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Reconyx Trail Camera Speed & Temperature Test!

by Bow Staff 27. April 2009 15:46
Bow Staff

Many of you have been writing in asking about the Reconyx's speed. So when we came across this serious of photos we figured it really told the story.

Take a close look at the time stamps on these images - Truely Impressive!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To Learn more about Reconyx Cameras - Click Here!

Categories: Bowhunting Blogs

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.

     

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

  

Trail Cameras: The Good and The Bad

by Justin Zarr 22. October 2008 17:04
Justin Zarr

Over the past decade or so, few products have hit the hunting world by storm like the trail camera has.  When the first cameras came out on the market those few short years ago there weren't a lot of options.  In fact, there were only 2-3 manufacturers and all of their units worked pretty much the same.  You put batteries and 35mm film in them, strapped them to a tree, and they used passive infrared motion detectors to sense an animal and take it's picture.  These early units were pretty expensive, in many cases upwards of $500 each. 

As more and more hunters started using these new-fangled devices more and more manufacturers started popping up and pretty soon the market was full of trail cameras of all makes, models, and sizes.  As this happened, loads of information on how to use them, where to use them, and when to use them also started to appear.  Many hunters felt that with a trail camera they could pattern that nocturnal trophy buck they've been after for years and finally put him on their way.  And as many bowhunters sadly found out, that wasn't quite the case.  Trail cameras or not, killing big deer on a consistant basis is still hard!

In the early 2000's the first digital trail cameras hit the market.  Much like their 35mm predecessors, they too were fairly expensive and sometimes unreliable.  But as technology got better and prices came down, the digital trail camera quickly replaced the film camera and became the staus quo for scouting cameras.  Today there are literally dozens of cameras on the market from a variety of manufacturers that range in price from less than $100 to more than $500.  How do you decide which one is right for you?

For me, the first factor in deciding which camera I want to purchase is price.  Like most bowhunters, I set a budget for myself when it comes to bowhunting expenses and have to pick and choose which products I really need, and which I can live without.  I try to purchase at least one new trail camera each year to either replace old cameras that I am retiring, or to cover additional ground looking for more bucks.  I currently own 4 different cameras and try to keep them out from the end of July through the end of January, even into February.  This helps me get an accurate feeling for the amount and quality of deer in my hunting area.  So in my case, it makes more sense to purchase two less expensive cameras and cover more ground than to purchase one expensive area and risk missing photos that could alert me to a presence of a buck I never knew existed.


I like to use my cameras to get an inventory of the deer on my hunting grounds at any given time during the year, not necessarily to try and pattern and hunt them.  I still rely on good old fashioned scouting, planning, and a lot of luck for that!

The second biggest factor for me is trigger speed and reliability.  For anyone who owns a trail camera and has experienced the frustration of a blank roll of film or an empty memory card you know what I'm talking about.  Its like opening up a present on Christmas day only to find out there's nothing inside!  I have personally owned several brands of trail cameras that were extremely unreliable even under controlled conditions inside my own home when testing them out.  Needless to say, I don't own them any more.  Instead I have chosen to do as much online research as possible about the cameras before I buy them.  The Internet is a great place to read real-world reviews and find out which products are working, and which aren't.  When it comes to trail cameras, you can read a lot of great information about them right here at Bowhunting.com and also at our sister website Trailcam.com.  This will help you make an educated decision as to which cameras to avoid and which are getting good reviews.

With the exception of those two major factors, there are also some secondary features to consider.  Battery life can very greatly from camera to camera and determine how often you need to check your cameras, and how much money you will end up spending on batteries over the course of the season.  Some cameras allow you to hook up an external battery pack to them for longer run time even in the coldest conditions.

Flash type is another big factor for many bowhunters when choosing a trail camera.  With the recent surge in popularity of infrared flash cameras, many people are getting away from traditional flashes which they feel may spook animals, most notably mature animals that are more reclusive and sensitive to human intrusion.  Personally, I feel that it's hit or miss when it comes to flash type.  I believe some animals are scared of any type of flash, traditional or infrared, and in fact are scared of trail cameras even during the daytime as well.  Naturally, they usually contain human scent from us handling them and some models stick out like a sore thumb on the side of a tree.  Despite the fact that they may spook some animals, I personally believe that it doesn't negatively effect your hunting opportunities provided you play your cards right.  Don't put your cameras right on top of your best hunting spots.  Rather, put them in well-used travel corridors or on community scrapes to get a better idea of overall inventory of deer in your area verus trying to find out what deer is walking by your stand, and when.  Good hunting techniques will never be replaced by info from scouting cameras, no matter how hard we try.

