The Cuddeback brand enjoys a 30-year track record in an industry filled with also-ran’s and Johnny-come-lately’s. The company was founded in 1989, and since that time it has staked its claim as a leader and innovator in a sometimes-crowded marketplace. Having long since set the pace in terms of image quality and detection circuitry, Cuddeback now leads the way in-connectivity with the Dual Flash Cell trail camera.
Thanks to an innovative, removable and interchangeable system of antennae, Cuddeback Dual Flash cameras can work as standalone units or in tandem with other Cuddeback cameras. Users can then use a single camera as a hub from which to check the other cameras in the network.
This Cuddeback camera gets its name from its dual infrared(IR) sensors. It has 28 low-glow LEDs and 28 no-glow LEDs, multiplying the locations in which it is useable. The Dual Flash is also impressive in other arenas. It boasts .25-second trigger speeds and sub-two-second recovery times. It has extended battery life of up to one year, and takes stunning color and IR images. Video is equally impressive, with operation being simplified into three pre-set modes.
The Cuddeback Dual Flash is not a camera for those on a tight budget. Its functionality is second to none, but it is one that users should expect to pay for. That said, the Dual Flash is certainly not overly expensive compared to other cellular cameras. It compares favorably to Covert’s Code Black, while usually costing considerably less. It also tends to cost a good bit more than Spypoint’s Link-EVO, yet its performance easily justifies the extra cash.
Cuddeback Dual Flash Invisible IR
- State-of-the-art trigger and recovery speeds
- Able to link with similarly equipped cameras
- Four D-cell batteries can last one year
- Two sets of LED bulbs for optimized night imagery
- Variable detection zones (wide or narrow)
- Dual-flash operation not automatic
- Video is disabled in networked cameras
Key Features – 500-1000
The Dual Flash trail camera may be linked with any other Cuddeback camera that is equipped with the CuddeLink technology. Neither Wi-Fi nor cellular, the CuddLink technology allows cameras at a distance to be linked in a network. It is similar to both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, but technically neither term applies. Cuddeback is tight-lipped about how this system works from a tech standpoint, but work it does.
Any CuddeLink-equipped Cuddeback camera can be linked with any other in a chain of up to 16 cameras. The term chain is applicable because the signal can daisy chain from one camera to another in the line, increasing the distance over which the system is usable. The benefits are many. Users may access the pictures on any camera in the chain via a designated home camera, resulting in less spread of scent or other contamination of hunting areas. Cameras placed in difficult-to-reach places need only be accessed for battery changes.
The CuddeLink system is a great option to have, even if users don’t take advantage of it right away. But the Dual Flash is much more than simply a networkable trail camera. Now that we better understand the possibilities of a network of interconnected cameras, let’s look at what other features the Cuddeback Dual Flash has to offer.
The name of this camera refers to its use of two different types of LED bulbs for its night-vision flash. There are two groups of bulbs,with 28 LEDs in each group. All 56 LEDs use IR technology, but their light is of two different wavelengths. The light from the low-glow group is 850 nanometers (nm), outside the visible spectrum for most – but not all – animals.The other group transmits light at 940 nm, well outside the range that most animals can see.
It is up to users to determine which group of lights is right for their quarry. Deer cannot really see the light from either flash, but they may see the faint red glow that remains as the 850-nm LEDs cool after the flash fires. Humans can see that light as well. In the other setting, no light will be visible. However, the light from the darker (940 nm) lights does not illuminate targets as well as the 850 nm light, so there is a trade off to consider.
Another thing to note is that the camera does not automatically switch between the banks of lights. It is a setting, though users can assign each flash for either photography or video. Most Dual Flash owners experiment on their property to find the right setting for them and many add linked cameras, utilizing the right setting for each specific location. Having the option to do so is what this trail camera is all about.
.25-second trigger speeds
While LEDs keep getting darker, another aspect of trail cameras also continues to improve. Not so long ago, a one-second trigger speed was considered fast, but no longer. The Dual Flash’s .25-second trigger is fast enough to capture animals running or bounding through the field of view, all but eliminating the dreaded empty frames that waste storage space and battery power. While more common now, such fast triggers are still not commonplace. Cuddeback was an early innovator in fast trigger speeds.
The IR light from the Dual Flash can extend beyond the 100-foot mark, though this is only true of the low-glow bank of LEDs. However,the detection range of this trail camera is closer to 80 feet, which is extremely competitive among modern camera traps. The only issue users may encounter arises when utilizing the no-glow LEDs. These lights will illuminate targets at the edge of the detection range, but not nearly as well as the low-glow LEDs do. If this situation comes up, users may need sacrifice camera invisibility for target identification.
The Dual Flash trail cams come with Cuddeback’s patented Zone Control technology. Zone Control is a system that allows users to toggle between a centered or a wide field of view. The centered mode, which is great for trails or feeders where you know where targets will be, narrows the detection zone and the field of view. Targets in the resulting images should be centered in the frame and easily identifiable. The wide view widens both the field and the detection zone. More animals may be visible, though they might be only partially in frame.
Like the dual-flash feature, Zone Control is a setting and is not automatic. Users should allow the lay of the land to dictate which setting is appropriate. Cuddeback took pains to ensure that the detection zone lies inside, though only just inside, the outer edges of the field of view in both settings. So, while partial captures are possible in either mode, completely empty frames are a rarity.
