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Sunday, 26 February 2012

Ltl Acorn 6210 MC and Bushnell 119467 - Review - Part 4

Back to Part 3 - First Impressions and Case design

Fig 20  Bushnell 119467 showing main PCB and the
back of the IR LED Array at top left
Infra Red LED Arrays and Power Consumption:

Following on from the last part of this review, I wanted to quickly compare how the two different approaches to achieving invisible or no glow IR LED's impacted on battery performance, and coincidentally find out how the cameras performed at low temperatures.

Test conditions and set up: 
Each camera powered by 4 New Energizer Industrial Alkaline cells each measuring 1.62 volts.
SanDisk SDHC 4GB memory cards.
Cameras set on time lapse to take
1 still image every 60 seconds.
Fig 21  Bushnell 119467 IR LED VArray
Both cameras were placed in a deep freeze for
9 hours at a temperature of -24C

After 9 hours each camera was switched off and then switched back to test position.
The Bushnell failed to operate and was switched off and removed from freezer.
The Acorn showed the flash screen but not the normal operating screen and was switched off and removed from freezer.
Both cameras were taken to the bench, opened up, and batteries and cards removed.
They were then left to acclimatise to room
Fig 22  Ltl Acorn 6210 IR LED Array
temperature for a further 9 hours.
Battery cells were tested on removal.
The Bushnell cells measured 1.23 volts each and after a 9 hour recovery were 1.38 volts each.
The Acorn cells measured 1.43 volts each and after a 9 hour recovery were 1.5 volts each.
Card analysis showed that the Bushnell had taken 85 images and had stopped operating after 1hour and 18 minutes; and the Acorn had taken 539 images and had continued to operate for the full 9 hours.
Both cameras worked normally after the 9 hour recovery period.

Fig 23 Ltl Acorn 6210MC night range test.

Conclusions:  Bushnell made a big mistake in deciding to use a 40 x 850nm LED array and make it invisible  by putting a black filter in front. The current consumption when shooting infra-red is approx' 1050mA compared to the Acorn with its 28 x 940nm LED array which consumes less than half that at approx' 500mA.  No wonder Bushnell say you should use Lithium AA cells in low temperatures!

Fig 24  Bushnell 119467 night range test.
Fig's 23 and 24 show the night illumination range from the two cameras. The three posts are at 20 (6.1), 30 (9.15) and 40 feet (12.2 meters)
The results from both cameras are very similar although the Bushnell image quality is superior.

When I started this test I wasn't sure what to expect. The conditions were fairly harsh considering the cameras were taken from 20C room temperature and plunged into -24C but I truly didn't expect such a difference in performance between these two cameras.

Even the Bushnells daytime operating current is nearly 100% greater at 250mA as against the Acorns 150mA so it's obvious to me that if you want battery economy, the Acorn is a clear winner.

Fig 25  Reference test card
taken with Olympus E 620

Test card bench tests:

I know you are waiting for me to get these cameras outdoors and see how they perform in a working environment; but  first I carried out tests using cards on a desk top at 1.5 meters to get a controlled idea of the image quality.

All the images are crops of the centre of the frame and are full size when opened.

Both trail cameras were set at 5MP.

The image in Fig 25 was taken with an Olympus E 620 to use as a reference.

Images in Fig's 25, 26 and 27 are as they left the camera, other than cropping.

Fig 28 shows the Bushnell image after correction for brightness and a green colour cast.

Fig 26  Acorn 6210

The Bushnell images are clearly superior to those produced by the Acorn and I've shown the corrected file in Fig 28  to illustrate this.

I've noticed that the same brightness/colour issue exists  right at the start of Bushnell videos, and that the camera corrects itself after a fraction of a second. Maybe the camera's automatic exposure adjustment just isn't capable of keeping up with the trigger speed. Whatever the reason, it's a shame that it takes the edge off what are otherwise, good quality image files.

Judge for yourselves by opening the four images up in a slide show and comparing them.

Video sound level:
One last item for this post is video sound levels. The  short clip below is a comparison of video and sound levels from the Bushnell Trophy black flash camera with internal colour viewer model #119467; and the Ltl Acorn 6210MC.

The video sound track from the Acorn is about twice as loud as that from the Bushnell.

Fig 27  Bushnell 119467
Fig 28  Bushnell 119467
after correction

The next part of this review will cover Trigger speed and Sensitivity, plus side by side working examples from the real world.


  1. Very thorough!

    I've so far thought my acorns have much better battery life than my I know why!

