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Coyote and whitetails.....

by Scott Abbott 30. December 2008 17:39
Scott Abbott

Did that coyote really ruin your hunt?  I know we have all been in the situation where we have had coyotes come through and in our mind ruined an other wise "perfect" day to be on stand.  I myself used to feel this way but over the years I have come to realize that just isn't the case on most occasions. 

Thinking back over the years I have had many successful hunts where a coyote has come in prior to whitetail.  In fact I shot my highest scoring buck mere minutes after a lone coyote had come through the area.  Coincidence?  I say not.  I have had just to many experiences over the years telling me other wise.  Obviously these deer and coyotes share their home ranges.  If a whitetail froze up or ran for cover every time it cut a coyotes scent trail, they sure wouldn't be able to cover much ground tending their daily routines.

Here are a couple game camera photos, again proving to me that coyotes do not negatively affect a hunt as much as I once thought.  The years have taught me to keep my head up and not let coyotes moving through my setup to waive my confidence.  Note the times on the two photos to follow.  I have more photos of a few different deer on that camera not long after wards as well.  None of them seemed to act alarmed in the photos.

 

 

Whitetail deer shed antler update.

by Scott Abbott 30. December 2008 16:42
Scott Abbott

Well, I know it is early still.... but no shed junky can't say he isn't excited to get the shedding underway! 

I don't have any big news to report yet, only these couple photos to follow.  Well it's a start anyways!

These photos were taken with the Moultrie D40.  It offers excellent performance for the $99 price tag, the battery life was outstanding even in the single digits temps we have had lately.

 

 

 

Shed buck game camera pics, and a surprise.....

by Scott Abbott 22. December 2008 09:46
Scott Abbott

 

Looks to be a healthy buck who has shed his antlers at first glance......

 

 

  Maybe even at second glance.....

 

 

How about now?????

 

 

For my area his muscles structure would be very large in his shoulder area to be 1.5 buck, nor do his facial features look to be a yearlings so I am leaning at 2.5 years old...  I never saw this buck all summer on camera or all fall from stand..... 

I just put a camera back out a week ago to check on the shedding process.....  This is the only shed buck on camera so far.


I wonder if that is a birth defect or an injury sustained later in life.   Any thoughts, ideas or experiences to shed some light on this?

Making a Mock Scrape.

by John Mueller 2. November 2008 14:58
John Mueller

Making a Mock Scrape 

Last Saturday I found a great spot for a mock Scrape. There is a long ridge that slopes down along a small creek on my property, creating a natural funnel. At the end of the ridge is a nice trail leading from my field that crosses the creek. I found a small branch that overhung the trail. This is very important. There must be a low overhanging branch to make the scrape under. The deer also leave scent on the branch with their forehead glands. As you can see in this picture I also broke the branch to add a little visual effect.

 

Notice the broken branch above the deer.

 

 

Then I brushed all of the leaves from a 3’ diameter circle under the branch with a stick. After removing the leaf litter I made some long scrapes in the dirt like a deer’s hooves would make. I like to make it look as real as possible. You can add some scent if you want, but I have found it is not necessary.

 

When I returned on Sunday to check the scrape a deer had worked it and added another a few feet away. I then went and got my trail camera and set it up on the new scrape. I had lots of action in just a few days. Right now is a great time to make mock scrapes. The bucks are really hitting the scrapes hard at this time. It’s a great way to see what bucks are in your area. Here are a few that worked my mock scrape.

 

 

This guy looks like an old bruiser.

 

Another big bodied visitor.

 

A good young buck working the scrape.

Notice that all of this activity is under the cover of darkness. That is why I usually don't hunt over scrapes. But it is a great way to get an inventory of your bucks. You can get your trail cameras and scents right here on Bowhunting.com in the shopping section if you need one.

