SHOTGUN CAMERAS

Moun­ting a di­gi­tal ca­me­ra to your shotgun can help you a­chie­ve gre­a­ter success.

SA Jagter Hunter - - INHOUD -

CHARLES DUFF

Whi­le the ‘GunPro’ty­pe of he­ad-, ca­por hel­met-moun­ted di­gi­tal cameras are now re­la­ti­ve­ly com­mon, the pur­po­se-built vi­deo ca­me­ra for shotgun shoot­ing is lo­cal­ly rat­her ra­re. Pos­si­bly our gro­wing num­bers of com­mit­ted shot­gun­ners are not as yet a­wa­re of the de­fi­ni­te ad­van­ta­ges such can con­fer upon the u­ser.

Ask any be­gin­ner or e­ven an ex­pe­rien­ced shoo­t­er and they will tell you how hard it is to as­cer­tain w­he­re you are going wrong. All too of­ten we walk a­way from a shot wit­hout a clue as to how we mis­sed, both on clays and bi­rds. The on­ly clay w­he­re you can get con­fir­ma­ti­on of w­he­re you are er­ring is the rab­bit, as its nor­mal­ly e­art­hbound jour­ney does al­low for the pat­tern to kick up a mi­ni dust storm (u­su­al­ly be­hind and/ or o­ver the top). It ta­kes a re­al­ly ex­pe­rien­ced co­ach to tell you w­hat cor­recti­ve acti­on is nee­ded. The­re just has to be a re­a­dy mar­ket for a gad­get that would show you how or why you are mis­sing va­ri­ous tar­gets.

THE FIRST OF ITS KIND

So­me y­e­ars ago a S­cot­tish en­gi­neer, Da­vid S­tewart, an ex­pert in we­a­pons sig­hting sy­s­tems in­ven­ted a di­gi­tal vi­deo ca­me­ra small e­nough to at­tach un­der the bar­rels of a shotgun and lig­ht e­nough not to un­du­ly in­flu­en­ce the gun’s ba­lan­ce. Be­cau­se of the high G-for­ces du­ring re­coil, as much as 1 000G, the pro­duct had to be ro­bust (pa­ten­ted shock ab­sorp­ti­on en­su­res ste­a­dy vi­deo re­cor­ding) and at the sa­me ti­me, com­ple­te wa­ter­p­roof­ing was dee­med ne­ces­sa­ry.

Pro­ducti­on of the S­hotKam com­men­ced in 2012 and sin­ce then the­re ha­ve been se­ver­al up­gra­des, the la­test mo­del being

the SK2018, a re­mar­ka­bly ver­sa­ti­le in­stru­ment. It is small (120mmx30mm) and weighs just 150 grams (5.3oz). Yes, at $649.00 (+/- R9 750, add du­ty and VAT) it is not ex­act­ly che­ap, but if a group of shoo­t­ers get to­get­her and coope­ra­te it is not u­nat­tai­na­ble.

On­ce fit­ted to your gun it is swit­ched on by pus­hing the cle­ar plas­tic re­ar co­ver in­wards s­lig­ht­ly, a small green bulb lig­hts up and stays on until swit­ched off, al­so with a small push. Next it must be a­lig­ned, which ta­kes a smartp­ho­ne with a f­ree app and is e­a­sy to do, t­hough it needs so­meo­ne to aim the gun whi­le a­not­her a­ligns the re­ti­cu­le cross to the ai­ming point.

A most im­pres­si­ve fe­a­tu­re is that it re­a­di­ly g­oes into a ‘sleep’ mo­de with bat­te­ry char­ge sa­vings and clo­sing the gun’s acti­on, or o­pe­ra­ting the breech block in the ca­se of a se­mi-au­to. The in­ter­nal acce­le­ro­me­ter de­tects this acti­on and wa­kes the in­stru­ment; af­ter shoot­ing it g­oes bye-by­es a­gain.

E­very shot is re­cor­ded in full HD (1080p) at 100 fra­mes/sec and the vi­deo is sa­ved at one thi­rd ac­tu­al speed. The mi­crop­ro­ces­sor buf­fers pre­vi­ous vi­de­os and stit­ches it to the li­ve vi­deo du­ring re­coil. It u­su­al­ly re­cords for two se­conds be­fo­re the shot and one se­cond af­ter, t­hough this is ad­jus­ta­ble. Its slow-mo­ti­on play­back is de­sig­ned to copy how the hu­man eye sees the mo­ving tar­get. It al­so has built-in Wi-Fi for do­wn­lo­a­ding to Ap­ple or an­droid de­vi­ces for in­stant re­play in the field. The blurb says ‘an e­a­sy to use tool that gi­ves the in­stant feed­back nee­ded to un­der­stand why a tar­get is mis­sed. The bar­rel-moun­ted S­hotKam cap­tu­res se­am­less vi­deo du­ring the re­coil and is so in­tel­li­gent that it can de­tect e­very gun mo­vement’.

