2011 MoultrieI-40XT Camera Review (revisit) - March 20, 2011

2011 Moultrie I-40XT

2011 Moultrie MFH-DGS-I40 XT 5 MP 60 count red flash "revisit" Camera Review

A couple years back this namesake materialized on the market and just was referred to as being the I-40. We reviewed this camera and found a high degree of favor in it. In the following years there was an attempt to ride out that high point by using the same name (give or take a couple of numbers) plus adding another case. Those cameras that were marketed in later years just did not reach any degree of acceptability. They in fact went over more like the accidental in house release of gas during the weekly religious occasion. Now lets slip back and look at what might have happened as a result of the lack of acceptance. There would probably be a huge stock of items that were not sold. The manufacturer would still have the moulds and board design left over from the past. Now just how could a company salvage this dilemma? How about just taking the same old camera and clean out the old firm ware and re write a new program that meets the demand of what was felt was missing in the units that failed to sell or was sold and complained about. This means that attention would be given to picture quality, flash, and that sorry 1 minute delay. This also means that there is no production workup with new moulds and new electronics or new design. That is a huge cost saving right there. Just have the fellow with all the great programming ability rewrite some firmware to accomplish filling in the weak points and maybe play around with some time lapse. With this all done they are able to market very early in the year and grab some of those potential slots that might have been filled by offerings that will be released later this year by the competition. And do all of this for less than $130.

Since this is a revisit we will only address the following areas:

  1. Trigger times

  2. delay times (on the 15 second setting this camera averaged 24 seconds)

  3. picture/video quality

  4. sleep test

  5. sensing

  6. light metering

  7. FOV (PIR and camera)

  8. time lapse function

  9. flash

The time lapse software will be evaluated during the review on the M-100 which is a current review preceding this revisit. Please visit there for that information.

Our long days of handling cameras seem to get a little longer when a monster comes out of the box. By monster I am referring to the size of this camera. Though it is not as big as some it is certainly much larger than the series of mini cameras we have grown use to during the recent past. You should not have a problem finding this camera in the woods if it is boldly placed without any attempt to conceal. The dark color is nice and non reflective and has a textured bark looking design. With a little effort of putting some cedar limbs around would break up the outline.


  • 5.0 megapixel infrared game camera

  • 3 operational modes
    - IR triggered game camera
    - Time-lapse plot camera
    - Plot camera by day, infrared camera at night

  • Over 60-ft flash IR aim for quick and precise set up 180-day average battery life

  • The new Illumi-Night Sensor provides the brightest and clearest nighttime infrared pictures

  • 16:9 widescreen images and videos provide a wider field of view than standard game cameras

  • Color day pictures and video Infrared, black and white night pictures and video

  • Four picture resolutions, two video resolutions

  • Picture delay 15 seconds, 30 seconds, 1-60 minutes (delay times tested in excess of 24 seconds on the 15 second setting)

  • Multi-shot pictures (up to 3 shots)

  • Includes weather-resistant casing, USB cable, mounting strap, and Plot Stalker software CD

  • External power port for optional
    Moultrie Power Panel

  • SD memory card slot up to 16GB (SD card required for operation, card not included)

  • Operates on 6 C-cell batteries (not included)

I would like to say a few quick words about a new market trend that seems to be taking over not only the camera business but has managed to get into the TV and computer monitor business. Above in the specifications you see the mention of the 16:9 widescreen images. For some reason this is where the trend in cameras has been leaning. The true fact is the old square pictures could potentially give you more information than the new wide screen images. Why is this? The wide screen function is just a firmware crop of the top and bottom of the picture and then displaying the results. What if there was usable data contained in that area that just got cropped. The example I have used in explaining this is what if there is at the very top of the picture a hawk coming in to catch a snake at the very bottom of the picture. In the old square pictures you might see this but in the new wide pictures you might not. This example may be a bit of a stretch but I use it to explain that there is actually a loss of potential data being cropped at the top and bottom in order to give us the nice wide pleasing new style pictures. The folks over at Reconyx allow either or to be selected which might be a better idea.

