2012 Primos Ultra Black Out/May 16, 2012


ImagesFactory SpecsCG ClassificationCG TestingTriggerSamples


CategoryScouting Cameras
Model Year2012
ModelUltra Black Out
Flash TypeBlack IR Flash
Battery Type8 x AA
2012 Primos Ultra Black Out Specs
Test PerformedResult
Flash Range
Trigger Time without Flash2.20s
Trigger Time with Flash1.89s
Video Trigger Time2.42s
Day RangeSlight white hue on pictures
Battery LifeNot very good. Just over 1,000 pictures in 15 days.
Filter ClunkNoticeable at transition
Invisible FlashNo but very low glow
Motion Blur
Sensing Test30 feet at 80 degrees and increased to 50 feet at 65 degrees
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2012 Primos Ultra Blackout 60 count black IR 7 MP digital camera review

We had expected to receive this camera much earlier and should have had the review pretty well done by now. This has been a repeat of last year and the Primos cameras are going to have to be fitted in to our schedule because their window has passed.

Out of the box I was somewhat impressed all except for one thing. I didn’t even do a thing except to take one of my old trusty bungee cords and hung it on the closest tree and stepped back to have a look. The camera about disappeared on the tree except for that big loud banner that is stuck on the front bottom of the camera. From a distance it was real easy to see and made the presents of the camera much easier to see. With the very nice use of the black cover over the array and the PIR sensor also dark the bright sticker sure screws all that effort up.

Being a little over four inches wide and a tad over 5 inches tall this camera is actually shorter than the BTC. Mounted on the tree it has a two inch profile. This fall brown camouflage case is the cam in the door type and the 8 count AA battery holder is in the back half of the camera. The top front array has a black out filter over the IR’s. The hooded main lens is front center and the PIR sensor is just below. There is an external battery port along the bottom.

This is a switch based programming type camera with only the time/date input to the LCD through the use of three switches just below that display. The 5 MP image sensor can be controlled (interpolated) by the switch selection up to 7 MP. There are only two resolution settings which are the low of 5 MP and the top setting of 7 MP. Video also has two settings of high 620X440 and low 320X240. Time lapse also has two settings of day only or day only TL with night PIR at night. There is a burst mode up to a 5 count. Video length is 10, 20, 30, seconds and 1, 5, 30 Minutes switch selectable. The delay goes down to a great 5 seconds and has five more jumps of 10, 30 seconds and 1, 5, and 30 seconds.

All three Primos cameras are built on the same platform. The little 35 series has a smaller 1.3 MP image processor and the next two are jumped up to 5 MP. The arrays are the other change. The case design with the front (across the door) cable loops is a great idea and raises the security level up above those who have the cable loops on the back. Other cameras have used this same idea but this company has two feed through loops that prevent the cable from being slipped over the case.

From the box to the tree fully programmed with card installed can be done in just a few minutes. This is a very simple camera to setup and understand. Let’s hope that the function holds up to a nice high standard. The trigger time is supposed to be one second and if that holds true and the sensing and picture quality is there this just might be a great little camera. It is kind of sad to think that some of this technology might get slid over to Bushnell now that they have purchased this company. The bright side is they might get away from that Keep Time outfit they have been dealing with. Who knows what will happen once the management is incarcerated and all those funds will have to be given up for full restitution due to theft of protected patients. This company may look very good after that and the Bushnell cameras might take on a whole new look.

The very first thing I did was to stick it on a tree to evaluate how bad the big sticker looked and it stuck out like a sore thumb. After coming off the tree I wanted to see if that sticker was removable and it is. There is camouflage under it so that worked out good. I will wait until I get the pictures taken and then move it to the top of the camera out of sight. The next thing is that this camera really stinks. It reeks of some very strong chemical smell that gives me a head ache. I put it out in the sun to see if maybe that will help kill some of this scent.

There is a 1/4 X20 tripod insert on the bottom and the water seal seems to be tight. The battery compartment is somewhat of a problem on the positive ends where the tip of the AA cells hit. These little springs seem to want to hold the battery and it is difficult to fully seat the cell in its proper place. The back of the camera does not have strap loops and in there place is some side slots that are a bit hard to deal with and the strap does not want to slide through very easy.

