2011 Old Boys Little Acorn LTL-5210MM Camera Review - May 13, 2011

2011 LTL-5210MM

2011Little Acorn 5210MM 24 count Camera Review

Please refer to the 5210A series camera review for all the particulars because everything is the same as far as basic function. The MMS series comes in two flash versions, a standard red flash and the low glow 940 nanometer. This is another entry into the market of cellular based scouting camera. We have tested several and currently we have two different systems in house and setup on our testing areas. I will say that the past couple months this camera has clicked away without much fault. We did a little firmware tweak as needed and finally the final product is out and ready for sale. There is only one thing that seems to happen on occasion and that is very dark pictures once in a while under heavy canopy during the transition period. This usually only happens with one picture that is dark and can be cleaned up very easy on your picture program. We however did not have a single whiteout during all our testing. One thing I can say is that the day color pictures that were transmitted came in two sizes depending on the file size. The color is very normal and clear.

Not so long ago we reviewed a monster cell based camera that was red in color and had a huge nub on top for an antenna. There are presently two different systems offered by the market. These are cell to consumer direct and then there is the cell to web site system. This camera is to the consumer direct and not web based, meaning it uses MMS or text messaging to send directly to your email or phone directly without using a website from the manufacturer as a gateway. It does not use SMTP or FTP. If I had my original Ltl Acorn hanging on a tree along side one of the new MMS version cameras you would not notice any difference. Up close the first thing that most comment about is there is no antenna and are you sure this is a cell based system. Then there is the mention about having to put it in a metal security box. We felt that was going to be a big issue but our tests showed that we had no change when placed in a security box and the pictures just kept on coming.

Close examination will show that there are actually a few changes like a nice latch for the back pack battery compartment. Then you will see that there is a small compartment under those back batteries that contain the cell system and SIM card slot. There is also a small turn latch on the bottom door handle to prevent it from opening unintentionally.

Pay-as-you-go is where you buy a plan that does not require a long term commitment and you fund it as needed. This is a very positive method and reasonable for those who need to see what is going on the other side of the state or across the street. We found that this method costs approximately $25 a month for 1000 text messages. We have heard that should you already have a plan with AT&T (and others) that adding a second line with unlimited text messages can be as low as $10 per month.

Initially we ran the setup software which allows us to configure the system for operation with our SIM card and to specify the recipients without having to hand edit a configuration file as we had to do with the Scoutguard SG580. The setup was simple to use and straightforward. It will allow you to save your configuration to the SD card. Once you place the SD card in the camera the MMS settings are imported automatically. We then had pictures coming in and I kept hearing from Anthony that this is really working great. He is our MMS expert so I will leave the screen shots and explanation about the system setup and costs.

This camera will also work very well as just a scouting camera with a 12 MP top resolution and full time lapse function. Video in two sizes is also a feature. Please refer to the 5210A review for all these details. We already have a ton of pictures both day and night so we will get them posted very shortly.

Since our last battery change (19 days) the camera has taken 3384 photos (on the card) from 1692 events (it takes two photos per event, one for email and one full size) and the battery level indicator still says over 50%. Of those taken 1092 were sent as text messages which is a 64% ratio. This was with ray o vac AA cells so we feel that this camera is fairly thrifty when it comes to battery use and cell operations. If you increase the delay to 1 minute you will get a much higher percentage of MMS/Total Pics sent. We have kept our delay setting at 30 seconds.

What we are finding is that for the most part the photos we receive are 640x480 but when there is bright sun and the photos are less compressible during the day the camera will lower the sent photo to 320x240. We are still pleased with the quality of the emailed images.

05-17-2011 update: The following is the cell based model numbers:

  • LTL5210MC mms capable but has the backpack from a 5210A.

  • LTL5210MM mms capable and has the modem backpack with sim slot.

  • All model numbers have the same dimensions so there is no need to purchase a special security box.

Both of these come in 940 and according to Old Boys, only the BOX indicates which is which. We would like to see the model designator placed on a sticker on each camera sold.

05-24-2011 update: Being accepted very well by those we have seen reporting since this last weeks release. There was a big rush for many to get hold of this camera and there were a few who had technical issues but it was mostly about understanding instructions and programming. Once set up every one seemed to be very happy. We have ran a solid month and it transmitted some very clear pictures with a count of 1053 total. The camera is still taking pictures now and writing to the card but will not transmit because of the very low battery. There have been pros and cons about the BMC/Covert vs. this camera and both have strong points. Our take so far is that this camera is having a much better acceptance than other cell systems. The lack of antenna and the better transmitted pictures seems to be the reason. I know that our personal take is that we are leaning toward this camera also though the SG580 camera worked very well for us also. We are stopped on this project for now and will be closing the review unless we have an upgrade or additional data to report.


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