HCO Scoutguard SG-560K-8M 8 MP black IR digital camera
We have been peppered with data on this camera for months. The gorilla
marketers were steadily working the forums with their hype. There
were a couple of internet vendors that were just the computer
and tablet type of operation with no phone number or physical
location. For some reason they were trying to circumvent the
system around the US distributor of real Scoutguard cameras. We
followed this camera by communicating with actual users and
vendors in Canada and Europe. We began to gather and record all
reports as we also scanned through the many outdoor forums. We
can only assume that those reports were being taken from “real”
Scoutguard 560K cameras and not a clone. I know the ones up
north were the real thing. The reports were mixed and there were
many reports of problems. We can only assume that this recently
received camera is one of the latest and should be free of any
of the previously reported issues.
Many of the so called forum reports were inserted into threads where the
members were talking about another brand of camera and they
would drop in and try to degrade the other camera and claim
super performance from theirs. There were sometimes where there
were tag teams who worked and one would act innocent and support
the others claim. After being caught doing this on many
occasions that style of marketing finally disappeared.
Now that the real distributor (HCO) has the cameras (not yet released)
we will test one and give a very quick and accurate report and
if all goes well they will proceed with sales.
Out of the box inspection showed a camera that could very much be taken
for many of the past Scoutguard cameras that used that same
case. The difference is that the shiny black array cover is
there instead of seeing the usual red flash array. The case is a
green/brown subdued camouflage color and is not reflective other
than that black array. The array is top front with the PIR
sensor just below with the main lens just below that. There is
an external battery port on the bottom and strap loops on the
back. This is a full gasket type case that seals up very tight.
Inside there is a view/programming screen with the associated
control buttons below. The SD card slot and TV/USB on the bottom
edge below the control switches. The 8 AA cell battery holder
takes up the inside back.
After my recent go around with a Primos camera I gave the battery box a
very close look and especially the springs and contacts. I found
no faults in that area and the new tested cells were installed
without incident. The programming went well and I again
monitored the function of the buttons (a reported area of
failure) but found they seemed to function as normal. I
installed my cleaned SD card and proceeded to boot up the
camera. My first test was to evaluate the flash and I will be
putting it in the black flash category. Next I evaluated the
initial picture quality in both flash and bright sun. I was
somewhat disappointed in the flash picture quality and thought
it was very fuzzy. The day color pictures are about over
whelming in color saturation to the point that they look almost
false. Knowing what the actual landscape looked like and then
viewing the pictures I would have to say there is far more color
in the pictures than what was actually there. The contrast was
alright. Sensing was somewhat above average and seemed to sense
me very good for the temperature those tests were performed in.
The delay says that it will go down to 1 second but that is
actually false because of the write time to the card and will be
in the 5-6 second range. There is also a time laps feature on
this camera. The instruction specification says you can mount
with strap and “Python Lock” but there are no Python loops.
Burst is up to three pictures per trigger. The resolution can be
set to 5MP on the low side and 8 MP for the top setting. Video
is 640X480 and 320X440 and the FPS is 16 and 20 fps for those
settings. The SD card size is limited to 16 gigs and there is no
mention of class. There is no sound with the video and out of
the 10+ sample 10 second captures I did in the top setting, all
had very apparent vertical lines in the video. The dead pixel
test was good and did not show any defects. The camera has a
audible filter clunk at transition. Trigger time during my
unofficial tests seemed to be near 2 seconds. The next step will
be the trigger table and ranges.
05-21-2012 update: We managed to get the trigger times
and they were in the 1.5 second area. The day range again showed
the over saturation so we moved on to capture a few sample
pictures and they all had that over driven look. The night flash
distance seemed alright but the picture quality is very lacking.
Please view the sample pictures below.
05-23-2012 update: Video mode is not where you want to go
with this camera. It does work but not very well. Please view
sample video’s below.
We were surprised to find that this camera was dead today after
taking only 409 photos and 98 video clips. The camera
indicated low battery after 10 days of operation. Upson
testing of the batteries we determined that the first four went
dead while the second four were full in amperage. This
indicates a wiring issue or battery holder problem. For
now this review is closed. If a replacement unit appears
at some point we may retest it.