Trigger Cam 2.1
- By Chris Parkin
- 0 Comments
- Last updated: 05/05/2022
The Trigger Cam stands out from its competitors by literally, not standing out, as it addresses the problem of rear add-ons - space-saving. Rather than a camera and a screen displaying what the camera sees or a bulky side-mounted GoPro or similar, this fully integrated unit uses an internal prism to allow the beam to transit directly from the ocular lens to the eye, with an upper camera sharing the view to record stills or video footage.
The box contains eight collars to shim the Trigger Cam securely over the ocular body. Once forward to its inner ‘stop’, the left side Allen screw tightens with the supplied key, locking the position securely. A long hold on the front left side button turns the unit on and a similar hold on the rear button engages its Wi-Fi, so you can pair a phone or tablet to live-stream footage. At this stage, you can align the camera before fully tightening it in place, making sure the reticle will appear level on later video footage.
Nothing interrupts your field of view regardless of whether the unit is turned on or off. A USB-C charging cable is supplied, which plugs in under the upper screwed cap for which the tool offers a polymer key. Unusually, Trigger Cam supplies a quality SanDisk 32Gb Micro SD card for reliable storage. Rearmost on the upper body, a screwcap conceals the reticle focus dial, again, for use when setting up with Wi-Fi initiated, so you get a live view of what the camera is seeing. This toothed dial rotates until you get the picture sharp, and I’d suggest doing it mid-point of the scope’s magnification range, as eye relief varies through zoom, making the mid-point a good compromise.
The app is available on iOS or Android and is mandatory for setup and alignment, but not in day to day use. Simply turn the unit on and press record on the left side buttons when out shooting. For the more adventurous, you can initiate the app and control the camera in real-time and it is also used for more complex setup and options. Tiny LEDs adjacent to either button in blue, red, green and orange illuminate or pulse to signify functions and warnings. The instructions are well written and after a few goes, you soon appreciate the simplicity of operation without a phone, but when you do use it, the options are extensive.
Video resolutions of 4k, 2.5k, 1080 or 720 are available at various frame rates. 720 will go as high as 200 frames per second, which although slightly lower quality, means you can slow the film down more smoothly in postproduction to capture bullet trace and/ or quarry reaction detail. Stills can be captured from 3-16 megapixels.
For indoor use, you can select lighting frequency to eliminate flickering. TV format for playback between PAL or NTSC is available, as well as quick recording functions, timestamp and TV-out capability using the upper cable socket. With the cap off, you can run the unit with a backup battery plugged into the USB-C port. Audible beeps can be turned on/ off as well as a recording reminder. I liked the auto-sleep function for minimising battery use and a timed full shutdown to save battery.
For the more photographically minded, ISO control (film sensitivity) can be set on automatic or manually chosen from 100 to 1600 (the lowest offering the greatest picture quality in good light and the highest giving weaker light capability at the expense of a slightly grainier image). White balance is also offered to accommodate sunny or overcast conditions.
The low power alarm offers a soft warning beep and if you are particularly careless, you can automatically set the unit bleeping over Wi-Fi to remind you of where it (and the rifle) physically are. Beware though, your phone and specifically the camera will use more battery power with Wi-Fi permanently running. The remaining battery/SD card capacity is displayed and all can be automatically set to synchronise the time and date for the stamp.
The 447-gram weight is not totally without consequence, but it adds just 36mm to the ocular body. Most scopes offer 90-100mm of eye relief anyway, so on smaller calibres, you are unlikely to have any kind of physical interaction problems. I had no issues with calibres up to 6.5mm but it was getting a little close with .30- 06. However, it is dependent on rifle weight, recoil reducers, ammunition type and physical positioning anyway.
Given the capability offered, I’m more than pleased with the function and ergonomics. About the only thing I had to change was my hat, as a baseball cap peak gets in the way of the unit’s main body above the ocular bell. The face of the Trigger Cam incorporates a microphone to record all sound alongside the video. However, if really windy, then it’s well worth adding a windshield or ‘dead cat’to suppress unwanted ‘gust bluster’.
As much as video making and film are popular, I can also see a very worthwhile use for Trigger Cam when teaching shooters, as it allows realtime viewing of how their aiming techniques and positional status are helping or hindering their success. It’s important to mention that in my armoury of around 30 riflescopes, two were incompatible, as they had eyepiece focussing collars of greater diameter than the ocular body the Trigger Cam clamps to. I would also only use the unit on a solid ocular bodied scope, as those with a rotating body are generally unsuitable.
Output recorded video is superb and the unit is so easy to operate with/without gloves. Just learn the sequence of light colours and flashes to get the most out of the scope. So far the battery capacity has been around 4-hours, but I have been avoiding power-hungry Wi-Fi. Make sure you set parallax every time for the sharpest detail and you will have a great tool added to your armoury.