Wildlife Camera: The Puma Cam

Recently a mountain line was spotted in our community drawn because a large increase in the mule deer populations—I see them in my yard almost daily—and a neighbor just up the road got a good photograph of what looks like a lioness using a wildlife camera. In a post in June, I mentioned that Minox has gotten into the act and introduced a new, compact model that’s much smaller than the size of the other types of wildlife  cameras,  offering many special features.

In keeping with Minox tradition, the DTC 500 delivers precision performance in the smallest possible space. With 8-megapixel  resolution and infrared flash, it produces sharp color images (daytime) and black-and-white at night. The  DTC 500 lets you document (it’s optional) details of each shot, including date, time, temperature and moon phase, all stored on an SD card. The weatherproof plastic body prevents penetration of water, dust, cold and heat and it comes with a secure mounting strap for attaching to a friendly tree.

The MINOX DTC 500 ($199) which measures  6”x4-1/2”x2-5/8”, offers an integrated 2-1/2” true-color TFT monitor. It also has video capability, up to 60 seconds, to capture the movements of animals in the wild. With a flash range of 50 feet, it delivers images even in low-light conditions. It has an extremely short shutter lag (for these kinds of devices) of just one second, and a battery life over six months, so it should be a reliable performer in the field. Yet it only weighs 12.9 ounces.

I attached the camera to an Aspen  in my back yard and it was extremely easy to set up and the image quality from my first attempt was amazingly good. Unfortunately my first shots were of me when a friend called while I was working in the yard and as I moved into the shade the camera locked onto me producing a series of non-wildlife images. While having dinner the other night a young fox walked into the yard and the lighting was perfect but alas my 128MB card was full on non-fox or lion images. (All my large capacity SD cards were being used for camera tests for Shutterbug.) But since the tests were finished I loaded an 8GB card in the DTC-500. I’ll post images here (that are worth looking at) so follow me on Twitter or just use the search function with the word “pumacam.”

Author: Joe Farace

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