03-22-2011 update: With 6 new pre thoroughly tested C cells properly inserted in the two tubular holders to the left and right of the center panel, I turned the switch to the on position and it worked. I thumbed my way through the program and it was like visiting the M-100 all over again. Everything in the programming is well laid out and the documentation will help if you get stuck. It struck me, that if this camera works out, it would be very high in the competition against the Moultrie Plot Stalker camera. I can already attest to the fact that it does take pictures that are a whole lot better than our sample TL camera. I found this camera listed on some on line vendors for $119, which is not far from the price of the Stalker. What this camera will do is also shift into PIR function after the day light time lapse period is over. After I had familiarized myself with all the function I went outside and was able to capture some pictures with some good bright sun to my back. The picture quality is good. This was a warm day but the PIR FOV zone at 20 feet proved to be 21 feet. The outside temperature was around 80 so sensing seemed to be about 25 feet. This will be re done after dark when we hit the flash range. My quickie test to see just how good the trigger time is and it seemed to be pretty fast so that should not be an issue. I did however hear a resounding thud when I was observing the flash after capturing bright outside without flash pictures. As right now I do not know if this is filter clunk but I will test further to see. The flash is not a solid orange glow but it actually flutters as if it was setting white balance as seen in strobe flash cameras. The Illumi-Sensor feature is at work with this camera and it lights up the night very well. We will also hook up to the Uway XtendIR-B to see if this camera works as well as the M-100 did in black flash. With an expectation of 180 days battery life under very good conditions as advertized we feel that most users will not find any problems in that area. This unit will also hook to the Moultrie panel or your own SLA setup by using the external battery port. OK, I just ran it through a day to night switch and back to day and again back to night. Each time the camera shifts from day to night or night to day there is a pretty good filter clunk. That would only happen twice a day when the outside light changes the filter will shift.

Having spent a good chunk of a day getting to know this box I feel that we may be somewhat happy with the end results. Better picture quality and good delay time plus the addition of time lapse and time lapse with PIR function should make this big old lug somewhat popular. To put it mildly this aint no mini cam but it does not reach up the Buckeye box size either. We ran with them for years without complaints. We have a Cell system camera ahead of this camera and while we get ready for it I will be running a few tests on this camera in the background. Should the two returned Moultrie cameras show up repaired, we will have to put them back in line where they originally were.

03-23-2011 update: I did some early morning tests and the drop test worked well but the leak test was the same results as the M-100. The water droplets seem to want to hang around the edge of the sensor and lens openings. Then when the camera is opened these drops seem to run down inside the camera toward the switches. The switch location on this camera are directly below these openings so the drops would need to be caught as soon as the camera is opened or use a small tissue to dry those areas when wet prior to opening the camera. You would not want to lock that moisture up inside the camera and have the sun get a little fog thing going on inside the lenses. I then ran it out side and set up to do a quick plot evaluation to see how well that works and evaluate picture quality again.

03-23-2011 #2 update: I went ahead and ran a short two hour test on the time lapse function and all I can say is this thing works great. The one thing that was bothersome is the MLT file that pops up under the PLOT folder when the card is viewed. This forces the use of their supplied software to open this up. Instead of doing this I just drug the file off onto my desk top and changed the MLT to avi and clicked on it and played it using windows media player. The high quality pictures compared to what I experienced with the Plot Stalker camera really worked great. Other than size this camera just might kick some plot watcher butt. After this first round of testing including the time lapse the battery still indicated 98%. I was using the high (2368X1328) (3.2 MP) setting and I would think that the low setting would be a good choice for those who choose to use the TL function. With the pictures that good with the setting I was using the 1.3 MP low setting should still be far better than what I was getting with the Stalker camera.

