BolyGuard BG962-X30W/August 03, 2017

The Bolyguard BG962 is a medium sized camera, a bit larger than this years micro series by Browning.  It uses only 8 AA batteries internally.  The BG962 uses a nice 2″ color LCD display screen for its polished menu display.

This camera utilizes a new technology for its flash which combines 940nm LEDs with a Xenon flash module that provides the camera a burst of invisible light and reduces light metering time during image capture.  The goal behind this flash technology is to reduce motion blur.  I will perform walk/jog tests using this technology and evaluate the motion blur aspect on night imaging. I tested the camera in photo mode in a dark room and could not see any visible light during the flash sequence but unfortunately there is a noticable filter clunk for each photo taken in the dark.  I went outside into the sunshine and noticed a very faint click for each photo taken as well.

The surface of the camera has a molded texture that is covered with a camo pattern on the entire surface of the camera.  This textured approach helps to reduce flat surfaces which reflect light and the camo pattern helps it hide into the background.  The LED array is black and broken up a bit to reduce glint in the sunlight and to help the camera hide in its background.

This camera opens like a book, with camera in the front half and battery compartment in the rear half.  The bottom of the camera has an inflexible plastic cover for the external battery port which is labelled 6V. I used a small phillips screw driver and removed the cover to reveal the opening.  In most cases owners do not use the external battery and access this way is not a big deal.  The bottom also has a single standard screw in for mounting while the back of the camera supports both strap and a python.  The python through hole has a superior design where by it is molded in between the top 4 and bottom 4 batteries, a design I have recommended to certain vendors for some years.  What this does is provide much more strength and a bit more security for someone not using a lock box. Locating the python through hole centrally allows the camera to aim up or down more easily while cinched to a tree or other surface.

Included in the box is a traditional narrow nylon strap with a plastic buckle.  I tried to use my favorite Browning strap but it is too wide for the strap slots on the rear of the camera.  Fortunately I am able to use my favorite Screw-in Swivel mount from Custom One Enterprises.  A screw in mount is supplied with the camera and is a nice touch.  The mount is usable but with a word of caution.  I worry that using the screw in mounts on the bottoms of all cameras is an accident waiting to happen.  Don’t get me wrong, this is not an issue with this unit.  This applies to all cameras.  I can say, however, that the plastic mold on the bottom looks and feels more substantial than most cameras so I would have more confidence using the threaded insert.  I prefer my Custom One mount because it uses a metal piece which slides through the slot strap holes on the rear of most cameras and allows for easy adjustment up and down and locks down in place.  Most lock boxes provide cut outs for the straps in the camera and thus the Custom One mount can be used with a lock box and python.

Ultimately, I recommend a lock box for this camera for better security and protection even though the python through is more substantial than most cameras I have seen. Steel lock boxes are available for this unit.

The settings menus are familiar and have that Scoutguard “feel” and the old familiar beep when you power the unit on or navigate the menus.  This beep can be disabled for stealthier use in the field.

I would consider this an easy camera to use and I was able to change the configuration with out referring to the printed manual so far but there are some advanced options I will need to study a bit with the manual.

The things I plan to focus on with this camera are its flash with the dual technology and no motion blur and the wide angle lens.  Many applications can benefit from wide angle and wide angle is not particularly popular but I was interested to see how Bolymedia handles the wide angle and the image quality.

Boly believes they have a formula that balances trigger with sensing width and Field of View.  As such the trigger times on this cmaera do not compare with narrower angled sensing cameras.  Here is a video they sent to help you understand triggering and sensing width.

BolyMedia video

After gathering video samples on this camera I notice that it saves the video clips in the .MOV extension and Apple Quicktime is required to play the videos.

Manufacturer model #: BG962-X30W.

Manufacturers specifications:

This premier black IR wide angle camera captures 30MP photos or 1080p video on an inserted SD card, over 110 degrees Field of View. The 100 ft detection range and 90 ft illumination allows for clear, crisp images.  The camera supports up to 32GB SD/SDHC cards, provides native support for solar and external power options, and is resistant against water and snow.

