Acti Selling 10MP Cams For $200???

Is this the new low? 10MP for $200? Wow! Has anyone ever tried one of these? [UPDATE: See IPVM Test results of the E97]

All I can say is this is pretty crazy if it is halfway decent.

[IPVM Editor's Note: The whole multi-page ad originally embedded has been removed. View page 1 and page 2.

It's a promotional dealer price. Street price is being listed in the mid $400s.

That said, even in the mid $400s, it is a pretty good price. However, non HD non IR fixed minidomes are going routinely now for sub $200 so it's not that shocking.

However, ACTi is definitely doing a good job getting promotion with these low price intro offers. They did one last month. I believe it was a 5MP fisheye dome for the same price.

As for 10MP, I remain skeptical. The two big risks are low light and bright light, where this camera might be beat by 3MP or 5MP ones. We will buy one when they are available and do a test.

dear john

i am a newby at this. we are an engineering trading co. and since i am an engineer,we need to make the right decision on the quality of the manufacturer that we should represent ,in order to create the customer goodwill.

can you please tell me where can i learn more about what to look? features?

for example, i never knew that 3 and 5 mp cams could perform better than 10 mp at low light/bright light.

what is the criteria?

are there any tech resources?white papers? that i can read?


Manmorah, we are doing a 3MP vs 5MP vs 10MP shootout this Wednesday. That should be an excellent resource to address this.

That said, it's pretty typical that higher resolution = worse low light performance, especially when one gets over 3MP.

gotta wonder if they cut corners in other areas such as housing. Also, wouldn't the fixed focal, iris, and focus be a huge limiting factor in the actual use of the camera?

I'm sure there are going to be trade offs with a $200 (dealer price) 10MP cam that lists WDR, vandal proof, and wide angle lens. At that price point, it isn't going to be a world beater performance wise (assumption). But, those are some pretty good features for the price point if it is even marginally well performing. I'm interested in getting my hands on one of these.

But performance wise if it has any value at all, it should beat 3MP and 5MP cameras in details captured. Otherwise, what's the point? It's just a marketing stunt.

Also, I don't understand why they didn't include integrated IR in this model. It would have really helped (just like it does for HD minidomes).

Clint, the obvious concern on 'cutting corners' would be the lens. Will the lens really be capable of capturing that level of detail? 10MP lenses tend to be extremely expensive, often more than the cost of this whole camera. How did ACTi overcome this?

As for vandal, it's almost certainly going to be pseudo vandal - IK6, IK7 or IK8, like Samsung did in their recent promotion.

Thought I would reply to John and Clint at one go. Caveat; I do not have one of these units in hand, I anticipate receiving my demo in the next week or two. They are not available for sale until Dec 20.

The Housing is IK08, as are all of the E9x series.

Lens is 101 degree wide angle - again, I have not personally confirmed, but we seem to be pretty accurate on lens FoV.

NO IR on E9x series to date. IR is pretty much standard on all the other Dome series.

WDR on this particular unit is our "Basic WDR" at 65.2db.

DAY only, no ICR.

In our testing, the unit at .1lux @ f1.8, similar to other models in the series.

There is a nice video on Youtube about the unit.

But is it a real 10MP sensor, or just being up-scaled?

That is an excellent question, and it never occurred to me to ask. I will put an inquiy up channel to verify.

Got a pretty fast reply (It's already Monday in Taipei). It is a true 10MP CMOS.

Dennis, thanks for the follow up.

A WDR rating of 65.2dB is really not even WDR. Not that I trust those ratings, but if ACTi believed this camera was 'true' WDR, it would have been at least 100dB. Non WDR cameras are typically rated in the 60s.

An IK08 rating is believable though that's still 75% less than 'full' IK10 (i.e., only 5 joules of impact vs 20). Obviously, ACTi is not alone in this questionable 'vandal' specification but it needs to be recognized.

Finally, the low light performance specs are very interesting and a little weird.

The 10MP E97 has a 1/2.3" sensor and a f/1.8 lens. I am a little stunned that it's f/1.8 as most as 720p minidomes don't have f/1.8. Given that the resolution is so high, I would expect a much higher f stop or a much higher price.

By contrast, the 5MP E93 has a 1/3.2" sensor and a f/2.8 lens. The 1/3.2" sensor is quite small for its resolution (typically you see bigger 1/3" sensors for regular HD). The f/2.7 lens is quite poor but not shocking. That said, the combination of a relatively small sensor and a relatively high f stop indicates likely terrible low light performance.

Ultimately, one has to do a test but there's enough weird points in the specs to be extra cautious in evaluating performance here.

On WDR - ACTi makes a disctintion between Basic (60db-ish), Superior (100db-ish) and Extreme or Advanced (120db and above).

I agree that there needs to be a better term for IK08/IK09 devices, but here we are. At least we publish the rating.

Please keep in mind that the E series is an entry-to-mid range product line, and the E9x units are meant for small fixed lens applications, so the price and components reflect this. It's a Scion, not a Lexus. I anticipate the B series (Toyota to stay in metaphor) and I series (Lexus) will be comparably spec'd to their market segments.

Judging by the amount of discussion just here and the marketing potential for a "10MP camera at the cost the Other Guys are selling a 1MP" this move by ACTi will motivate many dealers and some end users to look at ACTi who wouldn't otherwise. Brand awareness and positive discussion of the brand is priceless and for those simple indoor, well-lit camera positions a 10MP camera supervising the student cafeteria line will have substantial interest from a customer.