The Spypoint Solar Dark's incorporation of a solar panel has made changing batteries a thing of the past. The Solar Dark is low glow IR, has a great internal viewer, easy programming, and insane speed. If the image quality is acceptable for you, we would give this camera our highest recommendation. If you are looking for a trailcam that takes high quality images, there are better options on the market. - TCP Staff
Video resolution: 1920 x 1080 w/ audio @ 10 frames per second
Flash Type: Low Glow IR
As expected, the picture quality is very similar to the previous edition of the Spypoint Solar. Daytime pictures have bright color, average clarity and plenty of depth whether the camera was placed in bright sunlight or heavy timber.
Night pictures have pros and cons. There is a decent amount of flash range, but the pictures do have a slight halo (more light in the center of the image - less on the edges of the photo). The Solar has three modes in the settings that control night image quality:
IR Boost- Max flash range but higher frequency of blurry images
Blur Reduction- Less flash range, but better clarity on moving animals
Optimal- This is a compromise of the two modes above.
Our sample images are a combination of all the modes the camera allows. Overall, the night photos are a mixed bag. We consider the Solar's night photos to be very average.
Day video is shot with 1920 x 1080 resolution but only at 10 fps. The frames per second really hold the Solar Dark back in terms of video quality. The audio also seems to have a "whine" to it. We think the day videos are of poor quality
The low frame rate is much less noticeable on night videos. The videos appear to be well illuminated and solid overall. Much better than the day video quality.
What if you purchase from us and aren't happy with the image quality?
This is a common question and we have a very simple solution. Call, email, or chat with us and we can take a look at the images and offer suggestions or immediately tell if something is wrong with the camera. If so, we will warranty the camera for you (with the free 2-Year warranty you receive from us) or return the camera for a full refund (within 90 days of purchase). You have control of the process, remember, we work for you.
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, whichdigitally 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.
Battery Life: 95/100
Picture & Video Resting Power (on): 0.28 mW
Picture Daytime/Nighttime Power Consumption: 1.0 Ws | 1.4 Ws
Video Daytime/Nighttime Power Consumption: 10.3 Ws | 57.8 Ws
This is battery life is silly. The draws are so efficient, this camera lasts forever before you even start to consider the solar panel. For the following calculations, we added the additional battery pack the solar panel supplies. It still does not include what the sun could charge the pack, it is only accounting for the 8 AA Lithium batteries + the internal rechargeable 4000 mAh battery pack.
If this camera were to take 35-day pictures and 35-night pictures every 24 hour period, this camera would last 34.7 months in the field on a set of lithium batteries. This does not include the solar panel.
If this camera were to take 15-day and 15-night videos (10-second videos) every 24 hours, it would last3.4 months in the field on a set of lithium batteries. This is outstanding. Once again, this does not include the solar panel. Keep in mind, the camera only shoots at 10 fps, so the files sizes are much smaller than a traditional trailcam video shot at 30-60 fps.
How does the Spypoint Solar Dark work with internal batteries and how does it know which battery source to draw from? The camera pulls power from the solar panel until the charge goes below 25%, at that point, it pulls from the 8 internal AA batteries. We highly recommend lithium batteries, as they do not have a daily self-discharge like alkaline or rechargeable batteries do.
Spypoint claims that if you buy the Solar Dark trail camera you will "Never buy batteries again." In our opinion, if the camera continues to operate as it has to this point, that could very well be a valid statement.
Tenergy rechargeable batteries do not fit in the battery compartment. The batteries are too thick. For that reason, we only recommend lithium batteries with this camera.
Detection Circuit: 99/100
Picture Trigger & Recovery Speed: 0.07 s. | 0.3 s.
Video Trigger & Recovery Speed: 0.67 s. | 1.0 s.
Detection Range & Angle: 120' @ 38.5° Detection Angle (42.0° Field of View)
This detection circuit is absurd, not matter what category. Crazy speed, 120' detection range, and a wide enough detection zone to get it done. Every time we pull an SD card the camera has tens of thousands of pictures. This is just silly and might we say, possibly too fast? We find that we prefer to set the recovery time down to a few seconds just to make it easier to view the pictures in a realistic time frame. Not a bad problem to have!