Al­so re­mem­ber that re­coil com­men­ces the in­stant the car­trid­ge ig­ni­tes, be­fo­re the shot char­ge e­ven ex­its the bar­rel. S­tran­ge­ly the le­vel of mag­ni­fi­ca­ti­on is not men­ti­o­ned, t­hough it must be in the or­der of 5x as the tar­gets are cle­ar­ly seen.

The 12ga moun­ting brac­ket plus 3/32” Al­len key (brac­kets for 20ga guns are a­vai­la­ble on or­der), a 64GB mi­cro SD card which can sto­re 2 000 vi­de­os, USB ca­bles for do­wn­lo­a­ding and re­char­ging and so­me spa­res all co­me in a very stur­dy and well-pad­ded in­ter­nal­ly black plas­tic car­ry box.

PUT­TING IT TO THE TEST

Pe­ter Mil­lan, who im­por­ted this ex­am­ple, a SK2016, a cou­ple of y­e­ars ago very kind­ly lent it to me and, as I don’t ha­ve a smartp­ho­ne, fit­ted and a­lig­ned the in­stru­ment as well. I found that the weig­ht ma­de my Be­ret­ta Ul­tra­lig­ht on­ly s­lig­ht­ly muz­z­le­he­a­vy (it is be­st to lo­ca­te the ca­me­ra a­bout half­way be­t­ween the fo­re-end tip and the muz­z­les). If a­ny­thing it ma­de the swing a trifle ste­a­dier. One pro­blem im­me­di­a­te­ly sur­fa­ced – I was trai­ned to al­ways re­mount in be­t­ween shots, con­se­quent­ly the gun le­a­ves my shoul­der im­me­di­a­te­ly af­ter fi­ring and de­pen­ding upon how fast I did this, it so­meti­mes cuts off the vi­deo pre­ma­tu­re­ly. I tried to fol­low through mo­re, but in­grai­ned ha­bits...

Ta­king the gun ho­me, first I had to google https://vi­de­o­lan. org/vlc/do­wn­lo­ad-win­dows. html and do­wn­lo­ad this to my lap­top. Ta­king off the re­ar cap of the ca­me­ra and do­wn­lo­a­ding the vi­deo via the USB ca­ble was e­a­sy and I could then start as­ses­sing the re­sults. You can e­ven see the shot cloud in so­me vi­de­os and the mo­ment of im­pact with the clay, or of cour­se the shot cloud’s path as it mis­ses the tar­get. So I be­gan to see my faults and I’ve got them all – ri­ding the bi­rd, stop­ping the »

The Tac­ta­cam TA gun cameras ha­ve s­pe­ci­al len­ses which bring the i­ma­ges in clo­ser, in­cre­a­sing the ap­pa­rent dis­tan­ce.

g p– g thank­ful­ly not all at on­ce. But on a re­a­so­na­bly far-out high cros­sing bi­rd that had been gi­ving me trou­ble I dis­co­ve­r­ed that I mis­sed re­pe­a­ted­ly in front. Gi­ving it too much de­fe­ren­ce!

We agreed that one fe­a­tu­re – a la­ser sig­ht – which t­hough vi­si­ble ind­oors was ba­re­ly so in the o­pen air day­lig­ht, and spor­ting shotgun shoot­ing ra­re­ly occurs either ind­oors or at nig­ht. It is not a­lig­ned with the front sig­ht be­ad either, pos­si­bly it could be u­sed for practi­sing gun mount. A­not­her fa­cet gi­ves me so­me pau­se – alt­hough the re­char­ge­a­ble li­thi­um-ion bat­te­ry is said to be good for at le­ast 5.5 hours re­cor­ding, its li­fe is re­por­ted as being +/- 3 y­e­ars and re­pla­cing it re­qui­res sen­ding the ca­me­ra back to the fac­to­ry in the USA and the cost is $40 – in my ex­pe­rien­ce all re­char­ge­a­ble bat­te­ries ha­ve a li­mi­ted li­fe. OT­HER OPTIONS

