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SpyPoint IR-A

2007 model

 http://www.ggtelecom.ca/EN/produits.html

 

Spypoint IR-A Digital Surveillance Camera Review

My mother was born in Canada so I can personally vouch that there are some real good things that come from our neighbors up north. Out of the box we see many similarities that seem to belong to the Leaf River cameras. The over all look and the metal brackets on the back of the camera seem to be a near copy. Inside the camera there is also some similarities to the switches and dials that is similar to that of the Leaf River cams. The large loops on the sides of the cam and metal rear bracket that would facilitate the use of the Python Cable are a welcome feature. The large IR array incorporates long range, medium, and wide angle emitters. Inside there is a series of switches for programming and the typical 4 button setup to set the date/time function. The mode switch selects between picture and video plus test and view. The work switch selects day only, night only, or 24 hour operation. The delay switch selects the period of rest time between images. The fastest delay is 10 seconds followed by 30 seconds, 1 minute, 5 minutes, 15 minutes, and 30 minutes. The 10 second delay is a great feature that is not seen on many cams. The multi-shot switch sets the cam to take a second third or fourth picture every 20 seconds. This switch also is used in the movie mode to switch the movie length between 10, 30, 60, and 90 seconds. Then there is the Leaf River type dial that can be adjusted for PIR sensitivity. There is a SD card port that accepts up to 1 gig cards and a USB port when the need to see what is in the 16 MB memory. This is another cam in the door camera and for those who read a lot of our reviews you know this is not one of our favorite designs. The case comes with a nice camouflaged look and the loops for the included strap also goes through the metal bracket on the back of the cam which is a good feature. To battery up this cam it takes 6 C cells and this time we chose new energizers (pre tested) and will run them until they go dead for our battery life test. Another great feature is the external battery port that will take a good 12 volt SLA and keep this thing running a long time. The cable is sold as an accessory but is less than $10 dollars. This cable should be of interest to many Stealth and Moultrie users. The High rez setting (set with time/date buttons) is 3 MP and the low rez setting is 2 MP. Movies are recorded at a 320X240 resolution. With the new energizers installed and the program firmly stuck into memory I proceeded with a few in house tests. It appears that it takes about 5 seconds to fire the IR array. Having only to wait 10 seconds to fire it up again was really nice. When this array fires up it is like a spotlight. The array’s red glow is very predominating. It seems like one might have a hard time hiding this cam, without giving away its location when triggered at night. It appears to do a good job of illuminating and tomorrow morning I will be putting that to the test. Documentation is a small fairly well written booklet that is easy to follow but because of this cams design we did not have to refer to it at any time to do the programming. This is a real simple, logical camera to operate. The case passed the leak test and close examination showed a pretty large rubber gasket in the door slot. The latches are very much like those on all Stealth cams and locks up very tight. No weep holes in this case for the little critters to walk through and set up house. The PIR lens appeared to be a little warped and had some minor scratch in it when we took it out of the box. We hope this does not bother the over all function. Next will be the sensing rang and flash range testing then we will put it on the trigger time table before sending it off to the hill for some sample picture and movies.

 

09-01-2007 update:  Pulled this cam out for testing this morning and seen that the temperature was just over 70 degrees. The flash range tests were just a pure pleasure to do and it was over in a short period because of the 10 second delay period. This test showed that this large array would push light past 40 feet. I then performed the sensitivity test with the PIR sensitivity dial on max and the cam would pick me up at 30 to 35 feet repeatedly. Again I noticed while I was down range of this cam as to how much red glow was coming from the IR array. This might be a little much and because of this I would probably try to mount this camera well above the animal’s eye level and have it looking down at the target area to keep from spooking that wary old buck. The pictures of the flash range tests were a little washed out, but totally readable. During our poll on IR camera pictures I noticed that those pictures that were picked as best were the pictures that the black in the pictures was actually black and did not have that slight gray tinge to them. I was curious to see if the delay period was actually 10 seconds to have the cam to write to the card and get ready for the next picture. Repeated tests showed that the delay period when set to 10 seconds was actually 9 seconds. This is very impressive for a 3 MP cam. I wonder why a lot of our domestic cams choose the minimum delay of 1 minuet for the same MP rating cam. If the trigger times and field testing prove successful, this is going to be a pretty good cam. My old brain is already seeing a side by side with an I 40 and a I 450 somewhere down the line. On to he next phase doing trigger times and movie and picture samples. 
 

