Thursday, March 15, 2012

Trail Camera Gear Review Results

I was excited for this review and once my brother found out what I was doing he wanted to throw his camera in as well. Now I want to preface this by saying this is my first gear review and I know there may be some flaws but I thought this was a fun test to try and see how these cameras performed.We were trying to figure out the best way to conduct this test that would produce the best results while staying consistent. We came up with the idea of attaching the cameras on the deck. This way we would be able to keep them all the same height and when we would pass by in front of them we would be at the same distance and same speed. So here is how we had the cameras set up.

Trail Cameras Set Up
The tests which we performed were fairly simple. We set up the cameras and waited for about 5-10 minutes before we began. We passed in front of them at about 25 feet perpendicular to their set up.  Our tests consisted of the following:
  1. I would walk in front of the camera at a normal walking pace solo.
  2. My Brother would walk behind me at about 10 feet as we walked in front of the cameras at a normal pace.
  3. Jog in front of the camera solo.
  4. My brother and I jogging with him about 10 feet behind me.
I will post the results according to the order of the picture which is from left to right: Bushnell Trophy Cam, Wildgame Innovations s1.3x, Cuddeback Capture, Moultrie Game Spy D40, and Moultrie Game Spy I40.

Bushnell Trophy Camera Bone Collector Edition

Test 1 Walking Solo
Test 2 Walking With Brother Behind Me
Test 3 Walking Solo at Dusk
Test 4 Walking With Brother Behind Me at Dusk
Test 5 Jogging Solo
Test 6 Jogging With Brother Behind Me


Test 7 Walking Solo at Night
Test 8 Walking with Brother Behind Me at Night
Test 9 Jogging With Brother Behind Me at Night
The Bushnell Trophy Cam Bone Collector edition was the smallest and most compact camera out of them all. I am going to list out the technical stuff and then give my two cents.
  • Special Michael Waddell-approved edition
  • High-quality full-color resolution up to 8.0 MP
  • Widescreen VGA/QVGA video
  • Audio record and playback
  • 32 infrared night vision LEDs with a range of up to 45'
  • Easy-to-read black and white LCD display
  • Time/date stamp
  • Three PIR settings, day/night autosensor
  • Up to one-year battery life with four-eight AA batteries
  • Requires SD card (up to 32 GB)
  • External-power compatible
  • Realtree AP™ camo case
  • Compact size: 3-1/2" x 5-1/2"
I thought this camera was going to perform better than it did. I was surprised to see how just by me walking by at a normal pace it only caught parts of me. At night it did capture the images a little better but the quality of the images were blurred and hard to see. The camera was easy to set up and is a nice compact size. I also liked the fact that it uses AA batteries to help save on the cost of batteries. I'm sure that if you set up the camera pointed down the trail it would perform better but I did expect a little more from this camera. A quick Google search and the price is around $200.

Wildgame Innovations s1.3x

Test 1 Walking Solo
Test 2 Walking With Brother Behind Me
Test 3 Walking Solo at Dusk
Test 4 Walking With Brother Behind Me at Dusk
Test 5 Jogging Solo
Test 6 Jogging With Brother Behind
Test 7 Walking Solo at Night
Test 8 Walking With Brother Behind Me at Night
Test 9 Jogging With Brother Behind Me at Night

The Wildgame Innovations camera I picked up at Walmart on Clearance for $12. I have heard some negative things about this camera but figured for $12 why not give it a try. I was pleasantly surprised with my quick review. Here are the specs:
  • High capacity photo strobe
  • Effective distance: 40'
  • PIR sensor: 45'
  • PCB on board batteries to retain settings
  • Estimated battery life: 1,200 images or 40 days
  • External battery pack port
  • Uses 4 C batteries
  • Digital still cable
  • Digital video capable
This camera was simple to set up and I didn't expect it to perform as well as it did. Now this is just a quick test and I am not sure how it would work if I left this up for a week in the woods. This did capture images pretty well and it did catch me in every test except for the jogging solo test. The setup was easy and simple and I did like the fact that it ran on only 4 C batteries. But again I can't rate the camera on battery life. The Google search gave me around $54 for the average price of this one but I would read up on other reviews like the one from Eric Welsh over at DIYbowhunter.com (link takes you to the review) before you make your decision as I said this was a quick test. But for my $12 bucks I was pleasantly surprised.