Deer Hunting Scrapes - It Won't Be Long Now!

by John Mueller 27. October 2008 13:50
John Mueller

IT WON”T BE LONG NOW

  

            The scrapeing is going on strong at my place in IL right now. I found a hot scrape last weekend and set my Moultrie I40 up on it. I was pleasantly surprised this weekend by the results. I got pics of a quite a few different bucks using it. Most of the big guys were at night but that may change in a week or 2.

 

            Here is a pic. of a real nice 10 pointer I had an encounter with 2 weeks ago right at dark. I had him at 40 yards but couldn’t see my pins. At least he is still around.

 

 

The Big 10

 

I got a few action shots of the bucks with their antlers in the branches too. I may have to change the I40 over to the video mode. It has that option built in.

 

I can almost reach it.

 

 

Giving it a thrashing.

 

 

 

 

         Another visitor. 

 

 

Big bodied 8 pointer.

 

 

            If you’re interested in putting a trail camera on your own scrapes, you can order yours right here on Bowhunting.com. Check out the trail cam section

  

Moultrie I40 Trail Camera Review

by John Mueller 29. September 2008 12:52
John Mueller

I put 2 Moultrie I40's into use almost a year ago and have been very impressed with the results. That is after I updated the software. It seems there was some type of glitch in the cameras originally. They would produce a whiteout image when in the IR mode on some pictures. After downloading the update from the Moultrie website onto the SD card and then loading it in the cameras my units have performed very well for me.

The Moultrie I40.

 

The daytime pictures are some of the clearest I have seen from a trail camera. The 4 megapixel camera produces very sharp images.

2 turkeys in my food plot.

A doe in the plot.

 

The one feature I have mixed reviews on is the IR Mode of the camera. It was one of the reasons I had originally bought the camera. To get away from the flash going off in the woods and possibly scareing the deer. This model uses Infrared Illumination to capture lowlight and nighttime photos. A band of 72 IR bulbs glows red to take the lowlight pictures. These photos are black and white images.

 

 This is not supposed to spook deer. I do catch some of them stareing at the camera while it is taking their picture. The bad part about this is it takes a lot of daylight to get the camera off of the IR mode. When my camera is in the woods 90% of the pictures are IR mode even in daylight. The only way I get color daylight pictures is to have my camera on a food plot or open field. The black and white images are great for just cataloging your deer and seeing what is out there. But if you want to frame some of the photos or show them off on your favorite website, the color pictures work much better.

Some of the neat features of this camera are:

1. 3 different still picture settings for picture quility.

2. 2 different video settings. (which I have to figure out so I can put my camera on some scrapes this fall)

3. Uses SD Cards, which most digital cameras use now. I use my camera to view them in the field.

4. A laser aim pointer to adjust where the unit is pointed.

5. Time, Date, Temperature, and Moon Phase stamped on the picture.

6. Uses 6 D-cell batteries that last a reported 150 days. I have had mine in operation for almost 1 year and am on my second set of batteries( still have 65% charge)     Truely extended battery life.

7. Easy to set up and reset after checking.

Nice and simple to operate, not a lot of switches or buttons.

8. Does the scouting when you're not there.

Some things I would like to see changed:

1. The SD Card is in a very awkward place to get to. Unless you have very long skinny fingers. There are many other places this could have been put.

Here you can see the SD Card just to the left of the white label.

2. The unit is a big black box. A grey or softer color would not stand out nearly as much. Harder for the deer and would be thieves to see.

3. No real way to lock it to the tree.

4. It does make a bit of a click when the shutter opens.

All in all I have to say the pluses far outweigh the minuses on this camera. I am very happy with the service my 2 units have given me in the year I have had them. No problems at all after doing the original upgrade to the software. And I have not heard of another unit with the battery life of the I40. If you would like to try one of these out for yourself. They can be purchased right here on Bowhunting.com by following the link below.