09-01-2007 update 2:  Hauled this rascal out to Anthony’s and stuck it on the trigger time stand and proceeded to do the tests with flash and without flash. First results were not very believable so we began a series of repeats to see if the numbers fell in line. It appears that we have a pretty solid 2 second trigger time in both modes. We are now raising some eyebrows, 2 second trigger and a 10 second delay, a decent camo case that is water tight and external battery port. It is doing everything we asked it to do and doing it fairly well. Picture quality is a bit lacking but very readable, the overwhelming features would probably put this cam in a category of being a pretty good buy when it becomes available.

10-01-2007 update:  We have ran this cam through its paces and only two issues surfaced during this round. The time date printed on the pictures is lost in the color and is very hard to read. The other issue is that we could not get this camera to switch to low rez. Several attempts failed and the camera would remain in high rez all the time. We then discovered that powering the camera off would lose this setting and it would revert back to High.  After switching to Low res, do not power off the camera. Other than those two mentioned things this camera has performed very well. The picture quality is lacking but it has decent trigger time and with everything we have done to date the battery indicator still reads full. So far it has taken 1689 pictures and a 57 movies in the past 30 days. We are going to call this review finished.  We will update the battery life page when this camera finally runs out of juice.

     

Trigger Time 2 seconds
(with and without flash)
Flash Range
Samples Low Res
 
Samples High res



Movie Samples 320x240

 


SpyPoint IR-B

2008 model

 http://www.ggtelecom.ca/EN/produits.html

Spypoint IR-B 5 MP red flash IR camera review 08-05-2008

Last year we were fortunate to test the first camera from this company and we were pretty impressed on just how well they did for a first year camera. The have got their feet wet in the market now and this year they have a couple new cameras. This camera is the IR-B and its big brother will be tested next is the IR-C. My first comment is that this is a very good looking camera. It has a brown bark looking camo and a neat finished look to it. The case is about 3 ¾ inches deep and 6 ½ inches wide with a height of 8 ½ inches. The main lens is centered near the top front and just below is the large bow tie looking IR array that incorporates both narrow and wide angle emitters. The PIR sensor is just below the array and the way it is balanced out it is very attractive. This is another cam in the door configuration with the latches to the right side of the cam. The back of the camera has two metal pieces that very much resemble those of the Leaf River. These brackets will insure that the cam has a good solid mount when deployed. Centered at the bottom edge of the camera is the external battery port. This port can be used with the optional 12 foot battery cable. The price that was first talked about when I first saw this camera mentioned was $200 but now that it is out they are asking $250 for this feature loaded camera. Lets open this thing up and see what is inside.

The first thing that stuck out is the complete (with no gaps) red vinyl seal that is all the way around the door. No weep holes here for those pesky ants to think is the entrance to their new electronic home. The left side of the door has the SD card slot (up to 2 gig) and the USB and TV out ports. The main camera programming panel has the on off switch at the top left with the LCD just to the right of this. The 4 menu buttons to set date/time are just to the right of the LCD. These are the standard menu, up, down and set buttons for date/time setting. All the other programming is done with a series of switches (total of 4).  The first is mode which switches modes of photo (still), video, test, and view. The next is the work button that selects day/night and 24 hr operation. The Delay button is next and has 6 settings from 4 seconds on the top and 30 minutes on the bottom. The Last is the Multi shot 1, 2, 3, 4 settings and if the video mode is selected it adjusts the video length from 10, 30, 60, 90 seconds. The PIR sensitivity is adjusted with a rotating Knob. Below all the switches, panel, and sensitivity knob is the battery compartment that is going to take some special explanation. There is a 4 3/8 X 3 ¾ inch plastic removable panel that accesses the battery compartment. Inside the battery compartment is the springs and plates to accept 6 C cells which is how we are testing the camera. If you should choose, this company has optional rechargeable lithium batteries that will also fit this chamber. There is a plug at the bottom of the battery compartment that would be used to plug into the lithium battery should you choose to use them with this camera. Now here is what is neat, if you choose to use the Li battery in this cam then you can also use the optional solar panel to keep it topped off. The port at the bottom of the case is where the panel would plug in if you choose to go this route. One fault I found is that the plastic cover over the batteries does not hold well and with the door open and the cam gets a bump the batteries will fall out. One nice thing is that you don’t loose date/time or any programming when this happens. I did the flash range test this morning and I feel that no one will have a problem with the amount of light that comes from this camera. With this being the case, things at close range have a lot of IR burn. So when deploying this camera, do not put it in close where the night time animals will be up near the camera. The 4 second delay made doing the trigger time and flash range testing a snap. The unofficial trigger time came in at 4 seconds (with flash) which blew me away because last years camera had a 2 second trigger time. This is not good and really takes away from a really excellent camera design. Sensing range was 30 feet for this 72 degree morning. Should the peripheral sensing prove to be good then we could probably live with this slow trigger. This is a big letdown for me and I hope the other features will make this camera fit into what other folks expect in a new camera purchase. Off to the hill for some sample videos and pictures.

