Game camera test: SecaCam HomeVista as game and surveillance camera

SecaCam HomeVista is a wildlife camera and surveillance camera with night vision function, motion detector, very good image and video quality (day and night) and an extensive set including batteries and 8GB memory card. We had the opportunity to do that SecaCam HomeVista to submit to a test. In this report you will learn whether it is worth buying this wildlife camera, what advantages it has and what disadvantages you have to pay attention to.

In the test: SecaCam HomeVista wildlife camera with batteries and memory card included. Technical details, photos, videos, advantages and disadvantages in this report!

In the test: SecaCam HomeVista wildlife camera with batteries and memory card included. Technical details, photos, videos, advantages and disadvantages in this report!

SecaCam HomeVista wildlife camera with batteries and memory card

If you want to use this wildlife and surveillance camera, you need eight AA batteries (LR6) and an SD memory card on which photos and videos are stored. In the set presented here and tested over several months, these necessary accessories were already included. Whether you want to watch the game in the forest or guard your property, the house and your property - the SecaCam HomeVista is suitable for both. You can find sample recordings from the test in this review.

Compilation of three pictures showing a marten on a climbing tour;)

For the sake of completeness, here is the extensive scope of delivery of the set:

  • SecaCam HomeVista surveillance and wildlife camera
  • 8 x AA batteries (4 in the camera body, 4 in a battery pack that is connected)
  • 8GB SDHC memory card with enough space for pictures and videos (notes on this below)
  • Mounting strap (1,80 meters) for attaching to trees, posts and other places
  • USB cable for easy transfer of pictures and videos to Mac, iMac, MacBook and PC
  • Video cable for the transmission of pictures and videos to televisions, graphics cards, etc.
  • Quick instructions and operating instructions in several languages, including German of course
Game and surveillance camera with night vision
2.428 Reviews
Game and surveillance camera with night vision
The SecaCam HomeVista wildlife camera is ideal for observing animals and intruders. With a 100 ° wide viewing angle, night vision, fast release time, an adjustable motion sensor, photo and video function and other features, it is well suited to guarding the house or forest when you are absent.

Technical data of the surveillance camera

For those interested in technology, I would like to take this opportunity to list the technical data of the SecaCam HomeVista. With regard to the image sensor and the images offered, it may be important to know that the promised 12 megapixels of this camera are only interpolated, i.e. extrapolated. The standard resolution is 5 megapixels.

Here are the technical details of the device:

  • Dimensions: 13,2 cm x 9,8 cm x 7,2 cm (H x W x D)
  • Weight: approx. 500 g
  • Invisible flash for night shots: 56 black LEDs with 940 nm wavelength
  • Flash range (full batteries / rechargeable batteries): up to 20 meters
  • Infrared sensor: PIR sensor with three sensitivity levels (15 meter range)
  • Image sensor: 5,0 MP CMOS
  • Photo resolutions: 5 MP, 8 MP, 12 MP
  • Trigger time: 0,4 seconds on average
  • Video resolution: Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels), HD (1280 x 720 pixels), VGA (640 x 480 pixels)
  • Info stamp on photos: date and time, moon phase and temperature
  • Info stamp on video: date and time
  • Continuous picture recording: up to 5 pictures
  • Combined photo and video recording: yes, one after the other
  • Recording pauses: yes, adjustable from 5 seconds to 24 hours
  • Internal memory: no
  • External storage: SD or SDHC memory card with up to 32 GB
  • Standby time: up to 6 months
  • Operation and settings: via buttons, switches and integrated screen

commissioning

Due to the delivery including batteries and SD card, the wildlife camera is ready to use practically immediately. However, before mounting in the wilderness, in the house or in the garden, you should take a look at the instruction manual and the back of the camera. Because there is a screen and some buttons with which you can navigate through the menu. Recording modes, the sensitivity of the infrared sensor and more can be set there. You can use a physical switch on the device to choose whether only 25 or all 56 LEDs should be used at night. Incidentally, two switches have no function; they are supported by other model versions.

