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VWTECH Trail Cam

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Old Wednesday 11th March 2015, 10:09   #1
Torchepot
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VWTECH Trail Cam

Anybody had any experience of this camera from Amazon - good reviews - one from someone who seems to know a fair bit about trail cams. At this price it seems like a bargain - any other good alternatives under 100?

http://www.amazon.co.uk/VWTECH-Infra...s=trail+camera
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Old Thursday 12th March 2015, 12:16   #2
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Anybody had any experience of this camera from Amazon - good reviews - one from someone who seems to know a fair bit about trail cams. At this price it seems like a bargain - any other good alternatives under 100?

http://www.amazon.co.uk/VWTECH-Infra...s=trail+camera
Hi there,

There are several things to note about this camera. It is obviously at the cheaper end of the trail camera range so therefore is unlikely to be as good as some other cameras. This does not mean it won't be worth getting and trying, but bear in mind the following:

The camera has a slower stated trigger time than many trail cameras;

The field of view of the PIR sensor is the same as that of the lens so the subject will be entering the field of view of the lens as the PIR is triggered. This means an animal moving at only a moderate speed will likely be well across the frame (or even out of it) before the camera fires;

The camera appears to only have the options of still images OR videos, whereas many/most other cameras allow stills AND video. It also seems to be a set video length of 20s instead of the range of up to 60s offered by most cameras;

It does not state that there is a zero second interval option, i.e. immediate re-triggering of the camera if the subject is still in view. This could be especially important bearing in mind the fixed 20s video time;

The camera has 'lo-glow' IR LEDs. These glow and can scare timid wildlife such as foxes and deer. Personally, I prefer the 'no-glow' LEDs but their illumination range is less.

And now for the Biggie: if you have a problem with the camera, you will almost certainly be told to send it back to China. You pays the price, you takes your chances!

Warm Regards,

Martin.

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Old Thursday 12th March 2015, 15:33   #3
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Thanks Martin,

There is no zero second interval in fact it's a very unhelpful 1 minute!! But at that price I'm going to give it a go, mostly because I intend to use it a lot on public land and don't want to run the risk of losing a more expensive camera. I'll give it a good go on my own land first then if it does get pinched later at least I'll have some idea what's happening in my own back yard.

The first review on Amazon is fairly encouraging -

"I have used several different lower priced trail cameras for filming wildlife in gardens and on farms. I have had cameras stolen even when reasonably well hidden so I know the risks and am reluctant to pay more than around 110 or a little more if I want sound.

All cameras of whatever price have their pros and cons. My review of this camera is based on my own use and the feedback from a friend who has also recently purchased one.

The stand out feature of this camera is the fast cut-in time. On both settings (video or photo) it starts recording/photographing quicker than any camera I have used amongst the cheaper priced ones. For me and I suspect many other people this is one of the most important requirements - some mammals especially are quickly out of the frame or missed altogether if the trigger time is slow (such as around a second).

The photo image quality and video quality are passable. I wasn't expecting them to be great for this price.

The illumination range in the dark isn't great, which limits the use of the camera given how many mammals are active and more likely to be filmed at night, and when security issues for people are likely to be more significant.

Other downsides of the camera for me are the red glow which appears from the cells when the camera works in darkness or night time. Genuine low-glow cameras have black or blue cells which do not show up in the dark, so I would not call this camera low-glow as the blurb states. However, if you set the camera to a burst of 5 photos (to get a rapid-fire moving effect) there is only a second's worth of red glow.

Another slight disappointment for me is the setting for the delay time between filming, as the minimum delay is one minute camera-sleep time between events. This is far too long and could mean that the subject might only be filmed once. A much shorter interval time of 5 seconds is a good option to have, but alas, not offered by this camera.

The camera size is a third bigger than other standard ones such as Swann, Ltl Acorn, Ixium or Laserware etc. The controls are basic (perhaps to be expected for the price) and easy to use.

There is a longer delay than usual when switching on for filming before the primer green light comes on, so be aware of that.

To my surprise this camera does pick up sound when the source is very close.

This could be a good supplementary or introductory trail camera for many people. It might be good for children to use in their garden or school grounds etc, and I will certainly buy some more. Overall it's good value for money especially at this affordable price."
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Old Thursday 12th March 2015, 16:52   #4
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Worth a go?

Hi,

Bear in mind that the larger size of the camera, together with its glowing LEDs, makes it more prone to be spotted, and therefore stolen, than something like an Acorn camera.

I've known field biologists, who you'd expect to be quite observant, to not notice an Acorn camera within a metre of where they were doing other stuff. The small size and good camouflage of the Acorns makes them much more unobtrusive than cameras such as Bushnell and others.

Let us know how you get on, and if you do decide to get something better in future, please check out my website.

By the way, my Trail Camera Forum is available for anyone with a trail camera, of whatever make.

Warm Regards,

Martin.

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Old Wednesday 18th March 2015, 11:58   #5
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Well so far I'm impressed, the camera turned up in just 5 days - from China! Got a long and rather endearing e-mail from the exporter urging me to contact him if I'm less than happy with absolutely anything.

The camera came well packed and looks very well made (I was worried about it feeling cheap n nasty). The manual is in English (not Chinglish) and is fairly well written and understandable. There's also a quick start guide.

