Trail Cam?

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#42
I bought one of these earthtree ones before Christmas with a view to taking it up to my place in Scotland. I’ve tried it in the garden with the puppy and whilst it wasn’t a truly dark environment, i was quite pleased with the results.

My intentions are to site it in a few places over a few days to see what is about and what time it is active. From this I will then plan an expedition with my ‘proper’ cameras and stake it out. I’m not expecting prize winning imagery, but as long as it’s enough to be able to identify the animal the. I will be happy.
 
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#43
Last night's test detected a neighbour's cat, then the usual assortment of blackbird, robin and woodpigeon on the lawn once it came light, so it seems to work OK, and for the money I think it's quite good considering it's a 'no glow' LED version. The only real 'cons' I've found (so far) being quite muffled sound recording and the 15fps rate at 1080p (I'm now running mine at 720p to get 30fps, which I think looks better, but at this moment in time I can't really expect more at this price point.

Talking of which, I just looked at it again on Amazon to see if there were any recent reviews and found it was on a 'Limited Time Deal' offer at £49.99! So I've just bought another one as a spare! :) Not sure how long the offer will last but if anyone is toying with buying one, now might be a good time! I just hope they are durable and keep on working.
 
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#44
Talking of which, I just looked at it again on Amazon to see if there were any recent reviews and found it was on a 'Limited Time Deal' offer at £49.99! So I've just bought another one as a spare! :) Not sure how long the offer will last but if anyone is toying with buying one, now might be a good time! I just hope they are durable and keep on working.
Looks like the deal ends in 3 hours 25 mins :)
 
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#47
Yes, Mr B, that's the price I paid for mine. :banana:
I was happy enough at £63 for a 'no glow' trail cam. As I said, I just hope they're durable! Not that I'll be leaving mine outdoors for weeks on end, it will be one to three days every so often, letting the cam warm up and dry out at room temp with the cover door open for half a day before storing it, so hopefully it'll last.

As for yesterday's daytime comparison with my original 2 year-old cam (both cams set to record 30 second videos at 720p), the original = 21 recordings (18 of which showed the animal that triggered it). The Apeman (set to 'high' PIR sensitivity as no wind to cause false triggering) = 39 recordings (29 showing the animal that triggered it), so a considerably better success rate for detecting and identifying the animals in my garden. I suspect a lot of the 'empty' video scenes were caused by birds flying past or being just out of shot when the video started.

The video quality didn't seem too bad either, considering the gloomy/misty conditions here yesterday. OK, I could get something like a Browning Dark Ops Pro XD, which can give 60fps at 1080p full HD video at near smartphone quality, a quicker trigger time, and probably higher build quality/durability, but that costs around £170, and that would hurt if it got stolen!
 
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#48
I was happy enough at £63 for a 'no glow' trail cam. As I said, I just hope they're durable! Not that I'll be leaving mine outdoors for weeks on end, it will be one to three days every so often, letting the cam warm up and dry out at room temp with the cover door open for half a day before storing it, so hopefully it'll last.

As for yesterday's daytime comparison with my original 2 year-old cam (both cams set to record 30 second videos at 720p), the original = 21 recordings (18 of which showed the animal that triggered it). The Apeman (set to 'high' PIR sensitivity as no wind to cause false triggering) = 39 recordings (29 showing the animal that triggered it), so a considerably better success rate for detecting and identifying the animals in my garden. I suspect a lot of the 'empty' video scenes were caused by birds flying past or being just out of shot when the video started.

The video quality didn't seem too bad either, considering the gloomy/misty conditions here yesterday. OK, I could get something like a Browning Dark Ops Pro XD, which can give 60fps at 1080p full HD video at near smartphone quality, a quicker trigger time, and probably higher build quality/durability, but that costs around £170, and that would hurt if it got stolen!
Can you put a link to a couple of the videos from the Apeman up here, Mr B, please? It is a very good price if it delivers the goods and I fancy another trail camera.

Unless there are unusual weather conditions, wind won't cause the camera to trigger as they are sensitive to changes in the heat it sees in the field of view rather than movement. If the IP66 rating of the Apeman camera is correct it will withstand just about any level of rain we get here. Our camera which has an IP65 rating has been out in some severe weather in NW Scotland without any problem.

Dave

PS Checking the previous night's videos becomes addictive:)
 
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#49
Can you put a link to a couple of the videos from the Apeman up here, Mr B, please? It is a very good price if it delivers the goods and I fancy another trail camera.

Unless there are unusual weather conditions, wind won't cause the camera to trigger as they are sensitive to changes in the heat it sees in the field of view rather than movement. If the IP66 rating of the Apeman camera is correct it will withstand just about any level of rain we get here. Our camera which has an IP65 rating has been out in some severe weather in NW Scotland without any problem.