Predator Evolution Digital Trail Camera

by Bowhunting.com Staff 26. September 2008 15:32
Bowhunting.com Staff

Predator Evolution Digital Trail Camera

With the advent of digital cameras and their increase in popularity it wasn’t long before the first digital trail cameras hit the market.  Over the past several few years we’ve seen and used a lot of trail cameras that weren’t worth the packaging they were shipped in.  At one time it basically got to the point where we had so many problems and issues with trail cameras that we nearly stopped using them altogether.  We’ve had constant battery issues, confusing set-ups, and countless wasted trips into the field to retrieve cameras that hadn’t even been working.  Anyone who has been through this painstaking process can surely relate.

When we first heard about the Predator Evolution camera the touch screen user interface was what caught our eye.  While we work in front of computers and use technology on a daily if not hourly basis when it comes to trail cameras and anything we bring into the field; simplicity is king.  We don’t want to read  a complicated instruction manual in order to use a trail camera.  In the past, some of us had actually written cheat sheets to use in the field when trying to set up certain cameras.  This isn't exactly fun.

We’ve now been using our Predator Evolution cameras for the past few months and will give you the straight forward product review that you deserve.  After all, that is what Trailcam.com is all about.  Providing straight forward, unbiased opinions of trail cameras and trail camera accesssories to help you, the consumer, make better purchasing decisions.

Overall Design and Impressions

The guts of the Evolution are housed inside of a compact and waterproof polycarbonate case.  This is the same material they use to make bullet-proof glass!  The case is very similar to many of the high quality camera cases that are used by professional photographers to protect their camera equipment.  The Evolution's case is unbreakable and won’t crack like many of the other trail cameras that use a cheaper ABS plastic housing.  When you are paying good money for a trail camera the last thing you want is for the case to break or crack, allowing moisture into the unit which can destroy the electronics.   Speaking of which, all electronics in the Evolution are tightly packed behind the LCD screen with only a single visible “On-Off” switch visible when the case is open.  The entire unit is very small in size, which we love.  Big, bulky, heavy cameras are not only a bigger pain to carry around the woods but also present a larger target for deer, and theives, to spot.

The Evolution has one of the most impressive fit and finishes of any camera we’ve seen or used.  From the touch screen to the large secure latch this camera has been built right.  Our only real complaint is the storage of the batteries.  Predator uses a battery pack that holds 10 AA batteries.  This is somewhat loose inside of the provided holding area and could be improved, but it works fine as-is.

The user interface of the Predator Evolution is extremely easy to use and well designed.  The only problems we encountered were during cold conditions when the screen became slow and at times almost unresponsive.

Setup & Ease of Use

When we first received our Predator Evolution trail camera we opened the owner's manual, and found very little information about how to use the camera.  We loaded it with batteries, turned the unit on (with the very simple “on-off” switch), and quickly realized why.  It has quite simply some of the easiest and most straight forward controls we’ve ever seen.  The first time we had ever seen, used, or turned the camera on we had it completely set up in a matter of 2 minutes.  It was beyond simple and actually enjoyable to set up, unlike many of the cameras we've tested over the years.

The huge 3 1/2 inch touch screen does what it was designed to do.  It puts all of the information in a very organized list.  You can very simply access all the functions and settings by scrolling through the options with the arrows located at the bottom of the screen, and by using “Enter”.  Every function and/or setting is very simple to understand and clearly spelled out for the user.  Even someone who has never set up a trail camera in their life should be able to figure this camera out in a matter of minutes.

When looking at the ease of use of a camera the most important thing we want to know when we're walking away is that it is working properly and we won’t return to find an empty card.  There's not many things in the November woods that can send us off into a furious tyraid than checking a trail camera that we've had over a hot scrape for the past 7 days only to find out it hasn't been working.  And believe me, we've had this happen more times than we'd care to admit (and I'm sure we're not the only ones).  The Predator Evolution does what it’s supposed to, with very little possibility of not turning it on or not setting it up correctly.  When you flip the switch to the "On" position there is no further action needed to make sure this camera is going to take photos.  Simply close the case and walk away.

