2011 Primos DPS Camera Review - June 30, 2011

2011 Primos DPS

2011 Primos DPS (deer positioning system) time lapse camera review

Click Click Click goes the shutter at a 5 or 10 second interval all day long (daylight only) which is just what this next entry into the last field of scouting technology does. Hitting the scales at a whopping $99 this little jewel seems to have just about all the features as the big boys that are $150 more expensive. Is it worth the money? Well we know how Primos works so we feel pretty confident we will find a lot of value in this new camera. It stands up at 7 inches and wears a belt that reaches 5 inches across and 21/2 inches down the side. This is not a tiny little camera and it is far from being large also. Wearing a fall camouflage color it should hide well on the tree.

It has just a 1.3 MP setting which seems to be the new standard for these types of units. The battery compartment takes AA cells with a choice of 4 or 8 cells depending on the life you need. There is also an external battery port that is 6 volt so it will hook up to the optional external box offered by this same company.

Inside there is an SD card slot that will take up to a 32 gig card. They recommend that you use at least a 16 gig for any long term captures. Watching out to 200 yards this camera should be able to give movement details (pattern) of the herd and do it on a timer not by a PIR sensor. These reviews are always short because we have no trigger or sensing/flash tests to do, just set it up and gather a set of pictures and test battery life. Then sit back and discuss the results. I do like the price and if it works well they will sell a ton of these and maybe force the price down in other areas.

The set up on this camera is pretty slick and unlike some of the time lapse cameras this camera can be set to 5, 10, 29, 30 second interval plus skip mid day 10 to 2 with the 5 and 10 second interval if you would like. I did not read the instruction manual and was able to get right through the programming easily. The size of this camera is just a bit smaller than the Plot Watcher and somewhat thinner. With all the batteries (8) in the holder this is a chunk of weight. I ran a quick test outside and viewed the pictures and they were sharp and clear. It looks like this $99 camera is gong to probably give the competition a fit.

We will just go ahead and deploy this camera because we have no lab tests to do because it does not have flash of PIR function. So this should be a fairly short review. I will say I am so far favorably impressed. They also have their own version of viewing software which we will also be taking a look and report on. I went ahead and spent some time going through the manual and found some things that need attention. First off is the part where it tells you to go to a certain portion of their web site for instructional video and it is not there. Also the set up operating tips deals with trail cameras and does not refer to time lapse cameras. The www.primos.zendesk.com is just not there either for pdf download.

08/15/2011 - Note we found that the documentation is incorrect but the correct url for the site is: primos.zendesk.com according to Primos.

One of the things that I did not like is the capture indicator continuous blinking on the front of the camera. This works well for that purpose but it is a dead give away as to where the camera is located, so that will need a piece of black electrical tape over it once deployed and the operating function is observed. The start and stop times are regulated by the light sensor.

Based on mode 5 which is the 5 second interval continuous you will capture about 139200 pictures in 16 days which will fill a 32 gig card. They do stipulate very long battery life but we have no idea what that is so we will have to test it using standard cells and continuous function. So far it looks like it should match the function of the competition.

07-03-2011 update: This unit is now deployed on the hill in our new time lapse range and will be placed in the same position as the first unit to use this range (the Plot Watcher Pro). This way there will be an easy way to switch between reviews and see there differences and similarities. My initial tests showed me that this sub one hundred dollar camera will probably hold its own. The $150 difference in price will buy a really big sack full of batteries. I see on one of the forums where someone bought two of the PW pro cameras which would equate to $500 which should they, have chosen one of these they could have had 5 units and enough change left over to buy batteries for their first deployment in the field.

07-04-2011 update: Our first set of pictures with this camera on our new TL range and we were pleasantly surprised. This camera functioned very well. There seems to be a tiny bit of distortion out around the very far edge of each picture when we take a zoomed look. As far as gathering data for scouting I believe that this camera may just do as good a job as the other stand alone TL camera. I flipped back and forth between sample videos and could not determine much difference. This camera has much more vibrant color which is more natural looking than the PW Pro. There also seems to be a tiny bit of zoom with the PW pro also. The wide view of the other camera may be liked by some but as a scouting value both would give you the same information. It is just that this camera seems to do it for a much cheaper price. Now we are going to run some battery life testing and maybe one more day of sample pictures. This will complete this review.

07-10-2011 update: We are set up and catching a series of pictures in an attempt to get the battery life. We are getting mixed results with 16 gig class 4 cards that seem to get corrupt and have to be formatted to get them to work again. We are now using class 2 two gig cards to complete the test. The rubber door seal is a pain in the elbow because it wants to fall out every time we service the camera.

07-23-2011 update: After gathering 30K+ images, we decided to test the At A Glance software provided with the camera. First of all the software is easy to install but is designed in Java. This means that it should operate on Apple Mac as well as Windows. The software has an Open folder or an Import feature to access the images. Once a folder is loaded, it builds a list of tiny thumbnails below the current image. There is a play button and a speed of playback knob. There is a step frame back and forwards as well. The software allows you to "flag" a photo of interest by clicking a flag button. As far as I can tell there is no motion search feature. Flagged photos can be exported as photos. A range of photos can be exported as a video slideshow at a variety of frame speeds but the user must input the starting and ending frame number which is very clunky. When play back is selected, the max speed is relatively fast but related to the speed of the computer's hard drive and processor. I would estimate you can watch 3 or 4 frames per second at max speed. There are Primos marketing ads on the main window of the software that are locked in and you can't remove those. These ads consume a lot of screen real estate. Even maximized you cant watch the playback in the full native resolution, but they do offer a zoom in/out button. There is also publish button which allows for integration to some websites for uploading images or video.

07-30-2011 update: This camera is still plugging away and capturing pictures. The battery indicator must not be very accurate because it has had no bars showing for a while but continues to work. It has been taking pictures since last month on the 27th so we have over a month of steady service so far.

08-06-2011 update: As promised we have now completed the battery life test. The unit ran about 14 hours a day at a 10 second interval and captured 100,343 images and finally gave up and shut down. 6-27 thru 8-06. There were periods when the camera was locked up due to SD card incompatibility. We do not know the affect on battery but during those periods we did not capture photos. If we do the math, based on total photos taken, it would have ran approximately 20 days, at 14 hours per day and 10 seconds per picture with no mid-day timeouts. At least one of those hours was spent putting the gasket back in each time I opened it.

09-05-2011 update: We have a late edition of this camera and want to report that initial tests seem to confirm that it does not have the card rejection problem of our original camera had. We will continue on with the test and report later. That dad burn gasket seems to have the same habit though. This one is going to get a dose of glue in the corners.

09-11-2011 update: We have now confirmed that we are not having the same glitches with this unit being finicky about certain sd cards. The cards that did not work in our original unit can now be used in this camera.We have successfully tested Class 2 and Class 4 cards up to 16 GB.

Day Range/8 Plate

Video Samples
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