Dave

PS Checking the previous night's videos becomes addictive:)
I don't have a YouTube account so can't upload and link to any.. not that they'd be worth linking to as it was misty and dull here yesterday, so it wouldn't be a good representation of what to expect. I'll be setting the camera again over the weekend so should hopefully be able to give it a better test in brighter conditions and can post some screen shots from night vision and daytime on Sunday evening, if that would be useful?
 
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#50
All sounds like worth a punt at the discounted figure (thanks for the heads up on that one :)) especially as I have a voucher :D

Off to put one on order me thinks!

PS reminder to self to check posts about the batteries to source.

PPS also thinks spare SD card to hand???

Edit ~ done :) also decided to go "free trial of Prime" to get free next day & save the £4.49 delivery cost.
 
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#51
Quick question?

How many AA does it need?

TIA :)

PS I note that @Nod mentioned buying Li but what about Alkaline in this application ~ more cost effective perhaps bearing in mind not being left for long periods unattended?

Edit ~ plus, impatient that I am now it is on order.......................I looked online to download the manual and there does not appear to be any such section on the website :( Unless I have missed, losing my touch at finding such sources???
 
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#52
I don't have a YouTube account so can't upload and link to any.. not that they'd be worth linking to as it was misty and dull here yesterday, so it wouldn't be a good representation of what to expect. I'll be setting the camera again over the weekend so should hopefully be able to give it a better test in brighter conditions and can post some screen shots from night vision and daytime on Sunday evening, if that would be useful?
Thanks. That would be good.

Dave
 
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#53
Quick question?

How many AA does it need?

TIA :)

PS I note that @Nod mentioned buying Li but what about Alkaline in this application ~ more cost effective perhaps bearing in mind not being left for long periods unattended?

Edit ~ plus, impatient that I am now it is on order.......................I looked online to download the manual and there does not appear to be any such section on the website :( Unless I have missed, losing my touch at finding such sources???
It takes 8 x AA batteries. High quality Alkali batteries should get it to work OK (it's what I've tested mine with), but lithium AAs are reportedly better and probably(?) less likely to leak and ruin the cam if the novelty wears off and you forget to remove the batteries before not using it for several months.

I couldn't find a manual for it on-line either, but I found that the one that's in the box seems fairly straightforward, quick to read and easy to understand. As usual, read it before putting the batteries and card in and trying to turn it on to avoid bricking the poor thing. ;) Best of luck with it and keep us posted. :)

PS If you use the video function then I'd suggest trying it at the 720p setting as the frame rate is quicker than at 1080p (30fps versus 15fps) and I find motion looks better.
 
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#54
Takes 8 AAs, as said. There is a 6v DC socket in the base, covered by a rubber grommet when not in use. I'd be wary of using that outdoors in the wet. Set mine up outdoors tonight, pointing at an area where mice pick up dropped bird seed and possibly where hedgehogs wander. Rather expect a cat or 2 as well!
Still just playing.
 
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#56
@Nod and @Mr Badger

Thanks both for the setup insights......will get some Alkali batteries on order asap ~ 16 off minimum ;)
Don't know what part of the country you're in (or even if UK), but if you have a B&M Bargains shop near where you live, I find they sell quite reasonably priced (for a bricks and mortar walk-in type shop) packs of Duracell Plus Power batteries, with AA 8-packs usually on sale around the checkout till area. Don't confuse the longer lasting Plus Power type with the cheaper Duracell 'Simply' economy model though. You may well find cheaper on-line, but if you need them 'now' it might be worth considering.

Best of luck @Nod, keep us posted. (y)
 
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#57
Don't know what part of the country you're in (or even if UK), but if you have a B&M Bargains shop near where you live, I find they sell quite reasonably priced (for a bricks and mortar walk-in type shop) packs of Duracell Plus Power batteries, with AA 8-packs usually on sale around the checkout till area. Don't confuse the longer lasting Plus Power type with the cheaper Duracell 'Simply' economy model though.

Best of luck @Nod, keep us posted. (y)
I am in Surrey nr Guildford........................I think there might be a B&M in Byfleet, will check it out.

For now I have ordered a 12+4 pack (16 off in the pack) of Energizer Max Alkaline the leakproof long shelf life ones from Amazon @ £7.49

Looking forward to getting it and setting up for the first test run :D

PS I surmise that apart from reviewing the captures on the mini screen you have to, like a dSLR, remove the card and transfer using a card reader???
 
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#58
I find it easiest to remove the card and put it in the laptop or PC SD card-reader slot and take it from there. I don't usually bother trying to view recordings on the cam screen as it's tiny and you're running off the batteries to do it. Make sure the cam is switched off fully before removing and inserting the card though.
 
