Most helpful critical review
143 of 144 people found the following review helpful
Good Camera With Nice Features
on June 7, 2011
I wanted to post a quick review on the Moultrie Game Spy M-100 to help those who may be interested in purchasing this trail camera. I'll state that I'm no novice when it comes to trail cameras and what I expect from one. This past year I've captured over 100,000 images of deer and other wildlife with the various trail cameras that I own. I also realize that this camera is in the mid-range price point, so the level of expectation is set at that bar vs. the high end cameras available on the market. This would be my first purchase of a Moultrie trail camera, and what intrigued me was the time-lapse photo capability so I decided to give it a whirl.
For starters here's what I liked about the camera. First the IR flash range at night is very good. I could easily see out to 60ft and beyond. The entire image was illuminated vs. seeing the tunnel effect that some cameras have at night when their IR lights are focused in the center of the image. Search the internet for trail camera reviews and you'll find for 2011 this unit rated very high in IR flash range. Second, I really like the time-lapse option that this camera offers. It's easy to set up with options of taking photos all day (daylight hours only), or portions of the day. It can also be setup in a hybrid mode where it will do time-lapse during portions of the day and trigger off of the motion sensor at night or during the day when not in the time-lapse time period that you set (i.e 3hrs before dark or whatever you set it to). It will not however do both at the same time meaning that when in time-lapse mode it will not take motion sensored photos when an animal walks in front of the sensor. It will only take the next photo in the time-lapse sequence at whatever delay you've opted to use. Third I like the quality of the photos during the day, or when in time-lapse mode. I set the camera to the highest quality and it takes great photos. The 2" LCD screen is also a nice added feature for being able to quickly review you images. Also the trigger speed seemed to be pretty good as well and captured motion fairly decently. Multiple photos per trigger will help there as well.
There were some things however on this camera that I wasn't impressed about. The first being, that when taking IR images at night, every image of a moving target was blurred pretty significantly. So if your plan is to leave this camera on a trail hoping to catch animals walking by, expect some images where everything is nice and pristine except the animal walking by. In my mind, if you can't distinguish features such as a deers antlers on a regular basis if they're moving then I'm not getting the quality images that I need for scouting purposes. So beware that moving targets blur. Another item that I wasn't so keen on was the amount of visible red light that the IR flash puts out. Granted, there were no claims made that this was semi-covert, black flash, or anything of that nature. Just compared to other cameras I have used with visible IR flash this cameras red LED's are brighter and more visible. So if spooking deer due to the red glow from an IR flash is a concern, this camera has a bit of a noticeable bright red flash. It's obviously how they cover the longer flash range. Brighter light, longer flash cycle. I've found that some deer spook when seeing the red flash from IR LED's and others do not, so it's something you'll need to decide for yourself. Third, the video capability I would rate as OK. I don't use this option very often due to a 10s min flash of a visible red light at night that deer tend to notice and get spooked. When the video captured has deer looking straight at the camera, stomping their legs and doing the head bob... they've noticed the camera which I do not want. Also, the audio was sub-par on the camera that I received. To a point that it was pretty useless. Lastly, my thoughts on battery life is that it could be better. Moultrie does highly recommend using lithium batteries especially when doing time-lapse photography. I would plan on following their recommendation. I tend to rely on high quality rechargable batteries when I can. In trail camera mode you should be pretty good using rechargeable vs lithium, but will only get about a day or two at the most in time-lapse using the 15s option. Granted that's a lot of daylight images, but I've got cameras that do way better than that in time-lapse using rechargable batteries. In the trail camera mode you get an "estimated days left" of battery life. This is based on approximately capturing 5 images per day and 5 images per night. In front of a feeder only capturing 10 images in a 24hr period isn't all that realistic for those that plan on using their camera in that type of set-up. So it's not all that accurate if you expect more that 10 images a day/night. It may estimate 150 days left of battery life, then go back the next day with 200 images captured and it estimates 35 days left type thing. One last note... the sensor range that I saw was limited to about 40ft which if you think about it is not that far from a camera. Could be the temperature seeing that it's summer at the time of this review. Just a side note.
All in all, I think for the price the camera is decent and has nice features. The time-lapse option is good for watching food plots or open areas but will require lithium batteries or to be powered by an external battery which is an option with this camera. The IR flash range is great. Daytime photos are very good as are night time with no moving targets. If you purchase this model however, I would plan on seeing some pretty bad blurring on animals that are moving when taking IR images at night, and plan on using lithium batteries for best results which can get a little expensive. I opted to return this item due to the blurred images I was seeing with moving targets at night and due to the limited sensor range that I was experiencing. If you're sitting over a feeder or bait pile I think you'll be happy. If you're trying to capture old mossy horns walking briefly by the camera at night on a lone trail in the woods... you may not be as elated.
Hopefully this review helps others weigh the pros and cons about this trail camera when trying to make a good decision as to where to spend your hard earned dollar. I would always challenge you to read others reviews as well to get a broader sense of how this camera is performing for other individuals. These are just my thoughts on how this camera performed based off of using much higher end cameras, and experiences much lower end trail cameras as well.