Functionality

The Evolution allows the user to choose between video clips or still photos.  The video is a great feature for those who are looking to get the best possible look at an animal from multiple angles.  However, beware that this camera is extremely sensitive so you may end up with video clips of birds, squirrels, raccoons, and other small animals as well.  Also, if you are going to use this camera in video mode your best success will come in areas where your quarry is in a stationary position for a few moments.  Places like food plots, mineral sites, scrapes, and wallows work the best. 

Images and video are stored on either a Compact Flash card or mini-USB drive.  Both formats work well and for those of you who may have a stash of Compact Flash cards already this shouldn't be a problem.  However, we would like to see added functionality for accepting more widely-used memory sticks such as SD in the future.  Compact Flash cards seem to be getting harder and harded to come by, and certainly aren't coming down in price.   The cheapest card we could find at a local retail store was $45 for a 2.0 GB card, compared to $25 for a 2.0 GB SD card.

The Evolution is an infrared nighttime illuminating camera.  This means there is no white flash for your night time photos or video clips which could potentially scare game.  We’re not going into any further detail regarding the infrared other than it works great.  Distance is good, anything within pretty much 15-20 feet is illuminated very well.  Beyond that, like any other camera, it has its limitations.

Picture Quality

The picture quality and video quality of the Predator is probably middle of the road.  We’ve seen higher quality photos from different systems, but this isn’t something we always consider a top priority.  Generally speaking, we're not blowing our images up and making posters out of them.  We are using them to gather information on what types of animals are on a particular piece of ground.  The images and video we’ve gotten through our Predator cameras are good, but could certainly be improved on.   Infrared images are occassionally washed out and excessively grainy.  It would be nice to see this improved in future product releases.

Still photos from the Evolution are 2.0 megapixel color images during the day, and 1.3 megapixel black and white images at night.

Trigger Speed

The trigger speed of the unit is excellent.  It’s as fast or faster than any other trail camera we’ve  used.  Predator advertises a trigger speed .15 of a second and although we have not gotten our stopwatches out and tested this, it certainly seems fast to us. It also has an adjustable sensitivity level from 1 to 9 depending on the size of the game you're after, and the conditions that you're using the camera in.  This is a nice feature to have because we have set up cameras in certain areas where a blowing leaf or corn stalk has used up both our memory card and batteries before it could take any real pictures. 

Battery Life

Although battery life could certainly be improved upon, the interchangeable battery pack is handy for quick changes in the field.  Here you can also see the rubber o-ring on the inside of the case that creates the water tight seal when closed.

Battery life of the unit is OK, but could certainly be improved.  Like most of the trail cameras on the market when the cold hits the life of the batteries go downhill fast.  In warm weather we have had units last for up to a month.  In cold weather the length of operation drops dramatically, sometimes lasting only a few days.  The Predator is not nearly as bad as some units we've tested and with the use of rechargeable batteries it’s manageable, however this is one area we would like to see improved in the future.  AA batteries are not exactly cheap so if you have multiple units and it gets cold things can get expensive in a hurry.  Especially when you're chewing through 10 AA batteries at a time.

Mounting and Security

The Evolution uses a separate mounting bracket that is secured to the tree first and then the camera is placed on the bracket.  This is a great little feature that not many other companies have thought of.  A heavy duty mounting pin is then put through the rear of the camera unit to mount it onto the bracket.  Predator offers additional mounting brackets for additional functionality and versatility.

In order to secure your camera Predator offers a cable locking mechanism and also features a 4 digit security code which makes the camera effectively worthless should anyone steal it.  Trail camera theft is an unfortunate reality in today's woods and it's nice to know the guys at Predator are doing their best to help prevent it.

Final Thoughts

Of all the cameras we’ve seen and used, we believe that the user-friendliness of the Predator Evolution makes it an excellent choice for anyone.  It has some great features that go beyond many other similarly priced cameras out there and because of the great touch screen interface we believe it is a hard trail camera to beat.

