Simmons Whitetail Trail Camera with Night Vision Review
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- Inexpensive field camera
- Easy to use
- Excellent image quality
- Slow trigger and recovery time
- No SD card included
- Poor battery life
Welcome to our review of the Simmons Whitetail Trail Camera. Simmons Optics has been around since 1983, offering value-priced optics for hunting and other outdoor pursuits. How well does their trail camera stack up against the competition, though? That’s what we’ve set out to learn.
How Well Does the Simmons Whitetail Trail Camera Detect Movement?
Simmons advertises that the Whitetail Trail Camera’s PIR sensor will detect movement up to 30 feet away, but this only applies to larger game and human subjects. If you want to capture the smaller animals that might stop by your bird feeder or feed plot, it needs to be a lot closer to the action: more like 15 to 20 feet.
The real shortcoming of this camera, and proof positive that you truly do get what you paid for, is the painfully slow trigger time and recovery time. Even though Simmons claims “a quick trigger speed,” the company offers no specifics on the product details to back up that claim and the word “quick” can be very subjective. The product manual tells more, providing a trigger time of 1.2 seconds or less. Given that other trail cameras have trigger times of 0.6 seconds, I would not call this quick by any stretch of the imagination. Recovery time is a minimum of 5 seconds, which is far too slow for keeping a good eye on wildlife.
The sensor detection zone is just slightly thinner than the camera view zone. The camera will detect movement in a cone providing approximately 45º coverage, while the field of view of the camera is roughly 55º wide.
How Reliable Is This Field Camera?
Here’s another example of broken promises, since the Simmons Whitetail Trail Camera claims to be weatherproof. A few months after placing this trail camera, we experienced some pretty heavy rainfall. When I checked the camera the next day, I found it was full of water and wouldn’t power on anymore. Simmons does provide a two-year limited warranty that covered replacing the field camera, but you have to ship the product back to them on your own dime and provide a $10.00 check or money order to cover postage and handling for getting the camera back.
What Is the Image Quality Like?
The Simmons Whitetail Trail Camera has a 6MP camera sensor, and takes quite excellent pictures. Daytime images are crisp and clear with plenty of contrast, and the camera focuses precisely during the slow trigger time. That might be a benefit to the 1.2 second trigger time, but it also means you’ll really only get good shots of animals that are standing still.
This trail camera features 18 low glow LEDs for infrared night vision, with a range of around 40 feet. The images the camera captures at night are excellent, with plenty of detail and good contrast. Each image is stamped with the date, time, and moon phase, but the camera unfortunately cannot embed any GPS geotagging information into the image.
What Picture-Taking Modes Does This Camera Offer?
With its budget-friendly price point, I was not expecting too much variety in the picture-taking modes for this camera. The Simmons Whitetail Trail Camera is a fairly simple trail camera, offering just still shots and video recording capabilities. There is a “burst mode” that will take three photos at a time, though. You can set the quality of the images to either 5MP or 6MP, depending on how many pictures you want to be able to store on the SD card. Video is fairly poor quality, with a resolution of just 640×480, but it does shoot 30 frames per second.
How Many Pictures Can the Simmons Whitetail Trail Camera Store?
Simmons does not ship the Whitetail Trail Camera with an SD card, unfortunately, so you’ll have to buy your own. How many pictures or videos you can store depends entirely on the size of SD card you insert and the quality of the pictures. The Simmons Whitetail Trail Camera only supports up to 32GB SD cards, so I recommend maxing it out and putting in a 32GB card. If you’re using 5MP mode, you should find that you only have to download the images once a week or so with a card that size, but shooting video will fill up the card much faster.
How Is the Battery Life?
I was very disappointed in the battery life of this trail camera. My Bushnell Trophy Cam HD can operate for up to a year on a single set of lithium batteries, but the Simmons Whitetail Trail Camera gets much less time out of a set of batteries. Advertised battery life is 6 months, but I got more like 4 and a half months out of the first set of Energizer lithium batteries I used. Maybe I have more game on my property than average, but I still wish the battery life was better.
Is This Field Camera Easy To Use?
The Simmons Whitetail Trail Camera is very easy to use, and the instruction manual is well-written and comprehensive about all of the features of the camera. The menu is intuitive and easy to follow, and Simmons offers a couple of ways to review and download your images. The easiest method is probably to pull out the SD card and download the images to a laptop computer, but you can also access the camera like a media storage device using the USB port on the side of the camera. There is no USB cable included with the camera, though, so you will need a cable that has a Mini-B USB connector, similar to that used for other cameras and smartphones, on one end and the standard USB plug on the other end.
Mounting the trail camera is quite easy, and Simmons has placed a convenient tripod socket on the bottom of the camera. You also get an adjustable web strap for securing the camera to a tree trunk, and the field camera housing includes a padlock hole for an extra layer of security.