In this series, I will do my best to relay to you the strong points and weaknesses we found in each one of the cameras we used over a four month period from July through October to help us scout for elk, deer, bears and lions in the high country of southwest New Mexico. Once I finish these reviews, we will put the cameras back to work out in the desert lowlands scouting for our January deer, sheep and ibex hunts. A second round of reviews will follow for each camera at the conclusion of those hunts.
The next camera we used is the Hunten Outdoors GSC30-50IR. The technical specifications of this camera as advertised are as follows:
• Resolution: 5.0 MP Day / 1.3 MP Night
• Infrared Flash: Infrared Night Vision Flash x26 LED’s (40 ft range)
• Sensor: Passive Infrared Sensor (PIR). Activates when motion and heat is detected (60 ft range)
• Format: JPEG Digital Still Pictures
• Image: Day Image Color, Night Image B&W, Day Video Color, Night Video B&W
• Snap Shot: Single, Burst
• Format: AVI Digital Video Clips 640 x 480
• External Memory: Removable SD Memory Card up to 32 GB
• LCD Display: Oversized display
• Battery: x4 C-Cell Batteries (rechargeable for use with solar panel)
• Solar Panel: Compatible
• Housing: ABS Engineering plastic. Weather resistant with rubber gasket seal.
Now that we know what the technical claims are for this camera, let’s talk about what we found it can really do. Top to bottom, this camera was a rugged, high quality camera. This version of the Hunten cameras has everything anyone could need for a low price, and Hunten has done a great job of putting all of the most needed components into this camera.
The 26 LED lights worked just as advertised, and in most cases, beyond the range listed. We used this camera on a couple of trails from bedding areas into water holes. In each case, the flash range provided more than enough light to make the subjects visible and the pictures more than useable outside of the advertised range. We had subjects out to 65 feet on pitch black nights that were recognizable and clear in our photos. Overall, the flash system on this model exceeded our expectations.
The PIR sensor worked better than advertised as well. The specifications on the camera listed the PIR range at 60 feet. We had numerous photos where the subject triggered the camera at over 70 feet. The GSC30-50IR does not have the ability to change the PIR sensitivity, so you do have to make sure that you do not have any moving branches, brush or tall grass in the camera field of view. As advertised, we would rate the sensor system in this camera as above average.
The trigger speed was as advertised. The specifications listed the response time at 1 second, and we captured numerous photos even when we placed the camera at a 90 degree angle to the trails we were using it on! We did not experience any back half photos or empty photos with this camera.
We found the recovery time to be as fast as 3 seconds in burst mode. Recovery time was slightly slower at night, but we had numerous multiple shots at night of animals moving at an average rate of speed. The camera can be set for bursts of up to 4 photos per trigger.
The photo quality was excellent. Each picture was clear and sharp with plenty of detail and color. We especially liked the night pictures and low light pictures, and of all the Hunten models we used, the GSC30-50IR was the best. The Hunten cameras light sensor was the best that we found, triggering the IR flash earlier in low light conditions than any other camera. This provided for the highest quality dusk and dawn transition photos that we captured. Dusk and dawn are when most animals move from feeding and watering areas to bedding areas, and the transition time photos from the Hunten cameras were excellent. Each picture is date and time stamped, with moon phase.
For those that use their trail cameras to record videos, this camera has the ability to record standard AVI video clips at 640 X 480, 20 seconds in length at 30 frames per second. The videos were clear and added a great dimension to this camera.
The Hunten cameras operate on 4 C cell batteries. Battery life was above average compared with the other cameras we reviewed. After 4 months and over 6000 pictures, the camera was ready for a new set of batteries. Of course, battery life is very dependent on the number of pictures the camera takes, and whether they are at day or at night.
The Hunten GSC30-50IR is easy to program. The program buttons and LCD display are accessed the front of the camera via two latches. The buttons are big buttons and easy for us big guys to use. The SD card slot is located right in the middle of the buttons, and for those of us with big fingers is very easy to access. The LCD screen is easy to see.
The Hunten GSC30-50IR comes with a pre-molded mounting points attached to the back that makes mounting this camera to any tree easy and secure. The camera holds its mounted position through wind and bear attacks! The housing is extremely durable as well. We had a number of bears chew on these cameras, and ended up with no more than a few small scratch marks on the housing. The bears thoroughly abused this camera, and it stood up to every test they put it through.
The Hunten cameras also can also be equipped with a rechargeable battery pack and solar charger. While setup and positioning with these extras takes more time and effort, it sure is nice to not have to worry about purchasing batteries in the units we tested the solar charging system on. The battery packs maintained full charge and worked perfectly. We did not test the solar charger and external battery pack in bear country for obvious reason.
Overall, we would definitely recommend this camera to those looking for a camera in the $100 price range. For the price, this is the most durable camera out of the box we tested and provided the best overall photos at all times of the day.
For more go to: Hunten Outdoors