Please keep in mind that the Predator Evolution has many features and benefits that we haven’t even gotten into.  This review has been based on the features that are important to us. 

Categories: Pro Staff

Final Preparations For Bowhunting Season

by Justin Zarr 21. September 2008 16:38
Justin Zarr

It never seems to fail; no matter how good our intentions are for getting stands hung and trimmed out months before the season starts, life seems to find a way to deviate us from those plans.  In my particular case, I've been planning a wedding for the past 13 months which has taken a lot of time away from my normal routine of scouting, stand hanging, and general preparation for bowhunting season.  In fact, it's less than 10 days until the Illinois archery season opens and I haven't purchased my tags or even shot any broadheads yet!  Although I do plan on getting a few shooting sessions in this week if at all possible.  I'll be back in town on October 5th and plan to hit the ground running when I get return, so it's definitely time to start getting things in gear.

This past Saturday Mike and I spent some time hanging the last few stands, trimming the last few lanes, and making the last of our pre-season preparations at our local hunting spots.  It's amazing to me how grown up some of these stands can get after only one season.  Shooting lanes that were clear last year have grown over and needed a little bit of TLC before the season opens, which is just what we gave them.  I was able to give my Hooyman Extentible Tree Saw its first workout of the year and overall I was happy with it.  I'm a little hard on my saws and pretty critical of their performance, but overall it held up well.  It definitely works better as an extentible saw than a traditional hand saw as the handle was a little flimsy for my liking.  My Felco hand saw still can't be beat for standard duty, but for those pesky limbs and twigs that are out of arm's reach, the Hooyman works great.  I would definitely recommend this product to any bowhunter who does a lot of standing hanging both before and during their bowhunting seasons.  If you're interested in trying one out, we have them for sale in our shopping cart right here on Bowhunting.com for only $38.99.

We also happened on our first rubs of the year as well.  With the bucks having shed their velvet their testosterone levels are starting to pick up a bit so we should be seeing more and more rubs pop up over the next few weeks, and pretty soon a few scrapes as well.  I can't wait!


This is the kind of stuff that should get every bowhunter excited for the fall!  We found this fresh rub in a heavy fencerow between two standing corn fields that connects two small woodlots.  It's a great place to catch a buck traveling if they leave the corn up.  But once the corn comes down these bucks don't like being caught out in the open during daylight unless they're chasing a hot doe in November.

Speaking of hard horned bucks, I got my first trail camera pictures of bucks who had shed their velvet.  One is a tight-racked 10 pointer that I have several pictures of throughout the summer months.  I originally thought this buck was older than he really is, as he looks like a 2 1/2 year old buck to me.  He also exhibits the exact same characteristics of so many other bucks on this property over the past 6 years we've been hunting it.  Narrow rack, short brows, and G3's that are every so slightly longer than his G2's.    I don't think he has the genetics to blow into anything huge, but I guess we'll have to wait and see over the next few years if he makes it through.


This buck is a perfect representative of the type  of genetics we have on this particular farm.  Year after year, fresh crops of bucks pop up with racks that look identical to one another.

The second buck was the first antlered deer photo I've gotten all summer on what we call the "main farm" property.  It's hard to be totally sure, but I believe that we got a few photos of this particular buck last year during the late season.  At the time he had what looked like a fresh wound on his left side and we wondered if he would make it through the season.  Well, if this photo is indeed the same buck (and I think it is) it looks like he's doing just fine.  He appears to be either a 2 1/2 or 3 1/2 year old buck with either very small or no brow tines.  I'm sure I'll get a few more looks at him this fall once I get my cameras over some scrapes, so I'm looking forward to getting to see his rack a little better.  This is also the 2nd group of photos from my Cuddeback Capture and so far I've been very happy with it's performance.  Flash range is good, batteries are holding strong after nearly a month, and I haven't had any motion-blur problems like I did with my Cuddeback Excite.  For a $200 you can't beat it right now.  Check them out over at Trailcam.com, we have them in stock and ready to ship!


