$249 For 10MP Outdoor IR Camera - ACTi Strikes Again

A few months ago, ACTi generated a lot of discussion for its $200 10MP camera offer (here's our subsequent test of the camera).

Now, ACTi has repeated this play with its next 10MP camera - this one adding integrated IR, IP66 outdoor rating and an IK10 vandal specification for just $50 more than the previous offer.

Here's the promo:

Notice, again, that it for 3 months only (through beginning of May).

A few thoughts:

These introductory publicly pronounced price specials are getting them a lot of attention and encouraging people to try them out, hopefully to get them hooked. This looks like a good marketing tactic.

Adding IR is critical as 10MP cameras almost always struggle in low light. Here's our side by side comparison of ACTi's non-IR 10MP E97:


Weirdly, their marketing comparison image shows almost no practical increase in detail with the 10MP vs the 2MP one:

Finally, I am suspicious about their bandwidth claim is comparable with a 2MP camera. They measure 4Mb/s for the 10MP version but it is at a max frame rate of 6fps. At the same frame rate, no 2MP IR camera would consume anything close to 4Mb/s. Here's their comparison:

Bandwidth will remain a big issue for moving to 10MP cameras, as it is 5-8x increase over 2MP cameras for moderately (at best) improved quality.


I attended Intersec Expov2014 in Dubai, and they sold cameras right there at thier booth ($199 for 10MP). I didnt buy it, though some surely did.

Interesting feedback! Agressive...

I didn't even know that was allowed. My understanding is that trade shows typically prohibit that sort of thing to stop the event from becoming a flea market.

I did not think it was allowed either, infact I am almost certain its not. But I was offered it and declined, and someone infront of me took the offer and paid in USD.

Yes! Trade shows are far more distinguished than flea-markets.

For example, trade shows allow jumpsuit-era Elvis impersonators, garish booths with shag carpeting, and tons of future landfill trinkets & freebies, BUT DRAW A HARD LINE at selling stuff. Well, unless you're at ISC West:

How to "optimize" bandwidth:

  • Black and white image
  • GOP length >5 seconds
  • enough external IR to light up a whole street

Seriously, that last image should be a Raytec ad.

We've done testing with GOP intervals. What you recommend in the cameras we have tested will only modestly reduce bandwidth while notably increasing smearing on moving objects. See Test: H.264 I vs P Frame Impact

Black and white image is typical for low light imaging. Even in black and white, the issue is encoding the artifacts from digital noise.

The last image shows the cameras' own internal IR light. Presumably, you mean to add Raytec to get more IR illumination (i.e., enough external IT to light up a whole street). Of course, the problem you now have is that subjects in the near field will be washed out because the IR illumination is too bright there.

Yeah, but you only compared 720p cameras. A 10MP camera at 6fps and a 2MP camera at 30fps both produce 60 megapixels/second. But at a GOP length of 1 second, the first one has to transmit a whole I-frame for every five P-frames, while the latter only sends one every 30 frames. At 1fps you should be almost up to MJPEG bandwidth rates, although the differing quality metrics make such a comparison difficult.

In black and white you don't need to encode or transmit color noise. Try setting the saturation of a capped color camera to zero. If there is no information in the hue and saturation channel, every encoder gladly omits it. I'm not saying it's cheating, just that it helps optimizing reducing bandwidth.

Take a closer look at the shadows. Would a ring of ten IR LEDs around a lens cast any visible shadow? And is that a shadow of the photographer in the lower right corner? Sorry if I come across like a conspiracy theorist, but that just does not look right.

I bought one of their E92 (5mp) and one of the E77 (10Mp) for testing purposes. Needless to say, I think I wasted my money. A HIK 3MP and a no name 2MP provide more detail when using forensic zoom. Plus, I have them on a 4K monitor. Do you guys know if these fixed lenses from ACTi need to be focused, after receiving them?

In our ACTi E97 10MP test, the camera we bought was significantly out of focused out of the box. Here's a before and after:

To that end, yes, I would strongly recommend focusing them yourself to ensure they are not of focus. That said, it is somewhat absurd to have to focus a fixed focus camera....

Mr. Honovich,

i appreciate the prompt reply. I love the site/forum! A wealth of applicable knowledge!

Right now I'm just quoting ACTi's 1MP outdoor IR cameras just to be on safe side in terms of bandwith and storage. I have not seen the install we just did the D31 bullet cameras but I was told it was pretty impressive. I will wait to test the E77 before I think about going to market with it. With a 3.6mm lens and that high of a F-stop, I'm not sure the 10MP camera will show me much more detail than a 1MP/3MP camera with a 4.3mm lens in the 25 foot range. I think IPVM's tests have shown the recent ACTi non-IR cameras don't eat up bandwith only because they can't see much in the dark.

I know Arecont used to be the cheapest cameras in term per pixel count but is ACTi with all these promotions now the cheapest cameras per pixel on the market? I'm not as familar with Dauha's pricing.

Pixels per dollar is sort a crazy metric but ACTi is now probably the 'best' on it. I don't believe Dahua is selling 5MP or 10MP cameras (I see just 1 5MP box camera on Dahua's site).