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Field Test: Digital Game Cameras

Reconyx RC60 RapidFire Covert Color IR

Price: $600

Website: Reconyx

Reconyx RC60 Rapid FireThis thing boasts No-Glow covert infrared night vision with light filtering technology and RapidFire NearVideo that takes photos with a trigger speed of up to one frame per second. It captures 3.1-megapixel color images by day and 3.1-megapixel monochrome images by night, and it’ll hold 5,000 photos on a 2GB compact flash card. Reconyx’s NiteVision promises “invisible covert illumination for a night range of 35 feet.”

Moultrie GameSpy I60 Digital Game Camera

Price: $319

Website: Moultrie Feeders

Moultrie Game Spy I60The GameSpy I60 has an amazing 6.0 megapixels of resolution, no visible white flash and passcode protection. It takes video, too, and can be operated with remote control. A 150-day battery life means you won’t be running back and forth to the woods all the time, and the flash is effective up to 50 feet away. Of course, the temperature, moon phase, time, date and camera ID are stamped on every photo so you know the exact conditions at the time a buck was captured on film.

GSM Stealth Cam Prowler 5.0

Price: $400

Website: Stealth Cam

GSM ProwlerYou can shoot from one to nine 5.0-megapixel pictures per triggering with the Stealth Cam, as well as record high-quality VGA video day or night. The infrared “no flash” is good up to 50 feet out. GSM recently partnered with Walker’s Game Ear, and this camera holds up to both companies’ solid reputations. The Prowler is programmable for one to 50 minutes between motion, and the time/date, moon phase and temperature are stamped on every image and every video clip. The expandable SD-memory card slot accepts up to a 2 GB card (sold separately).

Leaf River IR-7SS

Price: $280

Website: Leaf River

Leaf River IR 7SSThe IR-7SS has a QuickShot mode so you can capture quicker second and third images before it enters the pause time, if additional motion is detected (like a buck following a doe down the trail). What’s more, it’s got improved trigger speed and video capability — with sound. The sensitivity knob is adjustable for motion detection. The picture quality is 7 megapixels.

Cuddeback Capture IR

Price: $230

Website: Cuddeback

Cuddeback Capture IRBuilt for affordability, the Capture IR is crazy easy to set up and uses infrared technology at night to take pictures without spooking deer. The trigger speed is twice as fast as Cuddeback’s previous models. The Capture IR takes color images (up to 3.0 megapixel) by day and the infrared images by night. It will take more than 2,000 images on one set of batteries, and you can set the image delays as low as 30 seconds.

Recon Outdoors Extreme 5.0MP

Price: $500

Website: Recon Outdoors

Recon Outdoors ExtremeThe Extreme 5.0 is pretty high-end, but the company claims the new Sniper Trigger and infrared “No Flash – No Dash” makes it the most technologically advanced scouting camera. It takes 5.0-megapixel images and has video capability and a laser-beam module for perfect aiming. It’ll pick up movement at 40 feet out, letting you cover more of your scouting area. A video port lets you view images in the field with a portable viewer (not included). The sensitivity is adjustable, helping to eliminate false triggers.

Predator Trail Cam Extinction

Price: $450

Website: Predator Trail Cams

Predator Trail Cam ExtinctionDouble Vision technology lets this camera operate 32 “true” infrared emitters for a 30-foot range with absolutely no visible light given off — not even a glowing red bulb! More emitters can be activated for an effective range of up to 40 feet. You can set a four-digit security code on the camera to prevent theft, and it’s got all-glass lenses for superior clarity (versus the plastic some other brands use). The Extinction will take five burst images in under 5 seconds and is capable of recording video up to 30 seconds. The 100-percent waterproof case is “indestructible,” according to the manufacturer, and is guaranteed for life against “anything Mother Nature can dish out.”

Bushnell Trail Scout Pro

Price: $385

Website: Bushnell

Bushnell Trail ScoutThe unique thing about the Trail Scout Pro is the built-in game caller — you select from among eight animal sound choices, and use the toggle switches and simple LCD to set it up with a minimum of complications. Bushnell claims it’s the “most user-friendly interface on the market.” There are 3.0-, 5.0- and crazy-high 7.0-megapixel options, and it takes 15-second video clips as well. The Pro model’s got a night-vision LED flash that won’t spook game or even reveal the camera location. The infrared flash’s effective range is 45 feet, and the camera’s got password protection and is solar-panel compatible if you feel like saving batteries.

BuckEye Cam Orion Wireless

Price: $1,000

Website: BuckEye Cam

Buckeye Cam Orion WirelessThe Cadillac of game cameras, the Orion takes photos and video and has a fully independent LiveCam function that uploads material directly to a Web site, so you can use it as a security system. Trigger speed is only 2/10ths of a second! Resolution is adjustable from 0.3-megapixel up to 3.1, with adjustable delay function and adjustable sensitivity. It’s also got a time lapse photography mode, and you can schedule the camera to only be active during certain times. The Orion will wirelessly transmit photos and video to the BuckEye Cam Orion PC Base (sold separately) or to another Orion camera, as part of a larger wireless system. Or, like most trail cameras, it’ll save the material to an SD card you can plug into your computer. If the price tag scares you, the company also makes a more affordable model with fewer bells and whistles, the Apollo, for half the price.

Smart Scouter

Price: $600, plus a monthly fee to access site.

Website: Smart Scouter

Smart ScouterBilled as a “cellular surveillance system,” the Smart Scouter wirelessly sends trail camera photos to you by posting them securely on SmartScouter.com. You can log on from anywhere in the world and view your photos without ever having to walk into the woods. There’s no disruption of the area, no leaving your scent behind, no spooking game. It’s simple to use and set up and offers real-time monitoring if you desire to use it for security purposes. Don’t have cell service on the back 40? The on-board compact flash card lets you use the camera there too, although you’ll have to retrieve those images in person. The company also sells refurbished models at a discount.

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