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Sunba Network Security Camera Review
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Sunba Network Security Camera Review

TrueToad

Comparison and Recommendation

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4.7
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4.7

This camera is OLD Technology and does not support modern web browsers.

Background:  I have used network-based cameras since 2000 and have over 19 years of experience. Over those years, I have gone through many security network cameras, everything from the top-of-the-line to the cheapest no-name brands. I can attest that somewhere in the middle of the pack is a sweet spot of performance with reasonable cost.  I currently use AXIS, VivoTek, Hikvision, Sunba Network Cameras, and a Toshiba, which I am phasing out because Toshiba has stopped making Security Cameras.

The Three Sunba Cameras we will dive into, all of which I use, are:

  • SUNBA 305-D4X PTZ PoE+ 1080p Mini IP Security Camera 
  • SUNBA 405-D20X PoE+ Mini High-Speed IP 1080p PTZ Security Camera
  • SUNBA 601-D25X POE High-Speed 1080p IP Security Camera

Let's discuss top-rated Network Security Cameras VS. Cheaper Network Security Cameras - If you want the best in class and have the funds, I recommend you look at AXIS Network Security Cameras. Axis Security Cameras are head and shoulders above any of the three Sunba's mentioned here. It has better firmware support, a more well-rounded and mature camera interface, and is natively supported in top surveillance software packages. The cost for premium IP Network Cameras can be in the thousands of dollars and is what drives home users and small businesses to consider cheaper alternatives.

Cheaper does not always mean less, but there are some trade-offs.

Installation: Of the three cameras, the Sunba 305-D4X offers both ceiling mounting and wall mounting options out of the box. Speaking of the Sunba 305-D4X, it is the least robust of the Sunba PTZ Cameras mentioned here, and ceiling mounting is recommended only for indoor use due to the lack of weather sealing in that configuration; all mounting options for the 305-D4X are plastic.  The Sunba 405 and 601 series are nearly identical in mounting. Still, the 601 has a more oversized mounting bracket, which requires a solid wall/surface, especially the 601 series due to its heavier weight and size, 13.7 " and nearly 9 Pounds.  Be prepared to buy the mounting screws for wall mounting these cameras; Sunba does not include the wall screws for the 601 camera. Both the 405 and 601 are solid cameras, mostly metal.

- All three cameras include Ethernet connection protection to prevent water from entering the connection if used outdoors. Like all other cameras, the Ethernet connector must be installed without the RJ45 end, meaning you must custom-make a cable.  The 305 protects the Ethernet within a semi-sealed compartment in the wall mounting bracket. 

All three Sunba Cameras support Power Over Ethernet (POE) or use the included power supply (not recommended for outdoor use). The 601 Series requires a 45-watt POE injector or POE switch. I use an Amcrest Gigabit Uplink 9-Port Poe+ Ethernet Switch, supplying 96 watts of power (link below) to power three of my six POE cameras.

Only the Sunba 305-D4X has a built-in microphone with a monitoring warning sticker. Microphones and speakers are optional accessories for the 405/601 cameras.

* Note: Sunba updates their cameras over time, like the 405 models, which were updated and include both H264 and H265 encoding support on the newer model. So, if you are buying a 405 model, look carefully for the words H264 & H265

All three Cameras support alarm triggers when motion is set up and detected. Alarm-outs can trigger a flashing light, send an email, or both, for example.

Set-Up and Configuration: All three cameras support both web-based configuration and Sunba's VMS software, or, in the case of the 601&305 cameras, you can download an IOS or Android app to assist with setup. If you choose the web-based approach, only Microsoft Internet Explorer is supported (not Edge), and you need a Sunba browser plugin. The biggest weakness of Sunba cameras, in general, is the interface and lack of robust configuration options.  As of this article date, the 601-D25X does not support setting a custom color profile or adjusting sharpness, and other settings, such as NTP (Time Server), will not save correctly and revert to a local IP address.

VMS is a Sunba Software download that scans your network and discovers Sunba Cameras. It is a valuable tool for connecting to the camera and doing the basic configuration before mounting it. VMS has the full suite of options for the camera, including setting up accounts and passwords and choosing any limits to what each account can do, such as limiting a user's access to the view and not being able to change any configurations.

