2011 Minox DTC-500 Camera Review - December 13, 2011

2011 Minox DTC-500

2011 Minox DTC 500 8 MP 32 count red flash digital camera review

This past year we had the pleasure of reviewing a new entry to the trail camera market that was being produced by one of our well known rifle scope companies. This trend is now continuing with the introduction of these cameras from yet another company that has given us hunting optics and scopes. The chatter has gone on some of the outdoor forums and we have collected a library of those comments in case we ever had the opportunity to do a review, we would have those notes for a comparison to our findings. This assists us to make sure should we find a problem that it is across the board instead of just an issue with our single test unit.

First off is the suggested retail price is $399.00 and we found that some vendors have reduced that figure to $349.00. We have the ability to run a comparison of features verses the price and on an average the competition with similar advertized features are in the two hundred dollar range. This German based company has been renowned for quality. So in order to keep up with their market standards we are hoping to see exceptional function to match the price they are asking. One indicator so far is their implied warranty period of 2 years. We are not too sure exactly the difference of implied verses limited style of warranty but as the field reports start to arrive we will know just how their customer service stacks up against the competition. So far we have not found in the documentation a US address or phone number for customer service. Our only contact has been by internet.

Their choice of color for the case is a clean OD green color. The case size is six inches tall and four and a half inches wide. It sticks out off the tree about two and a half inches. The front view is a sculptured look with the array at the top front. Centered on the front is the main lens and below is the wrap around multi zone PIR sensor. The layout is a cam in the door type with the battery compartment in the back half. This is closed up with a Predator cam style of slide latch that closes the full weather gasket wrapped door. On the back is some small bark grabbers and the standard strap loops with the added touch of Python loops at the top. Over all the camera takes on a solid feel. The first thing that I found that was somewhat annoying was when un latched and the door opened, a portion of the batteries fell out. There is a 6 volt external battery port on the bottom of the camera.

Inside on the camera side there is a view/programming screen at the top front with its associated control button pad just below. The SD card (up to 16 gig) slot is on the door edge with the card going in label towards the front of the camera. This brings the second small issue. There is room for the card to slip under the card slot to the inside of the camera if you get it a little bit of an angle when inserting, so to avoid this insure you are inserting the card in straight into the slot.

I normally take a good long time and go through the documentation and absorb all the individual quirks related to a new camera. In this case I spent an eternity with the book and camera in my lap and all the strong caffeine I could handle. The programming of the camera is very easy and straight forward as long as you just deal with the camera. When you mix the instructions from the manual with the camera there seems to be a major problem. The documentation has instructions on features that just do not appear on the camera like the time lapse feature. We assume that we may have received the wrong book even though the DTC 500 appeared on both the camera and book. Some of the terminology used to describe features are also somewhat different like shutter lag time which we assume means trigger time. The term continuous shooting may also be referring to burst mode. The specification chart did not have the delay mentioned which the programming has a minimum of 5 seconds which is great. Video is 640X400 and there are four picture settings of 8, 5.1, 3, and 1.3 MPs.

With the book stuck back in the box we are continuing forward without it. The advertized shutter lag time (trigger) is under 1 second. I could not get that on my initial tests but may be verified once on the official lab table. The first day and night pictures take were good, but so far have not been what I would call exceptional. This may change once deployed on the hill with our resident corn eaters and day/flash range/8 plate tests. The delay also seemed to be longer than the 5 second setting. Sensing during the initial tests seemed to be very good. Up to this point I am going to have to say that the suggested price and the function are not running parallel. The dead pixel test was clean and the clunk tests were negative. Drop and leak tests did well without incident though there is some loose battery noise during the drop test.

We are headed to the lab next and get all the official data then off to the hill.

12-17-2011 update: The back and fourth going over and over to ensure that this data is correct because of the difference in the reported specifications and our actual findings in the lab. As you can see that my initial thoughts about trigger time was correct and it came in just under two seconds and the delay time also got stretched out about ten seconds on the five second setting. The day range showed well with a little fuzz on the 200% 8 plate zoom. We will add the flash range probably tonight if weather cooperates.

12-18-2011 update: We completed the flash range/8plate test and the flash is good out to 60 feet. The sensing is around 50 feet and still inside the flash range. The night with flash pictures appear to have good black but the white is a little gray. The overall contrast is a bit fuzzy but readable out to 50 feet and good for most applications.

12-25-2011 update: Here it is the big day for the kids and I am here trying to get a few details cleaned up. Every so often we review a camera and there just does not seem to be anyone that deemed to take any interest. We managed to get some high resolution stills and a little bit of video. The stills are pretty good but still have that fuzzy edge to the detail though the color is great and the black and white on the IR is great. The video has a very annoying clicking sound in the background but seem to be smooth and fluid. My thought so far is we are not up in function to match the asking price.

12-31-2011 update: We were just notified that the selling price of this camera has been reduced to $ 219.00. This is getting closer to the competition with like specifications. I did notice it in a Sportsmans Guide advertisement this morning but it was still showing the old price.

01-21/2012 update: This camera is completing its final operation for battery life. When this is concluded we will report the battery life. this review is closed.

Trigger Tests
without flash (1.71s)

with flash (1.56s)

Day range & 8 Plate Test

Dead Pixel Test

Flash Range

Video Samples

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