My first evaluation in the dark room was to determine just what class we are going to stick this camera. It will have to go into the very low glow category because I can see the array at 5 feet fairly easy. The first flash pictures showed a grey tone to them but very readable. I moved out into the bright sun and did both Hi and Lo resolution single picture captures. The day pictures have a very slight white haze across them. I very quickly inspected the lens and there was a small smudge but I don’t think it was enough to cause that completely across the entire picture. The detail seemed to be a little fuzzy and the color saturation was a bit weak. The second take with the clean lens did not change the haze effect. I am a bit puzzled with the sensing. Today is right at 80 degrees right now and I could not get a trigger at 40 feet. I had to be much closer to the 30 foot range for it to pick me up. I do know this is warm weather but I had just finished another test with the WGI white IR camera and it had me on every pass at that range. I will have to do more testing on this tomorrow morning about 4 AM when the temperature should be another ten degrees cooler and see how good it does. There is a noticeable filter clunk at transition.

Those little side strap loops are very similar to what we dealt with on the DPS but they were a little more open and a bit easier to work with. I tried a bungee but could not get that to work. I ended up with a couple zip ties with one in each slot and this allowed me to use a bungee for the quick hang and dismounting of the camera for the tests. Normal field deployment would not be like the all day testing we are doing so it would probably not be as aggravating.

Progress and Activity
05-17-2012 update
05-17-2012 update: I went back through an unofficial sensing test this morning because I wanted to see if the cooler temperatures would stretch out the distance. Well I can say that the sensing did increase to about 50 feet for this 65 degree morning. We are assuming that this sensing is controlled by design in order to keep the captures well within the flash range.
05-17-2012 #2 update
05-17-2012 #2 update: These slide switches that are used in this camera, do not work very well. First off there is no solid detent to give you an indication that you are in the desired position. Then when I finally made that selection the switch position did not seem to align with the graphic number desired. Then I do not know if it is a switch problem or not but in the lower position of the burst switch it eliminates the information strip on the picture. The delay switch seemed to work the best but it could use help also. The next thing that happened was the camera seemed to lock up without warning. The “pic” indication comes on the LCD and the green light is on but will not change. I had to pull the batteries in order to reset the camera. This lock up seems to be associated with the burst mode and was not an issue so far in the single picture capture. I moved on to the video mode and that worked well but was somewhat fuzzy even though we were dealing with good light. I had no lock ups during the video testing. The 5 second delay actually clocked in at 8 seconds which is about double but is still a great minimum delay time. We are now going to move over to the official side of the house to record those tests.
05-17-2012 #3 update
05-17-2012 #3 update: I think that this review may have to come to a close because of the battery holder. Right now we have it working so we will continue as long as we can. The main problem is the tall springs on the negative side will fold over and part of the spring will slide behind the plastic they stick out through. I worked with a couple of tools to try to drag it back in place but I could not get it to return to its designed place. What I did manage to get sticking back out is enough to make connection but is very weak and the batteries in that slot are somewhat loose. We think this battery box is a pressure fit and is not removable to institute a proper repair and alignment of the folded springs.
05-19-2012 update
05-19-2012 update: We made it through the trigger tests which came in at around 2 seconds. Then we moved to the flash range and that went well (see below) then the day range and 8 plate which also gave that washed effect that has a slight white hue to the pictures. We had more battery problems where they would fall out when the case was opened up. Next the camera began to lock up and then would corrupt the card. This could have been as a result of the battery spring. Anyway we pulled this can and it will be returned and opened up another one so we can maybe get on through the review. The batteries read 50% when we shut this camera down for the last time.
05-20-2012 update
05-20-2012 update:  This new camera so far has not indicated the same issues but will be watched very closely. And scrutinized in those same areas of interest that were found defective in the original camera. We have now had time to do a side by side evaluation of the pictures from both cameras and there is very little difference in our original evaluation of the pictures from the first camera and those taken by the replacement cam.
05-20-2012 #2 update
05-20-2012 #2 update:  We had additional lock up issues and the new set of tested cells were dead. This is the second camera in this test that had this issue. The first camera after 90 pictures had a battery level of 50% and also tested so with our tester to verify that camera reading. We are now going to have to close this review and see if there is going to be an update in the works for this camera. When or if that happens we will reopen this review.
06-02-2012 update
06-02-2012 update: We have been working with the company and now have installed new firmware which gave the posted trigger times a big boost and they are now down to about 1.28 seconds. We will now take this camera and re deploy and see if we experience the lock up issue again. If not, we will give this camera a green light.