08-10-2008 update:  Put the camera on the hill at max rez (5MP) and were able to capture a few pictures. The color day pictures are very good and the pure IR pictures where the target animal is not to close to the camera are very good also. The problem comes when the transition from day to night and from night to day. This camera will start taking pictures that one will be a whiteout (flash going off) and one dark (without flash) this will continue until the camera finally decides that it is either day or night and then it will have very sharp and clear pictures. Most every camera we have tested to date have had this problem to a degree. The factory folks felt that our trigger time tests were not correct. They felt that the time according to their tests should be around two seconds. Well the tests were performed by two different individuals on two different clocks and the results were exactly the same. This may be another one of those post production cases where things are not the same as the pre production models.  

08-11-2008 update:  Because of the discrepancy in our trigger times and the ones that were done at the factory the folks up there want us to return the cameras so they can take a look at them. They are boxed up and waiting for that big brown truck. Review is stopped at this point until the replacement cams arrive.

12-18-2008 update:  We are closing out this review as we did not get a replacement camera to continue the review.  Instead we continued testing an updated IR-C which did have improvements in many areas which we believe are carried over onto the IR-A and IR-B.

    

 

 

Trigger Time 4 seconds
(with and without flash)

Flash Range
Samples Low Res
 
Samples High res






 
Movie Samples
 

SpyPoint IR-C

2008 model

 http://www.ggtelecom.ca/EN/produits.html

Spypoint IR-C 8 MP red flash IR camera review 08-05-2008

It is nice when I have just finished the little brother to this cam and much of what  I have written will also apply to this camera. All the dimensions and camo color is the same. All the data about the battery compartment and all external ports is also the same. Now view the difference between the IR-B and IR-C. Please refer to the above review on the IR-B for all the mentioned similarities. Instead of the series of switches this cam uses one slide switch labeled photo, video, test, set, and view/TV. Above this is a view screen that displays every thing that deals with the programming. There is a set of three button to the right of the screen that controls your selection. These are the up/down and select button. This screen can also be used in the field to view images that have been taken. Move the slide switch to the set position and use the buttons to toggle through the settings and the up down buttons to make your choice. Once you make a change then hit the OK button and your selection will be programmed in. This camera has a quality setting and this is where you select the desired MP setting between 3, 5, and 8 MP. The delay settings are the same as the IR-B and I selected the 4 second setting for my tests. There is a distance dial like the IR-B and this is the PIR sensor sensitivity adjusting knob. I am now going to have to sneak up on the trigger time bench and see what I can do with an unofficial test. Well that went well but the outcome was disappointing. I am going to say that this cam does an unofficial trigger time of just over 3 seconds with flash. The test went smooth as greased lightning. The 4 second delay and what appears as very good sensing allowed the test to be completed in a few minutes. I have spent as much as 6 hours trying to just get a usable trigger time. I hope the without flash tests come out somewhere around two seconds and this cam will become a keeper. Security has gone down since the original camera. The holes for the python cable are no longer used.  A double wrap through the back holes with a Python cable would probably work.

08-11-2008 update:  Because of the discrepancy in our trigger times and the ones that were done at the factory the folks up there want us to return the cameras so they can take a look at them. They are boxed up and waiting for that big brown truck. Review is stopped at this point until the replacement cams arrive.

11-08-2008 update:  Since back in August we have had a number of mails back and forth and finally the factory folks began to find out that our findings were correct and they went to work on some serious corrective actions. It has been a long hard haul for them but we were notified that they have concluded their upgrade process and let us know that they were not able to achieve the trigger times that they wanted but did get it adjusted down to a sub 2 second time. We have UPS notification that these two cams will be here from Canada Monday and will get them back into the review. These two cams have been chosen for our long term testing so we will be reporting more through out the next few months.