IOS and Android APP—Sunba is now offering smartphone access and camera setup using its downloadable app for the 601/305 model. Although I did not use the smartphone app, it has robust features to set you up and go and allow you to view your camera feed when needed.

Image Quality and Zoom: All three Sunba Network Security Cameras support 1080p resolution and provide reasonable sharpness with good image quality. Of the three Sunba Cameras, the 305-DX4 offers the widest angle of view of 115 degrees and is better suited for tighter spaces, but the 305 zoom range is limited to only 4X Optical. If I had to pick one camera for better image quality, it would be the 601.  The 601 and 405 are better suited for mounting high and back due to their more limited angle of view.

** All three cameras support both H264 and H265 video encoding. H265 encoding reduces storage space requirements but may not be supported in all software packages, such as Synology Surveillance Station.

3rd Party Software Support: With some limitations, all cameras support the more popular Surveillance software, such as Blue Iris, QNAP, Synology NAS, and Security Spy. When using third-party software, you may sacrifice H265 encoding or need to use the ONVIF setup method.

Night Vision: All three Sunba Cameras support IR cutover when light falls below a threshold that you can set. All support built-in IR with Starlight Mode allows the cameras to see in black & White/greyscale at night. The 601 has a much more powerful IR light that covers 1000 feet, while the 405 supports night vision out to 300 feet and the 305 out to 150 feet.

Pan Tilt Zoom: This is where we have a significant difference. The 601-D25X offers more robust abilities with 360 continuous rotation and can tilt up 15 degrees. The 601 and 405 have high-speed pan-tilt / rotation speeds, while the 305 is lackluster at best and frustrating when using PTZ. The 305 is so disappointing I hesitate to use it once the camera is set up.  Unlike the other cameras, the 305 will continue to rotate once it is activated until you double click in the opposite direction - SUNBA Please FIX THIS><

PTZ Issues: I cannot set PTZ patrol areas for the 305 and 601 cameras; the 305 will not save the Patrol, and the 601 will not move to a patrol point. The 405 works great for PTZ Patrol. Hopefully, a firmware fix is coming.

Speaking of Firmware: Although Sunba has a firmware download section, attempting an upgrade can be daunting and scary. After upgrading my 405 camera's firmware, the camera reverted to an IP that was not reachable from my network, causing me to climb a ladder, un-mount the camera, and physically attach it to a separate router that I set up to be on the camera IP range - FRUSTRATING.  I don't consider Sunba as a firmware or user interface leader. Firmware updates are few and far between. Camera companies like AXIS continue to support their cameras for years and offer regular updates that address issues.

- When I tried to update my 305 camera's firmware, it failed with "hardware failure," this is a new camera.

Outdoor Weather Resistance: The 305 is the least weather-resistant of the three but has held up so far in the rain. Both the 601 and 405 are well protected against the elements down to -20C on some models. The 305 supports -30 ~ 60C

Software Compatibility: I use Synology Surveillance Station. Only the 305 has a dedicated configuration with Synology, but all support ONVIF. Sunba supports Blue Iris, QNAP, and Security Spy.

In conclusion, Sunba offers three-level network security cameras that are reasonably priced but lack the polish of their higher-end competitors. The benefit is a significant cost savings. If you can live with some interface annoyances but with good image quality, take a look at Sunba.

Recommendation:  If you need a home Network Camera that covers a wider angle of view that is small and offers flexible mounting options, the 305-D4X is a good choice - but current PTZ functions are irritating. For a general home Surveillance Network camera, I recommend the 405-D20X. It is medium-sized, has good performance, image quality, and a zoom range of 20X optically. If you have a business or larger home, I recommend the 601-D25X with its excellent 360 degrees of rotation, PTZ, and longer 25X Optical Zoom capabilities.

Fill Flash
Fill flash on very small bug - Nissin MF18
Overall Sunba offers good solid Network Cameras at an affordable price point.  I wished Sunba had taken more time to refine the interface and standardized configurable features across their cameras.  Not having the option to adjust color or saturation in the 601 but doing so in their other cameras shows a lack of maturity in software development.

All images were taken from a Sunba Network Camera late in the afternoon with falling light.

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