Moved to www.NetworkCameraCritic.com
Kudos to ACTi for making what is one of the best cameras I’ve ever used. The KCM-5611 has very good crisp image quality during the day and the best low light performance I’ve seen on any camera at night, especially important is that they did so with 2MP 1080P resolution. Many cameras accomplish night vision with IR illuminators and this camera has IR illuminators, but it’s redundant because this camera performs very well with minimal light without the illuminators on and in color. It also has a very accurate auto-focus and 18X zoom. If you ever spend time manually focusing some cameras, you know that auto-focus is a big time saver and being able to remotely set the focal length/zoom is also valuable.
• 1/2.8” Progressive Scan CMOS
• Day and night function with mechanical IR cut filter
• Superior low light sensitivity
• 18x optical Zoom
• Built-in f4.7- 84.6 mm / F1.6 Megapixel DC Iris zoom lens
• 15 fps at 1080P or 30fs at 720P resolution
• Selectable H.264, MPEG-4 SP, MJPEG compressions with dual streaming
• Serial port for external pan & tilt scanner
• Two-way audio
• Weatherproof IP66 rated casing
• ExDR ( Extreme Dynamic Range)
• 2D+3D Digital Noise Reduction
• Video Motion Detection
• Powered by PoE Class 3 / DC 12V
The camera is an outdoor box camera with a tough rugged exterior. The 18X zoom and 1080P resolution allow it to cover a large amount of space without needing to install multiple cameras. Installing the camera is simple using an optional wall, pole or eave mount, it attaches quickly. Remove the rear cap to attach the ethernet cable and optionally put an SD card in the slot and re-attach the cap and aim it. No focusing required, it’s fully automatic.
The image quality is very good day or night. When I first turned it on, I set it to my traditional maximum exposure of 1/30th of a second and it had too much light to switch to night mode at night. Not that it mattered because it did very well in low light in day mode, in color without activating the IR LED lights. I had to set the max exposure to 1/60th/second for it to switch to night mode and the reality is, it didn’t make much of a difference as it look better in color, so I left it in color but will provide shots both ways for you to see.
The lens has a focal length of 4.7-84.6mm which translates to an 18X optical zoom. At first I though the 4.7mm is not wide enough after using cameras in that location that were 3mm, but that day we had some people walking by on the sidewalk in front of my home, about 28′ away from the camera, this translated to an adult’s head being 83 pixels tall which is about what I consider minimal for facial recognition so it was ideal for my situation.
The sensor is amazing in low light and that’s coupled with their version of WDR called ExDR (Extreme Dynamic Range) and 2D/3D noise reduction that made for clear, relatively noise free images with available light. The sensor will perform 1080P at 15 fps or 720P at 30 fps. Having decent noise reduction allowed for finer control on the video motion detection as it wasn’t fooled by noise as it is on other cameras.
As with all ACTi cameras, you are entitled to you use their NVR software for free for up to 16 cameras and the latest version that came out about a month ago is amazingly good and can make someone with multiple brands of cameras switch to ACTi. They don’t have their IOS app working yet with the new version 3 of their software, but it’s coming soon. Also, SD card slot is not yet active as it is on the TCM series but is coming very soon in late August.
This is what the web interface looks like when you first log in. You can see the PTZ button. Clicking on it bringups a panel to allow zooming in/out and setting presets.
A little different in the KCM series vs. the TCM series, they have seperate menu items for various video tweaking. In this case, you can see the settings for video motion detection. Their NVR software uses the camera’s capabilities to do the video detection instead of the NVR software. The end result is it hardly uses any CPU on the PC running the NVR software
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. With the zoom lens set at 4.7 mm, it was perfect for viewing the entire driveway. It was very effective at being able to ID people as far as the sidewalk, about 28′ away. As with my other reviews, click on the images below to see the full size image, straight from the camera.
This is what it looks like zoomed in about 10X. The ideal place for the zoom feature is to have it covering a wide area, and then zoom in on a regular patrol to capture more detail.
I moved it to the back of the house as that’s where a theif is most likely to enter from.
Here’s a night time image with the illuminator off, in day mode at 1/30th/sec max exposure
The same night time image with the illuminator on, in night mode at 1/30th/sec max exposure
Here’s the backyard in complete darkness. The far edge is about 35′ away. The built in IR illuminators have a nice wide spread and light up the area evenly.
I took a day and a night video using the ACTi NVR software and posted on Youtube. View it at the highest resolution you can which is 1080P.
In comparison to other cameras I’ve tested, the low light capabilites are among the best for a 1080P camera. Combined with effective noise reduction, makes for good image quality in poor lighting. In no light situations, the IR illuminators provide adequate lighting.
The street price on this camera is about $800 and it represents a good value. If you need a decent outdoor low light capable camera with all the bells and whistles including a day/night IR cut filter, IR illuminators, autofocus zoom lens that’s rugged, this is may be for you.
The pluses for this camera are;
• Very good low light capability with noise reduction
• Day and night function with mechanical IR cut filter and IR LEDs
• 18X optical zoom with autofocus
• HD 1080P resolution
• Selectable H.264, MPEG-SP, MJPEG compressions with dual streaming
Drawbacks for the camera include;
• SD card slot does not work yet, waiting for a firmware upgrade to enable this soon
Recommended for those needing to protect their homes or business that need a high quality professional camera with very good low light capabilities and all the features one could want.
Spec sheets, manuals, overview are available here