• 30MP picture resolution and 1080p HD video
• 100ft. detection, 90ft. invisible black IR flash range
• 110 degrees Field of View
• Free mobile application available for IOS, Android, and Windows
• Native support for solar and external power options

The MSRP on this camera is around $299.00.

Chasingame Test Results:

Test PerformedResult
Flash RangeUsable at 20+ feet
Trigger Time without flash1.07s
Trigger Time with flash1.25s
Video Trigger Time3.46s
Photo Recovery Time12s at 0s trigger interval
Video Recovery time12.50s at 0s interval and 5s clips
Day RangeGood clarity past 60 feet even when zoomed.
Battery Life4775 Photos and 187 Video clips over 8 weeks
Filter ClunkYes. Moderately loud during day and night for each image.
Invisible FlashYes
Motion Blur
Sensing Test55 feet at 78F degrees

Photo Samples captured in 30MP setting, [warning: large files].

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Video Samples captured in 1080p setting.

2017 Bolymedia Bolyguard BG962-X30W from on Vimeo.

Progress and Activity
08-03-2017 Update: Unboxed
Today I received a box of cameras from Bolymedia, renowned designers of the Scoutguard camera line. This first camera I am testing is the BG962-X30W. It is from the “Bolyguard” series. There is new technology in the camera and I plan to go slower to make sure I cover it all.
08-03-2017 Update: Day range
I got some photos on the range to study both day time image quality and the wide angle.  The quality is good out beyond 60 feet.  At the 30MP setting the day time images are over 12MB each.  I had to resize the day range photo to get it to save on my server because of file upload limits.  I changed the resolution to 14MP for the sample photos.  we have had rain so in a day or so I should have samples online.
08-04-2017 Update: Day Photo samples
I am very pleased with the image quality for the day samples and the treatment of the wide angle images.  There is only a small amount of edge distortion or fish eye, much less than you would have expected.  I believe the software engineers must have worked out a way to reduce the distortion of wide angle and I must say I like it.
08-05-2017 Update: Trigger testing
I managed to get the trigger times for this camera and I am a bit disappointed because they are high, however we must keep in mind that for a wide angle camera and a matching wide angle sensing, the camera sensing and trigger time must be matched to get the subject more centered.  Bolymedia has a strategy here to match sensing and trigger to get the best overall performance.
08-06-2017 Update: Flash range and Sensing

I put this camera on the flash range last night and I have a problem.  Because it is a wide angle lens, a large pine tree on the left that I can’t move likely creates a light metering issue where the distant subjects are dim as you might expect.  I then mounted the camera on a stand out in the forest and got a few samples.  The sample pictures have a bright ground splash and very limited distant flash and there are no large trees to confuse the light metering.  I aimed the camera the same way I would aim other cameras but I feel that the flash aims towards the ground rather than out into the field.  Maybe the Xenon flash module brightly illuminates the foreground and the IR LEDs just don’t have enough power to reach out much farther than 20 to 30 feet.  I would say night imaging is one of the weaker features on this camera.  The camera can sense farther than its flash for sure.  In the night samples I added, you can barely make out some deer passing about 35 feet off in the distance.

08-09-2017 Update: Firmware Update
In order to correct the issue with the filter clunk for every photo, I was sent the latest firmware for this camera. I installed the new firmware and tested the camera and it still makes the clunk noise on every trigger day and night.  Engineers are checking on this now.  I will update the review if they get this corrected.
08-13-2017 Update: Video samples
I put this camera out in video mode for a few night in the 1080p resolution. The day time videos are nice and the audio is good and consistent. The night videos are under illuminated and grainy but you must remember this is a black flash camera and the 940nm LEDs do you penetrate as well as 850nm (red flash).  Note: The video clips are saved in the .MOV extension and Apple Quicktime is required to play them.
10-20-2017 Update: Battery Life
This camera captured 4775 Photos and 187 Video clips over an 8 week period. This review is complete.



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