2017 Browning Dark OPS HD 940 Camera Review

Browning Dark OPS HD 940/July 31, 2017

The Browning Dark OPS HD 940 is another small camera, part of the sub micro series, and physically and functionally similar to the Strike Force 850 HD.  Like the 850 HD, It uses only 6 AA batteries internally which allows Browning to shrink the foot print of this camera.  The Dark OPS uses a small two line back lit LCD display screen.  For use in the dark, both the LCD and the buttons are back lit.  The screen is bright in the dark and easy to see and use at the right angle.

This camera utilizes 940nm LEDs which normally means that the flash is invisible to the human eye when it flashes but this also means poorer night imaging typically.

The surface of the camera has a molded texture that is covered with a camo pattern on the front surface of the camera, while the back is a brownish tan color.  This textured approach helps to reduce flat surfaces which reflect light and the camo pattern helps it hide into the background.  The LED array is black with a random break up pattern on it to reduce glint in the sunlight and to help the camera hide in its background.

Rather than the camera opening like a book, it has a small hinged flap on the front that uses a single secure latch and covers the LCD display, buttons, and SD card slot. The batteries are held in a removable tray with a push button release for access.  The bottom of the camera has a removable rubber flap covering the external battery port which is labelled 12V.  The bottom rear has a single standard screw in for mounting while the back of the camera supports both strap and a python.  Other than using a small lock on the hinge, in order to keep someone from opening or accessing your camera you will need a lock box.

Included in the box is a very nice strap with a metal clasp.  I find that so many cameras will come with a strap that is virtually useless because the plastic buckle will break the moment you put decent tension on it.  I feel that adding a usable strap with metal clasp is a nice touch and shows that Browning is in touch with the market and its customer base.

I still recommend a lock box for this camera for better security and protection.

I would consider this an easy camera to use and I was able to change the configuration with out referring to the printed manual so far.

 

Manufacturer model #: BTC-6HD-940.

Manufacturers specifications:

  • No glow infrared emitters (invisible to human eye)
  • 12-Volt External Battery Jack
  • Accepts up to a 512 Gig SD Card
  • Runs on 6 AA batteries
  • 16 mpxl (interpolated) photos
  • 1280×720 HD videos w/ audio
  • Video lengths 5 seconds – 2 minutes. 20-second max night videos
  • Picture stamp includes: time, date, moon phase, temperature, and camera ID
  • Timelapse plus mode (time lapse plus motion trigger)
  • SD Card Override
  • Smart IR video
  • Removable battery tray
  • TV out jack (cord not included)
  • USB 2.0 port (cord not included)
  • 1/4″ x 20 threaded insert
  • Multi-shot up to 1-8 images
  • Selectable time delay: 5, 10, 20, 30 seconds or 1, 5, 10, 30, 60 minutes
  • Includes 6 ft. nylon camera strap with all metal buckle

The MSRP on this camera is around $149.00.

Chasingame Test Results:

Test PerformedResult
Flash Range60+ but usable within 50 feet. At 50 ft poor resolution. Grainy overall.
Trigger Time without flash0.43s
Trigger Time with flash0.48s
Video Trigger Time2.50s
Photo Recovery Time(s)0.52
0.79
2.38
1.56
1.64
1.57
.46
2.77
2.09
0.55
2.20
1.46
2.09
No distinct Pattern found.
Video Recovery time (5s clips, 5s delay, smart ir=off)avg 1.84s
Day RangeThe 8 plate is clear at 30 feet. Decent clarity out to 50+ feet but beyond it gets very grainy when zoomed in.
Battery Life8095 Photos and 434 Video clips over 9 weeks
Filter ClunkNo
Invisible FlashYes
Motion BlurLow. Photos do not show much motion blur.
Sensing Test65+ feet at 83F degrees

Photo Samples captured in 16MP setting.

Video Samples captured in ULTRA settings [day].

2017 Browning Dark Ops HD 940 from Chasingame.com on Vimeo.

Video Samples captured in ULTRA settings [night].

2017 Browning Dark Ops HD 940 Night samples from Chasingame.com on Vimeo.

Progress and Activity
07-31-2017 Update: Range and trigger tests
I managed to get the review started, capture the day range pictures and some sample photos. I completed the trigger testing and get this camera back out into the woods.
08-01-2017 Update: Photo and Video samples
I put the camera out in video mode last night while I was grabbing photos on another camera nearby. The videos look pretty good and the sound was all at a low level but occasionally would be much louder. I just had to keep my hand on my speaker volume. I capture sample day and night photos as well.  I noticed one glitch photo like I have seen before.  I do not know the cause as of yet.  I have the camera on the range and when its dark I will grab some range shots and perform the sensing tests.
08-02-2017 Update: Range Test and Sensing
I managed to get the sensing tests and flash range done. I put the camera back out in video mode. Unfortunately my deer prefer the day time. I hope to get some night videos. Maybe more water melon will help.
08-03-2017 Update: SD card mystery
I checked the camera this morning after both corn and water melon were deployed only to find that no videos were saved to the card. I reused the card from a previous camera and there was already a folder under the DCIM folder. Normally this is not an issue. The card is the Transcend 4GB. I removed the card and put into my card reader under Windows 10. I removed the old folder from the DCIM folder and put back into the camera. Tested it in video mode again. Pulled the card only to find that my folder was there again and so were all the old photos. The SD card lock is not locked. Windows thinks it is removing files and they disappear however once I remove and replace the card into my card reader those files are back.

This is not a camera issue but a bad SD card or corrupt. I will try a full format to see if this helps. In any case I will resume testing in video mode with a different card. Bummer… all that water melon …

Update: Windows format returns: “Windows was unable to complete the format”. Into the trash it goes. I am not sure I trust the Transcend brand at this point.

08-05-2017 Update: Video samples - Night
I managed to get the deer to walk by at night but not after capturing 15GB of video clips. I got the video samples online. This camera is moving to the battery life phase at this point.
10-20-2017 Update: Battery Life
This camera captured 8095 Photos and 434 Video clips over a 9 week period. This review is complete.

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