HCO ScoutGuard SG550 Scouting Camera Review:
SportsmansReview.com is pleased to announce the winner of the first annual Reviewer's Choice Award, the HCO ScoutGuard SG550 Scouting Camera.
The Reviewer's Choice Award from SportsmansReview.com is awarded to the best overall hunting or fishing item as voted upon by the Pro-Staff.
"In 2008, among all of the gear that we tested and reviewed, the HCO ScoutGuard SG550 Scouting Camera stood out as the clear leader", said SportsmansReview.com founder Nick Schwarz. "Not only did it excel in traditional trail camera metrics such as trigger speed and image quality, it also brought something new to the category with its efficient battery usage and the small, portable design while maintaining an affordable price."
SportsmansReview.com Pro-Staffer Jerry Matzner also added, "We put this camera up at our test plot for the field test in September of 2008 using the eight AA battery configuration (standard Energizers). As is standard with our tests, we checked the camera several times through the fall and winter - we did not replace the batteries on any of these occasions." He continued, "When I went to retrieve the camera for discussion of this award on a sub-zero day in January of 2009, I was surprised to find out that it still took my picture - using the same set of initial batteries. Right there and then, I knew we had a winner!"
Congratulations HCO ScoutGuard for an exceptional product! Below is the full review of the HCO ScoutGuard SG550 Scouting Camera:
The HCO ScoutGuard SG550 Scouting Camera is an interesting new entry into the trail camera arena. This camera is about one third the size and weight of other cameras in the market. This makes it very convenient to transport the camera. It is also handy when attempting to conceal the camera in a location without a lot of cover. Although the setup is not as easy and the manual difficult to navigate, once this camera is field ready, it performs well. We've gotten big results from this little camera. In fact, this camera has redefined the size of trail cameras. We've never done it before, but we now ask ourselves, why are all other cameras so large?
A few notes on our ratings. We rated this high in performance because the trigger speed is good, picture quality is good, infrared flash is good. The setup for the camera (programming via remote and complex manual) was the only thing that keeps this from scoring higher. In terms of durability, the camera has held up well - even in a tough, snowy winter. In terms of the value, this is a good price for a infrared camera with a quality picture and compact size. Also, because it uses AA batteries (and external 6 volt option), it is even more economical to run than those that use "D" batteries. From the Sportsman's Edge rating, the compact size and external battery option contributed to the high score. This camera can go just about anywhere!
- Size - this is a very compact and lightweight unit, making it easy to carry and to conceal - significantly smaller than most other trailer cameras
- Camouflage housing is a bonus
- Ability to plug-in camera - use with outlet when setting up or testing.
- Memory slot is easily accessed
- Controls & vitals are placed well for resisting the elements
- Can run off an external 6 volt battery
- Uses 4 or 8 "AA" batteries (cheaper & smaller than others)
- 5 Mega pixels
- Setup is a little cumbersome and requires remote to be connected
- Instruction manual is a bit complex.
- Initial images appeared to be 'reddish' in color
|Picture Size - Day:
||5.0 Mega pixelsApprox 1.4 MB image file size2560 px wide x 1920 px high (72 px per inch)
|Picture Size - Night:
||Same as day
||8 (or 4) "AA" batteriesExternal: 6 volt plug-in (AC or DC)
||Internal Memory - NoneMemory Type: SD Card (up to 4 GB)
||SingleBurst (2-3)Video (AVI)
During our initial test, the camera took 42 pictures in 5 days. Of these pictures, every picture had an explainable event resulting in the trigger. Although we consider 42 pictures & 5 days a pretty small sample size, this is the first camera that we've tested recently that had such an impressive start (consider that other variables such as the location and what all is in the frame can influence the results). The batteries show no signs of being worn down.Here is a picture of the "remote" which is required to modify the settings (set date, picture quality, etc.):
Below are some example pictures from the HCO ScoutGuard SG550 Scouting Camera. These pictures have been reduced to 19% of their original size for display on this site. The daytime pictures are a little strong on shades or red and tend to be a bit washed out on sunny days. Overall, we'd still rate the image quality as good. The info strip on the bottom is basic at best - displaying the camera's name on a gray background and the date and time (24 hour format, ugh).
The daytime image below shows the camera's excellent trigger speed and sensitivity:
The night time pictures are excellent. We estimate the effective range for the infrared flash to be closer to 20 feet. Again, this image has been reduced to 19% of the original size.
Overall, the ScoutGuard SG550 Scouting Camera is a great camera. The core features such as its size, battery options, trigger speed, image quality and value position this as one of our top rated trail cameras!
This camera is relatively new to the market. For more information, you can view: HCO www.HuntingCamOnline.com.
Reviewer: - Nick Schwarz
Review Date: - 9/17/2008