2010 Predator TrailEye XP Camera Review - June 22, 2010

2010 Predator TrailEye XP

2010 Predator TrailEye XP5MP red flash IR Camera Review

Here it is about 6 months from the early shows and brochures that everyone hooked on to and brought back and spent hours paging through and trying to digest the contents. I commenced a list of list of cameras to test for the up coming year and we chose the middle of the road for this line. The thing that most caught our eye was their claims dealing with flash and this camera is supposed to incorporate it. The high end cameras in this line just have more features but this camera should give most a good idea of what to expect from the rest of the line. First off the general appearance is very good. This is a camouflage front camera with a satin brown back. The color is the break up infinity brown fall color. This is a nice well thought out case where a strap/cable or bungee could be used. The latch is a slide type that in previous years was difficult to use especially in the cold. This camera slides open very easy. Case is about eight inches tall and about five and a half inches wide. It sticks out off the tree about four inches. There is no tri-pod insert on the case bottom just the external power port. The hinges are very heavy duty and this is a cam in the door design. There are some contoured bark grabbers on the back to match the curve of a tree. Top front of the camera is a small roof over the main lens and the array and PIR sensor is just below that. There is a tiny hole for the Microphone sound in for the video recording.

Just what do they say this camera will do in their advertising? First off they say the trigger time is supposed to be three quarters of a second. There are three programmable resolutions which are 1.2/3.0/5.0 MP’s day time only and one video resolution 640X480. The night resolution for IR pictures is set to 1.3 MP. There is a feature to program up to a three burst if desired. The sensor is supposed to be good out to 75 feet. Memory card size is up to 16 gig SD. There is a four digit security code to prevent the use of the camera if stolen. It is supposed to have a locking External battery port. There is a small arrow in it but it did not appear to be lockable or movable. A quick check of the data sheet that came with the camera and there was no mention of how to lock this port. There is a big set of block letters on the bubble pack that say’s Dragon IR technology 50 ft infrared range NO RED GLOW. Well my old eyes might be failing but they can still see a lot of red coming out of this old Dragon. We are just going to call this red flash and not fret over the advertizing. It is a long way from being black flash. The flash is a very visible red to orange and can easily be seen at 50 feet. Maybe the fact that the flash color is somewhat orange is how they get away with saying “NO RED GLOW”.

The documentation is just a sheet of folded paper and just not very well done when compared to other companies that have a nice small book with all the data in the book like specifications so you don’t have to go to the box and other places to find the data you need. It was well written but just much to brief and was lacking many items that we normally see in the booklets.

The price tag for this camera is $ 250.00 which puts it in the same category as the I-45 S Moultrie which is an extreme low glow camera but has that 1 minute delay minimum setting and a slower trigger time than this camera. If you want minimum glow flash and don’t care about trigger time and delay then go Moultrie but this camera should have a fairly fast trigger and a great minimum delay period and at first glance fairly decent day color pictures. So far what we have seen in reference to the night function is marginal. This will be looked at more closely during the field tests and day range/8 plate tests.

Most of the cameras I pick up I would never have to refer to the instructions to get through the programming. I stumbled through it but I will say I went back and did a little reading to insure my method was proper. It is most definitely a little different than most cameras I have been use to. To arm you wait for the still/video menu and hit select and next the delay will show up. The default is 10 seconds so that is where I like it so again hit select and it starts the countdown to leave or do a short walk test. While researching and talking to someone on the inside who on occasion will give me some juicy information we discussed the optional battery pack. This is a first class setup and for anyone that needs that extra time in the field this box looks to be great. According to its write up it is adaptable to other brands of cameras plus it has its own mounting bracket and strap for the tree.

Well it is off to the test benches and then to the hill to start to gather the sample pictures and also we will see just how well the video with sound works.

There has obviously been a few of these same cameras hit the market and picked up by a few customers because the mail around here opened up with Predator questions and about this “not being black flash” and “how can they get away with this. Boy am I ever disappointed”? My thoughts so far is that this is going to be a pretty good red flash camera but I would have to agree with the mail and have the feeling I just got it stuck to me because of the advertising.

07-24-2010 update: Well we just got stuck again. We spent a half day with this camera on the trigger time station. Then we moved to another trigger testing station that we keep for back up and after that we got the old Seiko clock out and did it again and the times were just way out of specifications, There is a disclaimer in the book though that says “all specifications are approximate”. Well a trigger time without flash of over two seconds is approximately more than double of advertized times. Trigger times with flash are in excess of 3 seconds and that is three times or more than advertised times. Because of the light metering we were able to swing the trigger times to some degree but on an average they were as stated above. Well will the picture quality save this feeder cam from its fate? It has been left out of the trail cam category and failed at the black flash category so that only leaves the feeder cam slot open provided the pictures hold up.

07-25-2010 update: We worked on into the night trying to get the load of work reduced so we can just start to get sample pictures and videos. Getting the base work done in a timely manner just has not seemed to work with this camera. We managed to get a flash range picture last night and it was decent for somewhat low glow camera, however the sensing was very poor and would not pick us up beyond 15 feet at 88 degrees. Every corner we turned with this cam we ran into a problem. We are going to go ahead and close this review because of functions that are far below what the consumer would expect to see.

Trigger Tests
(without flash ranged from 2.1 to 2.6 seconds depending on lighting conditions)

(with flash a consistent 2.96 seconds)

Flash Range


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