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Friday, June 26, 2015

Product review: Blusmart® Game Trail Scouting Survelliance Camera 12MP HD Infrared Hunting Camera


I was excited to get this camera because we see a lot of wild life in our area, the neighbors even claim to have seen a bear and they said he was sleeping in our back yard. Maybe they were pulling my leg, but maybe not. I thought it would be really neat if we could see some of our visitors.

To get the camera to do what I wanted took some experimenting. Documentation is sparse and not very clear. For example, "motion detection" mode did not do what I expected. Only created videos when I moved the camera, not when something walked in front of the camera. What I wanted is to have the camera record only when something moves in front of it, so I did not have to look through a lot of uninteresting footage. For that you need to use "video" mode not "motion activated" mode.

The second issue I ran into is that the fresh set of batteries ran out in 1 day when I was using "motion activated" and "alarm" setting. It would have been very expensive to keep the camera going if I had to replace 8 batteries every day. However, in "video" mode the battery use is quite good - 64% full after 1 week of continuous use. Started on Sunday at 100%, next Sunday morning 69%, next Monday morning 64%.

I am using a WI FI card in the camera. I hoped to be able to monitor what the camera recorded without having to open the case. But the camera turns off WI FI fairly quickly to save on battery life. This means when I want to check what is on the card, I need to open the case and flip the on/off button to turn WI FI back on. WI FI also turns off during long downloads even when the card is being accessed, it is purely time based.

The video quality is highly dependent on lighting. In the day light it is very good (see cat video taken in doors and squirrel video taken outdoors), at night it turns on the light panel and is also quite good (see raccoon at night), however at dusk or right into the sun the video is okay but not as good as say my SONY NEX5 camera. In my video you see deer photos taken in time lapse mode, they were taken at dusk when it was getting dark.

This camera is large, robust, has a great camouflaged case. This camera itself is 6" x 3.5" x 2" in order to house eight AA batteries. The camouflaged case is waterproof and is 6.25" x 4.25" x 2.75".

The camera can run in "test" mode or real mode. Test mode allows you to see what the camera is recording using the LCD screen. In the test mode you can also change settings via menus displayed on the LCD screen. The interface is intuitive and controls are nice (a joystick like control with up, down, left, right).

The camera accepts two memory cards. The SD card is used to record video and the micro SD card is contains the sounds you want to play as an alarm (could be a call if you want to attract animals, or another noise if you want to scare animals away). It comes with several pre-recorded animal sounds and, of course, there are plenty of other available on the internet.

The set up was simple. The only thing I found a little confusing during the set up is that the camera comes with a USB cable and I thought I could use it to power the camera. When I had USB plugged in and turned on the camera I saw a warning on the LCD screen "waiting" and then the camera would turn off, then turn on again with a warning "waiting". Turns out USB cable is for data transfer only. I could power the camera by AC cable (not included) but the round plug from my LED desk lamp turned out to be the right power plug to use for this camera. As soon as I plugged it and switched the camera to the test mode, the camera displayed the menu.

I tested various modes video, hybrid, alarm on, motion detection. Everything but motion detection worked as expected. The sound is quite loud. It startled me when the camera began squealing like a pig.

The camera produces AVI and JPG output. The only unusual thing that it stores all while under SYCAM subdirectory not the standard DCIM directory.

The camera records 1080P video and images up to 12MP.

* Image Sensor: 12.0 Mega Pixels
* Picture Size: 12MP=4000x3000 / 8MP=3840x2160 / 5MP = 2944x1656 ,2MP=1920x1080 (JPEG)
* Video Size: HD: 1920x1080,1080x720 ,24fps (AVI)
* Memory: TF-card/SD-card up to 32GB
* LED & IR distance: 42PCS(850nm or 940nm),0-25m/85ft
* PIR (Passive infrared sensor) Angle: 65°
* Lens: F=2.4; FOV=60° ;Max View 62°; Auto IR-Cut-Remove (at night)
* Trigger Time: 0.6-1 s

In addition to the camera and the case, the package include USB cable, TV cable, strap for attaching the camera to objects (say a tree) and a user manual.

This specific camera is no longer sold on Amazon, but you see my review of a similar camera here Crenova game cam


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