Little Acorn Hunting 12MP Game Camera Review
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- MMS technology to send images to a smartphone
- Fantastic image quality
- Excellent sensing distance and angle
- Slow trigger and recovery times
- Inconsistent performance in low cell phone coverage areas
Welcome to our review of the Little Acorn Hunting 12MP Trail Camera. Little Acorn is known primarily for their archery products, but they also produce a lineup of highly innovative trail cameras. I was very excited to get my hands on one of these, because it promises the ability to automatically send captured images and videos to my smartphone. Let’s take a look and see how well this trail camera performs.
How Well Does the Little Acorn Hunting 12MP Game Camera Detect Movement?
The Little Acorn Hunting 12MP Game Camera has a very good PIR range, allowing the camera to detect movement from as far away as 65 feet. The sensing angle is a wide 100º, which is quite a bit wider than the 50º field of view of the camera itself. When an animal crosses into the range of the prep sensors, the camera begins getting ready to fire. Once the animal crosses into the range of the main sensor, the camera shoots the picture. The timing of the trigger speed and the wide sensor field means very few false triggers, since the animal has time to move into the camera range by the time the shutter is triggered.
Trigger time for the Little Acorn Hunting 12MP Game Camera is quite a bit on the slow side for a trail camera of this price point, at a full 1.2 seconds. This is not so much of a drawback, though, with the extremely wide sensor angle provided by the PIR prep sensors. Little Acorn doesn’t disclose the recovery time of the camera, but I measured it as taking approximately 0.6 seconds. Still fairly slow, but usable.
How Reliable Is This Field Camera?
The camera itself is very reliable, as long as you securely close the casing after you are done setting the Little Acorn Hunting 12MP Game Camera up. The housing is weatherproof, and mine has survived through some pretty bad rain storms without any ill effects. The camera can also withstand very extreme temperatures, with an operating range of –22ºF to 158ºF.
The cellular technology inside the camera is another story entirely. If the camera is moving at all, it won’t send the MMS messages to your cell phone. It also requires a minimum of 2 bars of service to send anything reliably. If you’re setting this camera up in a good coverage zone, you’ll be in terrific shape, but if cell phone reception is spotty, you might want to opt for another camera.
What Is the Image Quality Like?
The Little Acorn Hunting 12MP Game Camera features a 12MP camera sensor for providing high quality images. You can select the resolution of your images from 1.3, 5, or 12MP. I used this camera almost exclusively with the 5MP setting, which provides an excellent balance between image quality and file size. In video mode, the camera can shoot 320×240 or 640×480 video.
Still image quality during the day is fantastic, with crisp, clear images and plenty of contrast and color saturation. Nighttime images are the standard black and white fare, due to the no-glow infrared flash, which is invisible in the dark but only provides a range of 30 feet. Nighttime images are still quite crisp and clear, and it is easy to make out the critters moving around near your feed plot.
Images are automatically stamped with the date, time, moon phase, and battery level.
What Picture-Taking Modes Does This Camera Offer?
The Little Acorn Hunting 12MP Game Camera provides three main picture-taking modes: Camera, Video, or Cam + Video. In Cam + Video mode, the trail camera takes a photo and a video in the same trigger event, shooting the picture first and then recording the video. You can set the number of pictures taken at a time, allowing the camera to shoot between 1 and 3 photos per burst in Camera mode. Similarly, you can set the video length from 1 second to 60 seconds. Finally, the length of time that the camera waits between trigger events is customizable, from 1 to 59 seconds or from 1 minute to 60 minutes.
How Many Pictures Can the Little Acorn Hunting 12MP Game Camera Store?
The Little Acorn Hunting 12MP Game Camera does not have internal memory, so you will need an SD card to go along with the camera. No, Little Acorn does not provide an SD card when you purchase your game camera. The device supports SD cards up to 32GB in size, and does support SDHC cards. I managed to get the Little Acorn Hunting 12MP Game Camera to work with a 64GB SD card, but Little Acorn does not support this and recommends, “If you use a card capable of above 32GB, make sure you test it before putting the camera in use.” How many pictures and videos the camera will store depends on the resolution and size settings, along with the capacity of the card.
How Is the Battery Life?
Battery life on the Little Acorn Hunting 12MP Game Camera is very good, considering the device is also acting as a cell phone much of the time. The camera is powered by either 4 or 8 AA batteries, but I recommend installing 8 batteries to get the best possible battery life. With 8 AA batteries, I was able to operate my Little Acorn Hunting 12MP Game Camera for almost 6 months before I needed to change the batteries. The camera also features a 6V to 12V DC port, allowing you to connect the camera to an external power source like a battery or the Ltl-SUN solar power panel. Connected to the Ltl-SUN solar power panel, this trail camera can function for more than a year without changing batteries. The Little Acorn Hunting 12MP Game Camera will automatically send a “Battery Low” text alert to your cell phone or email account when the battery level gets too low.
Is This Field Camera Easy To Use?
Setting up this field camera is more complicated than most, because you must connect it to a computer to configure the camera and the MMS messaging service. You also need a SIM card from a cell phone provider; make sure you get a SIM card for a cell phone, and not a SIM card for a tablet or mobile broadband device.
The setup software is very easy and intuitive to use, and the instruction manual does a great job explaining all of the options. My only beef with this setup process is that it only works with Microsoft Windows, leaving Mac and Linux users out in the cold. I just happen to have Windows installed on my MacBook, but it was still a pain to have to reboot into Windows just to set up my trail camera.
Retrieving pictures from the trail camera is a snap. First of all, the pictures are sent to your cell phone (assuming the trail camera has enough cell phone reception to successfully send the images), but you can also remove the SD card and download the pictures that way. The camera also features a USB port for connecting the camera to your computer and downloading the images, as well as a TV-Out port. The camera includes a USB cable and TV-Out cable in the box.
Mounting the camera is easy, using either the included adjustable web belt to attach the camera to a tree trunk or the tripod socket to use with another mount. The camera also features a padlock hold for use with a Python lock.