Moultrie M-550 Gen2 Review

Moultrie M-550 Gen2 Review

Always reliable and on point, the low priced Moultrie M-550 Gen2 gives the user full control of a great camera from one of the more respected companies in the business. Of the many brand name cameras available in the industry, Moultrie tends to offer more for the price, and always at a price that everyone can agree with. They are the top manufacturer of budget based trail cameras, and it doesn’t look like they will be unseated anytime soon. If you want more value per dollar for your purchase then look at the Moultrie M-550 Gen2 as an alternative.

Style

This is one of Moultrie’s earlier camo styles, which is why it looks like plastic more than anything. The smoke screen camo looks like a smoke screen camo design painted on plastic. For the everyday prey it won’t make a big difference, but this rules out the camera being used for home security. Creative minds will prevail as always, so it is up to the user to decide on placement.

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Weight & Dimensions

Marked as a mini game camera, it is anything but. Dimensions are 4.7×3.4×5.8 so it is about regular size by today’s standards. It has bulk around some areas which may hinder placement, but nothing too crazy. The weight is 13.6 ounces so it comes in at under a pound, which is good since it looks like it weighs twice that.

Recommended Level

Like all Moultrie cameras any level can use it, but intermediate to advanced users may want to stay away. There are limited options, and the technology has since been superseded by Moultrie itself. As a Gen2 version there are some upgraded features that will help beginners get up to speed whenever they decide to upgrade to a newer Moultrie product.

Durability

It may look weak and like cheap plastic, but the case is solid inside and out. Weather resistance has been improved in this version and allows for a nice amount of severe weather punishment. Buyers that want a tough camera will get their money’s worth with this durable casing.

Pictures and Video

The resolution sits at an odd number and is not one found in a lot of cameras. With 7MP powering the unit, it takes impressive daytime pictures. Video is pretty decent but nothing special, and even though it is not rated as being big on details, the 7MP seems to have been tweaked enough to where it does a wonderful job with the materials. Expect to get a lot of nice photos out of this camera even when it is past its prime.

Battery Usage

Maybe it is because of the weird resolution or maybe it is just a Moultrie thing, but batteries hold up really well in this model. They did make it a point to improve battery life with image compression, and it works out really well. 19,000 images can make the cut before you have to replace the 8AA batteries.

Pros

Very efficient battery usage, keeping you from spending hundreds a year in batteries. Generic brands do wonders as well, so no need to settle for the big names. Daytime and night time photos look great with the 7MP resolution, giving off vibrant colors and a lot of life. The case is tough and rugged and won’t crack under pressure, being redesigned to withstand even tougher weather than before. Low entry price for a camera that takes pretty decent video, with support for SD cards that can carry thousands of photos. Quick start menu will help a lot of users get acclimated with the most useful controls of the camera.

Cons

The case looks like it is made out of plastic, and is not very professional looking. As great as the photos are, the 7MP is limited with the video it can take which is why it would have been preferable to go the full 8MP and get at least 720p video. The trigger speed is a long drawn out 1.5 seconds, which is probably the worst in the industry. A lot of great shots will be missed or you’ll get the typical blurred shots every now and then because of this. This is by far the worst trigger speed in Moultrie’s lineup, both old and new.

How People View It

The reviews are very hit and miss with the product with the most recent customers not being too satisfied with it. Some of the complaints are from Moultrie customers that upgraded from another model, and they complain about the quality of the video and settings not working like they should. One of these settings is the fast flash, which can be very spotty depending on how you set it up. Many others complain about the software being a little buggy, but when talking about the camera hardware itself, it is either a love it or average vote of confidence. With the reviews being all over the place, you’ll have to play it by ear and decide if this is going to be a good purchase for your needs.

Value

The value is there if you aren’t looking for spectacular video or deep settings. This is a solidly built camera that can take good to great photos. It isn’t amazing by any stretch of the imagination, but is at a price that many are going to be comfortable with.

Lasting Appeal

It’s hard to say with this particular camera since the 7MP is so weird in its function. You get pictures that are pretty good, and on the other end you get video that just isn’t really worth your time. The software is either good for the user or bad depending on what they want to do, and the battery life is great. A good 5 years would be optimistic with this model, with the reality being a solid 3.

Rarity

The units in this series tend to be easy to find, so no trouble there. You could argue that it is rare since 7MP is a very weird resolution that rarely creeps up in gaming circles anymore. In fact there was never really a huge market for 7MP, making this camera rare by association.

Personal Opinion

Moultrie is still the leader in budget game cameras, and while this one does a decent job of filling that gap it misses a lot of key points. There really are too few hardware specs to even classify this as a good budget camera. Moultrie has already solidified their budget camera lineup with much better cameras, and this isn’t one of them. The buggy software is one of the many reasons this camera should be researched before purchase. A curious intermediate user may get more mileage out of it than a beginner, and even then that isn’t guaranteed. Buyers that need a good solid camera to out in the wilderness that will not crack in back weather will be the best champions of this product from Moultrie.

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Summary

It may be simple to use, but it can cause some big headache if you want certain tasks done. The Moultrie M-550 Gen2 Game Camera is a good camera with some minor hollow points. Although it isn’t a knock it out of the park winner, it is still a good camera to have as your main one if video isn’t a big concern.