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Browning disapointment

Turtlesprings

5 year old buck +
I have a 2017 Spec ops. The nite pics were horrible. Sent it in 2018. Sent back with no issues found. I had it out for 2019...horrible nite pics. Cloudyness very prominent. I decided that I would take it apart to clean the internal lenses. That helped a bit. When I call Browning for the second time, they said to change the batteries from Duracell to Energizer. That would cure my problem.

WTF??? Has anyone seen this happen or tried the different battery? I have a ton of Duracells left and don't wanna go waste money on new batteries if it's just another lazy company playing a customer for a fool.

Done with Browning.
 

yoderjac

5 year old buck +
The battery brand doesn't matter. Some batteries will drop voltage quicker than others when environmental conditions change. If voltage get low, camera electronics can do all kind of crazy things including under illumination. Put some fresh batteries in new, out of the box. If you want to continue to work with Browning, I'd put in the brand the suggest so you can throw it back at them when they fail if you want. It won't matter with fresh batteries. I'd pick a warm day and test the camera just after it gets dark when it is still warm. Odds are that none of this will help.

Bottom line is that at this end of the market, be glad it is still running at all 3 years after purchase. I'm using quite old BEC Orion cams now and I haven't checked out the low end of the market for quite a few years, and I'd suspect it is improving to some degree.

Cloudy night pictures can come from a variety of things. One is environmental. We ask a lot of a game camera. You can't expect the same night time picture quality with high humidity as in low humidity. Another issue can be the illumination. Depending on the camera design, internal seals can wear out or slip over time. This can allow some of the light produced to reflect through the camera and hit the lens cover (Lexan on better cams plastic on cheaper ones) on the inside. This can cause cloudiness. Scratches or dust on the lens cover can do the same. Most cheap cams have a single lens with a movable filter. This can get cloudy too, but it would impact daytime pics not night time pics.

I just sent back one of my higher end cameras because it started taking black night pics. This frequently happens when voltages drop, so I put in a fresh battery to verify it was an issue with the camera. BEC fixed it for free. It turned out in this case that the Day/Night sensor simply needed to be recalibrated. I have another one that is taking consistently cloudy pics at night. I'll be sending it back soon. It could be seals inside that have degraded over the last 10 years or so or the Lexan that has become scratched over time. I'm finally starting to see some degradation in my Orion network cams, but so far any issues I've found have been repairable for a low cost or as a courtesy. Eventually I'll need to upgrade. Since I'm using my cams for QDM data collection purposes and I don't want holes in my data, I'm sending them back one at a time rotating a backup camera through the network to replace the one being serviced.

My guess is that at that end of the market, brand is not a defining factor. Whatever you choose, you may get a cam that operates better longer or just the opposite.

Best of Luck,

Jack
 

swat1018

5 year old buck +
I'm a Browning cam fan, but that cam was a low-end dud. It works pretty good on video. Buy the Strike Force series.
 

S.T.Fanatic

5 year old buck +
Like mentioned< i'm betting it's a humidity issue.
 

SwampCat

5 year old buck +
I am a Browning fan. Have many Browning five plus years old still running. Bought three low end strike force series cameras two months ago and all have quit taking pictures.
 

yoderjac

5 year old buck +
Another thing that can happen with the low end cams related to moisture is this. In high humidity conditions, humid air gets into the camera, usually via the battery compartment. As the camera goes through heating and cooling cycles, that moisture condenses. The low end cams don't use coated electronics, so this often results in corrosion of the internal components and a short life span. But it can condense on the lens or inside the lens cover depending on camera design.

One of the biggest issues with the low end cameras is the poor quality control. So, SwampCat's post does not surprise me at all. There will be come batches of cameras that come of the line and everything is sealed pretty well. It is the luck of the draw. Some guys will get a low end camera that lasts for quite some time like SwampCat. Many others will end up sending them back during the warranty period, getting replacements, and those too will fail soon.

The low end cams hold an important place in the market. If you are on public access land and just trying to see what is out there, you don't want to hang $1,000 on a tree. On top of that, Moore's law says the technology per dollar improves non-linearly. So, you get to take advantage of technology improvement every few years. Who cares if you loose data because a camera is down or if it misses triggers if you are just trying to see what is out there. On the other hand, if you are collecting data for QDM decision purpose or conducting a research project, lost data can significantly bias the results. My Orion cameras are high end and have lasted many years and probably have quite a few years left in them, but they are 10 year old technology. It is good enough for my purposes, but far from the latest and greatest.

My advice is to consider the low-end cameras as "disposable". Count on getting the warranty period out of most of them. Consider anything beyond that gravy. You will essentially be renting good technology for a short period. If you get extra, great, but don't count on it. If you go high-end, be prepared to spend a lot of money initially, but that cost can be amortized over many more years. Also be ready to take the risk of vandalism or theft.

