Reconyx Hyperfire HC550
- By far the most expensive white LED camera on the market, the HC550 delivers on battery life, detection circuit and durability. Night pictures aren't worth the price tag though. - TCP Staff
Read our full review below.
Reconyx HC550 Review
Model # HC550 | Reconyx HC550 Owners Manual
- Exceptional detection circuit
- Good battery life
- Easy to use
- Unparalleled durability - Made in the USA
- 25 ft. night flash range
- Blurry night photos
The Reconyx HC550 is a white LED trail camera. Instead of the traditional incandescent flash, Reconyx put a white led flash to produce the same color night photos.
As you will read below, the HC550 has the same detection circuit, case design an nearly all other functions as the popular Reconyx HC500 and HC600 models. The biggest difference is the white led flash.
Quality of Design 4.7 Stars
Dimensions: 5.5" x 4.5" x 3" | Battery Type: 12 AA Batteries | External Battery Jack: None
This is another strong suit of Reconyx cameras. The case design of the HC550 is flawless. The HC550 measures in at 5.5" x 4.5" x 3."
The programming is extremely easy to use. As soon as you start the camera up for the first time, you realize this isn't your same-old game camera. This is the real-deal. Instantly, it asks for the year, date, time, what type of batteries you are using and so on. All this information is then saved for future use.
The only knock on the camera is the battery meter reads the battery life incorrectly.
The buttons are crisp and you immediately realize the quality in your hands. The clamps on the camera are strong and snap loudly, letting you know the camera is securely shut. This is manufactured in Holmen, Wisconsin and their attention to detail is world-class.
Our return rate on these and all other Reconyx cameras is virtually non-existent.
Detection Circuit 4.5 Stars
Picture Trigger & Recovery Speed: 0.20 s. / 1.12 s. | Video Trigger & Recovery Speed: None | Detection Range: 70 ft.
As with all Reconyx cameras, the detection circuit on the HC550 is the best on the market. The trigger time is a scorching 0.207 seconds and the camera recovers right at 1 second. In other words, this camera will take pictures on an animal every second as long as it is moving in front of the camera.
The detection range is 60- 80 ft, (this can vary based on ambient temperature) and the detection zone is slightly less then the field of view. Overall, this detection circuit is top-notch and will result in the maximum number of photos being taken at the given camera trap station.
Picture Quality 2.5 Stars
Photo resolution: 3.1 mpxl | Video Resolution: None | Flash Type: White LED
As with any camera, we give you our opinion of the photos, but your needs are different then ours. If you disagree with our rating of the photos, the sample photos on the right will help you decipher the quality for yourself.
For years, Reconyx photos have been some of our favorite for overall photo quality. The HC550's day photos have vivid color but we have noticed more blur in day photos then we have ever noted in the HC500 or HC600.
The night photos, to be quite honest, are disappointing. The 25 foot flash range rating we gave the camera is really only if the animal is in the center of the photo. On the edges of the photo, the flash range might be closer to 15 feet.
While the night photos are color, they are still very dark and don't give the big, bold color photos we have accumulated from past incandescent cameras.
The most concerning note is the white led is so bright (much brighter than an incandescent flash), we have multiple photos of animals turning and running when the flash goes off. Maybe it is more noticeable in this camera because the HC550 is taking photos so much faster than any of the incandescent cameras, but it is worth noting.
The only scenario that I can see the cameras night photos being useful is if you are doing a large cat study (Leopards, cheetahs etc.) and you need color night photos to I.D. specific animals at night. In order to be effective, you will need to be within 15 ft of the animal.
Battery Life 4.7 Stars
Resting Power (on): 1.8 mW | Daytime Power Consumption: 1.44 Ws | Nighttime Power Consumption: 7.85 Ws
Battery life is a strong point in all Reconyx cameras. The numbers on the HC550 are incredible considering this is a white LED trail camera. Resting draw, daytime consumption and nighttime consumption are all top of the line.
This camera will work with alkaline, lithium or nimh rechargeable batteries. We recommend the rechargeables for their consistent battery life in both warm and cold weather and overall cost savings. You can expect 3+ months of battery life from the HC550.
Reconyx HC550 Conclusion 4.1 Stars
Overall, this camera rates exceptionally well in every single category except night photos. Photo quality is subjective, so if you determine the photos on the right would work for you, then this camera is easily the best white flash (led or incandescent) trail camera on the market.
As far as our opinion is concerned, the camera is really best-suited for large cat studies that need to I.D. specific animals up close.
Enjoy our reviews? Please consider purchasing your next trail camera from us.