HuntStand Hunting App
Cell Cams - Review
Equipment
Contributors to this thread:
Knife2sharp 02-Oct-20
RIT 02-Oct-20
Knife2sharp 02-Oct-20
RIT 02-Oct-20
Habitat 02-Oct-20
Shiloh 02-Oct-20
JL 02-Oct-20
Royboy 03-Oct-20
RIT 07-Oct-20
longbeard 07-Oct-20
Lone Wolf 07-Oct-20
kota-man 07-Oct-20
willowcat 08-Oct-20
Scoot 08-Oct-20
Knife2sharp 08-Oct-20
willowcat 08-Oct-20
No Mercy 09-Oct-20
NoWiser 09-Oct-20
NoWiser 09-Oct-20
RIT 09-Oct-20
Whitetail Xtreme 13-Oct-20
Cazador 14-Oct-20
35-Acre 14-Oct-20
Habitat 14-Oct-20
kota-man 14-Oct-20
smurph 14-Oct-20
From: Knife2sharp
02-Oct-20
My intention for this thread is to review and discuss the various cell cams currently on the market and possibly give some ideas when it comes to choosing the right model for you. I've had experience now running/monitoring 3 different models for just over a month: Stealth Fusion, SpyPoint Link Micro Solar LTE and SpyPoint Cell-Link (turns most cams into a cell cam). There's some things to consider first: number of cams/cost, cellular reception/plans, location, battery life and security.

When choosing the number of cams, do you just want one or two, or possibly several for a given property/area. When choosing the latter, I would consider the CuddeBack/CuddeLink cams. They're are also dual signal, so they will connect to the strongest tower and you only need one plan for the cams within range of one another in a given area; however, they don't have a way of locking the cam to a tree without buying their security box. Most cams on the market do have a groove/slot for securing a Python cable, so if theft is a concern, look at models that offer it - SpyPoints and the Stealth Fusion do have this capability.

Cell reception is another thing to consider and doesn't need to match your phones carrier. If it states Verizon or AT&T, that's pretty simple, but if it says Nationwide or Global, then it gets a bit more difficult and you may need to do a bit of research on the manufacturers website. Essentially, Nationwide is all other carriers, excluding Verizon, that typically share the same tower (AT&T, T-Mobile/Sprint..). Stealth Fusion has Verizon, AT&T or Global. I'm not sure what Global means exactly, maybe it'll connect to the strongest tower, whatever the carrier. Also, the cell cams reception may or may not match your handheld device and you may want to look at models that offer a signal booster, like SpyPoint - I haven't needed one yet, even though I have on Cell-Link that will occasionally check in at 25%, but then it's back to 50-90% the next time.

Location is also critical. Anyone who's had trail cams knows about clearing any brush that could set it off repeatedly throughout the day, as well as facing East or West where you may get overexposed photos. But you'll also need to take into consideration if you want it on a trail, scrape or field edge. All these will dictate how many pictures you need to consider for your plan, as well as battery life. Distance is another factor, cell cams are better suited for replacing the one(s) further away. This is why I chose the SP Micro Link Solar cams - with Cabela's special during August, they were on sale, $20 off, plus I got an additional $30 off with the trade-in.

I believe most of the manufacturers are pretty competitive with their plans; however, there are some differences. When I bought a few of the Wildgame cell cams, they didn't offer a free plan for the first month, but I was able to connect and activate it via WiFi and Bluetooth. By the time I went through the setup, the battery level had dropped to 80% - it only took 6 AAs, which seemed very limited, so I returned them. What I like about SpyPoint, you get the first month free of unlimited photos, but now I see during hunting season, it's one week free. But, after that expires, it gets put on another free plan with 100 photos - this is great when keeping the cam out in the off-season or early season when you're just running cams like normal, since the pics still get saved to the card. You can either choose a monthly plan, essentially $5 (250), $10 (1000) or $15 (unlimited), or a couple/few dollars off a month if you choose an annual plan.