    1. I had my suspicions about this for some time, and I also think that the Bushnell will not operate from as low a voltage as the Acorn.

      More on this at a later date.

    2. I'm looking forward to the trigger speed stuff that is forthcoming! That's always my first concern with a camera: trigger speed.

      I also have alot of "white-out" problems with Bushnells deployed in wooded habitats (especially with intact tree canopy)....which really annoys me!!

      I don't have the white-out issue with Acorns.

      Great work so far, Ron!

    3. I'm working on a bench set-up for accurately measuring trigger speed, which may take a while; but I can say that from tests I've done so far, the side prep sensor of the Acorn does give it a speed advantage when used 90 degrees to a trail at 25 feet.

  2. Hi Ron, Thank you for such a in depth review. I have a Acorn 5210A and a Bushnell 119435, the Acorn takes the best video but I feel is rather flimsy compered to the Bushnell, I see from your review the new one is a better build so I have just ordered one. So thank you for a marvelous review.

    1. Thanks. I haven't completed the review, so there will be more to come around the middle of March

  3. Hi

    I got my acorn 6210 in beginning of march, and i have a huge problem with water in the screen. Have you heard any news about this?

    Best regard

    Geir HG

    1. Yes, I've had the same issue myself. I'm assuming that when you say screen, you mean the control panel in general. I've found nothing to suggest that the seal around the bottom panel leaks. What happens is that moisture transferred to the control panel surface will find it's way to the switches on the circuit board; and cause the screen to flicker through all the functions.

      In my case, I was checking cameras on a rainy day, and with one camera I had the control panel door open and it started raining. I was in the menu at the time and finished what I was doing with wet hands. I tried drying them by wiping on my shirt but even the small amount of water that was left was enough. The problem is exacerbated by the panel being horizontal with the door closed; and gravity does the rest with water wicking down the control buttons onto the switches below.

      The problem is easy enough to avoid. Don't open the door in rain without covering up, and don't press any buttons with wet fingers.

      If you have moisture in the control panel, don't try to continue using it. Take the camera to a warm dry environment, open the door and lay the camera on it's back; and if possible, place it on the top of, or near a radiator. Make sure the radiator isn't so hot that it will damage the camera and if you have bags of desiccant, place them over and under the open door. Leave the camera like this for as long as possible up to a week and it should be OK.

      If the problem persists, the only thing for it will be to remove the control panel cover so that the water can evaporate more effectively.

      Make sure to remove all the battery cells before you do any of the above.
      If you still have problems please don't hesitate to get in touch.

      Best regards

  4. Thanks for the review.

    We got a Acorn 6210M today. We had someone speak less than 2 metres away, and the sound was inaudible. Did you have any problems with sound levels?

    Thanks Margaret

    1. Hi Margaret

      I'm not particularly impressed by the sound recording on either of these cameras. With the two cameras I've been comparing, the Acorn is more sensitive than the Bushnell but even so, you don't hear much unless the sound is loud.

      Frankly, my expectations would be low for this function.

      Regards Ron

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Ron,

    Have you been able to edit any of 1440 x 1080 video output?
    1. The video (straight out of the camera, has an incorrect aspect ratio).
    2. Using GSpot 2.70a it sees it as a H.264 codec
    "bad chunk in frame data
    3. VirtualDub 1.9. 11 will not open the file
    4. MediaInfo 0.7.55 states it is a 15 fps
    5. Plays OK using vlc

    10 second clip edited using Corel VideoStudio X5
    using ffdshow codecs ffdshow_rev4399_2012-03-22



    1. Hi Margaret

      I had some issues with the files when I started using 6210s. The codec is H.264 and if you go to this post
      you should find all the info you need including video editing software.

      Hope this solves your problems but please get back to me if you need more information.


    2. Thanks so much Ron. :) Margaret
      PS. I see from other comments that there will be a new firmware release?
      I'll keep an eye out for all the comments :)

  7. Hello,

    I am still searching for the right camera to buy. In your great review, you mention that Bushnell puts black filter over standard 850nm LED array to make the flash invisible. Can this be done to all infra-red flash cameras(buying/manufacturing black removable filter) so I can have visible and invisible flashes?



    1. Hi Karel

      Sorry for the delayed reply as I've only just realised your comment was awaiting moderation.

      Providing you have material with the correct light characteristics there's no reason you can't add your own filter post purchase. The material would need to be able to pass light in a narrow band centred on 850 nanometres whilst blocking all visible light, and there would be considerable attenuation of the IR light output.



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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.