 

11-16-2008 update:  We only received this camera back so we will not finish the IR-B review but we will continue on this one. We stuck it on the table and performed a series of trigger time tests and all came out at 2 seconds which is a big improvement. We then done some sensing range tests and they all came out very good and will easily sense out past the flash range this time of year. The picture quality seems to have been improved also. We have it on the hill monitoring a nice pile of corn so I am sure some of our resident welfare deer will give us a good show.

 

11-20-2008 update:  This camera has worked well but still has a couple of issues one minor and the other is troubling. The first is that dreaded filter clunk that several of this years IR cameras have had to deal with and the other is we have about 12% of the night time pictures are without flash. Out of a series of 820 pictures we had a total of 103 them without flash. The day pictures are very good and have a good degree of quality. We could not duplicate the picture quality of their site pictures but we found them to be respectable in quality.

 

11-23-2008 update:  The black no flash pictures continued and the folks at the factory thought that maybe that it was a firmware issue or stuck IR filter. With the degree of filter clunk we feel that the latter is not is probably not the case. We went to the site and followed the instructions the best we could but there were some terminology dealing with source folders that did not have a meaning and we were unable to perform the firmware upgrade using the online instructions. We will have to get with those folks to get a couple of things explained and we will re try it. In the mean time we are going to put another set of fresh tested batteries in the camera and put it back out for a period until we hear from the factory folks. If we manage to solve a couple of problems this will be a great camera to have in anyone’s inventory.

 

11-24-2008 update:  After some back and forth with the company we finally did manage to get the firmware update performed and we will post here the proper procedure because there is a little bit of difficulty the way it is written on the site. Here is the proper procedure:

From the website product page for the IR-C:

 

http://www.ggtelecom.ca/EN/IR-C.html

Locate the download link for the zip'd firmware file.  Download this file and unzip it.  Copy the firmware file that you just extracted to a clean SD card.  Place the SD card into the camera.  Hold down the Menu button, and turn on the camera.  the display will read "updating firmware", then after a few seconds it will say that it was successful.  turn off the camera, clean the card (remove all files) and you are ready to go.  Start with known good batteries!

 

11-27-2008 update:  The update seemed to help in two areas, first the picture quality seemed to improve and we so far have not had any more black night time pictures. Having a camera with a two second trigger time requires that some attention be taken during your setup in order to make sure that the animal is in the picture. We have had no problems with our setup and we have been well satisfied with the performance. I am just not in tune with the very large files that the 8 MP setting produces and it would be my choice to run this camera on the lower settings. Part of what we have to do is mail some of these pictures and that limits what can be included in the message unless you choose “make smaller” which gives that postage stamp size picture to the message. After their long hard fight to get this camera off the ground, it appears they definitely have a winner and a performer. Because we had someone ask if the firmware upgrade made a difference in trigger time we retested the trigger time and it added a half second to the time which is not good.

 

11-29-2008 update:  Well we had a little case of the dumb butt while doing our setup and thought we were on the high setting and later found out that we were actually looking at the 5 MP pictures which were great. We moved down to the 3 MP setting and I found no fault with the day time pictures but still get that dreaded blur that all the IR cams have had. The next set was the 8 MP pictures and all I can say is that the quality seems to follow through with all settings. There is a period of time during the transition time that the color day and the IR night pictures are just black and white but clear. This also is what we see a lot with the IR cameras and is not a problem for us as long as the pictures remain sharp and clear. This cam is a keeper but the trigger time moving to 2.5 seconds kind of bothers us.

 

12-08-2008 update: Three weeks and 1995 pictures on a set of tested Energizers is what we got on the battery life. The picture quality on the night with flash pictures dropped of all of a sudden when the battery level got low. This is like most cameras and we seen the last 100 or so pictures where the flash range slowly dropped. The night temps have been in the high 20s and low 30s so battery life would also be affected somewhat by the cold. Even at that the day pictures were great with good color and sharp and clear.

