ACTi E33 5MP IR Bullet Review

This is the first 5MP cameras I’ve tested. This builds on the new ACTi theme of having 1, 3 & 5MP sensors across their various cameras styles. This looks and feels just like the E32 (3 MP) camera I recently reviewed but has the extra pixels. It’s about $30 more than the E32 and for those needing the extra resolution, $30 is a small price to pay


Main Features

  • Day and night function with mechanical IR cut filter
  • Built-in f4.2  mm / F1.8 Megapixel fixed lens
  • 15 fps at 5MP (2592 x 1944)  or 30fs at 1080P resolution
  • Selectable H.264, MPEG-4, MJPEG compressions with dual streaming
  • Weatherproof IP66 rated casing
  • WDR ( Wide Dynamic Range)
  • Digital Noise Reduction
  • Video Motion Detection
  • Powered by PoE Class 2

The camera is a traditional style IR bullet camera identical in appearance to their E31 and E32 siblings. What’s different is they now include an odd pigtail out the back with an RJ45 jack. My guess is most people will use the included conduit adapter and run an Ethernet cable into the back of the camera for a weatherproof connection. Also included in the box is the mount which was previously charged extra for, the sun shield and a focusing tool to turn the lens without getting your fingers in the way.

The image quality is good both day and night. There’s more noise than what I’ve experienced with the E32. This is common as you increase pixel density, in general it becomes less sensitive to light.

The WDR is considered their basic version, it did well at reducing glare from headlights and seeing in shadows where other cameras just show dark blobs. ACTi also sells the D33, basically the same camera but without WDR at a lower price but if you are using this to capture images outdoors where you have a lot of bright lights, the small premium for the E33 is worth it.

As with all ACTi cameras, you are entitled to you use their NVR software for free for up to 16 cameras and is amazingly good. They also include an IOS app but for those with Android phones, you can choose from many apps that work well with ACTi cameras.

This is what the web interface looks like when you first log in. The 5 MP image will be overwhelming but you can control the display by using the magnifying glass with minus sign to reduce the image size so you can see the entire picture on your screen. You can also select to view the live video in full screen mode and an icon to take a snapshot. If you are viewing the camera on a slow internet connection, you can also select stream 2.

Clicking on the wrench/screwdriver icon takes you to the cameras setup screens. The Video selection allows you to configure most of what’s needed including motion detection, WDR, noise reduction, day/night options, and in the screen below, resolution and compression for each stream.

This tab is where you set the exposure options.

This tab is where you set the camera to email or ftp snapshots or video.

Now onto the images, how well does this camera perform. As with other tests, I set this camera up with a maximum exposure of 1/30th of a second. This is fast enough to capture motion yet still provide decent low light images.

I mounted the camera at the front of my garage, under the eave. With the 4.2mm lens, it was able to provide coverage wide enough for the front of the home but remain effective at being able to ID people about 35′ away. As with my other reviews, click on the images below to see the full size image, straight from the camera.

I happened to catch an unexpected rainy day. You don’t get the contrasty shadows but even under the trailer, were many non-WDR cameras would struggle, you can still make out detail.

I moved the cameras to my backyard where it’s harsher conditions, more shadows and it did pretty well

At night the contrast is good, the low light capability is decent. There’s more noise here than the E32 but the image is still good overall, with good dynamic range.

Here’s a shot in the backyard at night. There’s some light from a few landscape lots, but overall a darker place than my driveway. Definitely more noise but a usable image.

I took a day and a night video using the ACTi NVR software and posted on YouTube. View it at the highest resolution you can which is 5 MP by clicking the gear icon underneath the video and selecting “original”.   Unfortunately, the video does have some points where motion is not perfectly smooth. This is a just released camera and I’m sure ACTi will work to get these minor kinks out.

The street price on this camera is under $400 and it represents a good value. If you need a decent outdoor 5MP camera and you don’t need all the bells and whistles that come with a more expensive camera, this is may be for you.

The pluses for this camera are;

  • 5MP resolution – no substitute for resolution
  • Day and night function with mechanical IR cut filter and IR LEDs
  • WDR
  • Free NVR software that’s quite good
  • Selectable H.264, MPEG-SP, MJPEG compressions with dual streaming

Drawbacks for the camera include;

  • a minor glitch with the video freezing for a split second when recording which may be a bug with their NVR software rather than the camera.
  • more noise is present here than in their 3MP camera

Recommended for those needing to protect their homes or business that need a high resolution quality commercial grade camera.

Spec sheets, manuals, overview are available here



Leave a Reply

56 Comments on "ACTi E33 5MP IR Bullet Review"

Notify of

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
1 year 21 days ago

Looking at purchasing these cameras but have a general question. I saw in one post the E32 or 33 had been installed upside down without the sunshade. I would also be installing mine upside down. Now for the question. If upside down can the sunshield be installed on the then top (camera’s bottom)between the mounting bracket and the camera?

1 year 6 months ago

Any suggestion on a compatible tighter lens? Say 12mm?

