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

2012 Moultrie M80 BLX



 


 

2012 Moultrie M-80 BLX 5 MP 30 count Black flash camera review

There is a process going on that has been taking a bit of time away from the review schedule but because of the announcement and subsequent interest of anything new and also having the black flash title, we pulled out one of our samples to take a quick look. We will have to say that out of the box this camera is very much the cousin of the somewhat popular M-80 review during this past year. The differences is that they have adapted the 940 LED’s and filter to produce what appears to be very close to a true black flash. Other than the change to a dark screen over the array and a firmware change to the burst mode this camera is nearly the same as the last year’s model. Having to deal with the wad of paper called a manual I scanned through and found some very welcome changes. 

A card and some new tested cells and off to the dark room for a quick evaluation. I will say that they have done a very good job with this change and even though the array can be seen at about 3 feet it is so weak I don’t believe any animal would spook from it. The delay was also changed down to 5 seconds. The specification sheet is identical to the XT model camera so you can see that the similarities are close. 

As with the XT camera this camera has no published warranty data or card in the package so we have to put this review on hold until that happens and we recommend that no one purchase a unit until we know what coverage there is and that there is a hard copy in the consumers hands for their protection.

I pulled the card after some dark room tests and then some outside sunlight pictures and noticed the sensing was pretty good (35 degrees) to about 50 feet during this test and the pictures were respectable though this early morning light was not the greatest for a great evaluation. I will have to do that later. This camera does not have the motion freeze feature seen on the XT version so those tests were not done. We will continue and do the trigger and some range tests but we are still on hold waiting warranty information.

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.

01-01-2011 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 discretion 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 ensure 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.

01-02-2011 update:  Day range/8 plate and night range/8 plate pictures were taken and we will have to say that the black flash night range pictures are very well illuminated. Please view the pictures below for the example. This camera does not have the freeze feature so there are no tests for that. 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.          

Having both the XT and BLX back to back on the trigger table began to show us a couple of things. This progression into black flash probably has some background effect on the trigger time on this camera. Our advanced system was all over the place on trigger times and it was all due to the amount of light that the camera was seeing. It was almost like we could adjust the trigger times by varying the amount of light hitting the front of the camera. This camera does a respectable job with the with flash pictures but the limited sensing range and now a 2.8 with flash trigger time (average) takes it out of the trail category and lends it to the feeder scenario. The day with out flash trigger time was also a pretty solid 2 seconds. The delay periods were accurate as to their programmed settings.

01-06-2012 update:  Soon after getting the samples for the XT freeze pictures we pulled the card on this camera. We will say that the illumination is pretty good but the picture quality is very fuzzy but readable out to about 30 feet. This is black flash and most every camera with this flash has this same problem to a degree. Those cameras that have a noticeable black white cast to the pictures seem to have better detail characteristics. This camera with that grey haze to the pictures is lacking in that kind of detail. As far as flash they have done a respectable job. Please view the samples to make your own conclusion.

01-08-2012 update:  This black flash camera in video mode was of interest because this is where cameras seem to get themselves into trouble. I could see no indication of any of the target animals picking up on the cameras flash. Illumination was good but the fuzziness is still there. The transition periods had no whiteouts but did produce some very dark pictures prior to switching to some very washed out monochrome pictures. 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.

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 2.8s 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: Battery life lasted 130 days and there were 4979 pictures taken. This review is closed.

 

 

Trigger Tests
( without flash 1.98s)

( with flash 2.81s)

 

Flash Range
(camera only)

Day Range 8 Plate

 

 

Dead Pixel Test

Day Range/8 Plate
 

 


 

5MP Photo Samples [HIGH]

Video Samples


 




 

 

 

   
   
   
   

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