If price is a factor and you already have a plethora of cams, then a SP Cell-Link could be considered. These also of the capability of being locked with a Python cable. Having three of these now, one connected to SpyPoint Solar Dark and two Primos Truth cams, they've been running great; however, the signal (Nationwide) has a tendency to drop sometimes, when my other Micro Link (Nationwide) hasn't. But, they haven't failed to send photos when the signal returns. You do need to be conscientious of where your SD card slot is, and if there's either an external port you can route the SD card/cable through, or if the door will pinch the cable. My Truth cams have a gasket around the outer edge and I was able to lift it up and use a Dremmel to make a groove. You do not want to pinch the cable where it'll expose the wires, essentially cutting them because they're so fine. There's plenty of cable length to route the cable inside the cam if you need to. Also, these may not be compatible with some cams, according to reviews. But they worked with my Wildgame and Truth cams, but there was no easy way of routing the cable with my WGs.

You'll want to decide how frequent the cam sends photos to your app, since this will also affect battery life. If you decide to go solar, it shouldn't be a problem, or if you decide to hookup an external battery - so far I'm really liking my solar cams. What's neat about cell cams is being able to change settings via the app.

Lastly, I'll mention ease of setup. If I were to recommend to someone looking to get just one cell cam, who wants something simple and is an all around solid camera, I'd recommend the Stealth Fusion. Most cams you download the app, scan the code inside the cam to add it to the app, and go from there. My buddy's didn't require any firmware update and I was able to download the app and access his account, so we both can monitor and make settings to the cam. Although, it's placed on a field corner, facing the field, and initially there was some brush in the way, the batteries died after 2 weeks, but it took over 5,000 photos and he had it set to send photos hourly. IMO, that's pretty good battery life, but if someone decides to put a cell cam on a bait or mineral lick, where they're getting a ton of photos, then I'd recommend a SpyPoint Link Micro Solar LTE cam, unless they want to pay extra for an external battery. I mentioned the Wildgame Insite Cell, that was a bear to setup, likely because I was using WiFi/Bluetooth, but even aferwards, it wasn't saving photos to the card, on two of three cams I bought. At the time, they were just released at Cebela's, in August, prior to their actual release date of early September. They were directing people their customer support if they had issues, and most people did, but I returned mine. Apparently after setting up and doing a firmware update, some people removed the cam from the app and re-added it. Also, like I said, they only take 6 AAs, which doesn't seem sufficient to me, so I returned them; but maybe now they've gotten their crap together and are OK once they're operational. These were a challenge, even for someone like me who works in IT and is used to dealing with wonky devices and apps. They do have live view, which seemed like a great feature too, but I don't understand how that works, requiring you to be within 150 yards. When I was testing the cam, after it disconnected via WiFi/Bluetooth to my phone, I couldn't access that feature anymore and anything more that 20-30 yards is well out of BT range anyways. But, since they didn't have a free plan upon setup, I didn't test the cam while it was connected to a cell carrier.

I hope this helps. I've only had limited experience with only a handful of cell cams, and maybe there's more comparable or better ones out there. My focus was on the ones in the $100 - $200 price range, with the exception of the Cell-Links, $50 - $60. I also have no brand bias, we've owned/used various brands over the years and has typically come down to what's relatively cheap at the time, since the majority are pretty reliable. I've also submitted my reviews on Cabela's website for the Wildgame Insite Cell and the SpyPoints, Link Micro (solar) and Cell-Link.

From: RIT
02-Oct-20
Verizon and AT&T can be co-located on the same tower and often are depending on the market and who owns what spectrum for said market. I think your interpretation of Verizon versus Nationwide coverage is a bit off. The nationwide and global coverage comes down to regional roaming agreements. Another factor is resellers of service. But I strongly disagree that Nationwide is everyone else besides Verizon.

You have provided some good info. I have tried the cell link and I found it to be awful. It didn’t work with the browning or any of the Reconyx that I tried it on. The biggest issue was the SD card location and the cable. I worked with it for a week before sending it back.