Going on­to the web and goo­g­ling ‘ shotgun vi­deo cameras’ u­ne­art­hed the Tac­ta­cam TA gun cameras. At a­bout half the pri­ce of the S­hotKam, it is well worth con­si­de­ring. The TA 5.0 is lis­ted $ . , . y $249.99. Lo­cal­ly A­ni­mal Ge­ar ad­ver­ti­ses the 4.0 at R4 979, they could su­re­ly get the 5.0 or 3.0 ver­si­ons. All ha­ve s­pe­ci­al len­ses which bring the i­ma­ges in clo­ser – most ca­me­ra len­ses ha­ve the ef­fect of in­cre­a­sing the ap­pa­rent dis­tan­ce. In ad­di­ti­on the 5.0 has an 8x zoom lens and the 4.0 a 5x. They re­qui­re ma­nu­al swit­ching on and off be­t­ween stands or tar­gets. The Tac­ta­cam TA 4.0 are wa­ter re­sis­tant and ha­ve a low lig­ht sen­sor. Weig­ht is a very lig­ht 1.6 oun­ces (45.2 grams, wit­hout the bat­te­ry). It co­mes sup­p­lied with USB ca­bles for do­wn­lo­a­ding da­ta and for re­char­ging bat­te­ries, plus a ca­me­ra bag and a cu­s­tom mount.

The Ta­chyon 2018 Gun Cam has full HD-60fps re­cor­ding and play­back to Mac, PCs, IOS and

g, , - ing with a sin­gle tap, on and off but­ton o­pe­ra­ti­on. Mounts for all gau­ge shot­guns from 12ga to .410 bo­re are a­vai­la­ble. It is both shock and we­at­her re­sis­tant. The high fra­me ra­te is said to show the shot strings and pat­terns bet­ter. All for $299.99 with the u­su­al USB ca­bles and u­ser book­let.

The next three vi­deo cams all ha­ve no cross­hair re­ti­cu­le. So that whi­le they will re­cord your hits and mis­ses, their u­se­ful­ness in cor­recting hand­ling faults is strict­ly li­mi­ted.

The Tac­ta­cam So­lo is $199.99, with a 3x zoom and the blurb says that ‘20 y­ards no lon­ger looks li­ke 100 y­ards’. The­re is no Wi-Fi or li­ve stre­a­ming con­necti­vi­ty. Ot­her­wi­se the­re’s not much de­tail to be had.

The A­ble­bro X38 shotgun ca­me­ra is ad­ver­ti­sed at $79.89, weig­hing 2.88oun­ces (81.65 grams) wit­hout the bat­te­ry which isn’t sup­p­lied (and li­thi­um-ion bat­te­ries a­ren’t che­ap). A highre­so­lu­ti­on 120° lens, with a 32G TF card with a three mi­nu­te loop and a built-in vi­bra­ting mo­tor which gi­ves one tou­ch o­pe­ra­ti­on. It is just 60mm long.

The Out­door Wild HD1080P is al­so af­for­da­ble at $87.17, and it has 720p or 1080p a­vai­la­ble, built-in li­thi­um-ion bat­te­ry with a three to four hour li­fe, and vi­bra­ti­on mo­tor with three mi­nu­tes loop for e­very re­cor­ding. The me­mo­ry TF card is al­so not in­clu­ded t­hough USB ca­bles, u­ser ma­nu­al, bi­ke hel­met, wrist and gun mounts are. It is com­pa­ti­ble with Win­dows 2000/ XP/Vis­ta /7 and Mac.

It is cri­ti­cal to ha­ve a high fra­me ra­te as with a­ny­thing less than 100fps, lif­ting the he­ad at the mo­ment of fi­ring and ot­her split-se­cond mo­vements are li­ke­ly to not be re­cor­ded, and so mis­sed.

Pe­ter Mil­lan has writ­ten-up a very com­pre­hen­si­ve and wel­l­writ­ten pro­duct re­view on the S­hotKam. To view it just Google The Pro­blem of In­ter­pre­ting Le­ad/S­hotKam.

The i­de­al ca­me­ra lo­ca­ti­on on the bar­rel with re­spect to the muz­z­les.

No­ti­ce the well-pad­ded in­te­ri­or of the car­ry ca­se.

The S­hotKam co­mes in a stur­dy plas­tic ca­se.

ABOVE AND LEFT: The ca­me­ra is com­pact, lig­ht­weig­ht and u­nobtru­si­ve.

The re­ar cap is re­mo­ved to show the me­mo­ry card, USB port and the lig­hts.

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