The game camera menu, which you can call up on the LCD screen, is easy to understand and helpful.

The game camera menu, which you can call up on the LCD screen, is easy to understand and helpful.

As you can see in the pictures, you have extensive setting options before using the wildlife camera for the first time. You can set whether only photos or videos or both should be recorded, how long the videos should be, what resolution you want (the manufacturer recommends HD 720p), whether files can be overwritten and so on. If you fear that strangers might tamper with the camera or steal it, the point “Camera PIN” is certainly also very interesting for you. By the way, you can access the menu with the M button, navigation is via the arrow buttons and the OK button is used to confirm. Actually very easy;)

Attach and switch on ... or the other way around

So now you have determined how the SecaCam HomeVista trail camera should do its work. If you have found an object suitable for the belt, a tree, a water barrel, a beam or something else, then it is worthwhile to attach the camera as a trial - still switched off. If everything fits as it should, you can leave the rear part (battery pack with 4 AA) on the belt and attach the front part (with camera, technology and another 4 AA) to it after switching on and screw it on if necessary. Fastening with the two clamps on the sides is quick. As long as the light sensor is glowing red, no recording is made. But if you take your time when attaching it when it is switched on, you will also see the photo;)

Basically, the SecaCam HomeVista wildlife camera can withstand wind and weather. In the test, it also held heavier showers with a lot of wind and cold as well as very warm temperatures. But if you want to keep them as new as possible, then you can also have them covered. As you can see in the picture, the handy device fits into a bird house. Once you've got the hang of it, assembly and disassembly are quick and easy.

Not tried out but theoretically possible: mount the camera on a tripod or a ¼-inch screw used for this purpose. Because there is a metal tripod thread on the underside.

Not (so completely) suitable for everyday use

Sure, a game camera should actually hang for a few days, weeks or months and take pictures of deer, wild boars, rabbits, foxes and the like. But if you have it in the garden - as we did in our test - and want to check every day what crawls and flies there at night, then you unfortunately have to remove the entire front torso. It is not enough to remove the SD memory card on the underside and then insert it again. In order for the camera to record again, it must be switched off before removing the SD card and switched on again after inserting it. Then she also picks up again. If the on and off switch were also on the underside, the camera would not have to be removed for the procedure.

Extract from the operating instructions:

Inserting the memory card: When inserting the memory card, the camera MUST be switched off! Open the bottom flap and insert the SD / SDHC memory card into the memory card slot until it clicks into place. When inserting the memory card, the contacts of the memory card must point upwards [...] "

So there is no work around for the problem either. If you want to check more often which photo and video results are available and the camera should then go back into operation, then it has to be removed and switched on.

Photos by day and night

The SecaCam HomeVista takes photos both during the day and at night with its invisible light. The night shots are quite presentable. If the animals (or people) are not moving too fast, you can see a lot of details. With quick movements, however, night shots can also be blurry. So if you want to specifically record martens, mice or even bats, then better use the video function.

Here are some photos that were taken during the SecaCam HomeVista test (a tiny excerpt from the huge collection):


Videos by day and night

The video quality is impressive for domestic use and certainly also for foresters or research on a small scale. However, the photos (see above) are also recommended for slow animals or at feeding points, resting or sleeping places. Here I have put together some videos for you (can also be found on the Sir Apfelot YouTube Channel):

 

 

 

Take photos and videos one at a time

Sometimes a good idea, sometimes not. In the test, we mainly took a 5-trip photo and then a 15-second video. Sometimes also shorter videos and other combinations. However, it can happen that - especially with nimble animals or small surveillance areas - the photos take the animal or the person, but the video then only shows the surroundings because the moving object is already gone. Photo + video is only worthwhile for fast succession, slow animals or eating or sleeping places. In the case of fast through traffic in a small area, it tends to be less.