One nice touch is that it's stated that should the camera fail outside of warranty they will replace it for 50% of the price of a new one! Don't know how that would work out in practice but they clearly seem to be trying.

Camera uses a minimum of 4 AA batteries but you can use 8 or 12 for longer unattended setups. There's also a 12volt external battery socket (no supplied lead). There is no supplied USB lead either - not a problem for me as other camera USB leads work O.K.

There's a list of compatible SD cards which I didn't notice before I set the camera up with one of my SanDisk 32GB cards which apparently they didn't test - have to wait an see if there's an issue.

One thing that is not explained or mentioned is a small white plastic 'thingey' inside the camera which swivels in front of the lens if you turn the camera upside down - it appears to have a filter or lens in it??

Proof of the pudding will be quality, ease of use, reliability etc. I've set it up near a where a fox comes into my sister's garden and am looking forward to the results.
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Old Wednesday 18th March 2015, 12:30   #6
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The camera has 'lo-glow' IR LEDs. These glow and can scare timid wildlife such as foxes and deer. Personally, I prefer the 'no-glow' LEDs but their illumination range is less.
My experience with lo-glow is not negative - I regularly get Red Foxes, Pine and Stone Martens, Raccoon Dogs despite the visible red glow (also had Otter, Badger, Polecat, Wild Boar, etc) ...occasionally animals look at the camera, so obviously can see it, but don't seem to be bothered by it.

There is one big obvious advantage of lo-glow (as opposed to invisible) ...you can use it to watch animals too. Sitting in a dark cabin all night, it is very easy to miss when an animal comes to bait, but if a useful little red light glows up outside, then its like a little alarm to say something is present

A potential disadvantage of lo-glow is that if you leave the camera where persons might go, then maybe they will see it and, if you're unlucky, take it!
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Old Wednesday 18th March 2015, 12:59   #7
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Thanks Jos -good advice,

I'm in England for a month but when I get back to France I'm keen to try it out where I found the road casualty mink. If I remember rightly there's a culvert under the road, basically a big concrete pipe, which would be a good way to hide the camera and they're often used by critters.

There have also been a few local road casualty raccoons - they are steadily advancing across France - it would be great to get a live one on camera.

In the meantime the local fox here should help me to sort out camera set up etc.

Cheers,

Phil
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Old Wednesday 18th March 2015, 16:07   #8
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Camera uses a minimum of 4 AA batteries but you can use 8 or 12 for longer unattended setups. There's also a 12volt external battery socket (no supplied lead). There is no supplied USB lead either - not a problem for me as other camera USB leads work O.K.

There's a list of compatible SD cards which I didn't notice before I set the camera up with one of my SanDisk 32GB cards which apparently they didn't test - have to wait an see if there's an issue.

One thing that is not explained or mentioned is a small white plastic 'thingey' inside the camera which swivels in front of the lens if you turn the camera upside down - it appears to have a filter or lens in it??
You'll probably find the camera works best with a full set of batteries, rather than just four. This allows the camera to switch between battery 'sets' as each is depleted, allowing them to recover.

I assume the camera states it is compatible with 32GB SD cards? If so, hopefully it will be OK with SanDisk (we only use SanDisk cards with our Acorn cameras).

The 'thingey' is the IR filter.

Warm Regards,

Martin.

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Old Wednesday 18th March 2015, 16:09   #9
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Hi Phil,

Watch out for burn-out at close range!

Warm Regards,

Martin.

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Old Wednesday 18th March 2015, 18:02   #10
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Thanks Martin,

So I guess the IR filter swings into action at night?

The list of compatible cards includes SanDisk but only up to 8GB the only 'tested and approved' 32GB card on their list is the Kingston.

The camera takes stills fine with my current card, but the videos freeze after a couple of seconds - though the sound continues. Not sure if this is a compatibility issue with the card or the fact that I'm running 64bit windows, (32bit recommended) I'll try a card from their list and see what difference that makes.

Hopefully some fox action tonight.

Cheers,

Phil
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Old Thursday 19th March 2015, 10:12   #11
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Hi,

If you're just putting the card into the computer it shouldn't matter whether it's 32 bit or 64 bit, they're just .avi files.

If you're using Windows Media Player it sometimes has 'issues' with video files from some cameras, so you could try a different player, such as VLC.

Yes, the IR filter swings across when required.

Warm Regards,

Martin.

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Old Thursday 19th March 2015, 11:42   #12
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Hi Martin,

It's definitely not happy about something, but I can get videos to play back now. Don't have a slot for SD cards on this computer so have to connect the camera via USB. When I playback a clip for the first time it hiccups at 2 secs (previously it was freezing at this point) but subsequent replays are smooth. Will be able to try it on a couple of other computers next week.

No foxes last night just a succession of neighbourhood cats

Cheers,

Phil
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Old Friday 20th March 2015, 06:23   #13
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Last night got my first video of a fox and it must have been moving fast - appeared in clip right in centre of frame - cats and birds trigger the camera while still at the edge of frame. The fox clearly saw the low-glow and reacted to it - a very quick investigation and then it scarpered. In shot for a total of about 3 seconds!

Perhaps changing camera position will help.

Incidentally looking at the packaging it seems to have been despatched from the US rather than China which perhaps explains the very quick delivery.
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