Reconyx Cellular Trail Camera

By IPVM Team, Published on Aug 12, 2013

Often businesses or homeowners want to put remote cameras at a distance from their buildings, to spot intruders or see who is entering. One common product used in this situation is a trail camera, as it is low cost and simple to setup. A major problem, though, is having to go to the camera and retrieve the stored video. However, one trailcam manufacturer, Reconyx offers cellular security trail cameras. In this note, we investigate how well they solve this common problem, comparing to other trailcams, QStar and Videofied.

Product Basics

The Reconyx security camera basics are similar to other trailcams: 1080p/3.1MP, 42° FoV, records images to on-board SD card, integrated motion sensor and IR illuminator, 2fps max recording. Additionally, Reconyx offers a separate 720p/1.3MP license plate capture unit that records plate images of passing vehicles at speeds up to 50mph.

Cellular Enabled

What makes Reconyx interesting is their options that include a GSM Quad Band cellular modem [link no longer available], which enables the camera to transmit captured images via text message or e-mail via T-Mobile [link no longer available] or AT&T Wireless [link no longer available] to 4 cell phones and two e-mail addresses. However, the covert security camera transmits less than SD 512x384 pixel images (while recording to the internal memory card at higher resolution), and the license plate capture camera transmits images at full 720p resolution upon an alarm event. The number of images transmitted per event is set in the camera configuration, Reconyx recommends not more than 5 images per event. This option makes the Reconyx camera a more active solution as compared to the passive non-cellular trailcams where the images have to manually retrieved, usually long after an incident happens. The cellular trailcam is only available in the US.

Communication via cellular is one way, users cannot connect to the camera remotely from a PC or smart phone to "live view" the camera. Battery life of the cellular enabled camera is between 2,000 to 5,000 images, a 12VDC external power connection is included, if necessary. An optional solar power kit [link no longer available] is also available for longer duration camera placement.  

Reconyx includes the cellular modem with SIM card, it is up to the user to set up the cellular service with T-Mobile or AT&T Wireless. The modem can be added to existing accounts in the same manner as an additional line or mobile device, and plan text/data charges will apply. If creating a new account, it would be best to pick a plan with unlimited texting and data, if possible. The choice of carriers may depend on T-Mobile or AT&T Wireless cellular coverage areas, check first before buying. An optional high-gain antenna [link no longer available] is available for remote locations with poor cellular coverage.

Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News
Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News

Pricing

The cellular enabled Reconyx SC950C covert security and SM750C license plate capture cameras retail for $1,200 each. They can be purchased online direct from Reconyx [link no longer available] or they are available from other online stores and security distributors [link no longer available]. The non-cellular versions have an MSRP of $650. 

Enclosure Accessories

A major concern with using trailcams for security is that they are often stolen by thieves or trespassers to conceal their acts.  To combat trailcam theft, Reconyx offers a heavy-duty steel security enclosure [link no longer available] that can be anchored to a fixed object and covert kits to disguise the camera as a rock [link no longer available], cable box [link no longer available], or electrical utility box [link no longer available]. 

Comparisons

Here is how Reconyx cellular enabled cameras compare to similar products IPVM has covered:

  • BuckeyeCam - This product is very similar in form factor and operation to Reconyx, except it uses 900MHz wireless to transmit images back to a nearby base station, which reduces placement flexibility and introduces the complexity of needing a near line of sight wireless path from the camera to the base.  The BuckeyeCam Orion XIR camera kit is priced comparably [link no longer available] at $1,050 (not including the base unit) to the Reconyx cellular enabled cameras. BuckeyeCam does not offer a license plate capture camera.
  • Q-Star Flashcam - The Reconyx camera does not have the resolution of the Q-Star at 12MP or the ability to play a recorded audio message. Reconyx has the ability to transmit images upon alarm and schedule recordings, which the Q-Star does not. Q-Star sells for $4000-5000, the Reconyx cellular cameras are a fraction of that price. Q-Star does not offer a license plate capture camera.
  • Videofied MotionViewer - The Outdoor MotionViewer [link no longer available] is somewhat similar to the Reconyx security camera, except it transmits less than SD resolution video wirelessly to a control panel located within 500 feet, which can limit options for camera placement. The control panel can operate on batteries and can be cellular enabled. In our most recent review, we detailed how the MotionViewer has the ability to transmit video via the control panel to a remote monitoring station and can be remotely viewed via a smart phone app.  The Videofied Outdoor MotionViewer has an MSRP of around $600, not including the control panel. Videofied does not offer a license plate capture camera.

