2010 UWay NX50 Camera Review - November 12, 2010

2010 Uway NX50

2010Uway Night Explorer NX-50 8MP IR 30 count Camera Review

The past six months we have been off and on this camera with a series of changes that finally led up to it becoming a proud member of the Uway line up. Having gone through the growing pains of getting the 50 and 50B camera successfully to market and ironing out the difficulties that followed that release, the Uway Company proved its self in the customer service area very successfully. We are up to ball two in this game and it looks like all the lessons learned during the past year will not be repeated and will make this game a lot more interesting to many. My first look at this camera and the picture quality left me just saying wow. This interpretation was based on a pre release camera and of this morning I have in my hands a post production camera that I will be going through to see if what all was found during the lead up to this release have been corrected or improved upon.

A full 5 MP camera stuck in a small 5.5X4.0X2.5 inch case that is very well camouflaged and has an drop down sealed access door up front for the controls. Advertized as having just over a second trigger time to fire the 30 count array is a selling point in itsself. Plenty of light going down range to be reflected back to capture some pretty impressive pictures. Lets hope that that last sentence does not come back to haunt me later on down the line in this review, because that was based on my first look on camera #1 sample.

Most every one is familiar with the Uway XtendIR accessory marketed by this same company. It comes in two different configurations, one of which is a red flash extender and the other is a black flash converter for red flash IR cameras. This camera has a built in port and IR switching capabilities through programming to accommodate this excellent accessory. The original XtendIR series will not work with this port. The supplied cable and the v2 series XtendIR will be required for operations with this camera. For those who are a fan of black flash systems, this is an opportunity to gain possession of a system that should not disappoint.

Note: HCO has confirmed that there is an upgrade for owners of XtendIR version 1 who want to upgrade the XtendIR to version 2 for use with the NX50 camera.

The top resolution is interpolated to 8 MP and can be programmed down to 5, 3, and 1.3 MP settings if desired. The burst mode is 1 to 9 and video resolution is 640X480 at 10 to 60 seconds. Having sound with the video has very much gained popularity recently with cameras like the new Stealth unit and Spypoint cameras and last years Leaf River cameras. This camera also jumped on this feature with both feet and our test camera provided us with some interesting samples during out field tests.

PIR sensing is done through a multi zone lens and again we found this setup worked well so far during our sample tests. The programming is done through a 6 button up down select type of standard configuration. This is all displayed on a color screen that will also serve as picture playback and video play back in the field if necessary, for those who feel that extra use of battery life is important rather than just swapping the card. A full info strip is displayed on all pictures and video with date/time and moon phase/temperature. You can stick up to a 16 gig card in this camera and it will sit there and ingest several weeks of high resolution pictures/videos without running out of space.

The power to this camera can be supplied through an external port with their accessory cable for a 6 volt SLA battery or on board 8 AA alkaline, NiMH or Lithium cells. Getting it all powered up and programmed you can also choose to password (4 digit) protect your camera from others who may choose to borrow your camera without permission. The warranty on this camera is 1 year and the customer service has so far been proven to be first class.

11-13-2010 update: We checked out the picture quality to see if it was still the same and yes we did get some very good prints. We switched to video and the video quality was also good but the sound failed on this unit and just gave us some static. We will have to see if that issue is just this unit or is the same on others so that is an area that needs further testing.

11-20-2010 update: After publishing a few pictures the roar from the field came in loud and clear about the picture/video quality not being super duper as we announced. Many felt there was a degree of graininess to the photos plus the sound on the video is just plain noise. We have the review on hold until we hear a little more from the folks at the factory.

05-24-2011 update: Lets get it right, was what we heard from the factory and they went to work and they have made many changes and the testing was running hot and heavy in the background. The camera has now been released and our tests so far are very positive and we are finding a high degree of favor so far. Please look at the sample pictures and you will see that this camera does do a very good job with that. All the rest of the issues are being double checked by us but so far we have found that things are going well. Please stay tuned because we see that there will probably be a fast following that will develop once the word is out and a few are deployed in the field.

05-25-2011 update: We put together a sample of the video with sound and it is pretty impressive. The one thing that kills our sound capture is the fact we have an interstate not far from the testing area and the background noise is high. The day color is great and the night is not to shabby. Please view the sample and judge for yourself. click below to download and play video.

05-29-2011 update: With the setup in 9 burst we logged about 2000 pictures in 24 hours because our testing area was busy and because of weather the deer seemed to hold over the top of the corn. We had very heavy rain and storms and we double checked and everything is dry so we know the moisture tightness is in order. The factory has doubled up on the gasket thickness so it makes a real tight fit. There were no leaks. We also had to spend a lot of time just analyzing the pictures. Most every manufacturer except a couple have really got this area under control. Where things fall apart is where the night IR pictures like with every other camera that quality is a little below the quality of the great day time pictures. I would still have to say they are good.

05-30-2011 update: Being this camera has the port for the new XtendIR-B2 we went ahead and selected External Illumination in the programming and ran with the XtendIR only. The results were that the night got lit up very well. Close animals had some IR burn so if your setup is close to the target area then select the lower IR count on the ExtendIR to prevent this. This conversion to black flash works extremely well and the only fault we can really see is the motion blur that happens with most all IR applications but not to extreme. Knowing that this is covert black flash makes living with a little blur more tolerable I would think. Even the high dollar cameras have not been able to eliminate this issue. For about $330 (prices taken from Beebusyoutdoors) you could have a pretty good black flash setup. The nice thing is it all just plugs together and you only have to do a little programming.

05-31-2011 update: Going from single capture over to video with the XtendIR-B2 still attached and camera flash turned off, the results were very promising and the illumination was on down range. This camera seems to do a very good job with this setup also. The more we play with it we are starting to find favor. The thing that makes this work is where the black content and the white content of the videos are just that and not having that grey look that many cameras have.

06-07-2011 update: We gathered some video samples plus we received several from some of the field users and all have background noise that is audible but not over powering over the ambient field noise. The bird chirps and leaf crunching can still be heard. We have completed this review and will close at this time.

Trigger Tests
(without flash 1.36 seconds)

(with flash 1.43 seconds)

Day Range/8 Plate

Flash Range

5MP Sample Photos (Production Camera)
5MP Sample Photos XtendIR-B Only Black Flash Conversion

Video Samples

Video sample using Black Flash XtendIR-B2 only


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