Quality of Design: 88/100
Dimensions: 7" x 3.75" x 4"
Battery Type: 8 AA
External Battery Jack: 12-volt
The solar panel immediately drew our attention. We talked to Spypoint extensively about this and they had some interesting things to say. We were worried that 90% of consumers would put the camera under a tree, negating the benefit of the solar panel. However, this particular solar panel doesn't need direct sunlight. It charges with any light that is present, even in thick timber. In fact, it was charging in our office just from our inside lighting.
"This solar panel doesn't need direct sunlight"
The Spypoint Solar is very small and would be easy to conceal in almost any environment. The camera has a detachable bracket for mounting or removing quickly from a tree. There is a built-in python lock bracket on the back of the camera and a 1/4" x 20 threaded insert on the bottom of the camera for a tripod or Slate River Mount.
On the back of the camera, there is a cover that pops open to reveal the battery compartment (it requires 8 AA batteries). The batteries are easy to insert/remove and are held firmly in place. There is no chance they would become dislodged on their own. The battery cover feels a bit flimsy, but it attaches in a way that removes that as a concern. It is perfectly flush with the back of the camera and is not exposed to anything that would risk damaging it.
The latch on the 2019 Solar has been upgraded. It is now larger and much easier to manipulate with cold hands.
Programming is incredibly easy and intuitive. Whether this is your first camera or 21st, you will enjoy the programming options and fluid navigation. All programming is done on the internal viewer, so for those of you that do not enjoy squinting at small LCD screens, you will appreciate the bigger font on the viewer.
The Solar trailcam has custom start/stop time, which is useful for anyone looking at this camera for security. It also has hybrid mode, which allows you to take a picture and a video at the same time.
SD Card Storage Examples
With a 16 Gig SD card and the camera taking 2 mpxl photos (this is called "normal" in the settings and this is our recommended setting as it is closest to the native resolution), this camera could store 106,000 pictures on the SD card.
With a 16 Gig SD card and the camera taking 1920 x 1080 video resolution, this trailcam could store 1,100 10-second videos.
From this data, you can extrapolate out storage capacities of different sized SD cards and different resolution settings. We give you a 16 Gig SD card with the purchase of this camera through us. If you need additional or larger SD cards, you can shop allSD card options here.
Durability has been good on past Spypoint Solar models. If anything changes, we will update this review immediately.
Keep in mind, our2-year warranty program is your free insurance program in case something goes wrong with a camera you purchase from us. This warranty protects you from any manufacturing defect the camera might experience for two years.
Spypoint Solar-Dark Review Conclusion: In Progress
The Spypoint Solar Dark's incorporation of a solar panel has made changing batteries a thing of the past. The Solar Dark is low glow IR, has a great internal viewer, easy programming, and insane speed. If the image quality is acceptable for you, we would give this camera our highest recommendation. If you are looking for a trailcam that takes high quality images, there are better options on the market.
Since 2005, our mission has to been to provide consumers with unbeatable value, advice you can trust, and customer service that exceeds expectations. There are plenty of places you can choose to do business with, if we are lucky enough to earn your support, we promise to give you our undivided attention. Trailcampro has grown each year not only by relying on your happiness but on the assumption that if we blow you away with customer service, you will brag about us to your friends (have you seen our referral/reward program?).
As always, if you have additional questions, feel free to call, email or chat with us. We look forward to helping you find your next trail camera!
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FAQ's: Spypoint Solar Dark 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. Here are some other methods for viewing images:
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.
Internal picture view. The Solar Dark has an internal picture viewer that you can review photos and videos on. This also aids in aiming the camera.
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. 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 a 16 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.
- SD cards store your pictures and videos for easy removal. We give you a free SD card with the M8000, but most people use two cards. If you have two cards, you can swap them out when you retrieve the pictures.
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