ACTi KCM-5211E Review

Moved to www.NetworkCameraCritic.com

ACTi makes some unique cameras in the marketplace that distinguish themselves. This is one of their newest outdoor cameras with a 4 megapixel sensor. It has some unique features including autofocus, 18X zoom, micro SD card slot and new 2D and 3D noise reduction.

The camera retails for just under $1,000, but street price hovers around $800. It’s fairly large camera at close to 3 lbs. and 4.5″ x 5.1″ x 7.7″ and has a large lens.

ACTi KCM-5211e - Front
Main Features
– 1/3.2” Progressive Scan CMOS
– Day and night function with mechanical IR cut filter
– 18 x optical zoom
– Built-in f4.7-84.6 mm / F1.6 Megapixel DC iris zoom lens
– 8 fps at 2032 x 1920 resolution, 15 fps at 1920 X 1080 (HD 1080p); 30 fps at 1280 x 720 (HD 720p) – Selectable H.264, MPEG-4 SP, MJPEG compressions with dual streaming
– Serial port for external pan & tilt scanner
– Two-way audio ports
– SDR ( Superior Dynamic Range )
– 2D+3D Digital noise reduction
– Weatherproof IP66 rated casing
– Powered by PoE Class 3 or DC 12V
– H.264 compressions

This camera delivers on all fronts. The Super Dynamic Range feature alongside a camera without it shows how effective this solution is. You’ll see images below that show how even the lighting is considering the harsh lighting situation. In a camera that did not have this, the bright areas were blown out and a lot of detail lost.

The 3D noise reduction makes for a very clear image without any traces of noise. You have to be careful with turning this up to high as detail is lost in the processing.

Due to power limitations of PoE, compromises had to be made. The IR LED illuminator is not what I expected from my experience with the ACM-1231 and TCM-1231. The effective range is 3-6′ and is good if you want to mount this at a front door for close in viewing, not sure this is the best use for 4MP and 18X. They recomend the use of external illuminators and I can see that because to take advantage of 18X zoom, you would want illuminators that can cover 100′ or more away and no built in illuminator can do that effectively. Low light capability without illuminators is good for a well lit area, such as urban settings but not good enough for suburban or rural areas with poor lighting.

This is what the web browser interface looks like when you first log into the camera. Typical of their new TCM and KCM cameras. The difference here is the PTZ button.

ACTi KCM-5211e - Screenshot

The PTZ button brings up this floating window where you can zoom in and set preset zoom settings

ACTi KCM-5211e - Screenshot

This is the setup window where you would configure the TCP/IP settings. Ports are setup on a seperate screen.
ACTi KCM-5211e - Screenshot

Video motion detect is setup on this screen. The camera provides 3 zones that can be moved around and sized very easily. The “Activity” windows shows the trigger line and if the movement will trigger this event

ACTi KCM-5211e - Screenshot

Image configuration has many options for noise reduction, edge enhancement and more

ACTi KCM-5211e - Screenshot

This is the back of the camera with the audio ports, ethernet port, micro SD card slot, 12 VDC power (instead of PoE) and the serial port/terminal block.

ACTi KCM-5211e - back

This image was taken in the late afternoon as the sun started to set. This is at it’s widest lens setting. Click on the images below to see the full sized 4MP image straight from the camera.

ACTi KCM-5211e - back

This is the same image, but zoomed out the 18x optical zoom maxium. The zoom action and focusing is quick.

ACTi KCM-5211e - back

The following two images were taken at 18X zoom at night during the Mardi Gras parade in downtown San Diego from about 1 1/2 blocks away. The images are clean and noise free, but detail in people’s faces has been lost. My advice would be turn down noise reduction to a minimal setting to preserve this detail.

ACTi KCM-5211e - back

ACTi KCM-5211e - back

The pluses for this camera are;

  • 4 MegaPixel resolution (double that of 1080P HD)
  • Excellent Acti Tech Support
  • Autofocus 18X zoom lens makes install a breeze
  • Automatic IR CUT filter and auto iris
  • Very good noise reduction that is rarely seen in cameras with this resolution at this price point
  • Internal micro SD card slot
  • Can send emails or FTP video or images
  • Powered by PoE or an included power adapter

The shortfalls of this camera are;

  • Wide angle not that wide, should be 3.3mm like the TCM-1231
  • IR Illuminators add no practical value

Recommended for;

  • This camera works well for surveillence where high resolution and long powerful optical zoom is needed. A far as I know, there isn’t a 4MP or better PTZ camera that competes with this.

The ACTi web page for the KCM-5211E can be found HERE

It contains a detailed spec sheet, sample videos and manuals.



7 Responses to “ACTi KCM-5211E Review”

  1. 1 Adam
    February 24, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    Nice review. But I’m a bit disappointed in the quality of the images presented here. The images appear to have a lost a lot of sharpness and almost appear to be washed out in some of them.

    Anyway, nice review and I enjoy reading your blog!

  2. 3 pavel1883
    February 24, 2012 at 9:51 pm

    THank you for review! Really strange camera with ZERO benefit from its 4 Mp resolution for outdoor survialance. THe image looks to washedout. THere is not possible to recognize faces at all on thouse pictures((

    • February 25, 2012 at 7:05 pm

      Keep in mind that it is 18X zoom, 1 1/2 blocks away in a coastal area at night. If you were to take a picture with an decent camera, in my case I also took pictures with my Nikon D90 which is a 12MP DSLR as a comparison and kept faces at about the same size in terms of number of pixels, faces are still be blurred out, you would not recognize your own mother in the crowd. In fact, the images from the KCM-5211E look better than those from the D90 in my opinion. The heads in the images are about 35 pix tall and under the best case lighting, you would not be able to ID someone. A person’s head, under the best circumstances needs to be 80 pixels tall to ID someone.

      This is a picture I took with my D90. You can click on the image to see the full size crop from my Nikon D90 (meaning I cropped the area without altering the resolution of the area). The trade off here is I did not have as aggresive of noise reduction on the D90 as on the KCM-5211E, regardless, you can not ID anyone.

      Image from Nikon D90

  3. 5 Ranchcam
    July 3, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    Is it possible to add a pan tilt motor to this camera? If so what type would you recommend?

    • July 4, 2012 at 12:23 am

      Yes. I would contact ACTi support for which ones are compatible with the camera. Sort of a low cost 4MP PTZ camera. If you get it working, please let us know how it works out.

  4. May 11, 2013 at 1:47 am

    Let’s have a look at few of the things which will help you. This 12 megapixel camera is capable of capturing 3D photos too. Macro is for getting those awesome close-up shots that are often seen on sites like Flickr.

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