Moultrie Panoramic 180i Review
- The P180i is a panoramic trail camera with 3 lenses to increase field-of-view and detection area to 180°. Picture detection is incredibly quick, but videos are very slow. Picture quality is incredible but night videos struggle. Overall, this game camera is a winner. - TCP Staff
Model # MCG-13036 | Panoramic 180i Owner's Manual
- Fixed lenses - no moving parts
- Good battery life (12 AA batteries)
- Very fast picture detection and huge detection zone
- Outstanding picture quality
- Excellent daytime videos
- Slow video detection
- Poor flash range on night videos
We were admitted fanboys of the original Panoramic 150 that was released in 2013. It was progressive, cool, and unlike anything we had seen before. The first few runs of pictures were spectacular. We were in love.
Reality set in when all the moving parts of the rotating IR LEDs and lens became a huge detriment to the reliability. We were officially off the bandwagon. We hoped someday Moultrie would build the Panoramic with static lenses/LEDs.
It took three years, but that day has arrived! We are excited to find out whether the P180i will be revolutionary... or another dud. Either way, a big round of applause to Moultrie for sticking it out and coming through with the much-needed renovation of our old mistress, the Moultrie Panoramic.
The first thing that should stand out to you are the wide panoramic photos. When in panoramic mode, the P180i has a field of view of 180°. This not only produces unique and fun pictures but also triples the area the camera is monitoring. If you put the camera in single-shot mode, the camera still monitors the 180°, but will only take a photo from the lens that motion was detected.
Panoramic photos, even with the fixed lens, will have some issues right where the pictures are aligning with one another. We believe the severity of this will vary from camera to camera. Whether it is an issue or not will entirely depend on you. From a scouting perspective, the increased f.o.v. and detection area will be far more important than any distortion at the picture "breaks." If you are more interested in having perfectly centered, aligned images; it will frustrate you.
Here are photos in single shot mode. The photos we retrieved have absolutely incredible color and depth. The clarity is very good as well. Day pictures are outstanding - doesn't get much better than this.
Night pictures have substantial flash range while maintaining contrast and clarity. Very impressive pictures both during the day and night. You will see some blur on movement. The biggest concern we have here is the break in between photos - which may or may not be a concern for you.
Video quality is outstanding during the day. The high resolution (1920 x 1080 w/ audio) makes day videos comparable to the top video game cameras we have ever tested.
Conversely, night videos are surprisingly poor. Flash range is 25 ft. on a good day and centered only in the center of the video. Night videos get a poor rating from us.
In the past, many people get confused with the megapixel rating trail camera manufacturers advertise. Companies inflate the mpxl rating to attract eyes to their products. They do this through interpolation, which digitally adds megapixels to a photo without actually improving the picture.
The best way to judge picture quality is to look at actual pictures. You will notice this the most when you zoom in on a full-size image that a camera has taken. The details of the photo will appear hazy or even digitized. This is normal, and to be expected.
Single Picture Mode - Resting Power (on): 3.45 mW | Daytime Power Consumption: 3.51 Ws | Nighttime Power Consumption: 10.03 Ws
Panoramic Picture Mode - Resting Power (on): 3.45 mW | Daytime Power Consumption: 4.75 Ws | Nighttime Power Consumption: 11.21 Ws
Battery data is calculated separately. One set is if the camera is taking one picture per trigger, the other is if the camera is taking panoramic pictures. For the sake of this rating, we believe most customers will use this camera in panoramic mode, so we will rate it from that.
If this camera were to take 35-day pictures and 35-night pictures every 24 hour period, this camera would last 6.3 months in the field on a set of 12 lithium AA batteries. In single shot mode, it would last 7 months.
If this camera were to take 15-day videos and 15-night videos every 24 hour period, this camera would last 1.6 months in the field on a set of 12 lithium AA batteries. This is with 10-second video clips.
Picture Trigger & Recovery Speed: 0.42 s. / 0.6 s. | Video Trigger & Recovery Speed: 2.20 s. / 11.1 s. | Detection Range: 50 ft.
Picture trigger and recovery time are outstanding. These are top of the line times. Video trigger and recovery are on the opposite end of the spectrum, very slow. If not for the slow video detection, this category would be rated much higher.
The detection range is 50 ft.
Dimensions: 7" x 5.5" x 4.5" | Battery Type: 12 AA Batteries | External Battery Jack: 12 Volt
The P-180i is a large, bulky game camera that would be hard to conceal. Regardless of how the rest of the Panoramic 180 review goes, the single biggest improvement Moultrie made to this camera for 2016 is placing fixed lenses, IR LEDs and detection PIRs into this camera. This has eliminated all the moving parts from previous Panoramic cameras that made them warranty nightmares.
The second biggest improvement is switching over to AA batteries (12 to be exact). This saves space and gives you the option of using lithium batteries. Excellent work by Moultrie to fix several of the glaring weaknesses of the old models.
The way the python and strap bracket is angled makes the camera sit poorly on a tree if you intend to lock it. The latch looks thin and flimsy but it works well and secures the front cover down easily. The 1/4" x 20 threaded insert (for a tripod or Slate River Mount) is poorly situated. It juts out from the back of the camera, pushing all the weight forward. Also, the way it is isolated by itself would make it susceptible to breaking if any leverage were applied to the camera when threaded onto a mount.
Durability is unknown at this point in time. Just from the fixed aspect of the lenses, we would guess that durability would already be head and shoulders above past models. We will update this review if any concerns arise.
2016 Moultrie Panoramic 180i Conclusion:
The amount of improvement in the 2016 P180i compared to all the previous panoramic models is night and day. It takes pictures faster, has longer battery life, takes higher quality photos and should prove to be much more reliable.
The Panoramic 180i is back to being an extremely fun game camera to use. The scouting abilities of this camera are unmatched with the 180° of surveillance.
The only things holding this camera back from being rated even higher, are better night videos and faster video detection. Outside of that, this camera is a real winner.
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Moultrie Panoramic 180i Accessories
Here are a few of the accessories we like to use with the P180i.
- There is no downside to using lithium batteries. Long battery life, extreme durability and better night pictures. You will be happy you did.
- Use this with the security case, not just the camera itself.
Start at $5.95
- SD cards store your pictures and videos for easy removal. We give you a free SD card with the Moultrie M-888i, but most people use a second card. If you have two cards, you can swap them out when you retrieve the pictures.
- If you aren't using a security case, this is a must-have. Screws into the tree and rotates to any angle. You no longer need to find the perfect tree to mount the camera.
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