2 years 4 months ago

Hey guys,

I just recently got the E33 and after playing with it for the past few days, I feel like my night time image just doesn’t look as clear as yours. What do you think?

Rj Gill
2 years 4 months ago

Hey Guys so i installed my cameras.. but it seems like I am getting a lot of noise.. is there any settings that you guys recommend for E33 ..should I follow up with Acti.. what can i do here to improve..

<<< Acti E33

<<<Hikvision DS2CD2032I

Both are on latest firmware..

Rj Gill
2 years 8 months ago

Great Review Buell!! Got 3 of these from Wrightwood. Haven’t tested them yet..Huge size difference between these and Hikis.. Great staff at wrightwood..very fast shipping..

Will install in a week or so.. still waiting on license pack for synology

Brian Lewis
2 years 8 months ago

I’m trying to determine the best IP cameras to get for complete security around my new home. Can I email you a few pictures to get your comments? Was thinking of using the E33 outside for driveway and the E72 on the front porch and just inside the front door, as well as possibly other areas around the house given the E72 seems better suited for wide angle recordings while the E33 with higher resolution would be best for the long driveway.

3 years 2 months ago

Thanks for the review, this has been a helpful site. As you’ve stated elsewhere, windows seems to be a necessity with most of these cameras. I’m fine with running windows in a VM for admin tasks but I mostly use OSX, Linux, iOS, and Android devices. With this camera (or most others) is if fair to assume that I should be able to grab live video and still images from the built-in web server? I don’t really need nvr functionality, I would just like to be able to view a remote property I own from time to time.

WRT this review, now that they have improved the night noise, is the e33 (5mp) now the no-brainer choice over the e32 (3mp). We all like more pixels and it seems like a tiny upgrade cost.

3 years 2 months ago

I bought this camera based primarily on this review. Thanks. I do have some network questions if anyone can help. I created a separate Camera network to avoid overloading my Internet network by putting two Ethernet adapters on my NVR computer. The first ( is connected to my router, and from there to the Internet. The second ( is connected to a PoE switch, which feeds my camera ( I have not bridged the two adapters. I am running Acti NVR software and it works perfectly. It pulls from the camera and makes the info available on my internet Network. Now I would like to get time-lapse stills from the camera. I don’t see any way in the NVR software to program a schedule of stills, but the camera itself has the ability to send stills through either FTP or HTTP CGI. The problem is, the camera is not on the internet, it is only attached to my NVR computer through the switch. I have tried to configure Filezilla Server on my NVR computer, but have been unable to get the camera to talk to it. So the question is, what how can I connect my camera to either FTP… Read more »

3 years 2 months ago


I am interested in building a wireless CCTV system using HD cameras.
When designing wireless network, bandwidth usage is very important factor
to consider.

I would be most appreciated if you can measure the bandwidth usage on this camera
while IR is turn on (night viewing and recording).

The reason is to find out what is the usage during the day compares to night,
using compression H.264.

Thank you.

Kind regards,

3 years 3 months ago

After I posted above I picked up this one from Amazon

Works great. Had to as I realized this camera does not accept a direct PS, that was my other multi pixel camera.

So far a good camera, conduit mounted, solid. Night time is still lacking but I have monster IRs waiting to be installed. I am also looking into 6mm lenses so if someone has any options on quality 6mm glass…..

3 years 3 months ago

Any idea what PSU this requires? Says 12volts, but that is all it gives in the install manual. I’m going to have to move mine, still too much noise in the evening with decent shutter speed, so looking to go 9′ closer, but this puts it out of reach of my 16 port POE switch and I have a 8 port gigabit switch in the garage that would work, but not POE.


Marc Kaufman
3 years 3 months ago

Just get a single port POE injector. Fry’s sells one from Trendnet for $30.

3 years 3 months ago

I’ve ordered over 12 for Poe devices from Pasadena networks. They are a great company. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004EK9ODG/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=ARVK853E3UVAY

Cheaper and are very good quality.

Marc Kaufman
3 years 3 months ago

Be aware that the Ubiquiti devices are NOT 802.3af. The one you linked to is 48v only, and doesn’t adjust with demand.

Marc Kaufman
3 years 3 months ago

The Ubiquiti 48V PoE adapter is not 802.3af compliant, because it doesn’t need to be. It is intended to power the Router Station Pro, which uses 48V.

If you want to power a 12V PoE camera, you need to add one of these: http://www.streakwave.com/Itemdesc.asp?ic=I8023AF%2DID to the 48V Ubiquity device you quoted. That’s another $20.

Or, you could just buy a real 802.3af injector.
[I'm not trying to cause you grief, but powering a camera directly from a Ubiquity POE-48 puts 48V on the camera, and is not good]

3 years 3 months ago

You are mistaken. Ubiquiti does make IEEE 802.3af compliant devices which use 48 volts, which is the IEEE 802.3af specification.

IEEE 802.3af devices don’t “auto adjust with demand”.

