ACTi is pushing the boundaries of high megapixels at an affordable price. This camera offers up to 10 megapixel resolution, has 2 way audio, alarm input & output and an SD card slot for internal recording. Combine the SD card slots with ACTi’s new Edge Recorder Client to view multiple camera and recordings without a need for an NVR or NVR PC and it all looks like a good solution.
- Progressive Scan CMOS 1/2.3″ Sensor
- Day and night function with mechanical IR cut filter
- Minimum illumination 0 lux with IR LED on
- Built-in f3.6mm / F1.8 Megapixel fixed lens
- 6 fps at 3648 x 2736 resolution or 30 fps at 1080P resolution
- Selectable H.264 HP, MJPEG compressions with dual streaming
- Video motion detection
- Wide Dynamic Range (WDR)
- Vandal proof IK10 rated and weatherproof IP66 rated casing
- MicroSDHC card slot for local storage
- Powered by PoE
This is an interesting move for ACTi that has been competing on the low end with disruptive pricing from Dahua and Hikvision. To counter that, they have been starting to release unique cameras and higher resolution and adding features people have been asking for like 2-way audio and alarm inputs that have been missing from most of their current line. What’s great is they are maintaining their pricing making these cameras a good value. For example, this camera, with all it’s features is available for under $300 for an introductory period. It’s been such a good seller, I put of the review off until inventory levels came back up as many distributors sold out the first week.
Installing the camera is typical of most vandal domes. Basically you loosen 3 hex screws with the included screwdriver to remove the dome cover and then use included screws and anchors to attach the camera to a wall or ceiling. Aiming is easy as it’s 3-axis dome that is smooth and easy to adjust. There’s a black plastic cover under the dome that you need to align with the way the lens points.
This is what the web interface looks like when you first log in. There’s options to take a snapshot, resize the image, chose a stream and more.
First thing I do with just about any network camera is configure the network settings, specifically the fixed IP address for the camera. The camera is assigned an IP address on your network via DHCP, but you’ll need to do this to set a fixed IP address. ACTi provides a “Camera Finder” in their Utilities found HERE.
Under Video, there’s tabs for various functions that control the camera. The compression tab is where I had to set resolution, frame rate and such.
The next tab is to set the video motion detection options and regions. You can set up 3 regions. Each region is a rectangle that you can move and stretch as needed.
The next tab is Day/Night where you can set at how much brightness/darkness is needed to trigger the camera to switch to day or night. Also, you can turn off the IR LEDs under IR LED Control.
The Exposure tab is where you set the slowest shutter speed. I typically set cameras to 1/30th so you can compare at the same shutter speed in the night pictures. Increasing the time to the default of 1/5th will give you better low light sensitivity at the expense of possible motion blur.
Another menu item you should look at is the Date & Time menu. Here you can set the time manually or use an NTP server to automatically update time. Day Light Savings time is also important to update so it changes the time automatically in March and November.
This camera has audio in/out capabilities and you can adjust audio parameter under Video & Audio. While the camera has this feature, it does not include a microphone or speaker. These should be amplified and powered to work properly. ACTi has an article on how to set this up HERE.
Some of you asked how do I send video to an FTP server or how do I E-Mail a snapshot when motion is detected. This is specified here under the Event Configuration –> Upload video/snapshot and Audio menu. You select up to three separate tasks. For example, you can have it FTP a video & email a snapshot if you want. You then go into Event List to specify what event does what, when.
I included this screen so you can see what the firmware version was at the time of this testing as ACTi is constantly updating and improving their cameras. Also, if you do have a question or problem, you’ll need this information to open a support ticket.
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 and in my backyard with little to no light. The lens is pretty wide and was perfect for viewing the entire front of my home. As with my other reviews, click on the images below to see the full size image, straight from the camera.
The first image is in the front, with mid-day sun, so heavy contrast shadows. The image has nice contrast and color accuracy but without WDR the shadows are dark some detail is lost in dark parts of the image but with a lower contrast setting, it’s still a very nice image. The wide angle 3.6mm does cover a very wide area, in this case, about the entire front of my lot. This is as wide as previously tested ACTi cameras with 2.9m because the sensor is larger.
One thing to note with 10MP is that it’s not 5 times better than 2MP. The image when viewing at full resolution does tend to pixelated more than when viewing a full resolution 2 or 3MP image. I don’t have other 10MP cameras to compare to, but when I’ve seen 5MP cameras, the true resolution was not that much better than 3MP and I’m afraid that the same is true here where 10MP is not much better than 5MP, but does provide the ability to digitally zoom in the image beyond what 2 & 3MP cameras can provide. Actually side by side with my E32, during the day, the E77 provided a brighter, sharper image so there’s definitely a difference.
I then moved the camera to my backyard where there’s different type of lighting with high contrast. This is with WDR turned off and the image is pretty nice.
I then set WDR to Medium, not much of a difference.
With WDR set at the highest setting, it makes more of a dramatic difference.
At night, in 10MP mode, you need a good amount of light to be useful. This image at my driveway is still viewable, but dark.
In my backyard, where it’s very dark, the IR illuminators barely provided enough light to see.
Surpisingly, 1080P mode a made a huge difference in image quality. Still a bit of noise, but the image is significantly brighter
In the backyard, 1080P made a difference, but still too dark.
I uploaded day and night videos to YouTube. To see them at 1080P, you must click on the gear icon and select 1080P quality and then click on the icon with 4 corners to see the video full screen. The video was extracted using Milestone XProtect.
As with all ACTi cameras, you are entitled to you use their NVR software for free for up to 16 cameras and it’s pretty good with features people expect from commercial grade NVR software. They also have free IOS & Android apps available. If you want to record “on camera” using the microSD card, they now provide a free Windows program to view multiple cameras and playback recordings you can get HERE.
This camera performed well during the day, but need additional lighting at night to be effective. At the time of this writing, Wrightwood Surveillance , an authorized reseller, has it on sale for $279 shipped free and definitely worth trying one out.
The pluses for this camera are;
- Price for a name brand 10MP megapixel dome.
- 10MP or full HD 1080P resolution
- microSDHC card slot with Edge Playback Windows program free.
- Day/Night IR Cut Filter
- 2-Way Audio
- Alarm Input/Output
- Free NVR software
Click here to go to the company web page for the camera.