Recordings in wind and weather

Depending on how sensitive the sensor is set (there are three levels), photo and video recordings are easily triggered by insects flying by, by spiders on the camera and by wobbling trees, branches, bushes and leaves. Rain or hail can also be perceived as movement. So don't be surprised after rainy days and / or nights or after a storm if you don't see any animals or people on the many pictures;) In the test of the SecaCam HomeVista there were many such "empty" pictures in the garden with the most beautiful summer green ...

Read out with Mac and PC

A connection with the Apple Mac under OS X or macOS or with a Windows PC can be established in two different ways: With the USB cable (that would be a work around if you don't carry your laptop or computer to the camera or this completely dismantle) or by removing the SD card and inserting it into a card reader / the corresponding drive is on the computer. The folder structure is then like a digital camera or DSLR. In the recording folder you will find the photos and videos from the SecaCam HomeVista wildlife camera.

Incidentally, during the test there was only one nasty surprise in daily use: due to a software or other technical error, recordings were continuously triggered after switching on, so that the memory card was full within a few minutes. This should not happen with regular operation of several days or weeks. Maybe the trigger sensor was dirty or a spider was frolicking in front of it. Otherwise there were no problems, neither directly with the recordings (when the batteries run down, however, the lighting / flash decreases), nor when reading out the files.

Also worth reading: General article on the subject of wildlife cameras

Use as a surveillance camera: Notes on data protection

Of course, the SecaCam HomeVista wildlife camera can also be used as a surveillance camera. We didn't use them like that in the test. On the one hand, that was not necessary, on the other hand, the results with recordings of bystanders should not be published here. When using the SecaCam HomeVista trail camera as a surveillance camera, please note the following (see page 27 of the operating instructions):

  • Personal rights must be observed and the public space must not be monitored
  • An exception can of course be a piece of forest in consultation with the forester / municipality / owner
  • Monitoring the work area with the camera is also not legal
  • Photos and videos of people must always be deleted if they have not given clear consent to be taken
  • Recordings of criminals, burglars and thieves may be made and stored, but only made available to the authorities responsible for criminal prosecution

Also worth reading: Private surveillance camera: what is legal according to the law?

Advantages and disadvantages of the game camera

Here is a brief overview of the various advantages and disadvantages of the SecaCam HomeVista wildlife camera. If you have questions about certain points or I have forgotten something in this post, please write a comment with your question or comment.

advantages Disadvantages
Favorable price for the entire set For long runtimes with video recordings, 8GB may not be enough
Ready for immediate use Memory expansion is limited to 32GB
Batteries last a long time 12 MP and 8 MP recordings are interpolated from 5 MP (extrapolated)
Individual settings easily possible
Good quality day and night On / off switch not as easily accessible as SD memory card
Use as game and surveillance camera Screws on the back are sometimes difficult to reach when the rear part (battery pack) is already installed
LCD display for menu and quick control of the recordings -
Can be protected by a PIN -
Memory can easily be exchanged -
Made in Germany -

Conclusion on the SecaCam HomeVista test

On the whole, the SecaCam HomeVista wildlife camera is a very good camera with a 100 ° wide-angle lens, night vision function and sufficient accessories in the overall package. Because batteries and memory card are already included and inserted, the camera is immediately ready for use. The locking screws on the front would perhaps make more sense in most usage scenarios. The on / off switch should also be more easily accessible on newer models.

The structure is good for long-term use, however, only the memory limit is rather suboptimal for video fans who want to leave the trail camera hanging for longer. This is where you might want to think about VGA resolution, which takes up very little space - and short videos. However, you are well advised to take photos in medium resolution. Details, price and purchase option: at Amazon.

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The page contains affiliate links / images: Amazon.de

3 comments

  1. olli says:

    hello,

    for me a kingsdon 128 GB SD SDXC runs flawlessly! the limit is only on paper :-)

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