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All New Trail Cameras for 2009 - Announced at the bowhunting ATA Show.

by Todd Graf 10. January 2009 13:09
Todd Graf

Here is the run down for all the new trail cameras for 2009.

CamTrakker - Unit MK-8

After talking with Dan Stoneburner, the owner of CamTrakker, I found that his focus will remain the same as he continues to improve on the CamTrakker MK-8. Although this unit was released in 2008, changes have been made to the unit's firmware upgrades. The MK-8's most recent update has really made the unit very stable and is working great. If you have already purchased a Camtrakker MK-8 you should contact CamTrakker to make sure your unit is upgraded to the newest version.

Here are some of the highlighted features of the CamTrakker MK-8:

  1. Adjustable flash ranges for both IR operation and Strobe flash operation.
  2. Long lasting lead-acid battery life, included with purchase.
  3. Easy to use & set-up
  4. Ability to view photos in the field.
  5. Easy access to both battery and SD Card
  6. High quality images
  7. Burst mode for daytime images

Recon Outdoors - Viper

The Viper is one of the latest additions to the Recon Outdoors line of Infrared digital scouting and security cameras.  We will be adding Recon trail cameras to our site this year and we look forward to testing these units.

Here are some of the highlighted features:

  1. New shape and superior functionality - this unit is extremely small
  2. 2.1 MP infrared images
  3. You no longer have to open the unit to check cameras status
  4. One keypad on the front of the unit allows you to view everything including picture count, battery voltage, available memory space all at a glance of any eye.
  5. Available in no camo and Mossy Oak Tree Stand.

Bushnell - All New - Trophy Cam Model (119415) includes built in LCD color viewer & 119405 (B & W Text LCD)

You will not believe the size of this unit. It is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand and is packed with some incredible features. This unit is so small you could fit them right into your pants pockets.

  1. 3 / 5 Mp high quality full color
  2. Day / Night Auto sensor
  3. Adjustable PIR (low/medium/High)
  4. Trigger speed less than 1 second
  5. Multi image mode - 1 - 3 images per trigger
  6. Temperature ranges / -5 - 140 degrees
  7. 24 infrared night vision LED's - 45 feet range
  8. Runs off of 8 AA batteries for up to 6 months.
  9. Video length up to 60 seconds.
  10. Requires the purchase of a SD Card.
  11. Model 119415 comes with color built-in LCD color viewfinder

 
In the photo above you can see how small the new Bushnell Trophy Cam is comed to the older units.

Reconyx - MC65 Solocam IR - All New for 2009

Reconyx introduced the next generation in digtail scouting with the Mathews edition Solocam camera.

  1. 1/5 Second Trigger speed
  2. 1 Photo per second
  3. Lo-Glow IR - Semi-Convert
  4. IR Flash range of 50 feet
  5. CF up to 32 Gig - 4 gig card holds up to 10 - 15,000 photos
  6. Color by Day / Mono at Night
  7. 1080 High Definition images
  8. Operating tempatures - -20 to +120 degrees

Predator Trailcams - All new for the Xtinction & Evolution XR is "One touch set-up"

  1. "One touch set-up feature" Install batteries, Insert storage device choose - one touch option ans walk away! Its that simple.
  2. The Xtinction features included - Double Vision Technology which uses 32 or 48 "True" infrared emitters. With 32 emitters activated the nighttime range will be 25 - 30ft, depending on conditions and settings. If 48 emitters are activated the nightime range will increase out to 40+ feet.
  3. High Resolution Images - 3.2 Day / 1.3 Night.
  4. Both units come standard with Next Generation Camo.
  5. 4 digit securtiy code can be entered on both units to prevent theft.
  6. Both photos and videos can be viewed in the field.

I have also been told that improvements have been made to increase the overall battery life of these units.

Moultrie Game Spy Management system - New units for 2009 Include the following features - (4 New Models)

Moultrie has really made some big improvements to their trail camera lineup for this year.  Just about every complaint that customers had about these units has been addressed.  They are smaller, the batteries and flash card are eaiser to access, and the trigger speed has been improved as well.  The only thing that has been sacrificed in this year's units is they now take 4 D-cell batteries instead of 6, which will give up some battery life in order to acheive a smaller package.  After looking at the cameras firsthand, I think it was a good trade-off.

Game Spy I-45 Includes -

  1. 4.0 Mega Pixel
  2. 50ft Flash Range
  3. Tempature, moon phase, time, date and camera ID on every photo and video
  4. Color during the day / IR during night
  5. Three picture resolutions / two video resolutions
  6. Operates on 4 D-cell batteries
  7. Upgradeable software

Game Spy I-65 Includes -

  1. 6.0 Mega pixel images
  2. 1.8 inch built-in picture and video viewer
  3. Barometric pressure
  4. Password security
  5. Time-lapse mode
  6. Four picture resolutions
  7. The I-65 Also includes all the features of the I-45!

Two other units, the Game Spy M-45 & M-65 are both available with the same features as the I-45 and I-65 except with a standard flash unit, not infrared.

But these great new features aren't even the best part about these new Moultrie units.  With all of the new units you can at anytime purchase a modem which attaches to the unit and will wirelessly transmit images through AT&T's cellular network. Once the images are sent you can log into Moultrie's new Game Management website which will offer you private access to manage your photos, data and cameras all through your computer once signed up.  I have to admit this is pretty cool that you can buy the moden attachment when your ready.  Retail cost on the modem unit is going to be around $150.


The new Moultrie I-45 and I-65 trail cameras.  You can see the overall package has been completely redesigned for this year.


The website being displayed above the Moultrie's Game Management site where you can manage your cameras and images when using the modem adapter.

