Basic Camera Operation
In front of me is the third camera I will be testing this year from a company, called Ridgetec Outdoors. The Summit 4 is a 3G cellular camera designed for compatibility with the AT&T/T-Mobile networks in the USA as well as Telus and Rogers in Canada. My plan is to first test all of its function with wireless mode set to OFF. I will perform all the standard tests as a non-wireless camera first. Then I will provide updates on the web portal and getting the camera online.
The camera was shipped with a 6 month prepaid data plan included in the price.
This is a medium sized camera that has a hinged style chassis, with camera in the front half and batteries in the back. The unit holds 12 AA batteries which should give this unit plenty of battery power. Where this design is different is that the LCD screen and the touch sensitive buttons are on the front outside of the camera. There is a door or flap that latches to protect the screen but this area is waterproof. This unique feature allows you to aim the camera before you arm it. When you switch the camera to set up, you first see a live feed which enables you to aim and adjust the camera and its mounting. From here, you have two options, preview/playback mode or set up menu.
The camera is a black flash camera and the flash is definitely not visible.
The front surface of the camera is covered in a nice camo pattern similar to the Vista while the back is a monochrome olive green-grey color. The LED array has a dark blue appearance and in bright light I can see the LEDs inside. There is no break up on the LED array which it could use. The bottom of the camera has a battery port which Ridgetec documents as a 12V port. The back of the camera supports strap slots, python and a threaded insert.
The unit uses dual latches which provide a secure and tight feel when closed. On the front inside of the camera is the Off/On/Setup switch. The SD card and SIM card slide in the side and on the bottom is a USB port.
The camera ships with a booklet and strap. I was able to easily set up the camera from the menus without the need for a user guide.
Steel security boxes are available for this camera model from Ridgetec.
Manufacturer model #: SUMMIT4-C.
More images, more often – thanks to our incredibly reliable 10 zone motion sensor, this premium cellular game camera features a front facing ‘Live Preview’ 2.4″ screen and no cellular contract. Coupled with special motion blur reduction technology the user is ensured of high quality images, transmitted and stored, every time.
Ultra-fast 3G and 4G network HSPA+ cellular transmission.
User friendly website portal and mobile app for quick and easy camera setup and photo management.
Send photos and video by cellular network directly to phone and/or email in real-time.
Affordable cellular connectivity with NO CONTRACT.
Standard or high quality setting allows for images to be sent in standard resolution or higher resolution.
Control the camera remotely in real-time with advanced two-way communication.
Duty Time Scheduling – to give you complete control in turning on and off the camera for security applications.
New Live Preview courtesy of a front facing, high resolution 2.4″ color screen to make mounting the camera a breeze.
Innovative 10 zone PIR motion sensor with ‘Sneak By Protection’ ensuring more reliable movement detection.
- HSPA+ 4G – 3G Cellular Security Camera
- 12 MP Photos
- High Definition 1280 x 720 Video
- 48 No Glow High Output Black Flash LEDs
- Adjustable motion blur imaging
- 2.4″ True TFT viewer screen
- Time-Lapse Mode programmable
- Programmable Duty Time
- Fast trigger speed: <0.7 Sec
- Delay time: 5 Sec – 60 Min
- Auto IR light metering
- Video length: 5 – 60 Sec
- Video sound recording
- Photo burst: 1 to 3 sequence
- Multi-zone PIR detection : 90′ +
- Requires 12 AA batteries
- Ultra-Low power consumption
- Date, Time, Temperature, and Moon Phase stamp
- External memory: up to 32 GB
- 12V external power adaptable
- 4-digit password protection
- Live Preview for positioning assistance
- Photo and video playback
- Compact innovative design
- Low battery indicator
- Supports higher gain cellular antennas
- 1 year standard warranty
- 2 year warranty if registered within 30 days of purchase
The MSRP on this camera is $399.99.
Portal and Wireless testing/Mobile Applications
Ridgetec Portal Testing
After getting most of the basic testing done and out of the way, I have put this camera through its paces using the Ridgetec portal. I captured some screens from my browser so you can get a feel of the process and what it looks like below.
