"While this inexpensive Moultrie game camera sells in bunches, it is not a quality camera according to our test data. Poor pictures, slow detection and limited programming options are just a few of the things keeping the A5 from being a recommended trail camera". - TCP Staff
The Moultrie A5 trail and game camera ranks near the top of the list in most asked about cameras. Seemingly everyday, folks call or email us about this particular model. It certainly isn't surprising as you can find the A-5 in nearly every Outdoor Store, Archery Shop or wholesale discount variety of retail superstore. It is pretty easy to find the camera for $70 or $80 and everybody has the same question. "How about that Moultrie A-5? I can pick up a couple of those for cheap."
We do not sell game cameras at this price point, as putting our 2 year warranty on these could jeopardize the health of our business. However, we like to test and review everything we can get our hands on, so it is about time we reviewed the Moultrie A-5 and answered the previous question for all to see.
Detection Circuit 2.1 Stars
The trigger speed on the A-5 (1.16 seconds) is actually pretty good for this camera. That is plenty fast enough for most animals. On the other hand, a recovery time of 62 seconds makes the A-5 the slowest recovering non-cellular game camera on the market.
Folks who put the camera (s) on a feeder or bait station sometimes prefer the slower recovery time to eliminate 100's of photos of one animal. Outside of that, unless you are photographing a sloth, a 62 second recovery time is completely unacceptable.
The detection zone posed a huge problem for us. It is far wider than the field of view, meaning the camera is detecting tons of square footage that won't make it into the pictures. This is not isolated to just the Moultrie A-5, plenty of other cameras and manufacturers have cameras with this flaw. However, we received an abnormal amount of "false" triggers from the A-5.
The last time we had the camera out, we left it out for 8 days. In that time, it took 260 pictures overlooking a field. From those pictures, only 59 of them actually had an animal in the frame. That means only 22.7% of the time, an animal was in the field of view when the picture was taken.
Picture Quality 1.8 Stars
Let's start with the night pictures. Dark and grainy with a 30 ft. flash range is not impressive. We didn't have many pictures with blur, but the camera isn't taking a bright enough picture to invoke blur.
Animals are almost undetectable on the edge of the photos and anything past 30 ft. looks like a ghost. This is not surprising for a camera that has 12 infrared LED's.
Day pictures are typical of a less expensive camera. The color is fine, but the focus is off and the pictures look distorted. Turkeys are a great way to judge clarity as their faces are colorful and wrinkled. You can't tell from these A-5 photos.
Battery Life 3.8 Stars
This is definitely a bright spot for the Moultrie A-5. The resting and daytime power consumption are both well above average. The nighttime draw is somewhat high, which is surprising given how dim and dark the night pictures are.
|Resting Current Draw
||Daytime Power Consumption
||Nighttime Power Consumption
ma = milliamps
The A-5 requires 4 C cell batteries for operation. Rechargeable batteries would not work in this camera. The way the battery compartment operates, it is tough to stick the batteries in on the tray which has the springs on the bottom.
Ease of Use 1.7 Stars
The Moultrie A-5 is a larger camera than most modern game cameras. The face of the camera is 7" x 6". This isn't really a big deal, just something to note.
The programming is very simple and easy to operate. However, it is very limited. There is no time lapse mode and the picture delays are limited to four options (1, 5, 10 or 30 minute intervals). You can set the picture resolution to high (2560 x 1920) or low (640 x 480) but the video resolution is preset to 640 x 480.
There is a built in bracket for a python lock, and the camera has a 1/4 x 20 threaded insert on both the back and bottom of the camera for a slate river mount.
Moultrie markets the A-5 as an affordable game camera. Nobody would dispute that. As we mentioned earlier, you can find the A-5 just about everywhere and the price is unbeatable. Trail cameras in this price point have obvious limitations. Speed, picture quality and durability aren't even close to competitive.
After reading this review you can obviously see that we aren't impressed by the A-5. We do want to point out that the Moultrie A-5 is not indicative of the rest of the Moultrie models. We have had tons of success with the M-880, M990i and the Panoramic cameras. When a camera is priced at $79, you have to put a certain limit on expectations.
We can't tell you whether or not this camera will work for you. Your needs may vary from ours. The A-5 could fit your needs perfectly and we aren't here to tell you otherwise. As long as your expectations are reasonable, the A-5 is a viable scouting camera. If you want our completely candid opinion - "You can't afford cheap tools."
Additional Resources: Moultrie Game Camera Reviews