2012 Moultrie M-80XT Camera Review - December 30, 2011 Back to Main Review Page
   

2012 Moultrie M80XT



 


 


2012 Moultrie M-80XT 5 MP 30 count red flash digital camera review

I have a source that that gets me cameras very early and I had not intended to even open these Moultrie cameras up until the turmoil of getting ready for the ATA show for Scouting Assistant was over. Because of the forum hype that was growing, I to managed to get my interest up so I opened the box and dug out a couple to see what the buzz was all about. I expected a very noticeable new product to come out of the package but it is very much the same product as the 2011 M-80 that we reviewed during that year. Physically it appears to be identical except for a light sensor change. This leaves maybe some internal hardware or firm ware differences. Scanning what was left of a product manual after it was machine pressed into a plastic wrapper which resulted in a booklet that was in a form that required that each page be ironed out in order to begin to read. 

Going through the booklet after I managed to straiten the pages enough to read I found there are some really nice improvements listed. These are multishot-which has new options, Delay-which goes down to 5 seconds, Motion freeze-which changes the shutter speed down to 1/20th second from 1/4th of a second, plus probably some firmware handling of light to allow for the shorter speed. 

Now this is where this review stops and we are on hold. I could find no warranty information or registration card in the packaging. So Moultrie could be pulling a Cuddeback on their customers. Last year we found that 6 month thing published in the Cudde manual and that eventually was changed to 18 months after we announced that point. Until we see where we have a published in package warranty, we would not recommend that anyone purchase one of these cameras. 

You can see that we are only showing a couple of views of the camera because the appearance is the same as the 2011 M-80 so if other views are important then refer to that review for those pictures. 

Going over a couple of things I found the last year’s booklet which I printed out and is strait is very usable for this camera. The delay period listed as 5 seconds seems to be a little long but not much longer. The trigger time during my initial tests appeared to be around 1.5 to 2 seconds. I am going to see just how well this motion blur change to the night time IR pictures works in the dark room in a few minutes. I am still having a problem with the warranty issue and hope this is just an over sight on their part. I completed the motion tests and there may be a difference when the motion freeze is on but so far it is hard to tell. We will have to do some field tests on the flash range to maybe get some distance testing on that feature to judge the effectiveness. The sensing was not very strong during my tests on the motion freeze because I was only using my arm to trigger and the camera seemed to be having a hard time seeing that motion. Seeing this problem I then took a trip outside on this 35 degree morning and it was catching me at 45 to 50 feet fairly easy.


12-31-2011 update:  Some of the things that were also carried over on these cameras is the Strap only (no Python) loops on the back also the non standard thread in the insert.  This is not the standard ¼ inch insert that is standard on all other cameras. Probably this insert was designed for some type of proprietary type of mount. Security is not one of the features built into this camera. I also spent another two hours trying to determine the freeze feature (not available on the BLX) and I am not yet convinced that my old eyes can tell much difference using the in house type tests.

01-01-2012 update:  After a little help from a fellow owner we found “Please register your camera on line to activate your warranty. Well we went on line and searched the entire site and at the far bottom under “returns” a mention of warranty. As we did with Cudde we find this is not acceptable. There should be warranty data in the package. Then that explanation as to where to locate that information should you choose to either use the phone, card (if provided), or on line to register. There is a trend to move toward on line services which makes sense but there are still a vast amount of users who still rather use the registration card (US mail) and at least have the privilege to be able to read the warranty information in the store prior to purchasing a product. This may seem petty but an on line printed warranty may or may not be considered valid should a major issue arise. We would very much like to see the in package system returned to and kept.

01-01-2012 update 2:  Trying to explain the multi shot feature I will have to take it in two phases. First they have their standard burst method which is to select the amount of burst and the camera will take that amount of pictures with about 2 seconds between the shots. Then the burst “fast shot” is the burst mode where the selected amount of pictures is all taken within about 2 seconds for the entire burst. The programming user can program the picture amount and speed he/she selects depending on the need of that user. I am not going to go through all the physical dimensions and description because that was all covered in the original M-80 review and that data remains the same. The packaging did not have any mention like “rapid fire trigger” as we have seen on other packaging but it does indicate the battery life could be up to one year. There is sound with the video and this camera has the “Plot” mode plus the Plot day and motion night feature. This is limited to just 3600 day time pictures per day (15 second interval) in the time lapse mode. One funny note is they recommend Duracell or Energizer AA cells. My choice would be Ray O Vac first Energizer second and last Duracell as long as you pre test each Duracell battery out of the package to insure that it is good prior to putting it in the camera. I know we did like the M series last year so maybe they have done one better this year with a couple upgrades.

Motion Freeze feature is where they have changed the shutter speed to eliminate the blur factor that has been one of the down sides of IR night time pictures. On paper it does look impressive and maybe a giant step in the right direction. Until we have some extensive field testing, we will not judge its effectiveness. I do know that close range 10 to 15 feet dark room tests did not reflect a noticeable change.