In conclustion, my two personal favorite cameras right now are the Cuddeback Capture and the Moultrie I40.  The Cuddeback is a 3.0 megapixel camera with traditional flash that is super easy to use, has good battery life, and is extremely reliable when it comes to trigger speed and sensitivity.  The Moultrie I40 is a 4.0 megapixel camera with infrared flash that takes great photos and has extremely good battery life thanks to its 6 D-cell batteries.  The Cuddeback Capture is available here at Bowhunting.com for $199 and the Moultrie I40 for $219.99.  For the bowhunter on a budget looking for a good camera that won't let you down, either of these would be a great choice.


The Cuddeback Capture is a new camera for this year, but has performed very well for me so far.


This photo is a great example of what you can expect from the Cuddeback Capture.  Photo clarity and flash range are excellent, and this buck doesn't seem to mind the flash one bit.


The Moultrie I40 has a lot of great features including infrared flash, superior battery life and great image quality, but it is a bit bulky and cumbersome to use.  Once you get past that, it's a great camera at a great price.


The Moultrie I40 takes great color images during the day, and black and white images at night using the infrared flash.

If you're interested in higher end features including true invisible IR flash, 3 shot burst mode, extreme battery life, and extreme sensitivity check out Todd Graf's review of the Recoynx trail cameras by clicking here.

   

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.

Moultrie Game Spy I-40 Infrared Digital Trail Camera Archery Equipment Review

by Todd Graf 26. September 2008 15:38
Todd Graf

I wanted a camera that didn’t produce a visible flash. I have read many of the debates online about whether the visible flash spooks deer and I have talked to many friends who use flash cameras. Many of them feel the visible flash does spook deer. I reasoned that if the IR mode helped me photograph even one more buck on my farm that otherwise might have melted into the woodwork at the sight of the distant flash, it was worth the price.

I selected the Moultrie Game Spy I-40 Infrared unit primarily because it is affordable (around $230 - $240) and has a nice four mega-pixel camera. It takes regular photos during the day and IR flash photos at night. Moultrie advertised some other neat features that I wanted, such as long battery life, quick trigger time and a laser aim that makes aligning the camera a snap.

I ran six I-40s on my land for three months last fall and got many images of great bucks. This review will detail what I learned.

SPECIFICATIONS

The camera has many very useful features. First, as mentioned, it has an infrared flash. The camera still has to produce a flash, but the flash is infrared, not visible white light.

It has an infrared sensor that detects changes in temperature in order to trigger the shot. It is not supposed to trigger on branch or grass movement. I got a lot of images of grass, but it is possible that the way I had the cameras set up there was a temperature gradient between sun and shadow and that was causing the extraneous shots. Either way, it was a bit annoying but not a major issue.

Moultrie advertises a 150-day battery life on these cameras and I can’t dispute that number. I had them out for 90 days and all of the cameras still show roughly 75% battery charge.

The I-40 has a 50-foot flash rating. Again, I would have to say their number is conservative. I have shots of deer that are at least 50 feet away. The camera didn’t seem to trigger on these long range deer, but they certainly appeared in the shot when the camera triggered on closer deer. I am not sure from looking at my photos what the maximum sensor distance is for the camera to trigger, but I don’t see any that were much beyond about 15 to 20 feet.

The camera accepts SD cards and as inexpensive as these have become, the SD is definitely the route to go.

The I-40 has a cool feature in which it prints the date, temperature, time and moon phase on the images. This offers a great way to monitor activity versus these factors. I felt like the temperature reading was at least somewhat accurate. The rest, or course, were simply a function of your initial settings.

  • It has a video mode that I did not test.
  • The software is upgradeable and that fact proved to be beneficial later.
  • The camera is weather-resistant and airtight. I had no problems in this regard.
  • Operates on 6 D-cell batteries

NOTICEABLE GAME SPOOKING

I could tell from some of the photos I got that the sound of the shutter opening and closing was enough to alarm some of the deer. I got tons of photos of deer staring at the camera, so they must have heard something.