It's a little hard to tell from this small photo, but this buck appears to have some healed-over scars on his left side just behind his shoulder as well as right in front of his hind leg.  I think this is the same buck we got two photos of last year during the late season.

This will probably be my last update until October as I've got a busy week ahead of me followed by my wedding next Saturday (GULP) and then a week-long trip to Mexico.  I should be nice and rested when I get back and ready to get in a tree and shoot something!  Good luck to everyone who is hunting - be safe and shoot straight!

    
Summer wouldn't be complete without at least one trespasser randomly walking through the woods that are clearly posted with "NO TRESPASSING" signs on all 4 sides.  I just wish the photo was a little bit more clear so I could make out who this jackrod is, and what we's got in his hand.  Kinda looks like a camcorder to me??

Huge Success - Reconyx Trail Cameras

by Todd Graf 15. September 2008 13:54
Todd Graf

Most of you know that I have been testing all the different trail cameras out this fall. With the recent launch of trailcam.com our goal was to test all units and we have been doing just that! On 8/17/2008 I put out a Reconyx with a 2 gig card and 6 Duracell batteries. I had the cameras setting on the 3 shot burst mode. This unit was a piece of cake to set-up, I never even used the manual once. I decided to check on the reconyx this last past weekend to see what the results were going to be and was I impressed!

3109 PHOTOS!!!! and I am not exaggerating.

The unit had about 5% battery life left, I could not believe it. I honestly thought for sure that the unit was being triggered by a limb, weed or the sun but when I got home all the photos were on the card. After reviewing all of the photos I feel like you get a lot of value out of this camera but the IR needs to reach out a little further.

Here are some of the images.

Small 2 1/2 Year old buck. Let him go and he will grow! I did not always say that - just for the record.

 

My only complaint - This unit needs more IR power.

 

Of course what would owning property be without trespassers. I need to put some tire spikes out.

 

Nice buck - any buck that makes it through the WI gun season deserves a medal.

 

IR filter must have switched over early and took this photo during the day.

 

I guess even a few more trespassers will keep you deer nocturnal.

 

I am not even going to make any comments, although I really want to.

Nice Beards!

Good day time photo example.

Now, here is how you know a camera is easy to program - My pops decides to open it and tries to see if he can view the photos. On this unit you can't. Do you think he told me that he did this - Of course not. But I did capture it and I did bust his chops. Thankfully the unit self arms itself and I never missed any shots.

If your intrested in trying this unit out we have them in stock here.

Categories:

Trail Camera Review - Predator Evolution

by Todd Graf 7. September 2008 06:19
Todd Graf

Predator Evolution digital trail camera –First and foremost, please don’t get this post confused.  This review is on the Predator Evolution trail camera, not the new Predator Xtinction trail camera. We are still waiting to get a new unit in our hands for testing. I heard they are having some difficulties getting parts but they are on the way shortly.  As soon as we get a new unit and have a chance to try it out we will let you know.

The Pros:

The video mode is super cool on mineral licks and scrapes! This is probably one of my favorite features of this camera.  Still photos are great, but there's just something about watching a big buck working a scrape from close up that gets me excited.  Plus having multiple angles of the buck's rack can allow you to see all those little  stickers and kickers that are sometimes hiddenin standard photos.  The LCD touchscreen is cool for programming the unit and viewing photos in the field.  More than once I have found myself heading out for an evening's hunt only to stop and check my photos on the way in.  The Predator Evolution is a very compact trail camera which makes it easy to carry around the woods in a fanny pack. The unit comes with a screw-in bracket for attaching the camera to trees easily.  What makes this particular bracket nice is that by simply removing a pin you can take the camera off the tree to making changing batteries and reviewing photos easy, and simply replace the pin to secure the camera when you are done. It works well and is one of the better attaching mechanicsms that I have used.

The trigger speed on the Predator Evolution is also a huge plus.  To put it simply, it's probably the fastest trigger speed of any camera I've ever tested or owned.  I've gotten a ton of pictures of birds as they fly by the front of the camera, which is pretty impressive.

