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What are we all using for bird cams?


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I'm assuming I'm not the only one who has static cameras set up at my feeders, also assuming this forum is appropriate for this discussion.

Until fairly recently, I used WingScapes cams - a Moultrie brand.  When Moultrie went broke and shut down Wingscapes, in desperation I started buying Wingscapes cameras on eBay.  Unfortunately a lot of other people were doing the same. The few unused ones (original package, unopened) went really fast at fairly high prices.  After that I (and others) were buying used ones, hoping for the best, and then returning the broken ones - what a hassle!

That only works for a while as outdoor birdcams eventually fail.  Additionally, the final version of Wingscapes cameras adopted the "widescreen" image shape like computer monitors mostly use now, which was not a great idea for a bird cam because it often cut off the head or feet of the subject bird.  

I was getting pretty desperate for replacement cams.  First I went to Bushnell's very expensive NatureView cams using the close up lens attachments provided.  These cams take decent bird pics but are very pricey and tend to fail fairly soon.

My latest cams came from a surprising source - Suspect Game Cameras. Suspect cams are made for deer photography, but they have a model with a close up lens attachment for about $150 that works well - good focus from 2" to 14" with the closeup lens attached. I've attached pics of a Grosbeak showing the different results using Wingscapes and Suspect.  As you can see, the Wingscapes have exaggerated color but landscape format (misses some shots if you guess incorrectly on the height) whereas the Suspect cams have more "flat" color but are the old aspect ratio (more square).

What are all of you using and are you happy with the cams?  Thanks!

Terry D.

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Edited by mrknobs
Added a Bushnell pic
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Ok, I guess I will chime in on this.

First some background. For many years my husband and I ran a company called Spy On A Bird (hence the user name here).  We repurposed security cams for inside birdhouses and feedercams.  We also designed solar powered Eagle and Osprey cams for US Fish and Wildlife across the country.  After awhile, it got too much for us.  We were holding down full time jobs and trying to run a business at the same time.  We closed the business a few years ago.  

A couple of points to consider

1.  Waterproofing.  Cameras need to be able to withstand the elements.  The standard use to be IP66

2.  Power.  Some cameras claim to be wireless but everything needs power.  Will you run a cable?  Solar power?  Battery Pack?

3. Signal transmission.  How will you view the signal? Do you need an app?  Will it connect to your house wifi?  Stored on an SD card?

Trail cams are nice but as you mentioned, many do not close focus.  For inside a birdhouse, many people are used the Blink camera.  They may also work well for a feeder.

Denise 

 

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I'm assuming I'm not the only one who has static cameras set up at my feeders, also assuming this forum is appropriate for this discussion.

Until fairly recently, I used WingScapes cams - a Moultrie brand.  When Moultrie went broke and shut down Wingscapes, in desperation I started buying Wingscapes cameras on eBay.  Unfortunately a lot of other people were doing the same. The few unused ones (original package, unopened) went really fast at fairly high prices.  After that I (and others) were buying used ones, hoping for the best, and then returning the broken ones - what a hassle!

That only works for a while as outdoor birdcams eventually fail.  Additionally, the final version of Wingscapes cameras adopted the "widescreen" image shape like computer monitors mostly use now, which was not a great idea for a bird cam because it often cut off the head or feet of the subject bird.  

I was getting pretty desperate for replacement cams.  First I went to Bushnell's very expensive NatureView cams using the close up lens attachments provided.  These cams take decent bird pics but are very pricey and tend to fail fairly soon.

My latest cams came from a surprising source - Suspect Game Cameras. Suspect cams are made for deer photography, but they have a model with a close up lens attachment for about $150 that works well - good focus from 2" to 14" with the closeup lens attached. I've attached pics of a Grosbeak showing the different results using Wingscapes and Suspect.  As you can see, the Wingscapes have exaggerated color but landscape format (misses some shots if you guess incorrectly on the height) whereas the Suspect cams have more "flat" color but are the old aspect ratio (more square).

What are all of you using and are you happy with the cams?  Thanks!

Terry D.

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Image3.jpg

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On 8/2/2021 at 1:26 PM, Kevin said:

I don't know how often he/she is on, but maybe @BirdsIviewCam could help. As to moving it, I don't think that would really help any.  And this seem the right section for it. 

Thanks for the bump Kevin...Hello mrknobs!  I feel like I was you back in the day when I wanted a way to capture the beauty of birds/wildlife but have the convenience of watching it on my television.  My background is engineering within the AV/networking/RF industries so during the pandemic pause I put that all to work and set out to accomplish just that! 

Now my tagline:  

Hello all again from Tampa Florida.  I have an online backyard bird-feeder streaming live on Twitch+Youtube...Check it out sometime!

Top of the Feeder:
www.twitch.tv/birdsiviewcam

Bottom of the Feeder:
www.youtube.com/user/birdsiviewcam

Now for the details...This mission like usually all my endeavors are like putting together a puzzle without knowing how the puzzle pieces are going to fit or how many there are going to be.  Something so simple like viewing a bird feeder was very challenging.  I knew the technical aspect of it all but the bird feeder part was more of a pain to incorporate into that world.  So I understand all the challenging aspects of those before me in order to make this happen.  In my case I had three worlds to overcome.  The technical, birdfeeder and virtual and marry themselves together so it wouldn't break the bank or my back! 😉  With the pandemic, time was at a standstill so I had plenty of that to think it all through.  Looking back if it wasn't for the pandemic, I would not have the time required to accomplish what I did.  With every layer just adds more points of failure so keeping it simple is what you would always want to strive for.  Are there more things I can do to even perfect this bird camera?  Sure like adding a more robust power backup and losses of internet connection when living in Tampa Florida deals you throughout the year but for a total price package with all three worlds under $500 is somewhat astonishing to others who currently do what I am doing for more than quadruple that.

Sooooo to answer your situation.  I would try to use the best image resolution that you can afford and suggest anything at least 2k (1440p) 3.7MP type would be great.  It's all in the image details.  The ability to zoom/focus/ptz and sound are also great and add to the total experience.   Or you could just enjoy watching my stream and call it a day.  Send myself a PM if you would want more in depth details as I am always willing to share with others!  

 

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