I personally will never buy another Spypoint product again. The disappointment with the cameras and the gimmick products is not worth the aggravation. I have also used Ridgetec’s Celluar and found it to be just okay. That camera definitely has a sensitively issue. Windy days would provide hundreds of blank photos. You had to find a perfect spot for that camera instead of a perfect spot for a camera.

Four months ago I purchased 2 Reconyx cell cameras and haven’t looked back. They have been flawless outside of the vanilla app but they are getting around to making it better. Both cams still showing 100% battery life and more importantly not a single blank photo even on high wind days.

I plan to add 2 more to the arsenal but I also want to try out the Spartan cameras. They have a nice video feature.

From: Knife2sharp
02-Oct-20
Thanks for the info RIT. I will admit, I don't know the intricacies of the cell providers and their towers; what I posted about Nationwide was basically from the limited research I did, either on the manufacturers website or from other reviews. Doing a Google search on Nationwide doesn't clear things up either. I noticed the Global one that Stealth shows on their site now, the camera is more expensive, but I didn't find anything in their Q&A about it, and at the time they just offered AT&T and Verizon. I did have a pic of the box and cam of the Fusion my buddy got and it is Verizon (I edited my initial post). In mid-late August, many of these cams were just being released, so there weren't any reviews and you had to take a leap of faith. I've read some bad reviews on SpyPoints, but they all seem to have bad reviews, and so far I haven't had any problems - knock on wood.

From: RIT
02-Oct-20
If I sounded like I was badgering you my apologies that wasn’t the intent. Felt that way to me after I reread my post. Sorry again!

Some of these cell camera manufactures tout Nationwide coverage but it’s anyone’s guess which carrier you are actually on. They purchase a block of numbers/SIMs from the cellular company aided by volume discounts and sell it as nationwide coverage. All the big 3 companies do that. I would say if your camera says AT&T or Verizon on the box then that is an account set up directly with AT&T or Verizon by the camera manufacturer. If your camera says Nationwide coverage then the camera manufacturer probably bought a block of numbers from a reseller and cannot advertise the coverage as AT&T or Verizon but that doesn’t necessary mean you aren’t using their network. Lower cost cellular plans and cameras are more than likely using T-mobile or some version of resold service. Often times you can get Verizon or AT&T network access by request but most folks don’t know to ask.

A perfect example of this is the simple safe home alarm system. If you order their equipment they will send you a T-Mobile SIM but you can get Verizon service upon request. They don’t tell you this of course because they get better pricing from T-Mobile. Hope this helps.

From: Habitat
02-Oct-20
On chasing giants they seem most impressed with the wise eye cam.They are a bit more expensive

From: Shiloh
02-Oct-20
I’ve been very pleased with my MoultrieMobile, but I won’t buy any more until someone allows multiple cams on the same plan. I never even get close to using all my pics on the minimum plan.

From: JL
02-Oct-20

JL's embedded Photo
JL's embedded Photo
A FWIW thought. My buddy has several different cell cams. He recently got the Moultrie (6000?) and was trying it out on the place I hunt. We have/had a cam thief roaming the property. This Moultrie does not have an external antenna. The thief was trying to figure out how to get the cam while it was sending pics to my buddy. He called me and I called up a neighbor who went over to the property and ran into the thief. The thief tried to tell the neighbor he wasn't supposed to be there and the neighbor told the thief he wasn't supposed to be their and called him out. The thief took a few steps towards the neighbor and the neighbor pulled his pistol out and the thief ran off into the woods. We think we know who it is. The sheriff's deputies will be keeping an eye on the suspect. Here is a pic of the thief putting a cardboard box over the cam while he is trying to figure out how to steal it. He came back the next day...same result.

Point being....I'm speculating because the antenna is internal, the thief wasn't aware his pic was being sent to my buddy. That might be a plus when it comes time to decide on a cell camera.

From: Royboy
03-Oct-20
The ranch I guide on used Spartan cameras this year and they were great. You can let others view images at the same time and you can switch length between shots and turn on video remotely.