All of the functionality in the world is useless if the trail camera doesn’t take useable photos. Users of any Cuddeback camera need not worry about image quality. Cuddeback advertises a 20MP resolution(configurable down to 5MP), though that is an extrapolated pixel count. The color images the Dual Flash produce are the rival of any camera on the market. Meanwhile, configurable image zone width and IR flash type help to eliminate empty or unusable frames. Night images are likewise impressive, leading to aSIM card full of usable pictures.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it necessary to have two different types of flashes on the same camera?
The discerning trail cam user will note that, as infrared flashes become progressively less visible, their effective useful ranges tend to get shorter. One should always be cautious when manufacturers claim extended ranges of invisible IR. The technology is steadily improving, but it hasn’t reached the promised land just yet.
Currently, low-glow flashes still outperform no-glow flashes in terms of depth. Whether or not the user should compromise depth of field for invisibility is ultimately a matter of individual needs. The property should dictate much of what is required. Cameras on heavily wooded property may not have need for an extended flash range, for example. After that comes the chances of being detected. Deer may not even be able to see the faint red glow of the LEDs even though people can.
Identification is a separate issue. Sure, you may be able to identify a deer at 100 feet, but could you distinguish between individual humans? And, would the image the camera produces hold up as evidence in a court of law? These questions often dictate which camera will work for the job. With the Cuddeback Dual Flash, they only dictate which settings to use.
Does this camera send pictures to cell phones?
While the Dual Flash does boast cutting-edge inter-connectivity between cameras, it is not in itself a cellular camera. As such, users are unable to use the camera in its standard form to send pictures to cell phones or via email to a computer. Rather, these cameras use a mesh network to link up to 16 cameras, allowing the user to access any trail camera in the series via a designated home camera.
The Dual Flash (model G-5055) trail camera may be used alone or in a CuddeLink network only. Cuddeback does, however, offer exactly the same unit configured for cellular service (models G-5093, Verizon LTE). As always, users interested in cellular service for their game cameras should bear in mind that they will incur service charges. These charges are ongoing, making cellular game cameras an open-ended commitment. With the CuddeLink system, the purchase is a one-time deal, but users will have to physically access at least one trail cam in the network.
How far distant does the CuddeLink system require I place my networked cameras?
The distance that linked cameras may be placed from one another depends a lot on the topography of the location. The signal does not require line of sight, but wooded locations won’t have the same transmission distance as open fields. In forests, users can expect quarter-mile distances of transmission, with up to a half mile possible.
That said, the cameras in the CuddeLink system can piggy back signals from one camera to the next in a chain. The chain can include up to four cameras, so a linked system can transmit up to two miles to the designated home camera.
What Does the Customer Say?
The Convenience of Networking is Worth It
No one will confuse a Cuddeback camera for a cheap, convenience-store trail cam. These are serious tools for serious users. Their cost, while not exorbitant, does reflect their build and the quality of their interior parts. Most users accept the price as a normal cost for a no-nonsense trail camera that works as it is advertised to do.
Even users who only intend to own and operate a single trail camera usually end up purchasing a second or third camera. When the first purchase is a Cuddeback, those next cameras can be linked to the first. Once users experience the convenience of using a network of cameras, they usually don’t want to go back to checking each individual trail camera again. The ability to access images in tough terrain without tainting the area with scent is too valuable to give up.
The Advertised Range is Pretty Accurate
The trail camera market is crowded, and as such, Cuddeback could be forgiven for exaggerating certain aspects of its cameras. After all, extrapolated pixel counts are a bit misleading. However, Cuddeback’s numbers for its detection circuit and its networking are all impressively accurate. There are builders of lesser trail cameras that fudge their numbers to appear closer to the Dual Flash’s range than they really are. Had Cuddeback done the same, its numbers would be years ahead of their time. There’s no need to fib when you’re already at the top.
Not to be Confused with Cellular Trail Cameras
Users who didn’t read the proverbial fine print may come away dismayed that the Dual Flash does not send pictures via a cellular signal. Dual Flash cameras in the field still have to be accessed physically, though only one may need to be reached in a network.
Cuddeback makes no secret of the intended use of the Dual Flash, though. Cellular versions of this camera are available, and they are preconfigured to work with top cell-service providers. However, if purchasing a standalone Dual Flash, users will not be able to utilize cellular service.
The Cuddeback Dual Flash is as yet unique in the trail camera market. Most other cameras offer either extended flash range with a soft glow or shortened flash range without a glow. Only Cuddeback had the fore sight to offer its users the ability to choose between these options after the point of purchase. Users who don’t know which type of IR flash will best suit their purposes may now purchase a trail camera with far less trepidation than ever before.
The same is true for the networking capabilities of the CuddeLink system. Users may wonder if they truly have a need for a network of cameras – whether such a network will save them any time or actually be beneficial in reducing the contamination of a hunting area with human scent.Now, there is no need to fret. A purchase of CuddeLink-capable trail cam such as the Dual Link leaves open a window for linking future cameras in a network,should the need or desire ever arise.
Whether those two features are needed is up to the individual to decide, but the Dual Flash is not a two-trick pony. It has many of the most sought-after features that other top-tier trail cameras offer today. Blazing trigger speeds, impressive photography, variable picture and video modes – all these are standard fare for Cuddeback cameras. As a standalone unit or linked in a network, the Dual Flash trail camera is hard to beat.