Cuddeback Capture

Test 1 Walking Solo
Test 2 walking with Brother Behind Me
Test 3 Walking Solo
Test 4 Walking with Brother Behind Me
Test 5 Jogging Solo
Test 6 Jogging With Brother Behind Me
Test 7 Walking Solo at Night
Test 8 Walking With Brother Behind Me
Test 9 Jogging with Brother Behind Me

The Cuddeback Capture was the camera I purchased on Black Friday last year and have been dying to give it a try. They boast their fast trigger speed and center image technology so this was one I had high hopes for as well. Specs:
  •    Hair Trigger
  •     Centered Subject Technology
  •     Smartcolor Image Technology
  •     4 D Batteries
  •     Simple Setup
  •     Extra Long Battery Life With 4 DD batteries
  •     3 MP color images at day and night with a 50' flash range
  •     Fast Recovery Time with delay as low as 30 seconds
  •     Requires an SD card (cannot be an SDhc card it must be an SD only card)

The Cuddeback worked as good as I had imagined. It captured me in the frame every time in each test. At walking speed it captured me in the center of the frame in about the same exact spot each time. The set up was very simple and easy to do. The only thing that was strange was the ghost looking images of me jogging but it at least had an image for me to look at. The Google search gave me a price of about $180. Yeah it is a little on the pricey side but it lives up to the name.


Moutlrie Game Spy D40

Test 1 Walking Solo
Test 2 Walking With Brother Behind Me
Test 3 Walking Solo Dusk
Test 4 Walking With Brother Behind Me
Test 5 Jogging Solo
Test 6 Jogging with Brother Behind Me
Test 7 Walking Test at Night
Test 8 Walking Test with Brother Behind Me at Night
Test 9 Jogging Test with Brother Behind Me at Night
The Moultrie Game Spy D40 has been my go to camera. This is the one that I have used the most and am most familiar with. Here are the specs:

  • 4.0 Megapixels
  • Rapid response time captures moving game
  • 60-day battery life
  • 45-ft white flash ensures optimal, viewable shots
  • Color day and night pictures
  • Laser and IR aim for quick and precise camera set-up
  • Multi-shot pictures (up to 3 shots) 15 secs. between each
  • Easy to operate LCD menu driven display
  • Display shows battery life remaining, pictures taken and remaining, and events occurred
  • Picture Delay, set 1-30 min.
  • Three picture resolutions (Low, Medium, High)
  • Two video resolutions (Low and High)
  • 10 sec.video clips
  • 16 MB internal memory
  • Up to 4 GB with SD card
  • External power port for optional 12-volt battery support
  • Operates on 6 D-cell batteries 
I have used this camera plenty of times and have gotten some great images from it in the past but I also have gotten plenty of blank images. I do like the Laser and IR aim to help set up this camera. It takes a lot of the guess work of setting up your camera at the correct height. I have figured out that with this camera its trigger speed isn't very fast so I have to make sure this is pointed down the trail to get pictures as you can tell in the pictures here. Another downside to this camera is the fact it uses 6 D batteries. I used the same batteries in the camera all season last year and I would leave it up for about a week and a half to two weeks at a time. I do like this camera and is a great value for the money. I can tell you that if you angle it down the trail you can get some great pictures. You can pick one up for about $100. This is a great camera for the price.

Moultrie Game Spy I40

Test 1 Walking Solo
Test 2 Walking With Brother Behind Me
Test 3 Walking Solo at Dusk
Test 4 Walking With Brother Behind Me at Dusk
Test 5 Jogging Solo
Test 6 Jogging With Brother Behind Me
Test 7 Walking Solo at Night
Test 8 Walking With Brother Behind Me at Night
Test 9 Jogging with Brother Behind Me at Night
 This one is my brothers camera and he wanted to see how it performed as well. It sets up pretty simple. The specs:

  • Infrared camera with no visible white flash
  • 4.0 Megapixel resolution
  • 1-second response time
  • 150-day battery life
  • 50 ft. flash
  • Stamp on every photo and video
  • Color day pictures
  • Day and night video clips
  • 3 different picture resolutions, 2 different video resolutions
  • Laser and IR aim
  • Multi-shot pictures (up to 3 shots)
  • 32MB internal memory
  • Expandable memory: up to 4GB with SD card
  • Weather-resistant, airtight camera housing and seal
  • Requires 6 "D" batteries
 This camera perform about the same as the other Moultrie D40. My brother has the same take on this one as my Moultire with knowing that by aiming the camera down the trail you will get more pictures and less empty frames. The one issue I had was once the lighting was beginning to fade the images were a lot darker than the other cameras. The pictures at night were pretty blurry as well. For the price at around $130 it is as great value for a trail camera. My brother and I both have used the Moultrie Cameras the most and have had great luck with them for the price we paid.


