2016 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

  •  Moon light – 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 moon light, 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 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. Please be very careful when comparing nighttime photos as it is very easy to manipulate results.

 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.

     The 2016 test was conducted under a fully closed canopy with dense cloud cover and high humidity.

Trail Cameras purchased from us come with:

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


 

1. Reconyx SC950

 

2. Reconyx HC600

 

3. Bushnell Aggressor No Glow

 

4. Bushnell Aggressor Wireless

 

5. Spypoint Solar

 

6. Stealth Cam PX36NG

 

7. Primos Proof Cam 03

 

8. Spypoint Force 11D

 

9. Browning Black Label

 

10. Stealth Cam G45NG

 

11. Reconyx XR6

 

12. Reconyx XS8

 

13. USA Trailcams Recruit

 

14. Muddy Pro-Cam 12

 

15. Moultrie M-888i

 

16. Browning Spec Ops Platinum

 

17. HCO Spartan No Glow

 

18. Moultrie M-999i

 

19. Exodus Lift

 

20. Browning Dark Ops Elite

 

21. Stealth Cam ZX36NG

 

22. Moultrie Panoramic 180i

 

23. Wildgame Vision 8

 

24. Bushnell Natureview HD (discontinued camera)

 

25. Covert Code Black 12.0

 

26. Muddy Pro-Cam 10

 

27. Cuddeback Black Flash

 

28. Bushnell Natureview Liveview

 

29. Bushnell Natureview Liveview

 

30. Moultrie A20i

 

31. Covert Blackhawk

 

32. Wildgame Cloak 6