In a few cases, they looked noticeably tense, back on their heals, while in others they merely seem curious. Typically, the tense ones appeared to be older deer and even then, it was only a few. Overall, I would say that deer were not excessively alarmed by the camera. Most got used to the sound of the shutter quickly enough. In fact, I generally got multiple pictures of each buck on the corn pile even though I had the camera set for a one-minute delay. They may have been startled enough to look up, but most weren’t startled enough to leave.

THE QUALITY OF THE IMAGES

The daylight images look great, as you will see from some of the samples. In the Low Quality mode, you don’t degrade the image; you simply reduce its resolution. They still appear clear but you can’t enlarge them to look more closely at a sticker point, for example. That is why, if you are going to check the camera often, you should use the Enhanced or High Quality modes. On the upside, I was able to get huge numbers of these low-resolution images on a single 1 GB SD card, a tremendous advantage given the fact that I only checked the cameras every two weeks.

WHAT I LIKED

I liked the long battery life, and overall, I liked the quality of the photos. I am not a huge fan of the way the infrared flash images look because they appear washed out in many cases. Basically, they are black and white photos. Standard flash photos look much better but then you have the flash. If you like to blow up the photos from your trail camera and put them in a scrapbook or on your wall, you definitely don’t want infrared (unless you like black and white photos).

However, the overall clarity and sharpness of these images is definitely impressive enough to justify printing them out on paper. The daylight shots are gorgeous. Moultrie makes a conventional flash version of this camera, as well, for those who prefer the look of that format. Moultrie also makes a six mega-pixel version that would likely produce fantastic enlargements, suitable for poster size around the hunting camp.

I was set up to photograph over corn piles in order to better control the position of the deer so I never severely tested the camera’s quick trigger time, but I did test the battery life. During those three months, I never replaced a single battery. In fact, pulling all the units out of the box I keep them in, they are still showing roughly 75% battery charge. That is very impressive given how many photos of crows, deer, raccoons, cattle, ATV riders and turkeys I took. In fact, more than once I arrived to harvest my SD cards and had nearly 1,500 images on each.

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE

The infrared I-40 took fine, useable pictures once it decided which mode to be in. Unfortunately, it had a hard time deciding that important status. At daybreak and dusk, presumably when the camera had to decide how to react to the light conditions, it produced unusable images. Very disappointing.

The I-40 has a standard photo mode for daylight images and an infrared flash for nighttime images. When it tries to take infrared flash photos during low light daytime conditions the images are completely blown out. They are pure white. Entirely overexposed. It leaves you wondering what deer came in at these prime times and left before the I-40 got a readable photo of the animal.

I called Moultrie to report the problem and to test their customer service. It was a Monday morning and they reported that they receive high call volumes on Mondays. The recording advised me to call back mid-week. I didn’t need the information in two days, I needed it at that time. I guess I would simply shuffle someone else into that position as needed to keep the wait time low. So I waited. I spent one about 7 minutes on hold before I got the technician, not at all out of line given I have spent 40 minutes before trying to get the right technician at AT&T. No wonder I changed my long distance service. Anyway, back to the I-40.

After explaining the problem, the very polite technician directed me to their website where I found and downloaded the necessary firmware updates. She assured me that the software update would fix that problem 99% of the time. The process was simple. I went to the page displaying the I-40, clicked on the software update link and then followed the directions.

After erasing the SD card in the camera, I connected a USB cord between the camera and my computer so I could copy the files (you must upgrade two files) to the camera’s SD card. It is a simple drag and drop process. After placing the files on the card, I then went through the menu and updated the software as detailed on the website. It is a painless and well-explained process.

Of course, the big question is whether this fixed the problem. I have not had the opportunity to get the cameras back in action but from the assurances of the technician it sounds like they are well aware of this problem and have addressed it with the software upgrade.

CONCLUSIONS

For the price, I think this is a great camera. I don’t need to see beautiful photos so I am fine with the infrared mode, I just want to know what is living on my farm and where, so I know where to concentrate my efforts and this camera will give me everything I need along those lines. It has a huge battery life, plenty of juice to last me an entire season, so I see no reason (assuming the over-exposure problem is solved) not to buy this camera. I give it a big thumbs up.

 

 

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