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Cuddeback Capture: First Look

by Justin Zarr 27. August 2008 08:47
Justin Zarr

Several months ago reports started popping up that Cuddeback was set to release a new trail camera for this fall, called the Capture.  As one of the more widely recognized names in the industry needless to say we were excited to see what these new cameras would offer.  This past week our first Capture arrived at the office.  Here are our first impressions.

There are two models of the new Capture available, one with standard flash and one with an IR flash.  Both cameras are 3.0 megapixels in both day and night, and are priced very reasonably.  The standard Capture retails for $199.99 and the IR version for $229.99.  To date only the standard-flash cameras have shipped out so that’s what we’ve had the chance to test.

If you’ve seen any of the new print or TV ads for this product you’ll notice that the main feature Cuddeback is trying to push is the ease of use.  A lot of cameras we’ve tested have settings that are buried several levels deep into the menus and can be somewhat cumbersome to figure out at first.  Let’s face it, none of us want to sit around and read a 20 page manual and spend an hour trying to figure out how to use our trail cameras.  We want to open them up, put batteries in them, strap them on a tree, and be on our way.  With the Cuddeback Capture, you can do just that.

Both Capture units feature a new rotating dial system for controlling the camera settings and arming the camera in the field.  There are only two push buttons, which are only used for your initial time/date/year setup.  Once you take care of those, which takes less than a minute, you don’t have to use them again.  Once your camera is set up and in position you simply rotate the dial to the time delay you want (30 seconds, 1 minute, 5 minutes, 15 minutes, or 30 minutes), close the cover and walk away.  It truly is a very user-friendly interface.

Like the older Cuddeback cameras the new Capture also uses 4 D-Cell batteries for power.  Although unlike my C2000 Excite the battery system is much easier to use.  The batteries actually slide into the case underneath the main cover and aren’t held in by that cheesy metal plate that I always had problems with in the past.
Also new with the Capture units is the switch from Compact Flash (CF) cards over to the more industry-standard SD cards found in most other manufacturer’s units.  This is great for those of us who have a bunch of cameras and have been managing different types of cards.  Not to mention SD cards are more readily available and cheaper than CF cards.  A big thumbs up to Cuddeback for finally making the switch.

My one complaint on this camera is the fact that they did away with the screw-in fastening system found on my older units.  I really liked this method as it added one small measure of security for my cameras.  I could screw them in, fasten the face plate, then put a small padlock on it that made it more difficult for thieves to run off with.  The new Capture units no longer have this option and instead come with a more traditional strap system.  It works fine for what it is, but now there is no easy option for locking the Capture unit to the tree.  Even if you put a padlock on the door that only prevents someone from opening it, not from removing the strap from the tree and taking the whole unit.  Definitely a step backwards in my opinion.

My new Cuddeback Capture went out to the field last night and I plan on checking it next Saturday to see how the trigger speed, flash range, and image quality is.  I tested it inside my house a few times before putting it out and the trigger speed looks like it’s on par with my older Cuddeback units, and image quality definitely appears to be higher than my C2000 Excite.  As soon as I have an update, you’ll be the first to know!

If you'd like to purchase a new Cuddeback Capture digital trail camera we have them in stock and ready to ship over at our sister website TrailCam.com!  Retail cost is $199.99 and you can purcahse your new Cuddeback Capture by clicking here.

Categories: Justin Zarr
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