- The M550 has way more cons than pros. The camera is slow, takes poor pictures and has a weird case design. It does get good battery life, though. Upgrade to the M880 Gen2 for a much more enjoyable trail camera experience. - TCP Staff
Read our full review below.
2015 Moultrie M-550 Gen2 Review
Model # MCG-12717 | Moultrie M550 Owners Manual
- Great battery life
- Good video quality
- Slow trigger speed
- Poor picture quality
- Very poor design on Python lock bracket
- No audio on video
The M-550 Gen2 is categorized by Moultrie as their "...most affordable mini game camera. It has all the features you need for game monitoring, but a price you can afford."
At first glance while working on this Moultrie M-550 Gen2 Review, the camera looks to be built with the same design as the other 2015 Gen2 Moultrie cameras. A few of the manufacturer specs are different (no PIR setting, lower quality video resolution and no SD card overwrite), but visually the camera appears very similar to the M-880 Gen2. Let's see if the inside matches the outside.
Quality of Design
Dimensions: 5.75" x 4.75" x 3.25" | Battery Type: 8 AA Batteries | External Battery Jack: 12 Volt
The case design changed quite drastically from previous years. The latch is huge, which so far is a plus. It has been relatively easy to open and close even with cold fingers. The buttons for programming and the battery eject tray are all positive and work well.
The python lock bracket is an extremely poor design. The loops are angled which makes the camera sit funny on a tree if you are only using the python lock and not the security case. It would also be pretty easy to torque the camera in a way to easily snap the brackets. We don't like this design at all, the only way to truly correct this is to use the camera with a security case.
Programming is not particularly easy or intuitive. The M-550 lacks a few programming options that the more expensive M-880 Gen2 has, such as PIR settings and SD card overwrite. In time, we have learned how to program the M-550 but user interface is definitely something Moultrie needs to evaluate on their game cameras going forward. Here is a breakdown of some of the more popular settings:
- 1-3 multi-shot
- 5 s. - 90 s. video clips
- Time Lapse: 10/30 s. / 1/5/10/15/30 min. 1/2/3/6/12/24 hrs. w/ 1 or 2 prog. / day
- Photo Stamp: Time, date, temperature, moon phase and camera name
- Picture + Video Mode: No
- Start/Stop Time: No
- Password Protection: Yes
- SD Card Overwrite: No
- PIR Settings: No
- Flash Settings: Yes (Motion freeze on/off)
Durability is slightly below average for a Chinese made camera.
Picture Trigger & Recovery Speed: 1.25 s. / 4.7 s. | Video Trigger & Recovery Speed: 2.53 s. / 8.6 s. | Detection Range: 50 ft.
A 1.25 second picture trigger time is quite slow. The video trigger time is a full second slower that the M-880 Gen2. The recovery times are pretty similar. Overall, these are well below average numbers for a modern trail camera.
Detection range is right at 50 ft, just as the manufacturer claims. By today's standards, this is below average. Overall, this detection circuit is very average, if not below average. This camera would not excel on a fast moving game trail. This camera would need to be over a stationary bait pile or something similar in nature.
Photo resolution: 8 mpxl (Enhanced, High, Med. & Low) | Video Resolution: 640 x 480 no audio | Flash Type: Red Glow Infrared
Daytime picture quality has a wide variance in color quality. Some pictures are washed out while others are great. Clarity is poor on most of the pictures. Overall, day pictures are well below average.
Night pictures have an overwhelming flash, washing out anything close to the camera. You can see multiple examples of that below. On the plus side, the flash range is solid.
You can view sample videos from the M-550 Gen2 below. We rated the video quality as average to slightly above average.
Resting Power (on): 1.08 mW | Daytime Power Consumption: 2.15 Ws | Nighttime Power Consumption: 7.93 Ws
The resting power is very low and will enable the camera to sit inactive in the field for a very long time with a good set of batteries. The daytime consumption is also a pleasant surprise and while the night power consumption is a bit high, overall, these are great numbers.
