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Monday, 30 January 2012

Ltl Acorn 6210 MC and Bushnell 119467 - Review - Part 2


fig 1  Left: Acorn 6210  -  Right: Bushnell 119467




First impressions: Having been conditioned to the Peli case style box of many trail cameras, I initially thought the Ltl Acorn 5210 was a bit quirky; but having used them for a while, I found the design quite practical.


The first incarnation of the 6210 was basically the upgrades in the 5210 box. Then for reasons unknown, the manufacturers did a complete redesign of the whole package whilst keeping the front design almost unchanged but with a slight increase in width and depth.


Fig 2  Ltl Acorn 6210MC



It's likely that the need to accommodate the extra set of four batteries, coupled with a desire to move away from the detachable back sponsored the changes. Whatever the reasons, I couldn't help but be impressed with the ingenuity with which the designers put so much into such a small unit and kept the weight down as well.

From a user point of view, the smaller and lighter the better, and I also felt that, with its bottom opening door the Ltl Acorn 6210 was going to be a lot more weather proof than its predecessor; and all the other front opening trail cameras such as the Bushnell.

Fig 3
Water ingress of the
Ltl Acorn 6210 LED array

I then received the news that one of these cameras had water inside the LED array (Fig 3) after only a few days outdoors; which is a serious issue and not something I wanted to hear at this stage

It could most likely be an ineffective seal where the array mates to the inside of the case front; but
whatever the reason it needs identifying and correcting.


Because I've been asked to do a complete and unbiased review, I'm still at the indoor testing stage and will have to wait a few days before I can put this camera to the test, out of doors



Fig 4  Bushnell Trophy Camera
Model: 119467


The new Trophy Camera 119467 has the 'Black LED array' and also an internal colour viewer. Bushnell have stayed with their standard Peli case design and to accommodate the extra set of four batteries, as with the Acorn, they have redesigned the back (see below).

The result is a noticeably larger unit than earlier models. It's also quite a bit heavier at 320g against the Acorn and earlier Bushnells at around 250g.

I can't understand why Bushnell decided to produce this camera in a dark brown case when they could as easily given it a camo' finish. I would never willingly choose a trail camera in a plain colour over a camo' pattern, mostly from a desire to keep it hidden from the view of people, rather than wildlife.

In summary here are two almost identically specified cameras. The Bushnell which is larger, heavier and more easily seen, alongside the Acorn which is much the same weight and size as it's predecessor and less likely to be detected. The Acorn, aside from the problem mentioned above, is potentially more weather proof.


Fig 5  Bushnell - Case back

Case design: Bushnell have basically stayed with their original design but have added a small stabilising foot to the back, which can be seen (Fig 5) just below the label.

Personally I feel it would have been better without the foot and instead, have some sort of grab arrangement similar to the back of the new Acorn (Figs 6 and 6a). This would allow more flexibility when mounting on a tree that leans in the wrong direction, either because the camera naturally corrects or is blocked out using twigs, which is something I do frequently.

The mounting strap on the Acorn threads through the mounting slot on one side, passes across the back of the camera and threads out through the slot on the other side. When the strap is secured it engages the whole of the back of the camera to the mounting surface, making a much more stable platform than having the camera sitting on three projections as with the Bushnell.

Good as their fundamental design is, I believe that Ltl Acorn have made an error with the design of the access door and its relationship to the back plane.

Fig 6  Ltl Acorn 6210 new back design
Fig 6a Ltl Acorn 6210  new back design   
Fig 7  Ltl Acorn 6210  front battery box
Even with the door closed it projects rearwards slightly beyond the base plane for the grab spikes. When the door is fully opened as in (Fig 6a) it extends an arc well beyond the grab spikes; and I'm sure that, at times, this will place an unnecessary strain on the door hinge. It may turn out not to be too much of an issue, so I'll take a closer look at this when I do field tests.

The Acorn designers have done a superb job of redesigning the case to incorporate the extra batteries into one compact unit (Figs 7-7a). Battery loading is easy but with one word of caution. Make certain you read the polarity markings on the inside of the battery covers so that you don't accidentally install any cells the wrong way round.