Thanks,

Jack
 

tynimiller

5 year old buck +
To add to what yoderjac said a little. This is one reason why I say customer service ESPECIALLY with the low end cams is crucial and their warranty/trade in programs if any.

I love Radix, so far excluding the first run of MT-100 model cams they are VERY good for the money, and those MTs are good, just put them in the woods - light washes out pictures if placed in open far too easy. BUT some wonder why I still use Covert despite issues over the years and some of their early on crooked ways - their trade in program. Even if a cam has outlasted it's warranty they'll still give you some credit towards a new camera. Shoot I had an old MPe5 that was easily 5 years old and stopped, sure mailing it in sucks, but $15 off a new cam is better than nothing when all said and done. Many places will do this, but it is often something you have to push for.

Another tip we've used to fight moisture is if there is even just the tiniest of place in the camera, slip a tiny desiccant slip somewhere. We've noticed a tremendous moisture assistance by doing so and that can help with some of the cheaper cams.
 

Peplin Creek

5 year old buck +
As for the battery question. I think support means energizer lithiums... they do make a difference in performance however as others have stated probably not the difference your looking for. Lithiums provide a more consistent voltage and doesn’t degrade IR imaging at the end of a batteries life cycle.
 

Chainsaw

5 year old buck +
I am a Browning fan. Have many Browning five plus years old still running. Bought three low end strike force series cameras two months ago and all have quit taking pictures.
What was the model in the low end that were duds? I have been adding to my Browning arsenal annually sticking mostly with Strike Force and buy them as cheap as possible. Still though I don’t want to be buying any of the dud ones. Thanks.
 

Mortenson

5 year old buck +
Probably just a lemon. I've liked the several Spec Ops I bought. They usually run in the $180 range IIRC.
 

SwampCat

5 year old buck +
What was the model in the low end that were duds? I have been adding to my Browning arsenal annually sticking mostly with Strike Force and buy them as cheap as possible. Still though I don’t want to be buying any of the dud ones. Thanks.
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yoderjac

5 year old buck +
It really is hard to translate experiences with the low end cameras. Beyond the poor QC which means one guy can get a good one and the next one off the line is a dud, you often can't tell what is inside by the model number. The Chinese factories that make these are always looking to reduce cost, so they will use whatever component is the cheapest as long as it performs the same function. So, you can get two cameras that look the same on the outside and have the same model number, but inside they have different electronic components. This is very similar to what we see with BOB seed companies. If you look at the seed tags they are required to put on the bag, one season, the contents of the bag may be different from the next season, but it is still called SuperMegaBuckSecretSpecial on the bag.

At the low end of the market, just remember when a guy gives a testimonial about how good or bad a specific camera brand or model is, it should be followed by the small print we see on male enhancement advertisements....."Individual results may vary". :emoji_smile:
 

SwampCat

5 year old buck +
Game camera purchases are a real crap shoot. You can buy a $29 camera that works great or a $500 reconyx that gets stolen the first night. Which was the better investment. You can buy $100 cameras and put up ten times as many of them as $1000 cameras - and the $100 cameras may well fail at a faster rate - but if having ten times as many cameras shows you that one big buck that having only a few $1000 cameras didnt show you - you might not even be able to put a price on that. For QDM - if you live on your place - some medium priced cameras will likely serve you well - if you have to have the pics sent to you - you are probably going to have to shell out some money. If your property is in a flood prone area - all bets are off - find the $100 cameras that work best for you - same with public land hunters - dont put out a camera you cant afford to lose. Fortunately - the camera market has something for pretty much everyone.
 

yoderjac

5 year old buck +
Game camera purchases are a real crap shoot. You can buy a $29 camera that works great or a $500 reconyx that gets stolen the first night. Which was the better investment. You can buy $100 cameras and put up ten times as many of them as $1000 cameras - and the $100 cameras may well fail at a faster rate - but if having ten times as many cameras shows you that one big buck that having only a few $1000 cameras didnt show you - you might not even be able to put a price on that. For QDM - if you live on your place - some medium priced cameras will likely serve you well - if you have to have the pics sent to you - you are probably going to have to shell out some money. If your property is in a flood prone area - all bets are off - find the $100 cameras that work best for you - same with public land hunters - dont put out a camera you cant afford to lose. Fortunately - the camera market has something for pretty much everyone.

Absolutely. It completely depends on your situation. High end cams on public land or in high trespass private lands risk a big loss. Low end cams miss triggers, can have a vary short life, and have a wide variety of issues. I don't put much stock in having a picture of "the one big one". That adds nothing to QDM decision making. QDM decisions are made on a statistical basis. Now, as a hunter, you may place a high value on knowing the big one is out there, but I don't think it would really make much difference for my hunting. I get lots of nighttime pictures of big bucks that I've never seen and likely never will. That doesn't reduce, increase, or change my amount or locations of hunting. Shooting a big buck would be nice, but that is not my focus. I had a great hunt the other day when I watched 4 gobblers walk 250 yards and directly under my box blind. I didn't want to shoot one with a .300 win mag, so I just enjoyed them. Never saw a deer.

