2013 HCO Panda Camera Review - December 08, 2012 Back to Main Review Page
   

2012 HCO Panda

2013 HCO Panda 6 MP black flash digital camera review

We managed to make it through our list of 2012 camera’s and now our first new critter for this next year is hitting the market maybe just in time for Christmas or shortly there after. Having the same roots as some of this year cameras that came from HCO and Covert, which have already had the chance to prove themselves already in the field we expect this little fellow will do the same. Many of the very talented individuals from the old Boly company moved over to the Uovision plant and took up residence. The end result has been some fairly impressive units being produced and sold under these companies’ labels. 

At first glance it has a bit of the “Tiny” camera appearance that came from another company but that is about as close as it comes in comparison. This is a small camera that is about 6 inches wide and four inches tall. It sticks out off the tree about three inches and has a very dark brown camouflage color. This should be a very easy camera to hide even though it has that alien eye look with the array lens filters and the PIR mouth and main lens nose. 

We have no documentation on this camera so I have to fly this bugger by the seat of my pants. I can normally determine the emitter count either by an actual count or from the documentation. In this case they are not visible through the filters and it is a true black flash, so I do not know the count at this time. I will also have to wait for the formal trigger times because I have my flash analyzer at a different location this week. My guess just by watching through my digital camera is it is very close to being just under a second or better. 

The resolution settings are 3,5,6, MP’s and the delay goes down to zero but we always set it to the next highest setting which is 5 seconds. There is a burst mode up to three pictures per trigger. The info strip has date/time, moon phase, temperature, and battery indicator. It operates off 8 AA cells and uses up to a 32 gig SD card. Built in view screen and playback is photo only and not video. Video mode 640X480 is adjustable up to 60 seconds. It will still capture motion through the PIR when the time laps mode is selected. The time lapse setting is double window photo/video that reaches down to 5 seconds and up into the hours. There is an over write feature that allows the camera to start over writing the oldest picture stored when the card fills up. There is also pass word protection if you desire. 

My dark room tests showed that I could not see the array fire during my initial tests. I then set up for good sun out side captures and both IR and sun pictures were very respectable. I believe we are going to see some happy users once these make their way into the field. Being black flash and costing about $220 I think the acceptance will happen in short order. There is a bit of a bark grabber on the back of the cam and the strap loops have some cable loops but not exactly what we would call good security but better than nothing. This is where maybe that password protection might help. Once our trail camera aftermarket vendors get the measurements I think you might see some security enclosures coming available on their web sites.

SPECS

  • 6MP high quality photo

  • Built in 1.5” screen for programming and photo playback

  • Support SD card up to 32GB

  • High-output Invisible IR LEDs

  • Fast trigger time of 1.1s

  • Detection range: 50ft

  • Two Phase Time lapse: 5s+ interval

  • Overwrite function

  • Camera rename function

  • User-friendly interface

  • 8xAA & improved power management

  • Access Control (password protection)

  • Date , Time, Temperature and Moon phases stamps on image

  • Weatherproof

It is my understanding that HCO will have us the documentation with in the next couple of days. In the mean time I went to the Uovision site and their data on this camera says the IR count is 52 high out emitters. We are assuming that this is the same version that HCO has exclusive rights to. 

12-08-2012 update:  We have turned to the official side of things and the day range pictures will show that this camera will be giving very sharp and clear pictures with good color match. The trigger times came in a little slower than what I had originally thought. The day trigger times are just over a second and the night with flash is a bit faster. The video trigger times came in at about a second and a half which is very good news. So far we have not found much to complain about. Night range will come next as time allows. Sensing worked out to be about 50 feet at 61 degrees. The night range shows the flash will reach on out past 50 feet but because this is black flash the picture clarity for any kind of detail looks to be less than 40 feet. We moved to the hill and put out some of that high dollar corn for a quick attempt to get some night pictures and our guess on aim was a little low but it did do a fairly respectable job with the typical degree of black flash fuzz.

12-09-2012 update: The programming procedure on this unit is a bit different than some we have seen. There is a three area prompt across the top of the screen which you can scroll across and move down into the selected area. The first attempt at this made me stop and d a little thinking (remember we do not have the book yet) as to the method of programming. A couple tries back and forth and it became apparent as to how to precede then the programming became easy. The view screen is very small and things are a little close together so attention to detail is needed to insure that you make the correct selection.

01-22-2013 update: This camera is now in the battery life testing phase.  We will report back when the batteries have failed with a final result.

06-02-2013 update:  The batteries have finally gone dead on this camera.  It managed to capture a total of 6237 photos and 161 video clips over a period of 6 months.  The battery life is pretty good on this one.  This review is closed.

 

 

Trigger Tests
(without flash 1.31s)

(with flash 1.09s)

Video Trigger Test
 1.67 Seconds

  

Dead Pixel Test
 


Flash Range

Day Range/8 Plate

 


 

Sample Photos 6MP
Sample Photos 6MP
Sample Photos 6MP

Sample videos @ 640x480/no audio
(click to download/play)
 

 

   
   
   
   

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