From: RIT
07-Oct-20
I have been looking at Buckeye Cams the last few days. It doesn’t take long to start adding up Cell plans and battery cost to see a break even point. They aren’t for the faint of heart though. A free to transmit 900 MHz long range wireless network that can also be used to open gates, run motors and pumps has me very interested. Stories of cams running 10+ years trouble free. Also with the ability to transmit full size photos and video. Also manufactured and sold here in the US more specifically a few hours away in Ohio. My driveway is about 700’ back into the woods. A 24/7/365 camera in the driveway also sounds appealing.

From: longbeard
07-Oct-20
Has anyone heard any reviews regarding the new Tactacam cell cam?

From: Lone Wolf
07-Oct-20
I have 3 tactacam reveal cameras and love them.

From: kota-man
07-Oct-20
I have 4 Spartan’s, a Tactacam Reveal and a Spypoint Micro. My favorites by far are the Spartan’s. I really like their app. The Tactacam takes the best pics and cannot be beat in its price point at $99. My Spypoint works, but pic quality is sub par and IVe heard nothing but horror stories about their CS.

From: willowcat
08-Oct-20
I own 4 Tactacam Reveals and can't say enough good about them. Battery life, quality of pics both day and night, their app, etc.....

From: Scoot
08-Oct-20
I have a Tactacam Reveal- it's the only cell cam I've ever owned. So far, I'm dang impressed with it. No complaints at all.

From: Knife2sharp
08-Oct-20
Regarding the Tactacam Reveals, what are their image delay settings, meaning the various intervals between pictures you can set? There was something about them I didn't like, but I can't find that info now. They do look like sweet little units and reviews are good.

From: willowcat
08-Oct-20
You can customize the delay settings to whatever you'd like. I've been a Browning trailcam guy for years and still use them but these Tactacam Reveals have been outstanding so far.

From: No Mercy
09-Oct-20
I have the Cuddeback system on my property and have been running it for two years. I have 5 cameras linked together and the plan is $20 a month. Setup can be a bit finicky, but if you follow the directions, it works flawlessly.

From: NoWiser
09-Oct-20
I have a pair of Tactacam Reveals and, for the price, they’ve exceeded my expectations.

From: NoWiser
09-Oct-20
I have a pair of Tactacam Reveals and, for the price, they’ve exceeded my expectations.

From: RIT
09-Oct-20
Years two and three on cheap cameras will be very telling. They always seem to work good the first year.

13-Oct-20
Hugely disappointed in the new Moultrie’s . Have used their camera for years but will make the switch to something else now. The batteries may last a week and the unlimited plans are pricey. Hard to fly across the country every two weeks to change the batteries.

From: Cazador
14-Oct-20
Not sure what brand, but ran into one couple days ago on a T post, thing had a solar panel, battery, large antenna, and now I’m sure a photo of me.

From: 35-Acre
14-Oct-20
I have had GREAT success with the Cell-Links. I have 3 in the field on Moultrie and Wild Game cams. My Moultrie is like 10 years old with a bottom load SD card and I have it on 2 different Wild Game cams of varying age (1 side load SD and 1 bottom load SD).

There is a trick to setting them up. You need to leave a small loop of the ribbon that connects the SD card to the Cell Link, inside the cam to prevent it from pulling out of the slot when you close the door. If you don't leave a loop, it can (likely) tug the SD card backward/out of the slot enough to not allow the camera to write to the SD. Sure it's tough to close the door with that ribbon in there and the camera wasn't made for it, but on all 3 cameras it works just fine with a little more effort to snap the door shut.

I have cams set on high res and multi-shot and they all seem to work.

The 100 photos each month free really makes it affordable. I have 2 running his way and one I have on the 250 photos for $5/month.

From: Habitat
14-Oct-20
Has anyone found the tactacam reveal in stock anywhere

From: kota-man
14-Oct-20
Scheels has Tactacams in stock every now and then. I got lucky and was in the store one day when they got a couple in. I’ve had buddies catch them in stock on the website as well.

From: smurph
14-Oct-20
Thanks for posting this thread! I am wanting to get my brother-in-law a cell cam for Christmas, was going to post a thread on recommendations. Done!

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