01-02-2012 update:  The day and night/8 plate range pictures were taken and as expected the flash did not disappoint and is the same as last year. We then moved on and did some walk tests with and without the freeze feature turned on. There is evidence that it does work but not to the extent we would wish but it is definitely better. Please view the pictures below to see the difference. Another note is that we performed the sensing tests and this was at an ideal temperature for good long range sensing and both the XT and the BLX would only sense out to 38 feet.

Inside lab tests began to go south for this camera. It has officially made the “feeder list” with its trigger times. The without flash comes in at around 2 seconds and with flash is on out to 2.43 seconds. They did hit the delay period right on the money and the 5 second settings coming in right on the money. The 15 second setting also was accurate so that part problem was not carried over from last year. We are puzzled at the sensing and was wondering if they purposely did that so that all pictures would be well inside the flash range.

01-03-2012 update:  We managed to capture a few pictures from our resident herd and these were with the freeze factor turned off and of course we experienced the blur with the night IR pictures. For the top resolution setting both the day and night pictures have that fuzzy look to them and not nearly as sharp I don’t think as we got with the M-80 original we tested last year. The color match is also weak which was also better last year. So far we are not impressed with the picture quality we have seen and I would suggest you tour the pictures in the high setting from the review last year and you will see what we are indicating. We have now turned on the freeze feature to test that feature on animals in a natural state to evaluate some more as to its effectiveness. The strong points so far are a good flash and delay, the rest is a step backward.

01-05-2012 update:  We are continuing the freeze function test which requires a large number of night pictures in order to be able to select those which would have enough movement to show blur. We also have a forum member who has the same camera and he recently posted some day picture which very much reflect the same fuzzy characteristics and color weakness as our sample pictures show. This is very strange because last years camera had sharp clear pictures with good color match.

01-06-2012 update:  The sample pictures of the “freeze” option turned on reflects that it does work. As to the degree of improvement accomplished by this option will to have to be the new users call. We found that small areas such as horns still have a weak appearance if the animal is near the fringe (38 feet) of the sensing area. Please view the sample pictures for your call on this function. I have had a couple of long conversations with a couple of camera addicts that I know and I was pointing out the differences of this years M-80 compared to last years camera and both looked at what they were now selling for with a sub $100 price and function after being updated they choose the last years camera hands down over the new ones with the new options.

01-08-2012 update:  Having switched over to video mode we found that the fuzziness followed over into this feature. The sound was clear with no internal background noise. The video is limited to ten seconds for night time in order to limit battery drainage. The IR illumination was very good in most cases though we did have a little IR burn on close targets.  The transition periods had no whiteouts but did produce some very dark pictures prior to switching to some very washed out monochrome pictures.

The multi shot feature comes in two styles, first on the program is standard and second is the fast fire. The standard happens about every 4 seconds and the fast fire happens about 200ms apart. This can be selected up to 4 shots. After the multi shot sequence the camera will enter a delay period of about 18 seconds for the standard setting and the delay between the fast fire sequences is also 18 seconds for a programmed delay setting of 5 seconds. The rapid fire does work very well.. Please view the pictures below for the readout of these sequences.

01-15-2012 update:  We wanted to show the picture difference for each resolution setting on the camera. With the camera locked down we captured pictures in each resolution one after the other and under basically the same conditions so that you can see what the difference is per setting. Please view those samples below.

01-21-2012 update:  Well we are back in the saddle and we went ahead and done some very extensive trigger testing in the multi-shot fast mode and we are sorry to report that our initial tests were a fluke and the standard trigger times of 1.98s day and 2.43s night apply. Some times on the first trigger test out the gate changes so that is why we have to do multiple repeats of the same test to ensure that the data is correct. During those first tests we did only that single test and because of the rush to get things ready for ATA we went ahead and posted those results. The true and end result is the fast feature only effects the time between the multi shots and not the trigger time at all.  This concludes the testing on this unit.  We will report a final battery life when that is completed.  This review is closed.

05-19-2012 final update:  We stretched the battery life out to this week and the camera took 4152 pictures and 75 videos. Total time was 130 days. This review is closed.

 

Trigger Tests
( without flash 1.98s)

( with flash 2.43s)

 

Flash Range
(camera only)

Day Range 8 Plate

Walk test with FREEZE = OFF

Walk test with FREEZE = ON

Dead Pixel test

Resolution Comparison Tests

LOW

NORMAL

HIGH

ENHANCED

 

 


 

5mp [HIGH] Samples (FREEZE = OFF)
5mp [HIGH] Samples (FREEZE = ON)







3 Shot Standard Tests



3 Shot FAST Tests


 

Video Samples


 




 

 

 

   
   
   
   

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