Saturday, March 15, 2008
I've had the Wingscapes camera for a week now, so I thought I'd give my first impressions. First off, I think it is a good product. If you saw my images, you may be wondering if I am off my meds, but I have a good idea of why the images came out the way that they did. The camera is well built, with two clamps to keep the door closed and water tight. The camera can accept up to a 4 GB SD memory card. The camera is highly configurable, and comes with a remote.
The remote is the same size as the remote entry for my car- it even comes on a key chain! There are two buttons on the remote, one for a .jpg and one for a video. I don't know how far it reaches, but I can trigger it from inside my house, and about 35' away. Using the remote does not affect the camera setting. The remote is nice, but the main trigger is motion detection. You can set the sensitivity for motion detection, but it works fine for me at the default.
The manual tells you to put your subject in direct sunlight, as it does not come with a flash. I don't think the direct sunlight is necessary providing you do no have the subject darker than the rest of the scene It has a manual focus, but since the camera stays fixed, this is not an issue, either. My main gripe is with the accessory mounting arm. It mounts onto a pole on one end, and holds the camera on the other. Thing is, my feeder extends towards the camera, so the minimum focus is not close enough. This is what did in most of my images. I hope to find a way to move them farther apart. One such idea is here, where I bought my camera and mounting arm. I should mention, the camera comes with straps to mount it to a tree, the mounting arm is not needed.
I bought a 4 GB card from newegg.com. This is over kill! After two days I did not fill up one GB at the max resolution, but had hundreds of images to sort through. I set it to record videos one day, and again, it was less than one GB. The file size of the videos was a little under 4 MG. It would take a LOT of videos to fill a card, and I would not want to sort through them! I put a video online here, if you want to see a sample. (I did reduce the file size.) You can set the amount of time between videos. For the .jpgs, you can set how many to take when it detects motion, and how long to wait to detect motion again.
I put some images on the Picsaweb site, including brown-headed cowbirds. I still have not seen any of those, so I would not even be aware that they were around. (Not that I want them around.) It also caught the female cardinal on some pics. I haven't seen her lately, and I was a little worried something had happened to her.
My main complaint with the camera is the batteries. Now a days, cameras come with small, lightweight, rechargeable batteries. This uses gigantic "D" batteries. The day after I installed it we had a very windy day. I had a gust of 55 MPH! The pole for my feeder did not bend over, but it was leaning a bit. I replaced the pole with some heavy duty ones that I had for my weather station. The camera itself is not heavy, but when you add the batteries and stick it out at the end of the mounting arm, it will make a lightweight pole lean.
Bottom line, I am really hopeful that the camera will catch good images of birds that I do not see. For unattended pictures, this is the best that there is.