The low priced Dark Ops series is no stranger to hard hitting features when it comes to trail hunting. Although it was never strong as a home security camera, the outdoor components are so popular that it created a name for itself. Buyers that want to set themselves up with reliable trail cameras that can do a little bit of everything will love this purchase.
The tree bark style is easy to place in any outdoor area and hide. It is very well done and includes details that blend it into the surrounding environment. Animals won’t be able to tell the difference between the camera and their natural environment, something that is essential in catching the correct shot. The Dark Ops series has mastered the finer qualities of design, something that will come in handy when you need to place it.
The weight is a little over a pound, with the unit itself being on the rather large side. Not large to where it will cause problems with its placement, but large enough to make it a consideration. The amount of weight that the camera has on it might lend to its durability, but that is going to be a hit or miss depending on what type of stress test you’re running.
It’s safe for all levels to use the camera, especially those that are new to getting a trail camera. Browning’s software gives some really good starter tips and their manual is beginner friendly. This is all while having a good amount of specifications to keep the intermediate and advanced users happy. Look for buyers in the beginner to intermediate range to be more interested in a first time purchase of this camera.
Despite the strong looking case it is about as powerful as any other case in their lineup. The strong look is an illusion, when it is actually just average for durability. This is not a weatherproof or waterproof camera, and it won’t survive a lot of heavy hitting. But being average in durability is better than being poor, so it gets by with that alone.
Pictures and Video
The 10MP of the camera goes largely unnoticed by many, even though it is one of the killer features of the product. It is a fully HD camera that can take pictures and HD video with sound in length from 5 seconds to 2 minutes. The output looks extremely good on a high definition television set, even a recent model. The pictures at night are decent enough but the daytime pictures are where the unit excels the most.
Another area where the product shines is in power saving and battery life. Using 8AA batteries of any caliber will yield positive results in the field. That means anything in the generic categories will do if you choose wisely. Expect up to a year of use on a single charge if you have a nice set of batteries.
The battery saving design and features are some of the best of a camera this size, even by today’s modern standards. Trigger speed is one of the fastest you can get, snapping its target in 0.67 seconds. The camera is fully HD, delivering astonishing pictures and videos in different conditions. Flash range is a long 70ft. and will cover a large area. Included in the package is the Browning Buck Watch time-lapse viewer software, great for getting a feel for the Browning trail camera customization options. The camo used for the casing is a great design and will fool even the smartest of animals out in the wilderness.
The case is of average strength and will not suffice under harsh conditions. Expect for the case to wear down over the years depending on how much abuse it takes. Night time viewing is very grainy, and is a far cry from the crisp day time viewing. This camera was really not meant to take great night time photos and it shows. This applies to the video portion too, which goes on to create very grainy media as a result. Despite the many good features, there is really nothing innovative in the software that speaks of innovation on their part. Expect for cookie cutter customization options and nothing really new on their side when it comes to this model.
How Do People View It?
Reviews are favorable, citing how great the daytime viewing is with the 10MP resolution. Battery efficiency is also touted as a killer feature, with much praise going on about how well it works with several different brands. Night quality is seen as up and down by some people, good but not great. The trigger speed is another point of interest as a camera with this type of power usually skimps out in some other area, but Browning didn’t. With separate displays for both the battery life and photo memory, users also love how the camera keeps the customer up to date on the important parts of the work load.
The price they are asking is reasonable since it is so low, and with this being a camera that just about anyone can operate it works out just fine. The only thing to be said about the value vs. the price is that the night time quality really suffers so may be a sore point for some users. Add to that how the casing is average and it could be a tricky buy for someone looking at multiple cameras.
Buyers will get a good solid three to five years out of the device, depending on how well they take care of it. With the durability in question, the appeal of the device may go down for some users as they are looking for a longer term solution. And with other cameras that do night vision a lot better, there are some issues to sort out with whether you’ll be needing a camera for both daytime and night time media.
There are plenty of these to be found, and they won’t be going into the rarity bin anytime soon. Dark Ops is a respected brand so unless they create a collector’s edition, expect for this item to be available in several places. More than a good portion of the products features have been passed on to other parts of their line, so Dark Ops lives on in those cameras.
It’s hard not to love the amount of work that Browning put into the Dark Ops series. In particular this one has a lot of potential but falls flat in key areas like durability and night mode. Buyers that love the brand can look past the durability issues as they honor the warranty, but when it comes to a subpar night time performance it is hard to overlook. If you can get it cheap then take a chance, otherwise look at their other products.
Browning has a lot of great cameras in their lineup, and this may be one of them. With only a few things lacking in the Dark Ops, it can compete with some of the better cameras on the market. When the price gets low enough, this will be a great deal.