2011 Spypoint 100 count IR Booster Review - August 05, 2011

2011 Spypoint IR Booster

2011 Spypoint 100 count red flash IR booster review

This is another example of units that were released and the only way we found out was to see it in the catalog. We have already tested the very excellent UWAY red and black flash XtendIR units which performed very well. This is about the same device except that the UWAY devices were wired and this unit is wireless which should offer a degree of convenience that the other like items were restricted to the length of the cord.

There is just not much to say about this device except it has 4 D cells and it has a wireless transmitter good out to 50 feet. This is no little small device. It is every bit as big as their Pro series cameras and has that nice fall camouflage color. There is a little wireless sensor that stretches out to catch a bit of the base cameras flash to direct this slave system to also flash at the same time.

We have all the WGI cameras and the Bresser ahead of this unit so it will be a while before we get to this. My contact acquired this sample for me without notice because of a particular interest so it was a surprise when it arrived. The note said that it cost in the $70 range so that is not too bad. Being we will have no lab time with this device and it will be all field work on a couple of selected cameras this should be a very short review as we get to it.

We are well familiar with the competition where they use a combination of long range and wide angle plus standard emitters in a selectable bank depending on the need out to 100 feet. This system uses standard emitters and has only a high low option. There is a battery indicator which comes on and remains on for 8 seconds if batteries are ok but if it blinks it means the batteries are low. If the indicator does not come on at all then the cells are dead. They gain the distance by being wireless which is a nice feature provided the sensor/transmitter remains in place over one of the cameras IR emitters. The transmitter/sensor takes a couple of AAA cells to function.

Being this is a very basic design the instruction sheet is very short and to the point without a lot of information. Just about battery installation and hanging plus component location.

We have a perfect camera for our test which is the great little WGI N-2 camera which has a very small flash array but produces great pictures. We will use this combination during this evaluation. The warranty is the limited 1 year variety.

The little remote sensor (xmitter) has a 14 inch cord and the sensor module is camouflage color on the outside and soft rubber on the inside. There are two little hooks on the sensor module to except the supplied tie down cord. A quick test in the dark room had me turning on the lights to find the switches which are hidden in the battery compartment of both units. This is not very handy and requires disassembly to turn on and off.

The back of the unit has strap slots and cable holes. The bark grabbers are not arranged for aiming like the Uway XtendIR unit. Now that I have everything turned on I will try to do the dark room test again. It appears that my first test showed that the array did follow the camera flash and it did not appear to have any delay. Note: not all D cells will fit in this booster. The battery compartment appears to have the Chinese dimensions for batteries which is smaller than US made cells. My Ray O Vacs went in very tight, and another brand would not go in at all. I have not yet tried to get them back out of the compartment. We will grab a few night time samples and be done with this review.

08-12-2011 update: This device is to aid with flash on those cameras that need it. Those cameras normally have a small array. The problem that I found is that the pick up sensor is pretty big so it just about eliminates any of the flash from the cameras array. This means if the booster is placed out at 40 or 50 feet the illumination between the camera and where the booster is placed is now very minimal. This means that in this case the booster maybe should be placed on the same tree as the camera. This makes the need for remote flash somewhat non functional unless most of the cameras array can also be used.

08-14-2011 update: Please view the sample pictures. The first picture is the trail camera alone which is a 16 count IR 2 MP camera. The rest are labeled as to the booster settings and placement. From what we can tell from this test is that the booster failed miserably. The 16 count array of the camera out performed the 100 count booster when mounted on the same tree. Remember that a good amount of the cameras array was covered up by the pick up sensor. When mounted away from the camera the wireless function worked well but all close in subjects went without adequate illumination. We are going to discuss this device further to see if we need to devote any more time to the testing. We had one of our forum members post some night time pictures using the new Tiny camera from this same company and from what that looked like it would be a good candidate for some flash help. Maybe a combination of this booster and that camera might work out well.

After an hour or so of hashing out our selection of sample pictures that we gathered during our tests we have maybe a possible solution to a confusing situation. We noticed that when set on the 50 emitter selection we actually gained more light down range than on the 100 emitter selection. To come up with a reason for this we concluded that when set at 100, the current supply to that bank is XX milliamps. Then when switched to 50 that same XX power source is now only going to 50 LEDs which would now glow much brighter because of the load reduction. This is only a theory but until we prove it wrong we are going to go with that conclusion. We are also going to do another test using the same camera but this time using the Uway XtendIR to see just how they compare.

In a test looking directly at the front of the booster during flash, there did not appear to be much intensity difference no matter the setting. On the 50 count every other vertical line of emitters came on. This test would be much better if we had two units so we could trigger both with the same camera and see a side by side instead of doing a switch reset between tests.

Note: The camera used below for the testing is the WGI N2 Red Flash camera.

08-17-2011 update: This complete approach to this review may have been flawed. I had assumed that because of the advertising that most IR cameras were suppose to work with this device. I went out of my way to pick the little N2 camera as the test camera. This was done because it had produced some very sharp and clear IR pictures during our recent review and was still having battery life done. We noted that the color of the IR flash of the camera verses the color of the IR flash of the booster were different colors. I had asked some friends to update me on whether or not the color of the array had any significant meaning. These friends evidently are not as close as I thought because they just seemed to ignore my request. So, I went to work and did my own research and called a few folks in the business and it seems that the light orange of the booster array is in fact a different light frequency than the dark orange array on the test camera. This could explain why the selected image sensor in the camera failed to see the bigger flash of the booster as well as it could see the cameras flash. I am going to try a few different cameras and try to match up the array colors and re perform the test and see if we get better results. This may take a while so just keep looking back to see our findings.

08-22-2011 update: At the beginning above I stated something about the very excellent Uway boosters. Well I am going to have to rescind that statement. We tried to do a comparison test and none of our Uway XtendIR-I units would function. Seems they may have passed their shelf life. We are just going to gather a few sample pictures using this device and go ahead and close out this review.

09-04-2011 update: We set up using yet another camera and it had most of its array covered by the pickup sensor. This made the area out to where the booster was hung a little dark and hurt the picture quality. There is a bright spot down range and most of the time it was on the other side of the target animal. This tells me that it would probably be best to deploy this booster closer to where the camera is to prevent this happening. The booster does work and works well, but it needs a lot of thought and testing probably to get the results that most would want. Please view the sample pictures for the results. This review is closed.

09-21-2011 update: We have been running tests on this device in the background while working on other review cameras. This device does work very well with the exception of the illumination that its 100 emitters sends down range. This is what some have tagged tunnel vision of flash light effect. We can see this same effect on their early release Tiny camera. We have also determined that this device works best if it is located on the same tree as the camera. This is due to the size of the sensor device that must be placed over a portion of the array and blocks a portion of the cameras flash that is needed for intermediate range when the device is situated mid range out in front of the camera. We feel that if they were to re engineer the array with some wide angle and mid range IRs it would probably function much better. This review is closed.

Camera Stand Alone - No Booster

Camera + Booster on same tree (100 count leds)

Camera + Booster on same tree (50 count leds)

Camera + Booster at 30 feet side mount 100 leds

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