The 2017 Summit 4 will soon be offered as a package deal that includes a PREPAID 6 month data plan that automatically activates on first use. You do not have to buy a plan or give anyone your credit card. This could make it a nice gift idea or a simple to setup camera for that technologically challenged person. I think my dad could probably figure this out without me. 🙂
This prepaid plan allows you to send an average of 2000 photos per month for 6 months. All you supply is the SD card and some batteries. There are no other costs for this package.
Note, that there is both a portal for web access and mobile applications for both Android and iOS devices. My first goal is to run the camera through the portal and test its operation, before turning my attention to the mobile applications. The portal has the ability to send photo notifications to your email for each photo and status report.
To get started, the first thing you should do is register for a free account on the portal. Here is the login/register page:
If you are registering then click the “Create new Account” link to input your email and get started.
Click the Sign up button to create your account. The portal returns with the Cameras page and in my case there are no cameras and I need to click the Add Camera button.
After you add one or more cameras they will show here in a list. To get my new camera in the system I clicked Add Camera.
Input the camera’s IMEI (on a sticker on both box and camera), Serial number (for warranty purposes), a nick name and description. Then click the Complete Registration button.
The Camera page is a list of all my cameras with some basic status info and 9 recent thumbnails from my camera. There are 6 buttons I can click to get more info or operate on this camera. Here are the Overview, Gallery, Settings, and Action screens:
Overview provides additional status info and recent thumbnails on my camera at a glance.
Gallery allows me to browse, page by page, backwards in time, the thumbnails uploaded by my camera. Here I can select one or more photos and perform operations like Delete, Request High Res, Request Original, Move to My Media, etc. Clicking a thumbnail will open a lightbox allowing me to see each image in its full size as a slideshow.
The Settings tab is where I change my camera’s settings. This camera supports a nice set of features controlled online.
- Wireless Mode: What to with Photos once taken. Off (just save to sd card). Report (send all new ones every ## hours), Instant (send each photo as taken)
- Camera Mode: Photo or Video (currently video upload will be supported only on 4G LTE because of the transmission times of the larger video clips)
- Resolution: The resolution of the photos saved to the SD card
- Upload Resolution: The size of the uploaded thumbnail (low, medium, high). Three options here provide good flexibility here to control your use of bandwidth.
- Photo Burst: take 1 to 3 photos in a burst mode. Photo 1 is uploaded.
- Quiet time: This is the delay interval after a motion event.
- Timestamp: Apply the info strip to photos. On or Off.
- Temperature: C or F. Celsius or Fahrenheit.
- Enable Timelapse: Opens up the Time lapse settings and turns time lapse on/off.
- Enable Remote control: This turns on a high power mode where the camera can accept real time SMS commands from the portal to wake up and perform any queued action such as Download settings, or take a Photo in real time.
- Heartbeat: This is a timer that fires every ## hours which causes the camera to wake up and report its status. Any queued actions, like Download Settings are performed as well as reporting the current condition of the camera and letting you know “hey I am still out here”.
- Duty Time: This option turns on a feature allowing you to have complete control over the hours of operation. Operation meaning when Photos are taken. If a camera is marked as “off” for a period of time, it will simply not wake up and take photos, however it will still perform its Heartbeat to let you know its there. Each day is divided into 24 buttons that toggle operation on or off.
Duty Time allows you to turn the camera operation on or off by the hour. Each day has its own schedule. This is a unique and easy way to set this up.
The My Media is a feature where you can select one or more photos as they come into the gallery from your camera and migrate them to My Media. The idea here is that the standard thumbs and images uploaded by the camera will automatically purge after 30 days, however, if there are photos you want to keep, select them and move them to My Media. They will not be purged in this case.
The entire portal and the image storage are run fully in the cloud.
Standard Test Results/Progress Notes
Chasingame Test Results:
|Flash Range||Not overly bright. Good out to 60+ feet.|
|Trigger Time without flash||0.89s|
|Trigger Time with flash|
|Video Trigger Time|
|Photo Recovery Time|
|Video Recovery time|
|Day Range||Very natural color. Crisp image.|
|Sensing Test||70+ feet at 56F degrees|