Recommended Use of Reconyx Cellular Security Trailcam

The Reconyx cellular security trailcams seem to be a good option for where a conventional video surveillance system is impractical due to cost, lack of infrastructure or location.  They can also be useful for law enforcement or private investigations where a camera needs to be installed quickly and covertly. They can be placed anywhere that T-Mobile or AT&T Wireless has cellular coverage in the US. Some practical applications include construction sites, farms & ranches, remote cabins/lodges, illegal dumping sites, warehouses/storage yards, illegal border crossing locations and areas prone to copper theft. Just remember, no live video viewing, only motion triggered alerts.

Comments (6) : Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

Use Access Control Logs To Constrain Coronavirus on Apr 09, 2020
Access control users have included capabilities that are not commonly used...
Budget Covert Cameras Tested on Nov 26, 2019
Covert cameras under $100 are widely available online but are they any...
Remote Network Access for Video Surveillance Guide on Jul 27, 2020
Remotely accessing surveillance systems is key in 2020, with more and more...
Help Security End Users Facing Coronavirus Improve Remote Access on Mar 24, 2020
Many end-users and integrators are struggling with the impact of coronavirus...
Dedicated Vs Converged IP Video Networks Statistics 2020 on Sep 10, 2020
Running one's video system on a converged network with other devices can save...
Hidden Camera Detectors Tested on Nov 18, 2019
Hidden cameras are a growing problem as cameras become smaller, cheaper and...
Verkada Paying $100 For Referrals Just To Demo on Jan 22, 2020
Some companies pay for referrals when the referral becomes a customer....
Breaking Into A Facility Using Canned Air Tested on Jan 28, 2020
Access control is supposed to make doors more secure, but a $5 can of...
Hazardous & Explosion Proof Access Control Tutorial on Feb 27, 2020
Controlling access to hazardous environments requires equipment meeting...
AHJ / Authority Having Jurisdiction Tutorial on Aug 06, 2020
One of the most powerful yet often underappreciated characters in all...
FLIR A Series Temperature Screening Cameras Tested on Jun 04, 2020
FLIR is one of the biggest names in thermal and one of the most conservative....
Verkada Disruptive Embedded Live Help on Sep 24, 2020
Call up your integrator? Have someone come by the next day? Verkada is...
ZKTeco Presents SpeedFace Recognition + Body Temperature Detection on Apr 21, 2020
ZKTeco presented its SF1008+ reader with body temperature and face mask...
Facial Recognition 101 on Mar 18, 2020
Facial recognition interest, use and fear is increasing. This guide aims to...
Security Sales Course January 2020 - Last Chance on Jan 02, 2020
Notice: This is the last chance to register for the course. This sales...

Recent Reports

ISC Brasil Digital Experience 2020 Report on Oct 23, 2020
ISC Brasil 2020 rebranded itself to ISC Digital Experience and, like its...
Top Video Surveillance Service Call Problems 2020 on Oct 23, 2020
3 primary and 4 secondary issues stood out as causing the most problems when...
GDPR Impact On Temperature / Fever Screening Explained on Oct 22, 2020
What impact does GDPR have on temperature screening? Do you risk a GDPR fine...
Security And Safety Things (S&ST) Tested on Oct 22, 2020
S&ST, a Bosch spinout, is spending tens of millions of dollars aiming to...
Nokia Fever Screening Claims To "Advance Fight Against COVID-19" on Oct 22, 2020
First IBM, then briefly Clorox, and now Nokia becomes the latest Fortune 500...
Deceptive Meridian Temperature Tablets Endanger Public Safety on Oct 21, 2020
IPVM's testing of and investigation into Meridian Kiosk's temperature...
Honeywell 30 Series and Vivotek NVRs Tested on Oct 21, 2020
The NDAA ban has driven many users to look for low-cost NVRs not made by...
Ubiquiti Access Control Tested on Oct 21, 2020
Ubiquiti has become one of the most widely used wireless and switch providers...
Avigilon Aggressive Trade-In Program Takes Aim At Competitors on Oct 20, 2020
Avigilon has launched one of the most aggressive trade-in programs the video...
Mexico Video Surveillance Market Overview 2020 on Oct 20, 2020
Despite being neighbors, there are key differences between the U.S. and...
Dahua Revenue Grows But Profits Down, Cause Unclear on Oct 20, 2020
While Dahua's overall revenue was up more than 12% in Q3 2020, a significant...
Illegal Hikvision Fever Screening Touted In Australia, Government Investigating, Temperature References Deleted on Oct 20, 2020
The Australian government told IPVM that they are investigating a Hikvision...
Panasonic Presents i-PRO Cameras and Video Analytics on Oct 19, 2020
Panasonic i-PRO presented its X-Series cameras and AI video analytics at the...
Augmented Reality (AR) Cameras From Hikvision and Dahua Examined on Oct 19, 2020
Hikvision, Dahua, and other China companies are marketing augmented reality...
18 TB Video Surveillance Drives (WD and Seagate) on Oct 19, 2020
Both Seagate and Western Digital recently announced 18TB hard drives...