CONCLUSION

In my opinion the Cuddeback was the camera that performed the best. It is one of the higher priced ones but as you can see it captures the pictures really well and there were no empty frames. It uses D batteries but only 4 which isn't as bad as 6 with the Moultrie Cameras.

I ranked the cameras I would consider based solely on this test:
  1. Cuddeback Capture
  2. Wildgame Innovations s1.3x
  3. Moultrie D40
  4. Moultrie I40
  5. Bushnell Trophy Cam
Now I'm only basing this of the images that were captured during this test. I am sure that each would perform differently based on the angle you point down the trail. Also I cannot rate them on the battery life and performance while left in the woods for "x" amount of days/weeks except for the Moultrie D40. Also as you can see, our dog was in the background. We thought this may be an issue where she was about 45-50 feet from the cameras but we left them alone as she paced and the only camera that was set off was the Bushnell. This proved to show that the Bushnell did trigger at a further distance than the others. We found this out and switched the location of the Bushnell and it didn't trigger after that. The pictures shown are the ones that were taken after we had moved it and started the test with all 5 cameras.

I want to know which one YOU think performed the best?


Disclaimer: The reviews on this blog are my honest opinions. These cameras were ones that I have purchased or borrowed from family. I received no monetary compensation in exchange for these reviews.









12 comments:

  1. Great review, Dustin! The method in which you decided to test these was really simple, but it really did show the differences in performance across the cameras. Great idea!

    It is hard to argue with the performance of that Cuddeback. The image centering and capturing is impressive.

    Thanks!
    Mark

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  2. Thanks Mark. It was a simple test and not very rigorous but it was fun, quick, and easy.

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  3. For a first time review, this one is a keeper! That Cuddeback looks like a great camera. I am going to have to invest in a couple of those. When can I play the lotto again?

    The review setup is good, but I have a recommendation. If you put this review to a test in the woods, field, etc., you will have weeds, tree limbs and who knows what else blowing around, too. I know is not part of this review, but I think that some of the 'results' would change dramatically in a true situation.

    The WI cameras - yeah, I agree with Eric's review. We both bought pairs of them and tried them out. I had mine up for 2 weeks and it recorded one photo. I set it up again, and again, and again and each time it only recorded a few photos, but drained the battery. Thumbs down for me, but glad yours worked!

    Excellent set up and review, Dustin. You should post this on DIY and share your results with Cuddeback. :) Cheers, Al.

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  4. Thanks Al. I didn't have any high expectations for the WI because of the reviews I have heard but I figured for $12 why not, guess I just got lucky. I do plan on setting these up in the field at some point to see how they perform because I agree with you completely about the results changing dramatically. I realize too that's why I do get some blank images due to weeds, limbs, etc. I just posted it on DIY and plan on sharing with Cuddeback for sure.

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  5. Great Review Dustin! I wish I could have been one of your neighbors going "Why are those Jones boys chasing each other around the yard in the dark? Boys ain't right!"

    I liked the simple testing structure as well. Really showed a lot with a few simple tests!

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  6. Thanks Will. I think our dog was wondering what we were doing more than the neighbors. I think our neighbors are use to the Crazy Jones boys running around lol.

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  7. Dustin I would have to agree with you on the conclusion, The Cuddeback worked great. I think it would be interesting to keep testing these and see how consistent these cameras are. I know I have had some great pictures on the two trail cameras I have, but have also wondered if they are performing at the same quality every time due to lighting or other influences.

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    Replies
    1. For sure. We should test them out in the field sometime!

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  8. Good stuff D, really detailed and the results don't lie.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Tony, I was surprised by the results.

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  9. Great review Dustin. Very specific material! Thanks for the email.
    Matt

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