Coolife H953 Trail Camera Review - Updated
I was recently approached by a trail camera company Coolife to see if I would like to try out and test one of their cameras. I must admit to being dubious at first but after checking out their website and making sure they actually existed, I replied that I would like to try a camera and waited to see what would happen.
They sent me tracking details and a few days later the H953 850NM Trail Camera arrived by carrier.
The first thing I noticed on the packaging was the use of the phrase “Hunting Camera” which I found a little disconcerting as the UK is not a nation of hunters and the word is very much linked to fox hunting which is strongly opposed by around 75% of the UK population. I appreciate it is a term used for the US and European markets where hunting is more actively pursued. Maybe this is something Coolife could look at when marketing to the UK.
The camera is quite distinctive and my son asked “where’s the batman camera came from” when he saw it on the table.
The camera comes with everything you need except batteries so you will need 8 rechargeable 1.5V AA batteries before you can deploy it in the field.
The box contains
1 x Coolife H953 camera.
1 x AV cable.
1 x USB cable.
1 x mounting strap.
1 x 32Gb Micro SD card (does support cards up to 512Gb)
1 x user manual.
1 x sturdy metal stand for fixing to a wall.
Fixtures and fittings to enable the camera to be used as a fixed security camera.
The user manual is in English and 4 European languages and is well written. Unlike some manuals prepared in China the English is excellent and clear and concise. You will be able to get the camera up and running very quickly indeed.
There are a variety of different settings you need to decide upon when setting up the camera but I always tend to select the highest quality settings as I always want the best possible results. The camera has 3 different modes, video only, photo and video or photo only and I tried all 3 of these over a few nights.
The first night I set the camera up in a friends’ garden where there is a family of foxes and I managed to get both day and night shots. The day time videos are very good quality and the night ones at distance are slightly grainy but still good quality. You can select how long the camera will record for and I had it set at 45 seconds which seems about right. The camera does allow you to set it between 3 secs and 10 minutes and obviously this setting will affect how long the batteries last.
Unfortunately my blog doesn't handle video? So here's a link to a couple of videos on my youtube channel
It is a little tricky checking that the camera is pointing where you want it too as you can’t check on the screen. However with the camera in Test mode you can position it, and then move in front to trigger a blue light which lets you see where its pointing. With a little bit of practice it’s easy to set up.
I also set the camera up next to one of my older cameras to see if I could get a direct comparison from videos shot at the same time on the 2 different cameras. The cameras did record together however one unexpected result was that the H953 used the infra-red from the other camera and was able to produce colour videos in the dead of night which were interesting to see.
The video quality wasn’t quite as good as one of my other camera but better than the other, however the Coolife H953 is less than half the price of both of them!
In photo mode you can set the camera to take 3, 5 or 10 photo’s in a burst. I tried it on all 3 variants and found 10 to be the best setting as you will catch a couple of good shots of a moving animal within the burst. The quality of these images is excellent and I have some very nice pictures of one of my visitors tucking in to the food as well as some quite atmospheric shots which I really like.
The video and photo option is interesting as you get a bit of both worlds and is something I will further explore as I get used to the camera.
The H953 has a host of settings to play with many of which I haven’t fully investigated yet and some of these features don’t appear on my much more expensive camera. These include time lapse options and targeted recoding so you can have the camera only active during certain hours.
The camera has a trigger distance of up to 35m and once triggered can start recording in 0.1 seconds. It can take ultra-high resolution photos at 20MP and records video at 2.7K, and is built from the highest quality waterproof materials.
After using the camera for a few weeks now I have noticed that the audio quality is quite poor. I was contacted by someone who'd bought the camera from my review who thought they may have a faulty one as they had no audio. They contacted Coolife who stated "we sacrificed sound for clearer video and that its normal to have poor audio"
Now I don't think its normal to have poor audio, the sound on the 3 Browning cameras I have is pretty good. This camera does capture audio but it is almost non-existant. if you want to hear your garden wildlife then this probably isn't the camera for you.
All in all I think the H953 is an excellent camera at a reasonable price. The video and photo quality is very good and the range of options and settings means you will have plenty to experiment with when deploying it out in the field. The lack of audio may be an isuue for some people and should be among your considerations.
Coolife appear to be keen to break into the UK market and offer a variety of coupons and promo codes. If you use the code “wildlifepirate” at checkout you will get $15 off (which is converted to £’s).
Delivery to the UK is currently from China so will be around 10-14 days but it is free so the H953 will cost you, using the discount code, £65.92 (you can use this link if you decide to order one https://coolifepro.com/referral/wildlifepiratereviews)