Fig 7a  Ltl Acorn 6210 rear battery box
With bottom door access, the Acorn is a sturdy, compact unit which I believe is potentially better protected against the elements, especially when opened in the field during bad weather. (See Part 5 Water on control panel)

The issue with water in the LED display, mentioned above, should be easily fixed and may just be an unfortunate one off incident.

The Bushnell, on the other hand, with its side opening door, presents all twelve batteries plus a card slot to wind and rain. If you're engaged with serious survey work you don't always have the luxury of choosing good weather to inspect cameras; and with all the Peli style cases, they inevitably get wet inside if you have to open them up in bad conditions.

Fig 8  Bushnell 119467 with case open
I don't like the battery box (Fig 8) on this Bushnell. Having the cells end to end across six slots and then having to fiddle with the plastic crossbar; which has to be bent in an arc to slot it into place, is tedious enough with the camera laying on a flat surface.

AA battery cells are notorious for pushing up from their seating in this type of arrangement and I think, changing these cells in a working environment is going to be fun at times.

There looks to be enough room across the centre of the compartment to have a solid contact rail between the top and bottom rows which would have worked fine; and while they were about it they could have included a thin plastic cover which would clip over the entire battery and provide some protection while the door is open.

Fig 9  Bushnell tripod mount, external power access
and microphone
The rest of the camera case is tried and true with solid hinge and catches, a robust tripod mount and a well protected microphone (Fig 9). The case front can be secured with a small padlock and there is provision for a cable to lock it to a tree.

The Acorn tripod mount (Fig 6-6a) is compromised by the bottom door and frankly, I wouldn't have a great deal of faith in using it. An accident may well warp or damage the access door and render the whole camera inoperable.
Don't have an answer for that!
Then again, how often do you use a trail camera on a tripod?

The Acorn microphone is a small hole next to the lens (Fig 3) and is protected by the projecting arc above the lens. Water surface tension and viscosity will do the rest. As with the Bushnell the access door can be locked and at the top rear of the case is provision for a cable lock.







Go to Ltl Acorn 6210MC and Bushnell 119467 - Review - Part 3








33 comments:

  1. Thank you Linda. You can visit any time.

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  2. It was interesting reading your trail camera comparison page. Some time ago I bought a Prostalk which I found reasonable for stills but absolutely awful for video. I have been looking to replace it so will keep an eye on your useful reviews. Have enjoyed looking back at your varied captures with trail cameras.
    My particular use was to see what, if anything, visits my pond at night. and to capture the visiting heron and possibly the occasional kingfisher.

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  3. Hi John. Yes, the Prostalk is a bit of a joke but can have its uses. Its biggest failing is its inability to work at temperatures below freezing without going permanently unstable. Glad you find the reviews interesting. I have a fair way to go with this pair of cameras but hope to have covered everything by early March.
    Ron

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  4. Hello Ron

    Just came across your website through Google and am really enjoying reading your reviews on the Acorn and Bushnell Trail Cameras. My company (pakatak) stock the Acorn range and I wondered if you'd mind me linking to your review from our product page - it' always great to offer customers an independent review of the pros and cons of a product.

    No problem if you'd rather I didn't, just happy to continue reading your reviews!

    Thanks,
    Alan

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Alan.

      Glad you're finding them of interest and please feel free to link as much as you like.

      If you wish to embed any of my material (ie. videos) please provide a credit and link.

      Thanks for asking.
      Ron

      Delete
    2. Appreciate that Ron. Thank you.

      Delete
  5. Am finding your reviews very useful. I want to buy my first trail camera to look at birds and small mammals in gardens and adjoining farmland with pictures being good enough to share with youngsters and interest them in wildlife. I would love to get pictures of the stoats we see from time to time. Thanks so much for your informative reviews. Wendy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Wendy. I'm sorry I'm a bit slow with part 3 but I had some issues with testing methodology. I hope to do another review post in the next two to three days.