New Cuddeback Units for 2009

The folks at Cuddeback are releasing two new units for 2009, however they are still in production and didn't have any working samples for us to look at or photograph.  We did get some specs on the forthcoming cameras though.  The two new units are the NoFlash X2 and the Expert X2.  These are essentially upgraded versions of the old NoFlash and Expert units with a few improvements.  The NoFlash X2 will take 5.0 mega pixel images during the day and 1.3 mega pixel black and white images by night.  The interesting part about the NoFlash X2 is that it uses two separate cameras for taking pictures by day and by night., meaning each one is optimized for the best quality at both times.  The NoFlash X2 also features 15 second delays during both day and night and you can set different delays for each.  Video clips are now shot at 18 frames per second for higher quality.

Both cameras will now accept SD cards instead of CF cards (which are more expensive and harder to find than SD) and a new "Genius" mounting system.  The Expert X2 has all the same features as the NoFlash X2 in a standard flash camera, however it only has a minimum 30 second delay at night and 15 second delay during the daytime.  As soon as we get some more information or photos we'll be sure to blog about them.

It should also be noted that a new firmware version has been released for the Capture IR cameras, which greatly increases the flash range of these cameras.  Visit Cuddeback's website to download the firmware and upgrade your camera today.

Most importantly we will be stocking, selling and testing all units right here at Bowhunting.com!

To view photo samples you can check out our new site - TrailCameras.com!

Trail Camera Cold Weather Test Part 1

by Todd Graf 30. December 2008 16:04
Todd Graf

Last week here in Northern Illinois we had some extremely cold weather move in with real temperatures near 0 and windchills of around -30.  With the harsh temperatures and extreme winds I spent most of my time inside where it was warm, but still had several trail cameras out in the field doing some late season scouting for me.  I figured that this would be a great time to check their performance and see just how well they were holding up under these conditions.  I had a Reconyx PC90 professional unit, a Predator Xtinction, and a Smart Scouter all set up in a small late season food source that would be perfect for testing.  So I set out with my friend and cameraman Paul Mazur to see how each unit was holding up. 


The Reconyx PC90


Predator Xtinction


Smart Scouter

We first drove my Polaris Ranger in front of each camera on our way to check them, then came back and walked in front of the cameras and then filmed an interview segment in front of them as well.  I knew this would give each camera an ample opportunity to capture some photos before I retrieved the memory cards and went back inside to view the results.  Click on this link or the image below to watch Part 1 of the tests as we braved the cold temperatures and crazy winds!

After the first round of testing Paul and I were able to view the results on my computer.  The Reconyx camera performed wonderfully and despite a sluggish LCD display in the cold temperatures it took the most photos of us as we ran our tests.  The sensitivity and burst mode on this camera are awesome as it performed just as well as it did earlier in the year under more pleasant conditions.

The Predator Xtinction also performed well and captured several video clips of Paul and I during our testing.  Again, the LCD display was a little sluggish in the cold weather but not nearly as bad as the older Predator Evolution models.  Cold weather performance seems to have been greatly improved in this camera.  You can click on this link or the image below to watch one of the clips we got from our Xtinction despite the -30* temperatures.

Predator Xtinction cold weather video test

The last camera, the Smart Scouter, did capture our photos but failed to send them to the Smart Scouter server and to my e-mail until the following day.  I'm not sure what caused this delay, but it was a bit frustrating as I had hoped for immediate results.  When you're paying a monthly service fee and a fee per image that is sent to your e-mail, you expect to have immediate results.  But even if they were slow in arriving, the Smart Scouter did take our picture several times.


The Smart Scouter did work and the pictures did show up, they were just a day late!

You can click this link here to the image below to watch a video of our results.

Justin is working on a cold weather review of three other cameras, the Cuddeback Capture and Moultrie I40 that he did the following day.  It will be posted shortly, followed then by a side-by-side comparison of all cameras and how long their batteries last in cold weather.  We plan on putting all of our cameras to the test this winter to see which hold up, and with fall short in these harsh conditions so stay tuned!  We are also adding to the battle ground the Cuddeback IR and the Camtrakker MK-8 so stay tuned.

     

Friends and Trail Cameras!

by Todd Graf 9. December 2008 15:09
Todd Graf

I'm not sure how this happens or what gets into my buddies when I ask them to change out my trail camera memory cards and batteries but I sure get a kick out of the photos. The first set of photos are great - you will see the classic photos of us sneaking into our stands and whether its before or after the bucks always seem to come by:

 
Here is Justin leaving he stand - and of course he did not see any bucks on this evening hunt.

 
And of course later that night here comes a nice buck right up the same trail Justin just walked out.

 
Here I am walking to my stand for a morning hunt.

 
And this buck wanted to find out what was going on just 3 minutes later!

 
Here I am a few days earlier sneaking in for another morning hunt...

 
And here goes a nice buck sneaking out, only 1/2 hour later!

Of course I save the best for last!

I am embrassed to say Horseshoe hunts with me when you look at him in this photo, actually now that I think about it he always runs with his arms like this.

 
I wish he (Justin) was a little older of a buck because I would have taken him for sure.

 
What fun would it be to have a post without a trespasser! Hours after it snows and this guy can't resist but to follow a set of deer tracks over several people's properties! Yes, I did call the police and they did visit him. It turns out after talking with serveral of my neighbors he thinks he owns the entire county. I hope he finally gets the drift after a visit from the boys in blue!

I did not want to end on a negative note so here is a nice buck that I hope made it though the gun seaon as he will be incredible next year!

Categories: Bowhunting Blogs

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



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