.0 Super Aperture
  • Pan-Tilt (PT): Yes – Pan:0° to 340°, Tilt: -5° to 105°
  • Zoom: Digital
  • Power over Ethernet (PoE): Yes
  • Storage: MicroSD, ONVIF, NVR
  • Motion Detection: Basic
  • Night Vision: Colour
  • App Support: Annke App
  • Web Interface: Available

Features

1/1.8″ BSI Sensor with f/1.0 Super Aperture for Colour Night Vision

The Annke NightChroma NCPT500 employs a 1/1.8″ BSI (Backside Illuminated) sensor paired with an f/1.0 Super Aperture.

A Back-Side Illuminated (BSI) sensor is a type of digital image sensor that aims to improve the clarity and quality of images and videos, especially in challenging lighting conditions. Traditional image sensors have their wiring and circuitry on the front side, which can inadvertently obscure incoming light and result in less sharp, noisier images. In a quest to alleviate this, the BSI sensor design flips the script.

In a BSI sensor, the wiring and circuitry are placed on the back side of the sensor, allowing more light to reach the photodiodes. This restructuring facilitates a higher level of light absorption and, as a result, improves low-light performance significantly. The images and videos captured are generally brighter, sharper, and exhibit less noise in comparison to those taken with a Front-Side Illuminated (FSI) sensor, especially in dimly lit scenarios.

This allows the Annke camera to capture more light, enabling colour night vision. The larger sensor size and wider aperture work in tandem to produce brighter and more vivid images, even in low-light conditions.

The camera claims to be able to achieve colour footage with lux levels of just 0.001 Lux @(F1.0, AGC ON.

Pan Tilt

The camera comes with PT functionality, allowing you to pan, tilt, and zoom the camera remotely. However, it’s worth noting that the PT feature lacks auto-tracking capabilities. This means you’ll have to manually control the camera to follow any activity within its field of view.

This lacks an optical zoom, hence it is not a PTZ camera, but you have options for digital zoom.

The lack of auto-tracking is less than ideal, but the PT is still useful, allowing you to adjust the camera angle remotely. This is especially useful if you have mounted your camera in a high location.

Unboxing / Design

Upon unboxing, the camera appears to be well-built, albeit the mounting bracket is very plasticky and attached directly to the main camera body. I have had no problems with it, but it could be prone to breaking if something heavy hit it.

The package includes the camera unit, mounting screws, and a quick start guide.

Set Up with Annke App

Setting up the camera via the Annke App is straightforward. With the camera powered up via POE and my phone on the same network, the app automatically detected the camera and guided me through the set up process.  

Web Interface

Like most wired surveillance cameras, you can log in directly to its web interface, which I find is the easiest way to adjust all the settings.

The web interface is functional but could benefit from a more intuitive design. It offers all the essential settings and options you would expect, including video quality adjustments and motion detection settings.

The main issue I have with the web interface is the fact that you need to download a plugin to get the live feed working, called Local Service Components. This is developed by the parent company, Hikvision. They state that it is required on all browsers except Internet Explorer. However, IE is now defunct, and Edge is Chrome based, so it requires the plugin.

When you boot up Windows, LocalServiceComponents auto starts and requires advanced privileges.

Recording Options – MicroSD / ONVIF / NVR

The NCPT500 offers multiple recording options. You can use a MicroSD card for local storage, connect it to an NVR (Network Video Recorder), or use ONVIF for third-party storage solutions.

There is no cloud recording option, which I don’t personally mind as I think most people will opt for local storage for this type of camera.

Annke has its own range of NVRs, which are reasonably priced. The 4 channel 4K NVR is just £80. You can get the 8 channel 4K model with a 1TB drive for £190 from Amazon, or £130 with no drive.

Motion Detection Settings and Performance

The camera offers basic motion detection features. Unfortunately, it lacks advanced object detection for things like people, vehicles, packages, or animals.

Alerts can be sent via email or push notifications through the Annke App. It’s worth mentioning that other Annke cameras, like the NC800, do offer Smart Human/Vehicle Detection.

Prior to committing to Reolink and running my cameras on their RLN8-410 NVR, I used a BlueIris server, which would do advanced motion detection with Sentry AI. If you run your cameras on anything like this then you don’t really need to worry about advanced motion detection built into the camera.

Day Time Video Performance

Web UI

During the day, the camera delivers crisp and clear 3K resolution videos. The colour reproduction is accurate, and the dynamic range is satisfactory.

With the PT functionality, you have  340° Pan & 110° Tilt and this is easy to control either via the app or web browser.

Within the app, you have three streaming qualities with HD, standard and basic.

Night Time Video Performance

The colour night vision is a standout feature, providing surprisingly vivid and bright footage even in low-light conditions.

In ultra-low-light conditions, the performance can be improved with supplemental which light, which claims to offer 30m of illuminance. There are bright street lights where I live, so the back garden where this is located is never pitch black.

For comparison, below is a screenshot of the Annke I91BF 4K 8MP POE IP Security camera I reviewed back in 2020, which I still have facing into the garden.

Price and Alternative Options

The Annke NightChroma NCPT500 is priced at £100 direct from Annke UK and just $90 from Annke US (discounted from $130).

On Amazon UK, it is listed at £130 but has a 20% off voucher, taking it to £104.

For those looking for PTZ features, the Reolink TrackMix PoE and Reolink RLC-823A are viable alternatives. These cost almost double and lack colour night vision, but the TrackMix has dual lenses with one zoomed and one wide, while the RLC-823A has 5x zoom. Both cameras have auto-tracking, advanced motion detection and 4K 8MP resolution.

It is worth highlighting that the only Reolink camera with true colour night vision is the Reolink ColorX CX410, which is a fixed camera with 2K 4MP resolution and an RRP of £94.99. This camera also has a 1/1.8″ CMOS sensor with f/1.0 aperture, and it is very likely that Reolink uses the same sensors as Hikvision/Annke.

If you’re interested in 4K colour night vision and smart human detection, the Annke NC800 is a good option.

The Annke NightChroma NCD800 offers a dual-lens 4K panoramic image, serving as a good alternative to PTZ cameras and probably the best alternative to the Reolink Duo.

Overall

The Annke NightChroma NCPT500 offers a compelling set of features for its price point, including 3K resolution and colour night vision. However, it does fall short in some areas, like advanced motion detection and auto-tracking PTZ.

However, considering you can get this for just £100, I think it should be expected that this isn’t jam-packed with the latest technology. As much as I love Reolink, they are behind the curve compared to Annke with the sensor technology and colour night vision.

What I Like

  • Colour night vision
  • PTZ functionality
  • Competitive pricing

What I’d Like to Have

  • Smart detection features
  • Auto-tracking PTZ
  • A more user-friendly app

In summary, the Annke NightChroma NCPT500 is a solid choice for those who prioritise colour night vision. I’d say this is a perfect choice for anyone running their own NVR server. You can have all the benefits of PTZ and colour night vision without the associated costs that advanced features introduce.

Annke NightChroma NCPT500 Review

Summary

The Annke NightChroma NCPT500 offers a compelling set of features for its price point, including 3K resolution and colour night vision.

Overall
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  • Overall - 80%
    80%

Pros

  • Great price
  • 3K true colour night footage
  • Pan functionality for the same price as most non-pan-tilt cameras

Cons

  • No advanced object detection
  • No auto-tracking PTZ (due to no human detection)

Last update on 2024-04-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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