      Best regards
      Ron

      Delete
  6. Hi Ron, I'm so pleased to find somebody reviewing the Acorn cameras at the moment. I'm looking for the best camera to buy and dithering between the 5210 (not the invisible version) and the 6210. Have you any strong opinions on any of the acorn models? I'd rather spend less and still have a good product than spend lots for a few trivial upgrades.

    If possible i'd also like to ask how intrusive the cameras are, is the garden in any way lit up when the 5210 (not invisible version) is on? Does the flash scare off the wildlife?

    Any help would be great, you are all that I've found who seems to be in the possible to answer questions!

    Rob

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Rob. Sorry I didn't reply straight away.

      All of your questions will get answered in detail, at some point in this review; but briefly on the subject of intrusion. Both Acorn cameras blend, as well as any I know, into a natural background; due to their camouflage pattern and small size.

      With the visible IR of the 5210, it is only the LED's glowing red which you see when you are looking directly at them. If you are off to the side, no detectable light is cast away from the camera.

      As to my own opinions, I use three 5210 940nm's, four 6210 940nm's, one Bushnell 2010 camo and a Bushnell Trophy black flash with internal viewer. The 5210's produce poor video; I very much dislike the menu screen in the Bushnell 2010 which also suffers internal condensation in high humidity; the Bushnell Trophy is large, heavy, power hungry and obvious in its brown case; and the 6210 could improve the quality of its still images.

      For best overall specifications, size, weight, power usage, ease of use and value for money, I would choose the Ltl Acorn 6210MC every time.

      Hope that helps but please bear in mind that users of trail cameras have varied requirements not always met by one camera. I will be saying a lot more about this when I write a summary of my review, which should be around the middle to end of March.

      Best regards Ron

      Delete
  7. can the cameras cope with exposed situations? I live on the west of the Pennines and frequently get rain with winds gusting to 50 mph. I would not expect it to cope with severe gales but just our regular rain . I also wonder how easy it would be to set up in moorland and in fields with dry stone walls.
    thanks for your help. Wendy

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi Wendy. Theoretically they should be equal to any other trail camera of this type; but referring back the problem I mentioned in this post, my jury is still out on this question.
    I have four of this model out working presently and over the next month I'll form a better opinion.
    My feeling is that this camera's design makes it potentially more weather resistant than many; and on the basis that the above problem was a production fault, I'm hoping I'm right.
    Driving rain onto the front of the camera may be problematic, especially at high wind speeds; but no more than for any other camera, except that under extreme conditions the microphone hole may be vulnerable.
    Mounting is normally onto a tree or post; but I have wedged them into holes and cavities, in banks, walls, trees and rock faces. It's only limited by your imagination and the individual circumstances.
    Hope this helps
    Regards
    Ron

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  9. Hi Ron,
    I have recently bought an Acorn 6210M for monitoring an osprey nest near home for both security purposes & for a closer insight to progress of young later in season.
    (All permissions & access licences in place). The problem I have encountered is with receiving picture messages. The SIM card in the camera is only sending time & date image is taken but no image. Image stored ok on SD card. The ISP is O2 & SIM is well topped up P&G. MMS setting is VGA & all other parameters are checked & signals are 3 bars+. I am still testing in garden but need to get this sorted asap for ospreys return - hopefully in about 2 weeks.
    I would be most grateful for any advice.

    Thanks for all comparisons

    Val

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Val
      Thanks for running this by me. I don't have personal experience of the MMS functions, because I live and work in a network challenged area and haven't had the opportunity to set one up yet.
      From what you say, it would seem that you should be getting a 640 x 480 pixel image file to your phone. The date and time text message is what you get when it's set to SMS. I know this may sound daft but have you tried both VGA and SMS settings; and is there any reason why your phone might not accept image files.
      If the latter is not a problem and your only getting a text message on both MMS settings then it might suggest that the camera has an issue.
      You don't mention if you bought the camera from myself or Wildlife Services; but in any case, I can contact the manufacturers for their advice if I have a little more to go on.