While this camera can operate on alkaline AA batteries, we greatly prefer Energizer Ultimate Lithiums in our cameras. They are much more consistent and will last an incredible amount of time. This camera will not work with rechargeable batteries.
If this camera were to take 35 day pictures and 35 night pictures every 24 hour period, this camera would last 8.1 months in the field on a set of lithium batteries.
Moultrie M-550 Gen2 Review Conclusion
Overall, the 2015 Moultrie M-550 Gen2 rates poorly compared to similarly priced cameras. The picture quality and detection circuit aren't up to par. We do not recommend this camera.
Enjoy our reviews? Please consider purchasing your next trail camera from us.
Additional Resources: Moultrie Game Camera Reviews
Trailcampro's 2 Year Warranty | 90 day Return Policy
Trailcampro 90 Day Return | 2 Year Exclusive Warranty Details
If you purchased your trail camera from us (Trailcampro.com), here are the following warranty stipulations. If you purchased from another retailer, we recommend contacting that retailer or the manufacturer of that product for their warranty details.
If You Purchase From Trailcampro.com
We attempted to make our return policy and 2-year exclusive warranty as simple as possible. However, there are a few stipulations.
90 Day Returns
You may return or exchange anything purchased from Trailcampro for a full 90 days from the date of purchase. Please use the items as you normally would and much as you like subject to the rules below.
Our return policy lets you field test products, at no risk to you!
- Buyer's remorse? Return the camera to us for a full refund (minus shipping).
- Purchased the wrong camera? We will ship you the right camera.
- Something wrong with the camera you received? We will replace it at no cost to you.
90 Day Return Policy Rules:
- 90 days from date of purchase.
- In order to receive a full refund, items must be returned with their original packaging (including UPC code) and all contents
- Cameras or products must be returned in their original condition. You cannot write on the cameras, paint them or deface them in any way. This completely voids the warranty with both us and the specific manufacturer.
- If you purchased one of our "Package Deals" and only return part of the package, we will refund the items full price minus the package discount.
- Orders with quantities of 5 or more are not eligible for a refund or exchange. They are still eligible for warranty replacement.
- There are no returns on used cameras or cameras that clearly state "No Returns"
- If you are returning for a refund, you are responsible for return shipping. Your refund amount will be minus the cost of the initial shipping to you.
2 Year Warranty
We strive to make our customer experience superior to anything available. Traditional warranties only last a year and must be processed directly through the manufacturer. This process usually involves frustrating minutes on hold with call centers and oftentimes weeks, if not months of down time waiting for your replacement product. We process our warranties in-house and expedite the replacement process. When you call Trailcampro you'll speak directly with an expert who will immediately identify the problem and offer a solution.
2 Year Exclusive Warranty Details:
- Warranty starts from the time of purchase and continues for a full 2 years.
- Replacement cameras receive the remainder of the 2-year warranty leftover from the original purchase.
- Warranty is only valid for full retail priced orders (quantity discounts void our 2-year warranty). Discounted items still receive the manufacturer warranty. Price matches void the 2-year warranty as well.
- If your defective camera has been discontinued, we will exchange it for a similarly priced item to your liking.
- If you have a 3G cellular trail camera, it is not considered manufacturer defect if you lose 3G reception in your area.
- Used cameras do not apply for our 2-year warranty
- Cameras cannot be marked on, damaged, or defaced in any way. Warranty is for manufacturer defect only. Defect does not include damage, whether intentional or not.
If you have any questions that were not answered here please feel free to contact us.
To warranty a camera please use the form below. Upon receipt of an RMA number, you will need to ship the camera back to us. You will be responsible for the shipping charges of the defective camera back to us. We will ship the replacement back to you for free.
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WHEN YOU BUY FROM TRAILCAMPRO:
You must love your new trail camera, or game camera or return it for a full refund in the first 90 days-no questions asked.
Double the Warranty
We double the manufacturer’s 1-year warranty to 2-full years and handle all warranties in-house on our trail cameras and game cameras.