2017 Covert Code Black 12.1 Review
This is a solid cellular trail camera that takes good pictures and has long battery life, however, it struggles with slow detection speeds. -TCP Staff
Code Black 12.1 FAQ's
- Good picture quality
- 3-month battery life
- Very easy setup process
- Slow trigger speed
- Tendency to overexpose on close animals at night
The 2017 Covert Code Black 12.1 is a 3G AT&T cellular scouting camera that works on AT&T towers only. It can send pictures to any phone, regardless of what cellular carrier the phone uses, however, it will need 3 or more bars of AT&T reception for the camera to work.
Photo resolution: 12 mpxl (interpolated)
Flash Type: No Glow IR
Day pictures are clear and colorful. There is a slight tendency to blur on movement, but overall, day pictures are very good.
Night pictures have tons of flash range, illuminating animals at great distances but overexposing animals/people close to the camera. It would be nice if the camera had the ability to self-adjust flash, but once again, night pictures are more than adequate.
The pictures you see below are full resolution images from the SD card. Pictures sent via cellular signal will be compressed in size and quality.
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.
Picture & Video Resting Power (on): 2.49 mW
Picture Daytime/Nighttime Power Consumption: 53.92 Ws | 53.34 Ws
The resting power is a tad high but the day and night picture consumption are efficient.
If this camera were to take 15-day and 15-night pictures every 24 hours, you can expect the Code Black 12.1 to last 3 months in the field on a set of 12 AA lithium batteries.
Picture Trigger & Recovery Speed: 1.01 s. / 62.6 s.
Detection Range: 70 ft.
The trigger speed and recovery time haven't changed much. The recovery time can vary depending on your cellular reception, but 62 seconds is an average time. Trigger speed did not improve significantly from the past, 1.01 seconds is still a below average time.
Detection range is 70 ft. This is a solid detection range. We have seen quite a few false triggers from the detection zone being too wide.
Overall, the detection circuit is a bit sluggish compared to the gains in speed other companies have made. We hope that Covert puts some time into improving trigger speed in the future.
Quality of Design:
Dimensions: 5.75" x 4.5" x 3"
Battery Type: 12 AA Batteries
External Battery Jack: 6-Volt
The Code Black 12.1 has an excellent case design. It feels sturdy, the latch is sound, and it has a threaded insert for the Slate River Mount along with a bracket on the back for a python cable lock.
This camera uses AT&T data purchased from Covert's website to send the photos to an app or the covert website. The ONLY way to activate this camera is through Covert. You can't use an existing sim card you already have nor can you use the AT&T website. You must go through Covert.
Please note: You must have 3 or more bars of AT&T reception for this camera to send photos. Anything less than that will be inconsistent or may not send at all. Please check the location for proper reception before ordering if you are unsure. Also, this camera will only work on AT&T towers but can send the pictures to any phone regardless of the carrier your phone is using. I.e. this camera will send pictures to a Verizon, Sprint, or T-Mobile phone just fine.
Data Plan Options/Costs:
|$3.99 / monthly
||$9.99 / monthly
||$14.99 / monthly
||$34.99 / monthly
Programming the cellular aspect of this camera is a breeze and only took a few minutes. We are big fans of the setup simplicity. Here is the complete setup process from start to finish.
Cellular Setup Steps
- Go to https://secure.covert-wireless.com/
- Create an account or login to existing account
- Enter the ICCID number (on the sim card that came with your camera) and the IMEI number (on the inside of the camera)
- Access your new account at www.covert-wireless.com. We'd also recommend downloading the Covert Wireless app on your smartphone
- Place lithium batteries, sd card, and sim card in the camera and turn to setup. Go to the "Net" tab and change send mode to Instant. You can go through settings and change time/date and other basic functions.
- Go back to the main live preview screen (by hitting the "Menu" button the appropriate amount of times) and wait for the camera to access the network (it will show bars of reception at the top of the screen).
- To test the camera on the live preview screen, point the camera at something and hit the button that looks like a camera. This takes a photo. Hit the play button (bottom, left). It will show the picture that was just taken. Hit the menu button once and then select send. The camera will say "send successful" if the picture goes through. Check the app on your phone or the covert website to make sure the photo came through.
- If everything works properly, the camera just needs to be turned to the on position when you are ready to use.
If you purchase the camera from us, we are happy to help you set the camera up via email or phone calls.
You can check the photos the camera has taken via Covert's website or their mobile app. We love the app interface and find it simple to use, easy to send camera commands, and have had no issues with crashing or malfunctions to date. You can also have the camera text or email you photos.
Durability on Covert cell cameras has been average.
Enjoy our reviews? Please consider purchasing your next trail camera from us.
FAQ's: Trail Camera
Q: How do I view the pictures?
A: There are a number of ways to do this. Pictures/videos are stored on the SD card you place in the camera. With the data plan active, this camera will send the pictures to the Covert app on your phone. You can also view the photos on the internal picture viewer. Here are some other ways to view the pictures.
View pictures on your computer. Plug the SD card in a desktop computer or laptop via the built-in SD card reader or use a USB reader if your computer doesn't have one. This method works for most tablets as well. With this method, we recommend having two SD cards per camera so you can swap them in the field.
Trail Camera Viewers. While more expensive, handheld viewers are useful if you don't have a smartphone or run multiple trail cameras.
Q: Will this trail camera trigger on small animals (birds, rodents, etc.)?
A: Trail cameras detect on a combination of heat and movement, so, yes, small mammals will trigger the camera. However, if you are going after smaller warm-blooded mammals, we recommend getting the camera closer to your target. For best performance, place the camera in an area that would enable picture detection from 3 - 20 ft.
Q: Can animals see the infrared flash on this camera?
A: This is somewhat controversial. Humans can't see the flash as the nanometer spectrum is above what the human eye can detect (that is where the 940 comes from in the Dark Ops name). It's also much harder for an animal to see, but that could depend on the species of animal as different species see in different light spectrums.
Q: Where can I purchase this camera?
A: From us! We hope to woo you with our incredible charm, two-year warranty, 90-day returns, free continental U.S. shipping, and technical expertise. If that isn't enough, we give you an 8 Gig SD card with this camera and you can call and talk our ear off anytime.
Seriously, though, we know you have plenty of options of where to spend your hard-earned money. The internet can be the wild, wild, west of too-good-to-be-true deals. If you choose to do business with us, we will go out of our way to make sure you are happy with the camera you select and the service we provide you.
We are passionate about testing and reviewing trail cameras, but most importantly, we are passionate about treating our customers the right way. We do things differently from what you have come to expect from other internet retailers and we hope you give us the opportunity to prove that to you.
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