One more consideration is your time. If you find it fun to mess around with technology, figuring out why a low end camera has issues can be fun. If not, running around changing batteries and swapping SD cards can be a pain in the butt as well as disruptive of your hunting area. With the high end setup, I get full size pictures sent back to my camp for free and may need to swap a battery every year or so. There are lots of things to balance when deciding what route to go. On the down side of the high end, I kind of miss playing with the latest technology. My cams and technology are over 10 years old and still slowly plodding along.

Thanks,

Jack
 

J B

A good 3 year old buck
I had 4 strike force Browning’s. I’m down to one working out of four this year. The cameras are probably 3-4 years old. Like others said, that’s about the life of these cheaper cameras that get left out in the elements. They faded in the sun really bad. Moisture got behind the lens on some after a rain. Moisture also got into the bottom of the camera on all of them. Picture quality was ok. They served their purpose, but I went back to white flash cameras again.
 

Chainsaw

5 year old buck +
Thanks SwampCat, I’ll be sure to stay clear of that model. Here are the ones I have that are working seemingly fine for me so far; Strike Force Elite HD, StrikeForce 850 HD, Dark Ops 940 HD and Strike Force HDPro. I have not tried any other Browning models.
I pulled all the cameras two days ago and will likely not put them back out until next September. I spend more days each year setting up the cameras and reviewing pictures than hunting. Most of my buck hunting is mostly rifle and we get only one rifle buck tag per year. The cameras are a way to sort of extend the hunting season while learning tons about the deer and their activities on woods trails, ground scrapes, rub lines, bedding areas and of course apple trees.
 

swat1018

5 year old buck +

I was referring to the Recon Force. I have about 15 2016 BTC5-HDE cams, all are still working flawlessly, many of them have been 24/7 since '16. I have only bought a few cameras since I loaded up in 2016. I can vouch for the Strike Force Apex. Have 2 and they are good. I'm on a Tactacam kick now.
 

SwampCat

5 year old buck +
I run my cameras 24/7/365. Discounting damage from flooding, people, and animals - my brownings seems to average about six years of trouble free use for a $140 camera. I am running five cuddelink also - but it is yet to be determined how long they last. Also a couple of the cheap cell spypoints - primarily for hog hunting - but they are not quite two years old and I dont expect any five or six years out of them. I use my cameras for all sorts of qdm - buck:doe ratios, aging the herd, fawn recruitment, predator loads, plus, good old fashion determining which bucks and does we want to target, where to hunt, when to hunt, where and when to hunt hogs, predators, and even ducks. They even help provide surveillance of our property.

Fortunately, today’s mid range cameras perform all these duties very admirably. I have some property that has no cell service that I am moving some cuddelink cameras into - but since it is prone to flooding - $200 cameras are about all I am willing to risk. I sometimes have as many as 30 cameras deployed. Todays mid range cameras pretty much all have great picture quality. I have not ever felt a need for better cameras than what I am currently using
 

swat1018

5 year old buck +
I run my cameras 24/7/365. Discounting damage from flooding, people, and animals - my brownings seems to average about six years of trouble free use for a $140 camera. I am running five cuddelink also - but it is yet to be determined how long they last. Also a couple of the cheap cell spypoints - primarily for hog hunting - but they are not quite two years old and I dont expect any five or six years out of them. I use my cameras for all sorts of qdm - buck:doe ratios, aging the herd, fawn recruitment, predator loads, plus, good old fashion determining which bucks and does we want to target, where to hunt, when to hunt, where and when to hunt hogs, predators, and even ducks. They even help provide surveillance of our property.

Fortunately, today’s mid range cameras perform all these duties very admirably. I have some property that has no cell service that I am moving some cuddelink cameras into - but since it is prone to flooding - $200 cameras are about all I am willing to risk. I sometimes have as many as 30 cameras deployed. Todays mid range cameras pretty much all have great picture quality. I have not ever felt a need for better cameras than what I am currently using

Cuddelink is not great in flood prone areas, just because they like being hung so low. I lost a couple to high water. I'm going to the tactacams. I didn't think I had enough signal till I got a few. They get full signal where my phone doesn't even think about signal. Only thing I can figure is the quality of the antenna, compared to a smart phone.
 

SwampCat

5 year old buck +
Cuddelink is not great in flood prone areas, just because they like being hung so low. I lost a couple to high water. I'm going to the tactacams. I didn't think I had enough signal till I got a few. They get full signal where my phone doesn't even think about signal. Only thing I can figure is the quality of the antenna, compared to a smart phone.
I just hate the thought of paying the cell service fees for eight or ten cameras. I tried a tactacam in my no service area. It was a no go - and got flooded three days after I put it out. The tactacams receive high ratings - but not many folks have much time on them.
 
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