      Hope this helps
      Best regards
      Ron

      Delete
  10. Thanks Ron. My phone is iPhone 4 & ususally receives picture messages. I even tried inserting SIM into other phone, took picture & sent it to my phone & it arrived in seconds. Camera is now set to VGA & not even getting message with time & date where as I was on SMS but no picture.
    I have again just this minute tried altering set up so just going to set up camera near squirrel feeder & will let you know later if any improvement.
    Time is getting very short for my osprey nest as I hope to have everything set upby this time next week in case they make an early appearance but usually 2nd - 6th April.
    Many many thanks

    Val

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Val
      Forgot to ask about camera settings. Do you have it set for camera only or is it set to take videos and stills.
      If you haven't tried this already, set it to camera only and see if you get anything.
      Best regards

      Ron

      Delete
    2. Here's an update Val.
      We have been in touch with the manufacturers and will have an answer to this on Monday.
      Regards Ron

      Delete
  11. Many thanks Ron. Yes set to Camera as instructions say wont send video to phone but that is fine. Have downloaded latest updates also but .no difference.
    Other settings are VGA. 5MP. Max pics 20/day. Beep off.
    O2 SIM with autosettings for MMS & phone number set up 4 then mobile number as max 12 digits permitted. Supplier is Stealthcameras, AYG Ltd., Wellingborough
    Thanks again for all this help. Time is running out & although earliest dste for my females return is 2nd April, an osprey was sighted just 10 miles away at 2pm today.
    Best wishes

    Val

    ReplyDelete
  12. O2 Settings for the camera can be done manually:

    URL http://mmsc.mms.o2.co.uk:8002
    Gateway 193.113.200.195
    Port 8080
    APN wap.o2.co.uk (contract) - payandgo.o2.co.uk (PAYG)
    Account o2wap (contract) – payandgo (PAYG)
    Password password

    Good Luck

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the info' which will be helpful to others.

      Val did sort her problem and everything is now working fine. I believe that initially images where being saved to the wrong folder on the card; which was preventing them from being detected and sent.

      Regards
      Ron

      Delete
  13. The camera mentioned above that had water in the LED Array was returned to me after being fixed by the factory. They say that they had found a leak around the PIR sensor windows caused by faulty sealing during manufacture; which they say they have corrected and will not happen again.

    I have been carrying out my own tests on the repaired camera and have found that it still suffers internal condensation in heavy rain. This issue seems to be common to many of this model and the factory is modifying the bottom door skirt in an effort to rectify the problem.

    The modified camera will be available this month (May) and I will be getting one to test, soon as. As a result of my testing I think I've found a user solution to this issue in all 6210s and will be posting about this sometime during the second week in May 2012.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hi Ron,
    Thank you for a great article, I think after careful thought I'm going to go with your recommendation for a Ltl Acorn 6210MC! Well once the finances are available anyway! Would it be OK for me to put a link to this page on my website? I think my readers would find it really useful, you’ve explained it all really well.
    Thanks again,
    Regards,
    Glyn

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Glyn
      No problem with linking to anywhere on the site or using material from the site; but please acknowledge the source.
      The new 6210MC will be available with all its upgrades in a couple of weeks.
      Glad your finding the site useful. Makes it all worthwhile.
      All the best
      Ron

      Delete
  15. Just purchased a Acorn 6210m. The bottom access door is not very good. After one night out in the open, water was found around the keypad. The screen and controls now behave in a random fashion. Not good at all door was firmly closed gasket arrangemt needs a redesign.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There have been many comments about this problem including my own and updates. A new design is being released to overcome this and should be available by the end of this month.

      I have been carrying out a number of tests on my own cameras which all have this same problem. I will be publishing my findings at the end of this week hopefully with suggestions on how to mitigate the issue.

      One thing that dose help is to use a Silica Gel bag placed inside the bottom door but make sure it's not too thick; and use a self indicating bag if possible.

      I will be making Silica Gel bags available to my customers in about a weeks time when I've finished analysing the test results.

      Delete
  16. Hi Ron,

    Just a quick note for potential buyers of the Ltl Acorn range.

