My 16 Camera Project: Axis Vs Vivotek Vs ACTi

I have a project where we are deploying ~16 IP cameras to cover a house perimeter. The cameras must all be day/night, 1MP or 3MP, half dome and half bullet. The cameras will be at 10 - 13 feet high.

I will use only one manufacture for this project for both cameras and VMSes. I am trying to decide between Axis (ACS), Vivotek and ACTi.

My general preference is Axis but I am trying to get a sense of pros and cons for this. Please advise.


I posted this on behalf of a member who contacted me. Here's a few initial thoughts that I shared with him:

  • For outdoor, day/night cameras, ACTi and Vivotek likely have significantly less expensive offerings.
  • On the VMS side, Axis Camera Station still costs ~$100 per camera while ACTi and Vivotek's VMS are free.
  • Though Axis's overall quality and performance will likely be higher, it is going to come at a pretty significant cost premium.

Agree/disagree? Other factors or approaches you would consider?

ACTi has non-standard resolutions for multi-megapixel resolutions. Expect to see ranges given in 2MP or 4 MP models.

I agree with John's overall assessment. Small details like whether or not a dome camera has a permanent pigtail to find a home for, and/or lensing options could make a big difference in the final quote. 'Getting in the weeds' on these points are a worthwhile step when other factors are close.

I once ordered a Vivotek for a project and promptly sent it back because the image quality was that poor I couldn't even use it (the project was a simple streaming service from a shopping complex for their customers). This was around 3 years back so things may be different with them now.

We have also installed ACTI in the past and their cameras are ok for the price tag. The main problem with ACTI is the software which is not particularly user friendly and for a domestic customer I would say ease of use is the most critical.

So I'm guessing most would say Axis if your customer can afford. If cost is a real issue maybe look at their camera companion. Also consider the warranty from each manufacturer as that can affect the overall cost over the years.

Deciding between brands may not be as important as deciding on specific models. Every manufacturer has their strong points and weak points in a product line; just because it has a certain name on the housing doesn't mean it's going to be great, or even good.

Case in point: I needed a decent low-light/WDR box camera to replace a failed Arecont, without getting too expensive. A supplier recommended a particular Vivotek as matching the spec (don't recall the model right off, IP8162 rings a bell?). We tried it out... and it performed spectacularly. Then I started noticing various reviews of other Vivotek models that pretty much panned their entire product line... reviews that really didn't jive with my first experience with the brand. In fact, the customer was so happy with the camera, we used the same model to replace another failed camera on another site of theirs.

Dahua is another example: a member here imports and sells their equipment under his own brand, but carefully selects which models he's going to carry... both to avoid having to carry too many different pieces, but also because he tests a product thoroughly before putting his name on it, and some models simply don't measure up to what he wants to offer his customers.

Of course, the drawback to this route is that you do have to go with a third-party NVR or VMS that will support multiple different brands. I would imagine the Axis and ACTI software works only with their own cameras, which does lock you into a brand.

Btw, with regards to the VMS, if this integrator chooses Axis cameras, I think he should certainly pick a $50 per camera open VMS like Exacq or Milestone rather than ACS (which is more expensive yet less functional).

Even if they use ACTi or Vivotek, the extra $800 for a 'real' VMS may be worth it in more advanced functionality, flexibility of using different (potentially lower cost or better) 3rd party cameras.

At the end of the day, after doing all the researching on Pro & Cons......it boils down to only 2 things, DOLLAR & CENTS.

So, basically, if your budget has no limit or you have spare cash to spend,

then go for AXIS cameras, and buy a 3rd VMS.

If you are confined to budget limitation, naturally, you will be deciding ACTi OR Vivotek.

Personally after experiencing ACTi solution for CCTV surveillance which it did not turn out good.

I would suggest to go for Vivotek, simply because Vivotek offer 32 free channels VMS for all Vivotek cameras.

If you find later, that you want to add more cameras.....you can add another max. 16 cameras when requires,

while ACTi VMS only offers 16 free channels max.