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Updates and posts to this web site are delayed due to ongoing problems I am having with internet access. This is because of the degradation of the existing phone line infrastructure which it is hoped will be upgraded by the spring of 2017.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Acorn and Bushnell Trail Camera Night Time Infrared Lighting Comparisons

Fig 1:   Bushnell - High IR Light setting
It's always interesting and useful to make comparisons between different camera brands and models, particularly if you're looking for the right camera for a specific purpose.

All makes and models have their pros and cons and none more so than when it comes to IR night illumination.

Pete from Crowle in Lincolnshire kindly sent these comparisons between the Bushnell 119477 and the Ltl Acorn 6210MC.

These images clearly illustrate the difference in light output between the 28 LED Array of the Acorn and the 40 LED Array of the Bushnell which is
superior on range performance and produces a much cleaner image.

Distance to the door is about 10.5 metres (35 feet).

For each camera setting I have included a 640 x 480 pixel image of the full frame and followed it with a 640 x 480 pixel crop of the image subject which shows the significantly superior quality of the Bushnell image.

These cameras use different strategies for taking IR night time images:
Acorns output the same amount of light for both high and low settings, fixing the aperture at f2.8, the shutter speed at around 1/15 seconds and varying the ISO, hence the reason for so much digital noise.
Bushnells on the other hand vary the light output and peg the settings as follows: Aperture f2.8 Shutter speed 1 second and ISO 100.

Firmware Versions:
Acorn 6210MC figures 2/2a and 3/3a V1.2.001T
Bushnell 119477 figures 4/4a, 5/5a and 6/6a BS761CCAx0120C
Acorn 5210A figures 7/7a V3.06A

Neither camera is capable of producing a clear, sharp image of fast moving subjects because of the low shutter speeds involved.

I've also included an example (figures 7/7a) from an Acorn 5210A taken during my recent close up experiments. This result compares much more favourably with the Bushnell and I hope further analysis of results from 5210 and 6210 cameras using different firmware might explain why. The LED output was diffused and reduced by a filter which I will provide information about in a later post.

Fig 2:  Ltl Acorn 6210MC IR Light High - Aperture f2.8 - Shutter speed 1/14th second - ISO 1000
Fig 2a:  Ltl Acorn 6210MC IR Light High - Aperture f2.8 - Shutter speed 1/14th second - ISO 1000
Full size crop from figure 2 above 
Fig 3:  Ltl Acorn 6210MC IR Light Low - Aperture f2.8 - Shutter speed 1/18th second - ISO 363
Fig 3a:  Ltl Acorn 6210MC IR Light Low - Aperture f2.8 - Shutter speed 1/18th second - ISO 363
Full size crop from figure 3 above 
Fig 4:  Bushnell 119477  IR Light High - Aperture f2.8 - Shutter speed 1 second - ISO 100
Fig 4a:  Bushnell 119477  IR Light High - Aperture f2.8 - Shutter speed 1 second - ISO 100
Full size crop from figure 4 above 
Fig 5:  Bushnell 119477  IR Light Medium - Aperture f2.8 - Shutter speed 1 second - ISO 100

Fig 5a:  Bushnell 119477  IR Light Medium - Aperture f2.8 - Shutter speed 1 second - ISO 100
Full size crop from figure 5 above
Fig 6:  Bushnell 119477  IR Light Low - Aperture f2.8 - Shutter speed 1 second - ISO 100

Fig 6a:  Bushnell 119477  IR Light Low - Aperture f2.8 - Shutter speed 1 second - ISO 100
Full size crop from figure 6 above
Fig 7:  Ltl Acorn 5210A  - Aperture f2.8 - Shutter speed 1/15th second - ISO 1000
Fig 7a:  Ltl Acorn 5210A - Aperture f2.8 - Shutter speed 1/15th second - ISO 1000
Full size crop from figure 7 above
This result compares much better with the Bushnell and requires further analysis




Night time still image performance pros and cons:

Acorn 6210
Pros.  Good power efficiency - Higher shutter speed
Cons.  Poor digital camera noise performance - Lack of range

Bushnell 119477
Pros.  Longer range - Low digital camera noise
Cons.  Poor power efficiency - Lower shutter speed

Acorn 5210A
Pros.  Good power efficiency - Higher shutter speed - Low digital camera noise
Cons.  Lack of range

Conclusion:  The IR flash booster promised by Acorn last year is long overdue.


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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.