I was quite looking forward to seeing how the new camera worked after it’s first night. We got a few centimeters of snow last night, and it was blowing quite a bit – I had 400 images of snow from the garage camera in my email this morning, and I’d already deleted about 300 before going to bed! So I did have some concerns that I’d have hundreds of stills and video of snow.
I did see one potential problem before even opening it. The camera is water tight, but snow accumulated on the top. Even brushing it off, it does mean moisture can potentially get into the camera when it’s opened. That is one benefit the old cameras, with their bottom latch, had over the side swing design.
I brought along a small, disposable bowl as a safety catcher for the micro SD card. I’m glad I had it! I was able to prep the new card from it’s little case, so I could quickly and easily switch cards, and have it waiting in the bowl. The card in the camera was easy enough to get out – it just needs to be pushed in and it will unlatch, as is typical. I then let it fall into the bowl rather than try and pull it out with my fingers. There is not a lot of space for fingers to grab the card. I do like the micro SD, but this is another thing that I would consider as better with the older cameras, because I am switching cards out daily.
As I suspected, putting the new card in is going to be an issue. It needs to be pushed in far enough to latch, but getting it to that point is not as easy. Just using a thumb for finger isn’t good enough. It has to be pressed in with a fingernail. Awkward to do while holding a bowl, and the camera itself wiggles. Until it catches, the memory card is pretty loose, and it would be way too easy for it to fall out – and it that little thing falls into the snow, the chances of finding it are very low! It would be much better if the slot were on the side, instead of the bottom.
Once it was in, I tried to check the preview screen, as it was just black. It doesn’t “wake up” when the memory card is taken out, like the old camera’s did. I put it on set-up and the screen came live, but it didn’t even show the little start-up image. The screen was basically white, with a greyish bar across. I hit the menu button, and I could see text trying to show up in the grey area, but nothing readable. I figure the screen was not handling the cold very well.
Which did not bode well.
Once I started uploading files to the computer, however, I was encouraged. It’s set to take 3 still images, then a 10 second video, which means 4 files for every time the motion sensor gets triggered. There were a lot more files than just me fiddling with the set up.
I have it set to maximum quality for both stills and video, and I must say, I was really impressed! Here is the second of the three still shots it took of my brother’s dog, coming to visit.
The files are so large, I reduced this image to 25% of original, just to keep the file size down!
It was rather jarring to see such high quality images of my own face as I fiddled with the camera position. It turns out I make some rather strange expressions while concentrating… 😀
With the old camera, the gate barely fit in the frame, so this wide angle is awesome. More importantly, the motion sensor has a wider range, too. It caught one of the cats going by at the far end of the gate. With the old camera, it wouldn’t have even been in frame, never mind picked up by the motion sensor!
Also, I love the information bar across the bottom. It even includes temperature! Which was funny to watch as I went through the files. It started at 14C, still warm from the house. By the last file, it was at -17C!
It’s also much more readable. The old camera included time, date, file number and moon phase icon, all crammed into the bottom right of the image.
The processing speed on this is much faster. With the old cameras, when set to video, there is a delay between when the motion sensor is triggered and when it starts recording video. For, say, a vehicle driving by at normal speeds, that would leave me with either the very tail end of the vehicle, or nothing but a cloud of dust or snow, settling on the road. When set to still shots, it’s faster, but not by much.
This thing is fast enough that it can get the burst of 3 stills at the beginning, and the vehicle is still picked up in the short video. And not just the tail end, either. I’m very impressed.
As for night shots, it also seems to be smart enough to know not to turn on for snow! The other trail cam had a couple of videos triggered by snow. The new camera had none at all. There was one series of files taken when it was dark enough for the infrared flash, triggered by a vehicle, and that was the closest thing to night shots we got.
I am really happy with this camera so far! We shall see how it handles the upcoming weather, though. A storm is predicted to hit us tomorrow, and by Wednesday, we’re supposed to get 30-45cm (11 – 17 inches) of snow! January and February are our coldest months, so that’s when it’s really going to be tested.
At this point, however, my husband and I are already talking about getting more of these. They are inexpensive, and it would be really good to have cameras in other areas of concern.