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ScoutGuard SG560 Trail Camera Review - Part 1

by Bow Staff 11. July 2010 15:27
Bow Staff

It was only just a few years ago when the first ScoutGuard cameras started to make their way onto an already busy trail camera market. The first time many of us saw this new little innovation we were likely to fall into two categories. We either were excited to see what such a small camera could do, or totally presumed this was another hunting gimmick. It didn’t take long however for the whole world of hunting to realize what we should get excited about. ScoutGuard’s first cameras took great photos, had a quick trigger speed, were relatively inexpensive, and because of their small size became less likely to walk away from us. In short, they gained rave reviews.

This year ScoutGuard is releasing the NEW SG560 5 megapixel scouting camera. This camera is not necessarily trying to altogether corner the entire market, but rather, to improve upon some of the few shortcomings on the previous ScoutGuard SG550 model.  The staff here at got a chance to take it out for a spin. Here’s our honest REVIEW and our first impressions on ScoutGuard’s NEWest little guy, the SG560.

First, it’s small, about the size of the previous SG550 model (roughly 5-1/2 x 3-1/2 inches). Perfect for locating this camera on smaller diameter trees like black cherry, crabapple, sumac, and buckthorn. Common trees we find here in the smaller farmland woodlots and marsh edges of northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin. The image sensor is a full 5 mega pixels, with a programmable option for just 3. This means clearer pictures, and we can see the difference when viewing our daylight images already. Like with any IR camera the nighttime images are not near as sharp, but compared with the previous Scoutguard 550 model or even the comparably priced Cuddeback, they are definitely a noticeable step-up.

The small size of the Scoutguard camera makes it ideal for blending into the woods and hiding from both trespassers and deer.

Because we all know that better battery life means longer camera stays in the field, the SG560, much like its predecessor, comes complete with a programmable remote. This device is what gives these camera’s batteries so much more life than its biggest competitors.  By not having them waste that energy on their components while in the woods the batteries are able to run for a longer period of time. Once you are done programming your preferences, you simply unplug it and let the simple operations of the camera do their work. Your batteries should easily take you into the next few months (so we’re told).

If you’ve never used a ScoutGuard trailcam, we admit, at first it can seem like a daunting task when looking over the included 34 page manual on operating the remote and its programmable features. Rest assured though, if you can operate a DVD player, it’s a breeze. In fact, we never even read the manual (what guy ever does?).  The helpful icons on the remote make it practically fool proof.

The included remote is a breeze to use. Unplug it once you've finished setting your preferences and save battery life!

Perhaps what our staff was most excited about was the SG560’s promise of a 1.2 second response time, which is a light year above some cameras in the same price range but just a hair faster than the SG550 (1.3 seconds). Simply, this is what hunters want, quick trigger speed so we stop getting those Boone and Crockett whitetail butts. Let’s face it, nothing is worse!

Out of nearly 280 photos taken in the past 4 weeks we’ve had the 560 out, we only had 1 butt shot (two if you include the one of our wandering staffer). Considering roughly 90% of those shots had deer in them- yeah, we think it did its job. The other 10% of the shots you ask? Well, we programmed the camera to a normal sensory level with the remote, and suffice to say, it’s very sensitive. Yes, you will get shots of moving branches and/or grass on those windy days. But don’t worry, the camera’s sensitivity can be programmed for a low or even a high sensory level. So you guys living in Oklahoma are pre-warned.

Our camera's continuous shooting preferences were set for 3 images. As you can see this super-spike was never alerted to it's presence.

The lonely doe above was more than 30 feet away when she set off our Scoutguard!

The one flaw we did see with the SG560 images was the advertised 10 meter IR-flash (seemed more like 6 meters), which is what the camera uses in lowlight or night time photos. This, needless to say, is when BIG bucks actually move. With just a 10 meter flash (30 feet ), you might be missing details which are nice to see on a buck’s head if say… he were standing broadside at 11 meters. We understand however, that by increasing this flash you’re now out of the $200 price tag and playing with the big boys at $400. But an entire overworked Bowhunting.Com staff can dream, can’t they?

In IR mode, the camera produced better images than similiarly priced trailcameras but we still would like to have seen an improvement on greater flash distance.

Overall, we have been greatly impressed with the picture quality of this new ScoutGuard. It's ease of operation was helpful (especially for our less astute staffers) and the sensitivity was excellent. The night time IR flash could have been better, but the images were an improvement over the SG550 and/or similarly priced trail cams. Because the camera is currently still in the field, this REVIEW will conclude once all 8 AA batteries have drained entirely. This second part will also include the always anticipated video review from the camera. Please look for it within the next couple weeks. Until then, we leave you nerdy types with some of the more important Scoutguard SG560 specifications.

Scoutguard SG560 Technical Specifications.

Image Sensor – Micron 5MP CMOS Color
Largest Pixel Size – 2560x1920 at 5MB; 2048x1536 at 3MB
Lens – F=3.0; FOV=55; Auto IR-Cut-Remove (at night)
IR-Flash – 10m
Memory – Supports SD-card from 8MB to 2GB
Video Size – 640x480 at 16 fps
Motion Sensor – PIR with 3 sensitivity level; High/Low/Normal
Response Time – 1.2 seconds
Camera Delays – 1 sec. – 60 min. Programmable
Video Length – 1 – 60 seconds
Power Supply – 4xAA or up to 8AA batteries for longer life
User interface – Wired LCD remote control with keyboard
Interface – TV out; USB; SD card; 6V DC external

Look for Part 2 of the ScoutGuard SG560 REVIEW coming soon (Once the batteries on our model wear out). This second Part will also include a REVIEW on this cameras video!

Scoutguard SG560 REVIEW – Part II (COMING SOON).

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The staff is made up of "Average Joe" bowhunters from around the country who are serious about one thing - BOWHUNTING.  Keep up to date with them as they work year-round at persuing their passion and bring you the most up-to-date information on bowhunting gear and archery equipment.

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