2017 Flash Range Shootout

Flash Range has a tremendous impact on the effectiveness of any trail camera. Below we’ll touch on both the internal & external variables and explain why we test the way we do. Since the majority of all trail cameras use an infrared flash, the items referenced below will only pertain to IR flash cameras.

Internal Variables

  •  # of infrared LED's– There is a direct correlation with the number of LED's and flash range.  Cameras which have a larger number of infrared LED's in their flash will almost always have more illumination than cameras with fewer LEDs.
  •  Energy Used – Think of your hand-held flashlight when it’s low on batteries vs. the strength of its beam with a fresh set of batteries.  Flash strength and range of illumination are directly influenced by the amount of power sent to a flash.  At the expense of battery life, some cameras send more power to their flash than others.  As a result, those cameras can have more illumination than other cameras with the same number of LEDs. 
  •  Exposure time – This is an area many camera manufacturers have manipulated in recent years.  At the expense of clarity, flash range can be extended by increasing exposure time.  Essentially, the longer a shutter is left open, the farther out a flash will illuminate.  Unfortunately, any movement during the time the shutter is open produces blurry photos.  This is why we always provide a photo with a subject moving through the field of view next to each flash range photo.

 External Variables

  •  Moonlight – The phase of the moon and the intensity of its light greatly influences flash range and illumination.  A night photo taken under a full moon and clear sky can exhibit twice the flash range and illumination of a photo taken under an overcast sky with a crescent moon.
  •  Cloud cover – Regardless of moonlight, cloud cover influences flash range as well.
  •  Tree canopy – A dense tree canopy can completely negate any flash enhancing benefits of a full moon or clear sky.

We normally always perform our flash range test for all models tested on the same night, under the same moon and sky, in the exact same setting, under the same tree canopy with a fresh set of batteries.

This year, we had heavy fog move in when we were 2/3 of the way done with the test. We came back the following night to complete the test. The conditions were identical on both nights.

 Equipment Issues

The size and type monitor one uses as well as the angle from which it is viewed will influence the perceived flash distance of a camera.  In our evaluation, we use our largest and best monitor and tilt it at numerous angles to get the best range for each photo.  We make every attempt to assess photos from their best perspective.

 Criteria we used to rank photos

I want to first say this is one of the few tests we perform where human subjectivity comes into play. Having said this, we ranked photos using the following factors with priority based on the order they appear.

  1. Overall illumination across the entire field of view
  2. Clarity, Contrast & Resolution
  3. Presence of "Hot Spots" or areas of overexposure

In the end, different individuals may value different attributes and characteristics of photos.  If nothing else, we have provided a sampling from most every camera on the market taken under very controlled and fair conditions for you to make your own evaluation.

 

Trail Cameras purchased from us come with:

Free Shipping to the Lower 48  |  2 Year Warranty  |  90 Day Returns


 

1. Moultrie M-40i

 

2. Reconyx SC950

  

3. Moultrie S-50i

  

4. Reconyx HC600

  

5. Wildgame Mirage 16 Lightsout

  

6. Primos Proof 3

  

7. Covert Code Black 12.1

  

8. Covert Blackhawk 12.1

  

9. Reconyx XS8

  

10. Reconyx XR6

  

11. Wildgame Mirage 14 Lightsout

  

12. Covert Black Maverick

  

13. HCO Spartan No Glow AT&T

  

14. Covert Black Viper

  

15. HCO Spartan No Glow US Cellular

  

16. Stealth Cam G45NG

  

17. Moultrie A-30i

  

18. Stealth Cam GXW

  

19. Bushnell Aggressor Wireless

  

20. Wildgame 360 Lightsout

  

21. Wildgame Silent 20 Crush Lightsout

  

22. Wildgame Vision 12 Lightsout

  

23. Moultrie P180i

  

24. Reconyx MR5

  

25. Bushnell Aggressor No Glow

  

26. Browning Dark Ops 940

  

27. Browning Spec Ops Extreme

  

28. Browning Black Label

  

29. Reconyx MS8

  

30. Cuddeback Cuddelink

  

31. Bushnell Natureview

  

32. Cuddeback Black Flash

  

33. Boly BG962

  

 

 

 


 

 

1. HCO Scoutguard SG565

  

2. Boly SG562

  

3. Reconyx WR6

  

4. Covert Illuminator

  

5. HCO SG560c

  

6. Reconyx HC550

  

7. Moultrie Whiteflash