Monday, July 9, 2018

Trailcam Update

The previous three posts have given some examples of what I got from the Browning camera deployed in Montana for the past year. This is the "official" trailcam update with the 13 best images dating back to last summer. For the record, the Montana camera (#5) collected images from July to November before the memory card filled up with false triggers. I also included one image each from the old Reconyx (#2) and the damaged Browning (#6) which were deployed near Jewel Cave, South Dakota in June 2018. Current deployment is old Reconyx (#2) and new Reconyx (#7) in Montana and the two Brownings (#5 and #6) sitting in a box on my dining room table awaiting orders.

Montana Moose

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Browning Review

Last year I bought two Browning Strike Force HD Pro trailcams. This particular model is favorably reviewed on Trailcampro and Amazon, but I just can't go along with the crowd on this one. It will be a while before I buy another Browning. Specific deficiencies are:

  • Both cameras produce hundreds of false triggers for each usable image. There is no way to adjust the sensitivity.
  • Images are horrendously oversharpened. There is no way to adjust sharpening.
  • The camera I had in Montana has a weird color vignetting where the left and right edges have a blue cast and the center has a brown cast. I can deal with a color cast if it is consistent across the image, but this is ridiculous. The other Browning that I had in the Black Hills doesn't exhibit this problem.
  • Night images are motion blurred, even on the setting that supposedly compensates for motion.
  • Personal preference, I don't like the wide aspect ratio which is more suited to video than still images.

On a positive note, the camera I had in the Black Hills survived a forest fire. The case is warped in some spots but the camera still works. However, because the camera had thousands of false triggers in the days before the fire, the memory card was full and it got no images of the fire. As of now both Brownings are undeployed while the two Reconyx do Montana duty. I'll probably be putting the Brownings out in the Badlands or Black Hills within the next month, hopefully finding spots where there isn't waving grass to set off the false triggers.

I will be posting 11 images from the Montana camera separately, but for review purposes here are some images that illustrate my points. Click on an image to see a larger version.

This shows the color vignetting. On the moose images I photoshopped, I desaturated the color on the edges to reduce the blue. On this one the moose was too close to the edge of the image.

One benefit of having thousands of false triggers is you get something that you might not get otherwise.

This illustrates (a) deer are leapers and (b) the Browning's nighttime blur reduction is not very effective.

The Black Hills Browning, despite being damaged in the fire, can still take a good image (mixed in among the hundreds of false triggers).

This one is my fault. When strapping a camera to a tree, make sure you secure the loose ends of the strap.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Burying the Lead

At the moment I have two functional Reconyx cameras with which I am mostly pleased and two Browning Strike Force HD Pro cameras with which I am usually frustrated. I just placed the two Reconyx at my brother's cabin in Montana near where the undamaged Browning had been located since last 4th of July, and I have the two Brownings in hand trying to decide where to place them in Montana or South Dakota.

I'll start with three moose images from Montana. I'll do a more complete posting when I get home. The undamaged Browning, as I've determined is standard for this model, takes thousands of pictures of waving grass and you just have to hope you get a few good ones before the memory card fills up or the batteries die. The camera took 9,218 images before the card filled up Nov. 23. Compared to what I've gotten from the other Browning, this is actually good.

Next is a test of the damaged Browning from the Jewel Cave area in the Black Hills. This is from a sequence just after deployment, followed by a bunch of false triggers.

The old Reconyx got its first time in the field since coming back from repairs. Also from the Jewel Cave area, this was the best I got in the month the camera was there. I experienced NO false triggers with the Reconyx, which is infinitely more adjustable than the Browning. Except for a greenish cast (which I have not adjusted for here), I am pleased with the results. I'm eager to see what the new Reconyx can do.

And finally, this is from my brother's Cuddeback camera near his cabin. I have posted hundreds of images of elk and now a few of moose, but if I could get cougar images on my cameras I would be unreasonably happy.