Warning: One of our normal procedures here at Chasingame is to use the Bausch lens cleaner packets to ensure that everything is in great shape for our tests. After receiving reports of the neat camo treatment on the array lenses coming off with this type of cleaner I did a spot check with a Q tip and a little of the moisture from a lens cleaner packet. Sure enough the camouflage treatment wiped off fairly easy in that spot. ONLY USE A DAMP CLOTH MOISTENED WITH WATER TO CLEAN THE ARRAY LENS.

06-04-2012 update
06-04-2012 update:  A cruse through the last bunch of sample pictures after the update and it shows that there is a definite improvement in the picture quality but in addition to that the camera is now having some transition problems and we managed to capture some whiteout pictures during that time. We had no lockup problems so far after the update.
06-05-2012 update
06-05-2012 update:  Well we had a little smoke this morning. When we went to pull the card the camera was hot and smelled. The battery holder had a melted spot and spring collapse in the same area as the original camera. I re examined that picture and could see that it also had been hot and there was some distortion that showed up in the plastic area around that terminal. This time the melt down area was much more apparent. The camera had been somewhat busy with the task of taking flash pictures and it was our feeling that maybe that big 60 count array may be a little too much for the battery box design. This conclusion was made because our other 46 and 35 cam’s have not had that issue and that may be because the current drain on the smaller arrays may be more in line with this style of battery holder. We are waiting to hear from the factory folks about this last failure. Again this review is on hold.  We started with new batteries and performed firmware update.  Since then the camera has taken 632 photos and is now at 70% battery level.


06-15-2012 update
06-15-2012 update:  Even with the bad spring, our quick fix has held and we have managed to keep going on the review. We have to stop for now because the company wants this camera back and so we are on hold until the replacement arrives. Last count we were approaching nearly 6000 pictures even with the battery box issue.
07-21-2012 update
07-21-2012 update:  Our test camera was shipped back and the curtains were pulled around their testing area and we have waited and waited for information which just didn’t come. We did how ever get yet another camera so that we could continue our mission and so we also raised the curtain and started out testing with the new unit. This is suppose to be the newest and latest issue and we opened the door and made our way down the secrete pathway to the lower testing chamber to beat the hell out of this camera and see if it was going to produce yet another smoke storm. That did not happen but with a brand new set of tested good cells we had installed on 7-7 we checked today 7-21 and the on board indicator said that the battery level was down to 10% which is not good. This time was capturing just over 1000 pictures. We re took the trigger time at that time and it changed to the better. The range and sample picture taking showed no significant change in quality. We did not experience any indication of a problem re occurring with the battery tray. Our next step is to again put yet another set of known good cells in this unit and put it back on the hill so that we can have another look at the battery life. This is done just in case the last set of cells may have had some type of un seen problem that did not show up on our normal battery test prior to installation. Because of the battery situation we are again in a long wait and see situation that can only be judged by actual field use. More to come later.
09-17-2012 update
09-17-2012 update:  The hours logged standing over this camera with test equipment and still not having a lot of answers. We can say how ever we did not get any smoke with this last camera. We can also say that we cannot get close to what anyone would call good battery life. The box of dead cells grew and our frustrations followed that same curve. I hit the internet and spent many hours reading and taking notes and scanning some retail site reviews to see if they were seeing like issues. It appears that as neat a little camera this one is, it does have some problems and battery life seemed to be one of them. Because of all of the ongoing problems we are going to have to just go ahead and close this review.

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