Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Product Review: Wildgame Innovations Red 6 Trail Camera

wildgame innovations red 6
Trail cameras have become a hot topic over the past few years, and I'm amazed at how quickly sportsmen have picked up on this trend!  However, trail cameras tend to be a delicate topics among some sportsmen, as there are those that claim that it borders on the edge of unethical.  Well, that debate is one we will strive to steer clear of here!  However, whether you use trail cameras for scouting out your next hunt, or you simply enjoy placing them in the hills for the amazing wildlife photos, you have to admit, trail camera technology is pretty dang cool!

I am new to the world of trail cameras, but in the short 2 years I have been using them, I can't believe how fast my collection of cameras have grown.  Don't worry ladies, my wife's scrapbooking supply stash has also grown as I have been very good to get approval with the promise that if I get a new camera she can get something she has been eying as well.  Compromise boys, that's what it's all about!  Or was it "it's easier to ask for forgiveness than permission"?  Well, either way, I have been fortunate to purchase new cameras over the past 2 years, and feel like I have a good grasp on the pros and cons of many of the latest cameras out there.  I thought at this point of the season, with the Archery hunts only 3-4 weeks away, this would be a good time to showcase a few of my favorite camera models.

The camera for today is all about good quality at a great price.  Wildgame Innovations seems to be a brand that can quite often be overlooked when you talk trail cameras.  I think a good reason may be that their cameras are quite fairly priced.  When you see a $80-$90 camera next to a $200 camera, my first impression is that there must be a big difference in quality for such a price difference.  I'll get to more of this in a bit.

The Wildgame Innovations Red 6 was my first trail camera.  Why?  Because it was on sale for $89 at the time, and I was looking for a start at a cheap price before I got in to deep!  So, I was looking for the highest mega pixel camera I could find for the price.  This camera came in at 6MP, with a 65' flash range.  The quick research I did (standing in the store) also confirmed that the camera gets pretty good life out of 4 "C" cell batteries.  Reading the packages of several cameras, and pulling up some quick reviews on my i-phone, I came to the conclusion that this camera would also probably be the easiest to operate, a plus for me since I really didn't know what I was getting into.

So I brought the camera home, and like a kid at Christmas tore open the package and dove into figuring out how this thing worked.  At first I was a little shocked at how thin the user guide was (later I would find that other cameras came with what seemed like a small book compared to this small pamphlet).  However with the help of this pamphlet I had the date programmed in, the picture mode/quality set, shot frequency, and other settings in place within 5 minutes.  Cool, I love simple!  The menu was easy to work around, the display sharp and again simple, my SD card was in place, and I was ready to set 'er up! 
Bedded in front of the camera, it doesn't bother this bull!

The camera comes with 2 small bungee straps for securing it to a tree.  I set the camera up easily, and within seconds of turning the power on I noticed pictures counting on the display screen.  The screen powered off, and I left feeling good about the setup.

Two weeks later I returned to see if all was well.  The camera had well over 100 pictures, all of the shots of good to great quality.  The only bad pictures were caused by slobber on the lens, or the camera being bumped while it took a picture.  I had a little trouble catching the traffic on one trail, which I found the range not to be as good as I thought.  30 feet seemed to be about the limit of the camera.

I found that this year as I checked the camera I was getting photos of elk at nearly 50 feet away, so I'm not really sure what happened the first year.

Overall I have enjoyed the simplicity of this camera, and the quality pictures that it produces.  For the price, this is a hard camera to beat, and I will add more to my collection, since the price allows me to buy 2 for the price of one camera of other brands!
This bull is at about 50'

Pros:
  • CHEAP!!!
  • Great picture/video quality for 6MP
  • Very quiet when it snaps pictures
  • Great battery life (3+ months out of 4 C batteries)
  • Very simple to learn to use
  • Easy to navigate menu and setup
  • Stamps date, temperature, time, and picture number on each picture
  • Simple, rugged construction
Cons:
  • Lacks a lot of features that more expensive cameras feature (multiple shot modes, different video modes, built in LCD screen)
  • Poor night photos (not sure if it is just my camera, or if this is normal for this model)
  • Power button is easy to activate.  I have turned mine on several times in my pack as I hike to place the camera
  • Bungee cords can get flipped off of the camera.  I had a bull elk somehow flip one off and I couldn't find it.  I had to rig it back up with a shoelace!
  • No security system
The lack of a security system can be a big turn off to many with this camera, and I feel the same, so I am very careful where I place this particular model of camera.  They are way off of the beaten path where I have never had a problem with others coming into view of the camera.


I have to say that in my mind the pros easily outweigh the cons, especially when considering price.  This is a great starter camera for anyone just getting into the world of trail cameras, or it can be a great addition to those that are already well experienced using trail cameras.

This camera is listed on the http://www.wildgameinnovations.com/  website at $99.99.  As I said, I found the camera on sale at $89.99, so do your research for a good deal.  Currently the best deal I could find online was $96.45 at http://www.huntersbliss.com/wildgame-red-6-6mp-digital-infrared-camera/

I hope this review is useful to you, and that you enjoy this product as much as I have.  Keep and eye on Southern Utah Hunt and Fish as we feature more trail cameras and optics in the coming days!