Game cameras come in all shapes and sizes, colors and camo patterns, flash and no flash. They can be from basic functionality to state-of-the-art, with prices that can range from under $100 to over $500. For the outdoors person who wants more than the basic game camera doesn't need every bell-and-whistle available in higher-end models and is on a limited budget, take a good look at the Primos TruthCam Ultra Blackout.
When the Ultra Blackout packaging is opened, there will be an instruction manual, a 72" tree mounting strap and a card that reads, "It's ultra simple to use this camera". The card basically reads: Step 1 - Install batteries; Step 2 Install memory card; Step 3 Power on & set date/time; Step 4 Slide switches to desired settings. Yes, it's really that simple. The instruction manual is very well written explaining the specifics on how to set the date/time and how the slide switches control the functions.
The Ultra Blackout is relatively small in size only measuring 4 " wide, 5 " tall and 2 " deep. Without batteries, it weighs 10.9 ounces. The camera is hinged on the left side connecting the front and back halves. The front half has a camo finish and houses the electronic components and controls. The back half is dark brown and hold the 8 AA batteries that supply power. A latch on the right side holds the front and back closed, and allows for a small lock to prevent access to the internal components.
Excluding the 'power' button, there are three buttons (up-arrow, down-arrow, OK) used for setting the date/time and to format the SD memory card. An LED screen shows the battery condition, number of images/videos and the date/time. To control the functionality of the Ultra Blackout, there are three slide switches that are color-coded to make set-up very easy. Start by choosing a Mode, then choose a Setting and then choose a Delay.
* Mode Yellow for photo (hi or low resolution); Black for video (hi or low resolution); Orange for time lapse (time lapse or time lapse + photo)
* Settings Yellow for photo burst (1 to 5); Black for video length (5 sec. to 60 sec.); Orange for time-lapse interval (10 sec. to 30 min.)
Primos TruthCam Ultra Blackout (front)
* Delay Green for setting the delay between photos or videos (5 sec. to 30 min.)
The Ultra Blackout can use an SD or SDHC card size from 2MB to 32MB. The SD card fits in a slot on the top left side. Inserting the SD card in the slot is very easy; removing it can be difficult because of the close location of the slot to the outside casing.
Photo image resolution is high (7MP) or low (5MP). Video resolution is high (640x480) or low (320x240) with a video speed of 30 fps. Time-lapse resolution is higher at 1280x960 to produce good resolution at longer distances. The size of the SD card and the resolution of the images or videos will determine the maximum number of images or videos that will be saved. The instruction manual has a very good chart that helps to determine the best size SD card to install.
|Specifications||TruthCam Ultra Blackout|
|Lens||f = 3.0|
|Field of View||55°|
|Maximum IR Flash Range||50'|
|Memory Card Format||SD or SDHC|
|Memory Card Size||Up to 32GB|
|Picture Resolution||5MP, 7MP|
|Video Size||640x480, 320x240|
|Video Speed||30 fps|
|PIR Sensitivity Settings||Automatic|
|Trigger Speed **||1 sec.|
|Trigger Interval||5-10-30 sec 1-5-30 min|
|Video Length||5-10-15-20-30-60 seconds|
|User Interface||LCD Display|
|Interfaces||USB, 6-12V DC|
|Operating Temperature||20° to 120° F|
|Image Stamping||Image # of Series, Moon Phase, Temperature, Time, AM/PM, Date, Day of Week|
|Weight w/o Batteries||10.9 oz|
|Optional Security Box||No|
For daytime use, the color images and videos are good. At night, the black/white images are good when the movement is slow or still. Fast movement can be blurry which is a common occurrence.
In keeping with the 'simple to use' concept, the PIR (passive infrared) sensor on the front is auto-adjusting to compensate for different climates or situations. There is a red LED on the front panel to indicate when the Ultra Blackout has been triggered. During daylight, it is hard to see the red LED when triggered; at night, it can be seen easier. A light sensor for controlling day and night operation also uses the red LED opening.
For night operation, 60 hi-output IR LEDs are used for illumination and are covered by a black panel to hide the IR flash. These IR LEDs have an effective range of 50 feet. Some 'back yard' testing did have the camera triggering in the 55-60 foot range with visible images; the 50-foot range produced better defined images.
On the bottom, a rubber cover protects access to the 6v-12v jack for external power and the USB port used to access images on the SD card using a computer. A standard 1/4x20 mount on the bottom allows for a variety of accessories to be used.
Primos TruthCam Ultra Blackout features I like the best:
* the simplicity of the color coded slide switches
* ease of operation
* small size and light weight
The MSRP for the Primos TruthCam Ultra Blackout is $199.99 and is covered by a 1 year manufacturer's warranty. While it doesn't have all of the features, flexibility or capabilities that are available, it does have a lot to offer at a good price...and it's easy to use whether you're 'technology challenged' or not. For additional specifications, refer to the Game Camera chart.