Covert Scouting Cameras MP-E5 Infrared Trail Camera Review
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- Inexpensive field camera
- Quality daytime pictures
- Good battery life
- Slow trigger time and abyssmal recovery time
- Only supports SD cards up to 16GB
- Many false triggers
- Limited picture-taking modes
Welcome to our review of the Covert Scouting Cameras MP-E5 Infrared Trail Camera. Covert Scouting Cameras is a new name to me, so I was interested to see how well this budget model performed in the field. Let’s go over what I found.
How Well Does the Covert Scouting Cameras MP-E5 Infrared Trail Camera Detect Movement?
Detection range on the Covert Scouting Cameras MP-E5 Infrared Trail Camera is quite good, since the camera can register movement from up to 50 feet away. Unfortunately, the detection zone is much wider than the camera’s field of view, which means I ended up getting quite literally hundreds of false positives when using this camera.
Where the Covert Scouting Cameras MP-E5 Infrared Trail Camera really fails to impress is in the trigger time and recovery time. The camera fires the shutter approximately 1.28 seconds after the sensor is triggered. Yes, that is fairly typical of cameras in this price range, but it shouldn’t be that way. What is even worse, though, is the recovery time. The Covert Scouting Cameras MP-E5 Infrared Trail Camera has an abysmal 36 second recovery time, which is flat out unacceptable at any price point.
How Reliable Is This Field Camera?
For such an inexpensive field camera, I wasn’t expecting much in the way of reliability. Other than the false triggers, though, I was quite pleasantly surprised. The Covert Scouting Cameras MP-E5 Infrared Trail Camera survived some extremely nasty thunderstorms without any problems, and has been going strong for a couple of years now. There may be quite a few things I dislike about the Covert Scouting Cameras MP-E5 Infrared Trail Camera, but I truly love the reliability of the camera.
What Is the Image Quality Like?
The Covert Scouting Cameras MP-E5 Infrared Trail Camera has a fixed MP rating of 6MP, and takes very good images. During the day, image quality is outstanding with awsome color and depth, even adapting to various light conditions. There is a little bit of blur on movement during the day, but that’s to be expected from just about any trail camera.
With 28 red glow LEDs, contrast and clarity of nighttime pictures is quite good if the animals are within 30 feet. The IR LEDs are clearly concentrated in the center of the picture, giving a “halo” effect and dark edges to infrared-shot pictures. No real complaints with the picture quality, especially given the inexpensive price of the trail camera.
Images are stamped with the date, time, moon phase, and ambient temperature in both Celsius and Fahrenheit.
What Picture-Taking Modes Does This Camera Offer?
A very simple trail camera, the Covert Scouting Cameras MP-E5 Infrared Trail Camera offers just 4 picture-taking modes. You can choose from four basic presets:
- 2 shots – 30 seconds
- 2 shots – 1 minute
- 3 shots – 5 minutes
- 10 second video – 1 minute
Such simple presets really limit what you can do with the camera, and it makes the Covert Scouting Cameras MP-E5 Infrared Trail Camera reminiscent of the early days of trail cameras. I can’t understand why Covert Scouting Cameras is providing such a stripped-down offering at a price point that is more expensive than many budget-friendly competitors with more options.
How Many Pictures Can the Covert Scouting Cameras MP-E5 Infrared Trail Camera Store?
There is no SD card included with the Covert Scouting Cameras MP-E5 Infrared Trail Camera, so you’ll have to provide your own. Covert Scouting Cameras has really gone barebones with the firmware in the MP-E5 trail camera, and you can only use SD cards with a capacity of up to 16GB. I’ve long been advocating for trail cameras to begin supporting the larger 64GB and 128GB SD cards, so it is truly unforgiveable for the Covert Scouting Cameras MP-E5 Infrared Trail Camera to only support 16GB cards. This dramatically reduces the number of pictures and videos you can store, and I found myself needing to dump the pictures every couple of days.
How Is the Battery Life?
Battery life is pretty long, and the camera will function on just 4 AA batteries. For really extended battery life, the camera will accept 8 AA batteries. Using 8 lithium AA batteries, I was able to power this camera for more than 18 months. One nice feature is that the camera does provide DC power port for using an external power supply.
Is This Field Camera Easy To Use?
The Covert Scouting Cameras MP-E5 Infrared Trail Camera is easy to program and use, but the instruction manual is basic, somewhat confusing, and downright incorrect when it comes to the mode selection. Use the mode selection table on the inside of the camera, not the one in the instruction manual. Programming the camera is done using four large buttons with an LED display, and the only thing you have to be careful about is accidentally moving past the mode you want to set.
You can download the pictures by either removing the SD card or connecting the camera to your computer using a USB to Mini-USB cable. The camera even comes with the required cable, which was a pleasant surprise.
To mount the Covert Scouting Cameras MP-E5 Infrared Trail Camera, you should use the included adjustable web strap to secure the device to a tree trunk. There is also a tripod socket on the bottom of the camera, and Covert Scouting Cameras produces the Covert Tree 60 Mount to provide you with the ability to mount your camera anywhere you imagine, even angled up, down, or to the side.