 

01-03-2009 update:  Well us folks here at Chasingame have got some red faces on this camera. It seems that when we received this camera so we could continue the review we just snatched it out of the box and went to work. We started to do a little cleanup of our shop and were putting away the dozens of boxes that had accumulated. When we picked up the Spypoint box it seemed heavy. A closer look into the box we found that we had missed the fact that we also received the LI rechargeable battery and solar panel. So new we have a new test to perform on this great cam. Inside the box was the LIT-C1 lithium ion rechargeable battery and charger. In another box was the SP-12V solar panel. To use these accessories you must remove all internal batteries and install the charged battery pack. This is connected to the external port on the camera. The panel comes with a very nice mounting bracket that allows for proper aim of the panel towards the morning sun. We will initiate the panel and battery tests in the coming weeks and it should be a pretty good test because this will be done during a somewhat cold time plus the winter sun holds low on the horizon. Our apology goes out to our suppliers for overlooking this part of this product. It should prove that this is even a better product than all the positive things said so far. We have to wait for the present cells die so we can gather that data for our second evaluation of batteries in the cold and wild. At that time we will do another set up and start to gather new data. This is going to be a long term evaluation so keep coming back for more information.

 

03-30-2009 update:  As you can see by the pictures we did the setup using the solar panel and rechargeable battery. For some reason this failed and our communications again resulted in a lot of stuff being returned to the factory for evaluation. We now have a replacement setup from the factory and instead of just taking off where we had left off we just put the rechargeable battery in the camera and set it up in the field. Once it is depleted we will then do the same setup but with the solar panel. We are on the second week of the test now. We were unable to get to the camera this past weekend because of about three inches of rain coming down. It looks like we will have to wait until next Saturday to check the results. We are very impressed with this camera so far and we hear about a new download coming that will make things happen a little faster. Keep in touch on this camera because it is going to be a winner.

 

04-04-2009 update:  We did get down country to check this camera. We had it on the rechargeable battery and it wad dead when we arrived. The 2 gig card was full so the picture count was way up there. With just the battery and a moderate amount of pictures (1000 or less) this camera will go over two weeks on the rechargeable LI battery. We have it charged back up and moved in so we can keep a closer look because of the large file size of the high MP pictures. The solar panel is also aimed high so we can see if we can pull a month or so out of this camera. We are still waiting for the new download to get a little better count on the trigger time.

 

04-10-2009 update:  We just received our notification on the beta version of the download to improve the trigger time. Anthony got a little excited and snuck out of work and headed for the lab to get a couple of tests done. The download is the “to the card” type and then a procedure to load to the cam from the card. We preformed the trigger times, both with flash and without flash and the times prior to the upgrade and they were 2.5 seconds average. We did the simple download upgrade and the tests were again performed and the results recorded. We are very happy with the results and a full one second was removed from the time. The trigger times are now in the 1.5 second area repeatedly. A big “ata boy” is in order for these folks who are like Scoutguard, Leaf River, and Reconyx and do their upgrades as they happen. This has been a while in coming but this download will apply to most of their cameras. Once this is fully tested this company will make the announcement on their website. We now have to determine if there are any negative results to other function because of the download. So far it appears to be just a great upgrade with no negative side effects.

 

04-19-2009 update:  Set up on a very active feeder and with the multi shot/3MP selected, this fully charged solar assisted camera got a total of 8 days and 4184 pictures. I know that the picture count is way up there and a good portion was at night with flash. The high picture count will take its toll on the battery for sure so we are going to repeat the same test but aim away from the feeder to catch only the stragglers and also move the down to single capture and see what the battery life would be in a simulated trail situation. We are also getting ready to close this review because we have the new 09 cameras arriving this week and we need the room. We will still do this one last test out at the edge of the testing area.

 

05-16-2009 update:  Recharged and set back out in a trail environment where the traffic is much less we will see how the battery life compares to the feeder data already collected. The camera has been out 30 days and collected 2034 pictures/ovies and the low battery indicator is OFF and is still taking pictures.

 

06-03-2009 update:  We finished this battery life test with final figures of: 3200 photos over ~6 weeks.  This last battery life test included using the Li rechargeable battery and the solar panel.

 

 

 

New Trigger Time 1.5 seconds (after April/2009 Firmware update)
(with and without flash)

 

 

Solar panel hook up




  

Original Trigger Time 3.5 seconds
(with and without flash)

Updated Trigger Times with Recent Model
11/16/2008 - 2 Seconds

Trigger times after firmware update 7.2
11/27/2008 2.5 seconds
Flash Range
Samples Low Res (3mp)
 
Samples Normal res (5mp)




 



Night shot samples without flash (Initial release firmware problem). As explained in the text there were black night pictures, the firmware corrected this and now everything is working correctly. This is a good example of mid year upgrades this company is noted for.

Samples High Res (8mp)
Movie Samples