The Cons:

The battery life of this unit is not the best in the world, and replacing 10 AA batteries every few weeks can get expensive quick.  My advice would be to buy rechargeables as soon as possible.  You'll thank me later!  Also, the images are kind of small. I wish you got a little larger picture so you could blow them up if you got a cool shot.  Sometimes it can be difficult to see all the details of a buck's rack or body, especially if they are a little further away.  The last downside to this camera is the performance of the LCD screen in really cold weather.  Just like your cell phone if you leave it in your truck by accident, the LCD screen gets extremely sluggish when it's cold, which can make reviewing images tedious.  And when it's that cold, you don't have much patience for staying still too long!

This photo shows how good the day time photos can be.

 

Here I must have had the unit programmed improperly, as there was plenty of daylight but yet it still took an IR shot.

Not sure why these bucks bucks got freaked out, the unit is very quiet and has no flash.

The IR flash range on the Evolution is decent, but not great.  I am hoping in the new Xteniction unit's IR will reach out further.

Of course I save the best for last - All bowhunters and dee hunters in general  will like this - if you want to get some great videos, this unit can do it!

Check out some of these videos....

Struting Turkey Video

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3310603642800468404

20 Plus deer in Field - Pretty cool. You know at least one good buck has to be out there somewhere!

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-9007518874748441970

Buck at Licking Branch

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8990171210984315572

 

The all-new CamTrakker MK-8

by Todd Graf 7. September 2008 02:50
Todd Graf

Well first off I got my first two images of bucks with no velvet which is always exciting. I could scream for joy, the opener is right around the corner! My new property has yet to show any signs of big bucks, but I know they are around as I have seen them driving around the block in the evening.  I'm sure come October they'll start hitting the scrapelines pretty hard and I'm hoping to get some good trailc amera photos to share with you all. 

Speaking of trail cameras, I have been testing out the new CamTrakker MK-8 which was just recently release.  The owner of CamTrakker has been working his butt off for a few years now on this new camera and as of his latest release it is really coming together.

The Pros:  The MK-8 had a full color LCD screen which makes it super easy to use and program.  This screen is also used for reviewing images in the field.  I haven't had the opportunity to use it in cold weather yet, so I'm not sure if it will get sluggish or not. The unit includes a sealed lead-acid rechargeable battery which provides great battery life.  Although I do recommend spending the extra money on a spare battery, that way you can switch it out while in the field without losing the ability to have your camera working while you charge the battery.  The IR flash range on this camera is incredible; it reaches out the furthest of all my IR units and still provides good images.  The MK-8 also features a faster trigger than it's CamTrakker predecessors.

Another great feature of these new units is that they have firmware updates so it is easy to upgrade the software when updates are made. Simply download the firmware from the CamTrakker website, load it onto your flash card, insert it into the camera, and you're ready to go.  Each unit also comes with a free 512 MB SD flash card, which means one less thing you have to buy separately. 

The Cons:

Daytime photos don’t have as much color as I would like.  I know they are still tweaking the settings to get it better and it has been improving recently.  The IR filter could be lost or broken if you are not paying attention careful as it fits in over the regular flash.  So make sure you always know where it's at, and don't drop it on anything hard if you can avoid it.  The LCD can take awhile to view the photos in the field, especially if you have a lot to go through.  I still recommend carrying an extra card so you can get in and get out as quickly as possible.

This is the IR filter you need to keep an eye on so you don't lose it.

Here is what the CamTrakker MK-8 looks like under the hood.

 

This is not my photo but it shows the how well the regular flash works.

I wish these daytime photos had a little more color, but I have been ensured that the new firmware upgrade enhances the color.

Here is a great IR night shot. This particular photo was taken with the IR set on the near setting and can be increased to medium or far depending on what you're monitoring.  Like I said, the IR will reach out super far on this unit.

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