Marc Kaufman
3 years 3 months ago

I just put up an E33 where I had previously had an ACM-1231. I live in a rural area, and there are no house lights or street lights. At 8:30PM I was watching the feed, waiting for it to get dark. But it IS dark outside. Low light performance is really great.

3 years 3 months ago

Great reviews. Very informative.

My question is this: I’m looking for a 1 megapixel (720p or higher), wireless N, night-vision, 30 fps or higher, outdoor camera, preferably with Edge storage (but not required), from a manufacturer with at least average customer service. Cost matters. I’ve not really found anything that fits this description. Are you aware of any cameras that fit this profile, and if so, what might you suggest? Thank you.

3 years 3 months ago

OK, about to do a happy dance here. ACTi sent me a BETA firmware to address my noise concerns:
Video below is at 1/5 shutter. Noticeable noise improvement. With some IR help it appears we have a winner.

New firmware 6.03.15

Old Firmware

3 years 3 months ago

Any recommendations on a decent IR panel?

3 years 3 months ago

Well, wanted to add up a link to my night video. There are also other videos on there also from this camera. Day is very good. My friend who is in the business even said this is not what he expected, granted he deals in thousand dollar cameras all day long. He was impressed with the Dahua 2mp dome night video though. :) I will be contacting ACTi tomorrow on the noise concern of this camera.

3 years 2 months ago

Wow, thats not great noise IMO.

But wait, is that a firetruck during the night? hihi action packed for sure compared to what normally goes on..

3 years 3 months ago

I can add that the daytime video is very good, not sure what happened with the water painting effect as posted here, I do not have any of that. The night video however, wow, as bad as some of my analogs.

3 years 3 months ago

Did you use Blue Iris to record?

3 years 3 months ago

I just might add an IR panel as today, after some fiddling with focus, the day time resolution is very good, impressed. I can read a plate from a stationary car 45′ away at full resolution. Still some minor tweaking to do. Thanks for the reply.

3 years 3 months ago

Have this camera, curious what settings you have set your at. Noise in incredibly high at night. Unusable in fact with any motion in the evening. My Dahua 2mp dome is crisp clear in the evening with very little if any detectable noise.


3 years 3 months ago

Hello, first of all I would like to express my gratitude for the work you put into your great reviews and critics. You helped cure a major headache I got when tasked with selecting a camera setup for a customer of mine. Thank you. When accepting the task I was totally unaware of the lack of information about networked cameras. After expanding my web search from Germany to the UK – I’ve been there recently and expected to find plenty of profound information on this topic since the ratio of cameras per capita on that island seems to be at least 50:1 – I had almost given up. Reading your review and watching the videos of the Acti cams – which I favor at the moment – I would like to add to what Brandon Taylor already mentioned: Why do some parts of the videos almost look like paintings / comics? I am looking at the Acti E33 5MP IR Bullet – Day Video. I think the picture is crisp and well lit and makes an overall good impression – but the objects on the other side of the street and the flowerpot (I guess on your neighbors yard) look… Read more »

3 years 3 months ago


Aa bit off topic but I didn’t see a category that fit my question. I have been reading all your reviews on Dahau, Foscam, ACti and Axis. Can you provide overall choice that meets these criteria

1) Need a camera for living with a good wide view. I want to put the camera on the back wall and see teh entire living room, down the hall and the right. I really liked the Mobotix demo on youtube with that wide panoramic view. Perfect? I would like your opinion on the best sub $400 and above $400 camera. I like the DOME cameras from Dahua but there is no engine to remotely turn them east to west, correct? I’m wondering if a bullet camera will have wide enough view as well.

2) What is your opinion on the best driveway camera. Faces clear at 20 or 30 ft.

Let me just finish by saying this a great blog. Thank you.

Brandon Taylor
3 years 3 months ago

On the zoomed in shots, the background (especially the leaves) look almost like a watercolor painting rather than an image. Is the just an artifact of over-processing? Or an issue with focusing at further distances? It does seem to defeat the purpose of having a higher resolution if you cant take advantage of the extra pictures because of the blurring effect that seems to be going on.

3 years 3 months ago

Always find your reviews to be thorough and insightful. Apologies for the slightly off topic question – I have several ACM-1231 ACTi cameras that use the old style mount on a wall. I am considering upgrading them all to the E44 (given my positive experience with the KCM-5611 sensor). I see that the E44 now comes with an integrated mount. Do you know if it will also be possible to mount the E44 on the old style ACM wall mounts? Thanks again.

3 years 3 months ago

Seems like there is a lot of artifacts in the video… The increased MP seems useless if the output isn’t clear. To me, the 1.3 Dahua is far superior to this in price and performance.

As always great review!

3 years 3 months ago

Thanks for the review very nice and detailed, I already have the kcm5611 and I love it much more then my geovision ip cameras.
I now need a few outdoor camera that will be placed in a shady tree area that has lots of Sun light too, so I need something with extra heavy wdr capabilities so it shouldn’t trigger motion every time the tree shakes.
World have any good recommendations for me?


Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,361 other subscribers