Browning Spec Ops FHD
"This no glow camera excels in trail camera videos. The video quality is fantastic, but the picture quality lags far behind. Buy this camera if you plan on only using videos. You won't be disappointed." - TCP Staff
Read our full trail camera review below.
2015 Browning Spec Ops FHD Review
Model # btc8-fhd | Browning Spec Ops Owners Manual
- Great video detection speed
- Incredible daytime video quality
- Only capable of 10 second night videos
- Poor picture quality
The 2015 Browning Spec Ops FHD has undergone some changes since 2014 Browning Spec Ops. The 2015 model no longer has an internal viewer but it gained 1920 x 1080 video resolution along with a metal python/strap bracket on the back of the camera (you can view the back of the camera with the product photos at the top of this page).
The Spec Ops FHD is a no glow trail camera, which makes it useful for both security and wildlife surveillance.
Quality of Design
Dimensions: 5.5" x 4.25" x 3" | Battery Type: 8 AA Batteries | External Battery Jack: 12 Volt
Case design was improved witha metal back bracket. This increased the durability of the bracket from the plastic one last year's Browning Spec Ops. The latch to open the camera is very "springy." The weather stripping around the external jack is so thick it puts a tremendous amount of tension on the latch and it springs open upon the slightest touch.
Programming is simple and intuitive. The only downside is the lack of password protection, overwrite, PIR/Flash settings and start/stop time.
Durability is in line for a camera made overseas. Here is a breakdown of some of the more popular settings:
- 1-8 multi-shot
- 5 s. - 120 s. video clips
- Time Lapse: 1/2/3 hr (am & pm) or All Day (Sunrise to Sunset). 5 s. - 60 min. time intervals
- Photo Stamp: Time, date, temperature, moon phase and camera name
- Picture + Video Mode: No
- Start/Stop Time: No
- Password Protection: No
- SD Card Overwrite: No
- PIR Settings: No
- Flash Settings: No
Picture Trigger & Recovery Speed: 0.76 s. / 2.4 s. | Video Trigger & Recovery Speed: 0.79 s. / 2.7 s. | Detection Range: 90 ft.
The picture trigger time isn't surprising but the video trigger certainly is. 0.79 second video trigger is incredibly quick compared to all the other cameras. The picture and video recovery speeds are impressive as well.
The Spec Ops hit at 90 ft. once in our Shootout, so that is the official detection range. We would expect the camera to reasonable detect from 70-80 ft. more consistently. The detection angle is 7.5° wider than the field of view, this could create some false triggers. Overall, we are impressed with the detection range and the speed in which the camera is capable of triggering.
Photo resolution: 10, 8, 4, 2 mpxl | Video Resolution: 1920 x 1080 w/ audio | Flash Type: No Glow Infrared
Picture quality really surprised us and unfortunately, not in a good way. A large majority of the day pictures have a digitized appearance that gives the picture almost a fake look to it. The big question we can't answer, is why the Spec Ops has this and not the Strike Force or Dark Ops. All in all, the day pictures turned out poorly.
Night pictures lack serious flash range and exhibit plenty of "white noise". Even for a no glow trail camera, the night pictures are dimmer and not as clear as we would like to see. Animals within 30 ft. turned out pretty well, but anything to the sides of the pictures or past 30 ft. was hard to decipher.
In the past, many people get confused with the megapixel ratings trail camera manufacturers advertise. Don't get caught up in this. We consider 99% of megapixel ratings to be a marketing gimmick. 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 only way to judge picture quality is through the pictures a trail camera takes. For instance, the Spec Ops FHD interpolates its photos out to 10 mpxl (if you choose "ultra" photo quality in the settings). We consider interpolation completely unnecessary, however, every manufacturer employs this tactic. You will notice this the most when you zoom in on a full size image that the camera has taken. The details of the photo will appear hazy or even digitized. This is normal and to be expected.
The video quality is certainly living up to its billing. Check out the full HD videos below. The audio is clear and the video is crystal clear. Extremely impressive. These daytime videos are some of the best we have seen to date.
Resting Power (on): 0.9 mW | Daytime Power Consumption: 6.12 Ws | Nighttime Power Consumption: 7.8 Ws
Resting Power is outstanding, 1.08 mW is barely a blip on the radar. The Day and Night Power Consumption numbers are both considered high. To last longer in the field, both these numbers need to decrease significantly.
The camera operates on 8 AA batteries. You will get the best performance out of your camera if you use Lithium batteries. Alkaline batteries will work, but they are very unreliable and drain faster in cold weather. The Spec Ops FHD will work with Tenergy Nimh Rechargeable batteries.
If this camera were to take 35 day pictures and 35 night pictures every 24 hours, this camera could last 5.5 months in the field (with lithiums).
Browning Spec Ops FHD Review Conclusion
Overall, the Spec Ops FHD has been a bit of a disappointment. Picture quality and battery life should be much stronger than what we are seeing. On the flip side, the detection circuit and video quality are exceptionally impressive. If you plan on using the camera for pictures, we do not recommend this unit. If you will be using videos exclusively, this would be an awesome choice.