    I use a 5210 940nm and a 6210 940nm. They have both been out most of the summer(2012) and despite all the rain, no problems with water ingress. As to quality, well the 5210 can give excellent still shots and the video is acceptable if the subject is fairly close. Daylight video with a lot of greenery in the background can become blocky. The 6210 is much better, as it should be, and once again the stills quality is pretty good. Video quality is good.

    A couple of other points I have come across, I use Duracell batteries and can get three day shoots at weekends and two day shoots during the week and still have battery power for another week. I tried rechargeables, Energizers, and they only lasted a week. Perhaps I got a bad batch?

    The other point is the strap supplied with the cameras. I found them to be useless, trying to tighten them whilst holding the camera is nigh on impossible. I overcame the problem by buying different lengths of velcro strapping for a few pounds, they strap up in a flash and don't slip. The grip of the strap is amazingly strong.

    Think that sums up my experiences with the Acorn cameras, oh yes...I shall be buy a couple more in the autumn.

    Steve

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Steve

      Thanks for your comments and glad to hear you haven't had water in the 6210. I've just heard I will have a sample of the fully modified 6210 by the end of next week so it shouldn't be long before they are available to buy.

      When 5210 videos are loaded to uTube they look a lot better than straight off the camera.

      I would be interested in having more detail about your battery consumption. I've had cameras out since the spring, running on Energizer Industrial alkalines and still no need to change. I set to take 20 second videos and not always a lot of traffic, all of which makes a difference.

      A good idea with the strap. I don't bother much with the buckle which I agree is a fiddle. I usually just tie tie them off, like you would with a rope or string.

      Thanks again for your input.

      Regards Ron

      Delete
  17. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  18. Hi Ron,

    I have been considering this battery problem. I buy from ebay and admit they do vary somewhat. The last batch seem to take a lower charge and show just two bars on the Acorn test mode.

    I set up on a Tuesday midday, the cameras stay out until Thursday afternoon. When I bring them in the battery shows one bar with the rechargeables. My usual settings are a still photo and a 30 second video. On a weekend setup, I put the cameras out Friday middayish and collect on a Monday, again batteries show one bar, whereas the Duracells or other Alkalines show a full charge.

    An average amount of traffic per camera is 60 stills and 60 videos over a two day period and up to 80 stills and 80 videos over a weekend. This is mainly due to fact that I put the cameras in selected areas where I have seen previous activity, rather than specific areas that are monitored regularly. I upload a few videos onto Facebook for family and friends, quite a few get deleted due to branches, weeds etc moving and triggering the cameras. Check out my facebook page if you wish, it is public!

    Luckily I work on a private estate with 72 acres of park and woodland, also we have fields and woodland surrounding us, so wildlife passes between the areas. Apart from the trail cameras, I often walk the areas with a DSLR and hide.

    Thanks
    Steve

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hi guys, I'm living in turkey and ı have used ltl acorn 6210 tril cam for a while. But ı have some problems in getting mms and email. Camera and video operates properly and creates mms images to send. Still I couldn't get any email and mms.
    I have tried different spots in order to get a stronger signal strength. Then refresh all battaries but nothing chanced.
    Then I used same sim card in my phone and send continius mails to another phone succesfully. Does anyone who has same kind of problems and any idea about this problem?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi. You don't provide any camera details so it is difficult to advice. There are problems with recent cameras when trying to use MMS and you should read my recent posts on the subject.

      You might also want to consider using SMTP to send images via email which is much more reliable in my experience. There are several posts on this sight providing instructions for setting up SMTP.

      If you require direct in depth help you will need to email me the information requested on the Camera Technical Support page and also buy a 10.00GBP support voucher.

      Regards
      Ron

      Delete

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This web site is about the wildlife, particularly the mammals, of the Glen Affric National Nature Reserve area in the north west Highlands of Scotland, UK; and the equipment I use to search for them, which is chiefly trail cameras.

I provide a technical support and parts service for the Ltl Acorn range of cameras and the income from this provides for the upkeep of this site and the purchase of cameras for my own surveying.

I hope you find the site useful and informative; and please contact me if you have any questions that I haven't already covered.