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#59
PS I surmise that apart from reviewing the captures on the mini screen you have to, like a dSLR, remove the card and transfer using a card reader???
BB & Mr B, reading the manual and having a play you can connect the camera to a PC with the included USB cable so no need to remove the SD card or turn the camera on. It then shows up as an external drive.
 
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#60
BB & Mr B, reading the manual and having a play you can connect the camera to a PC with the included USB cable so no need to remove the SD card or turn the camera on. It then shows up as an external drive.
Now that does make sense.......but are you saying that you turn it off them connect the USB? As most such connections, to dSLR for example, require the camera to be powered up don't they.
 
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#61
Now that does make sense.......but are you saying that you turn it off them connect the USB? As most such connections, to dSLR for example, require the camera to be powered up don't they.
BB, I connected to the PC without turning the camera on and was able to access the card and download the images thereon.
 
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#62
BB, I connected to the PC without turning the camera on and was able to access the card and download the images thereon.
Great, thanks for the insight.

Though I do not have a laptop I can imagine in the field downloading without removing it from the tree (or other attachment) is a benefit....here I am surmising that the USB port is accessible in that situation.

PS thinking out loud ~ I wonder if it can either be used now or in future with a firmware upgrade to attach the USB cable and run it into a hide or the house for either live viewing or as in the case of downloading to do it without disturbing the setup???

Order monitoring says it will be here on Sunday, other stuff needs doing but will try to make time to play with it soonest and will report back to share my experience with it :) I have in mind a location on a largish Acer (or two if I can get creative?) in the garden to see the bird feeder visitors plus at night any passing mammals? Note ~ obviously I will need to consider viewing distances and angles to 'see' what spaces will be covered by it???
 
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#63
Yes, the USB port is accessible on the underside when the front cover is opened which can be done when the unit is strapped to a tree trunk.

As I am also in Surrey (Leatherhead) perhaps we should get together and compare notes at some stage! :beer:;)
 
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#64
Nothing to show from last night. Did find a dead mouse on the garage doorstep a few days ago so maybe we have no current residents.

3 nights so far on Lidl's Aerocell AA alkalis and still reporting as full. Of course, it hasn't had to do much other than catch the cat waking us up a couple of times over 2 nights!
 
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#65
B'stards! Price dropped (as mentioned earlier in the thread!) Just crept in before the deal expired and ordered another - will return it unopened and get a refund on the full priced one.
 
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#66
Nothing to show from last night. Did find a dead mouse on the garage doorstep a few days ago so maybe we have no current residents.

3 nights so far on Lidl's Aerocell AA alkalis and still reporting as full. Of course, it hasn't had to do much other than catch the cat waking us up a couple of times over 2 nights!
Had nothing during darkness the first night, just 1 cat the second night. Once the birds woke it triggered each time a blackbird, pigeon or robin landed in front of it though. Garden wildlife such as hedgehogs and frogs are mainly inactive at this time of year (unless there's a mild spell), so not as much about at night in the average domestic garden this time of year (unless foxes and badgers are present and have access) so don't get disheartened. The alkali batteries are still showing full on mine too after around 43 hours of use, but will replace with lithium ones when the arrive, as this can improve trigger times too apparently, as well as lasting longer and not losing much power in frosty conditions.

Going to set it in Mum's garden tonight as she lives in a rural location and rabbits and foxes regularly visit the garden; my original trail cam even recorded a tawny owl on the lawn last year, it must have been after a mouse or rat under the bird feeder! Mind you, some nights I've had nothing from the cam there either, so it just depends on what's about, which adds a bit of excitement when checking the SD card. For anyone interested, I notice the trail cam is back on 'limited time offer' at £49.99 again today.

B'stards! Price dropped (as mentioned earlier in the thread!) Just crept in before the deal expired and ordered another - will return it unopened and get a refund on the full priced one.
Yes, don't send your original one back as you know that one seems to work OK! The new one might not work as well as I see from the feedback there appears to have been an occasional dud one (probably to be expected at the price point). Forgot to say, thanks for drawing my attention to the camera in the first place, Nod. (y) :)
 
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#67
No problem.

Lithium cells arrived this morning, marked as "Nothing hazardous" and via air mail. I thought ALL Li cells/batteries were subject to restrictions, not just rechargeables.

I wonder if frogs would set the camera off anyway - might not be warm enough.
 
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#69
No problem.

Lithium cells arrived this morning, marked as "Nothing hazardous" and via air mail. I thought ALL Li cells/batteries were subject to restrictions, not just rechargeables.

I wonder if frogs would set the camera off anyway - might not be warm enough.
Mine arrived just as I was reading your post - how's that for a coincidence! :wideyed: I've no idea about air mail though.

As for frogs, I was meaning more as a prey item or attractant, as this clip from someone on YouTube shows:
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=15JIH4sWfbw
 
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#70
@Mr Badger , TBH I would have thought the fox would have activated the camera in that clip.

