It’s not often that a product comes out that’s really revolutionary. In fact, we often make jokes about it when we see the floods of new product press releases touting some “revolutionary, unique product that will take the industry by storm.” Almost always the product being featured is just the same-old, same-old in a different package. When Moultrie released the first version of the Panoramic 150 camera last year, I thought it was a pretty cool idea, but didn’t give it much thought. I thought I’d wait to see how they were received—then I’d check it out on my own.
It must have done well enough, as this year Moultrie released a new and improved version, the Panoramic 150i. The “i” indicates the addition of an infrared flash functionality. I figured if it had been around a year and did well enough to stay in production, it was time to check it out, and I was pretty happy I did.
So what’s the deal? Most trail cameras are basically the same when it comes down to it. They all take reasonably the same quality of picture, although some have much faster shutter speeds. They all generally have the same range, although some have much sharper sensors. I’m not saying all cameras are equal, not by a long shot, but most differences are minor. One of the greatest limitations of most trail cams is that something has to trigger the shutter directly in front of the camera, which snaps a picture.
The Panoramic 150i tries to rectify that direction limitation. The camera’s three sensors detect movement covering a 150-degree arc. How, precisely, does the 150i cover such a wide range? The camera moves via a silent and very fast motor. If you turn the camera on and watch it, you can see the camera moving inside the housing. It’s pretty cool.
Looking at the details
Here are stats for the cam, taken straight from Moultrie’s site:
- Resolution: 8 MP
- Trigger speed: Less than one second
- Detection range: 45 feet
- Flash range: 70 feet
- Battery life: 9,000 images
- Flash technology: NO-GLOW Infrared
- Camouflage: Realtree Xtra
- HD video: 720p
- Color display: no
Setting up the camera isn’t super easy. It takes some time to learn how to scroll through the settings. It uses six C-cell batteries that slide into a tray and saves everything on an SD card. The camera’s Realtree’s Xtra pattern looks pretty sharp.
I was most intrigued by the panoramic mode. When the sensor it triggered, the camera silently and quickly moves to each side, taking three images that are then pieced together to form one image. You can adjust the timing for the three images, too. The thing I like about it is the coverage factor—how many times have you had a picture of a doe and it looks like she’s watching something, but you don’t have any wider context to give you a clue? That 150-degree arc can help with that. There is a tiny bit of overlap between the three images, but I like that. Some don’t, but I think it gives me a better idea of what the entire picture is.
My concern, and I’m betting it’s one of your’s, too, is durability. The camera moves via a silent motor. But things break, right? All I can say is I’ve asked around and no one has said anything in regards to any failures from this or last year’s model. I know guys who put their cameras through the ringer and they have all said no failures yet.
It’s not a small camera, either. A lot of space and weight comes from those C-cell batteries. I’m guessing that with regular AA batteries, the draw was too much to keep the camera running for any length of time. I wonder how lithium ion batteries would have performed?
Let’s face it, a camera is nothing without quality images. The Moultrie camera takes very nice, clear images. I put the camera out in an area that was seeing a lot of springtime deer activity. Of course, we then got a cold snap with a pile of snow and the deer held off coming in for a week, so I got pictures of wind whipping a tree around and my kids running in front of the camera, but the images are very clear and the flash works well. If the camera can catch a clear photo of an eight-year-old on a sugar buzz after he spent the afternoon with Grandma, it’ll take good pictures of any deer out there.
Cost for the Moultrie Panoramic 150i is right around $250. It does what Moultrie advertises, and does it pretty well. I know exactly where I’m going to use my camera. I have a food plot that has always taken two cameras to cover. Now, with the Moultrie Panoramic, I am pretty confident that I can cover it with just one.
I love trail cameras. I love what they can show me. It’s like being in the woods 24 hours a day. As much as I’d like to do that, I can’t and I know you can’t either. I also know that, like you, I’m pretty particular about what I’ll spend my money on. The Moultrie Panoramic 150i camera seems to be worth it. It’s like having two cameras in one and the quality is great. That works for me.
Images courtesy Derrek Sigler