03-23-2011 update#3: After my first go around with the time laps function and the MLT file thing I ask Anthony about whether our Scouting Assistant software could be made to recognize the MLT Moultrie files and the TLV files associated with the Plot Watcher units and he said that it is already in the works and should become fact very shortly. So keep an eye out for that change should you be interested in another approach to TL software.

03-24-2011 update: More testing in TL still has my attention and that feature seems to still work well. This time I tried high capacity SDHC cards without issue. From there I took another look at sensing and this may very well be the weak point to this camera. We had a nice cool 60 degree morning and I will have to say that sensing is not one of this cameras strong points. It does sense but not well. I was set on 15 second delay and I repeatedly walked across at 18 feet very slow and waited for the next cycle. Out of ten passes the camera only caught me three times. This morning the sensing distance increased to 52 feet at this same temperature. This may be an area for Moultrie to tweak with maybe a future firmware adjustment provided that it is electrical and not a hardware problem. Something that leads me to think it may be firmware is that during the IR tests in the IR setting in the program it seemed to give me the indication of much better sensing yet in the capture mode it still failed to turn that degree of sensing into actual captures. I was not very happy with this test so I just re initiated the whole thing and I also determined that the PIR FOV and camera FOV is pretty well matched at about 21 feet and I slowed my walk down a little and the IR test caught me every time throughout the FOV, This time during single capture photo and a very slow walk I did a total of 11 passes at 20 feet and this time I got 9 pictures. The temperature indication on the camera info strip just does not work well; it indicated very high temperature even though the camera had been in 60 degree temperatures all night. This short re do makes me feel a little better but the same test with another brand camera just after this test would get me at a jog every time and it was a $59 camera. That test was done in the same location just after the XT sensing test was done. Even though I feel the reaction time is fast enough the sensing I feel is somewhat weak. I had to force the sensing by excessive movement to get good results.

04-03-2011 update: We had an unusual good bright Sunday afternoon so we headed to the day range and managed to capture some pictures. This camera does produce some very good pictures. We then kept the camera setup and waited until it got dark and we managed to get some good bright clear IR pictures. I would not think most anyone would find much fault with this cameras picture quality. While set up we also performed the sensing test and the temperature was 69 degrees and the sensing distance was way down to 30 feet. This reinforces my earlier finding of this camera has somewhat weak sensing so it will have to make its fame through its time lapse function.

04-06-2011 update: Deployed and working we managed to capture a pretty good stack of proof that this camera will give you some great pictures. The only problem we saw this time out was that we had moved in a little closer (see sample pictures) because of our sensing range tests. This proved not to be an issue on day color pictures but the night with flash had some degree of IR burn on the close animals but the distant animals were well illuminated. We maybe should have backed up another ten feet and all the pictures would have been better. This is not the fault of the camera but the operator and overcompensating for a weakness we had determined it to have. Remember this is a $129 camera and it just works better than most and it is somewhat weak in sensing but that is not all it will do, it will still do time lapse.

04-09-2011 update: Working in reverse we finally gained enough time to get to the lab and hook a few new cameras to our system and start to analyze a few things. The main thing was to get the trigger times performed. This camera came out just under two seconds for both day and night operations. Comparing results to last years cameras which had faults, we are finding a lot of favor with the Moultrie line up this year and this camera is no exception.

04-30-2011 update: This cam has been on guard duty watching the back door and doing a real good job. So far we have 1527 pictures and the battery is still around 75% which is real good. We have grown to like this camera and have learned to put up with the quirks of the box it came in. It still has a place in line when we do the time lapse trials.

06-08-2011 update: Battery life is still on going and we are well over 5500 pictures and this camera is still pecking away. It will definitely be high on our list of cameras we liked this year. It is just to bad it is in that big old case.

06-21-2011 update: We kept this camera going until it finally went dead. We captured a total of 5712 pictures and it lasted from 04-01-11 until 06-11-11 of continuous service. We are now closing this review.

Trigger Tests
(without flash)

(with flash)

Flash Range
(camera only)

Day Range/8 Plate

Video Samples


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