BTW guys don't take too much notice of the temperature reading recorded by the camera. I have just checked mine against some very sophisticated kit that I used in the day job and the cam reads over 2.5 degrees above the actual temp (unless the difference is caused by heat generated within the camera).
 
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#71
@Mr Badger , TBH I would have thought the fox would have activated the camera in that clip.

BTW guys don't take too much notice of the temperature reading recorded by the camera. I have just checked mine against some very sophisticated kit that I used in the day job and the cam reads over 2.5 degrees above the actual temp (unless the difference is caused by heat generated within the camera).
Yes, definitely triggered by the fox, but it was the frog that drew the fox into view as it was a tasty snack for it, which was what I was meaning. There have been instances of trail cams being triggered by snakes though, or at least capturing them on photo and video. This was probably due to the moving snake being warmer or colder than the background, or in some cases it could have been triggered by a passing bird in flight and captured the snake coincidentally.

The temp seems right on mine (at least it agreed with the temp sensor I have in the shade on a garden fence post). I also have a small weather station that logs to my computer, and that regularly reads a couple of degrees warmer or colder than the thermometer on the fence post, but if it's cold, still and foggy all day they tend to agree - as the two different places are both the same temp then. Are you sure your camera is 'out' and you weren't just detecting two different temperatures? Also, if you've only recently put your camera outside, the batteries are a pretty big lump and can take quite a while to cool down to background temp - I find this when I change the batteries in the weather station sensors. Anyway, hope it's something like that and not your camera that's out. :)
 
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#72
All I want from the camera's thermometer is a clue as to whether it was below freezing, around freezing or above it!

Frogger looked like he took a bit of catching.
 
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#73
After a bit of testing I have found out that the lens is not fitted at right angles to the front of the camera. By this I mean that when positioning the camera to include a particular area by using the front of the camera as a reference point then the actual image area captured is vertically higher than expected. I tested this by holding a pencil horizontally about 200mm away from and at 90 degrees to the camera front lined up with the centre of the lens. The image produced showed the pencil about 3/4 of the way up the frame. Not a deal breaker but something that needs to be taken into account when setting up a shot, in my case trying to capture a rat exiting a hole in a wall. First try all I got was his ears!!
 
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#74
I use the screen to check the alignment/framing.
 
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#76
Not that easy for me either but having established a rough idea as to the vertical offset, I realised that it's pretty good when sat on the ground so do that, using the screen to get it 1/2 reasonable side to side.
 
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#77
HOWEVER (!), leaving it sat on the ground does make it unstable enough to rock a bit, causing several false triggers last night. I've got a few supports available so will be using them tonight.
 
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#78
After a bit of testing I have found out that the lens is not fitted at right angles to the front of the camera. By this I mean that when positioning the camera to include a particular area by using the front of the camera as a reference point then the actual image area captured is vertically higher than expected. I tested this by holding a pencil horizontally about 200mm away from and at 90 degrees to the camera front lined up with the centre of the lens. The image produced showed the pencil about 3/4 of the way up the frame. Not a deal breaker but something that needs to be taken into account when setting up a shot, in my case trying to capture a rat exiting a hole in a wall. First try all I got was his ears!!
I use the screen to check the alignment/framing.
Not too easy for one of advancing years to do that in the narrow space between a brick wall and a fence! :LOL:
Not that easy for me either but having established a rough idea as to the vertical offset, I realised that it's pretty good when sat on the ground so do that, using the screen to get it 1/2 reasonable side to side.
HOWEVER (!), leaving it sat on the ground does make it unstable enough to rock a bit, causing several false triggers last night. I've got a few supports available so will be using them tonight.
Thanks for the user experience and heads up.

It seems that the design of this model (all trail cams?) is that they are intended to be positioned quite low down but vertically upright.

So seems that that is what you need to do or mitigate for this by tilting approx 20 to 30 degrees to accommodate it?
 
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#79
@Box Brownie I would agree with your comments but have found that mine only needs to be inclined down by about 5 degrees to solve the problem. However may not be too easy to do if the cam is fitted to a tree or post so a shim could be needed to ease the top forward. My Little Acorn cam does not suffer from this problem so I suspect the price point may be the issue. On the more expensive cams the field of view can be selected so the problem may not arise whereas the apeman has a fixed FOV.
 
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#80
@Box Brownie I would agree with your comments but have found that mine only needs to be inclined down by about 5 degrees to solve the problem. However may not be too easy to do if the cam is fitted to a tree or post so a shim could be needed to ease the top forward. My Little Acorn cam does not suffer from this problem so I suspect the price point may be the issue. On the more expensive cams the field of view can be selected so the problem may not arise whereas the apeman has a fixed FOV.
A bit like any choice of camera, we have to work with it's performance potential and mitigate for its limitations :)
 
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