Victure Trail Camera HC200
For Christmas 2019, I was lucky enough to be given a trail camera. To be exact a Victure HC200 trail camera. The box says hunting camera, but I prefer the term trail camera. I was doubly pleased as a trail camera was on my list of things I’d like, especially as we have hedgehogs which visit our garden most nights. So I thought it would be fun to see what they get up to when we are all fast asleep.
What’s in the box?
The camera comes in a smart minimalist white box. Inside you’ll find, aside from the camera, a wall mounting cup and bracket along with screws and raw plugs. My guess is this is if you wish to use it for security purposes. It would be good for this, however to change batteries or sd card would be awkward as to keep it out of reach would mean using a ladder to access it. Anyway this is not an issue for me as I am purely interested in using it for wildlife filming.
You also get a usb cable if you do not want to take the sd card out to access your footage. A strap for attaching the camera to a tree or similar suitable object. And a fairly basic, but adequate set of instructions.
Extras you will need
Before you can get filming you will need an sd memory card, I use a SanDisk 32gb, 80mb/s card which gives me no issues. Also, unless you purchase the mains adaptor, I tend to find a distinct absence of plugs in the wild, a set of rechargeable batteries. The camera requires eight in total, as with all things in life get the best you can afford, otherwise you will be having to recharge them every other day. And you can bet your bottom dollar the day they are recharging is when that Unicorn singing Abba hits wanders by!
Getting ready to film
The camera opens up to access menu controls and battery compartment via to metal clips. These function well, but can be a little fiddly, especially with cold hands. Batteries go into the compartment on the right, hidden behind an easily removed plastic cover.
The memory card goes into a slot on the left hand side beneath the replay button. You will need to format the card when you put it in initially and every time you wish to erase old footage/images. On the right hand side beneath the OK button is the on/off switch. This has three settings, Off, Test and On. Test is used for configuring the media type you wish to capture, for example video only, jpegs only or both at the same time.
To be honest I have only used the video only setting on full HD so cannot vouch for stills quality. It does say it is 12mp so in good light image results should be fairly good.
Menu set up
In the menu settings you will find a fairly comprehensive array of settings all displayed on a 2″ colour screen. For example, video size and quality, filming length and after how long of inactivity before the camera powers down to preserve battery life. Other settings include: time stamp, password set, time lapse mode, language, clock set, language, volume record and more. So you get quite a comprehensive set of options.
When you are happy with your set up, then you are ready to find a suitable location and start your movie career. Once secured to a tree or post etc using the strap, you just need to put the switch to On. I should point out if using the camera in your garden or other secure location, it does have a handy tripod thread on its base. You have about five seconds to close up the camera and get out of shot. I rarely achieve this and usually end up with footage of my fingers and panicked face. This is not an issue personally as I only tend to film in 20 second bursts.
There is also a visual indicator to show the camera is in live mode. A small red light on the front, blinks for a few seconds. This only happens when you put the switch to On and not when the IR sensor is triggered by a subject.
I have to say, for the price the results are pretty good. Sure they can be a little on the grainy side, but remember this camera costs less than £55 at time of writing. Also remember a few years back this technology would of set you back hundreds of pounds. One issue I do find is the IR lighting used at night, has a hot spot “cone” and small animals, like hedgehogs etc can be “burnt out” in this zone. To reduce it I have experimented by taping grease proof paper over the IR light array.
In fairness Victure do recommend a minimum distance of 3-5m from the subject. That’s fine if it’s a deer or elephant, but with small mammals I think you struggle to see them. Sound recording is fairly good too for a camera at this price point.
The video above shows two of the three hedgehogs which visit us most nights. The video below is a mouse raiding the bird’s suet balls!
Below is an example of a video shot in daylight that I quickly did in our garden with some obliging birds.
So here are my thoughts about the Victure HC200 trail camera.
1: It’s very good value for money, as mentioned above a few years ago this technology was very expensive.
2: Great set of recording options.
3: Rugged waterproof and dust proof design.
4: Enables you to take video, jpeg stills individually or at the same time.
5: The IR movement sensor and lens cover a good wide angle of view.
6: Audio quality is not bad for a camera costing under £60.
1: Access to internals via clips – battery compartment and menu a bit fiddly
2: Removing the sd card is awkward
3: The IR detector is very sensitive, so you will end up with moving leaves, swaying branches and insects being recorded.
4: Hot spots can mean small animals tend to be “burned out”. Especially when the camera is close to the subject.
5. Works best in non contrasty light – bright overcast conditions are ideal. Struggles a bit with areas of bright sunshine and shadows.
My personal feeling is the pros outweigh the cons. It’s exciting seeing there are files on the sd card and it reveals a hidden world, even in your own garden at night.