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Have you ever heard of Camojojo trail cameras? No? Well, me either, until I started calling in units from various companies for our annual trail-camera test, and a Camojojo rep reached out and asked if I wanted to test their new Trace cell cam. I said sure, and when that camera landed on my doorstep before any of the others, I was too curious not to start running it through its paces. I still have more testing to do, but I can already tell you that whether you’ve heard of Camojojo before or not, it’s a name you’ll want to remember—because the new kid on the cellular cam block has come out swinging. With a street price of around $100, or less, the new Trace is a major contender for the best low-price cell cam out there.
How We Tested the New Camojojo Trace
To kick things, off I loaded the unit with 12 AA batteries, downloaded the app that runs the camera, and tweaked the settings using my phone. Then I did some basic in-the-yard testing (which involved setting out markers in 10-yard increments out to 50 yards, or 150 feet, and getting pics of me and my dogs walking and running in front of the camera) to check trigger speed, flash, and detection range, and to work out any bugs in setup. For some real-world critter pics, I first mounted the camera on a tripod aimed at my bird feeder, which is a good test of the trigger as the birds flit quickly in and of the detection zone. Finally, I took the Trace out to a food plot to see how it performed on the resident deer and turkeys.
How the Camojojo Trace Performed
As I said, I’ll subject the Trace to additional testing during our big, annual trail-cam test, but I gathered more than enough information in this round to give you my initial thoughts and impressions on this newcomer to the trail-cam market. Here’s a rundown:
The fact that the Jojo runs on 12 AA batteries, instead of the usual eight or even six, is a little annoying, especially considering what batteries cost these days. However, there is a cord and jack for use with an external 6-volt system, so that’s a plus. The camera does not have an SD card but rather stores pics internally—which is fine given that it will sending those pice to your phone or other device. The Trace has a pre-installed SIM card that is currently compatible with AT&T only, so in areas with poor reception for this carrier, this could be a problem. The tech support folks at Camojojo assure me the Trace will be Verizon-capable soon, so if that is your preferred provider, you’ll want to hold off, at least for now. All of that said, the Trace gets a thumbs-up on the user-friendly front; I found it a piece of cake to set up and use once I installed the app.
While advertised at .02 seconds (which would make it among the fastest on the market), I don’t think I got that kind of speed from the unit I tested. Still, it’s very quick. The Trace caught birds zipping to and from my feeder, and it captured a deer trotting through my yard at night at a distance of some 50 feet, according to the pre-measured stakes I’d placed. What’s more, pics of moving critters, even in low light, where surprisingly crisp—but more on picture and video quality below.
Flash and Detection Range
The Jojo sports a red IR (InfraRed) flash, which qualifies as low-glow, but is still detectable to wildlife. I had the camera on video mode when a young doe walked by at about 10 steps, and she clearly saw the camera (but didn’t spook). Several deer triggered the camera at 50 feet or more–all at night—but the one clip that impressed me the most was of a daylight whitetail trotting past at 50 yards or more. That’s a 150-foot detection range, which is great.
Picture and Video Quality
My daylight bird-feeder and deer pics were solid. Nothing to go home and brag about, maybe, but quite good at this price range. I was most impressed by the video quality, especially at night. The Jojo “only” has a 5MP camera. (I jest here, as cam-makers love to boost their MP numbers by extrapolation, which is a minor irritation to a cam veteran, but can mislead a newbie to thinking a 32 MP camera is better than a 4MP, though it may not be.) The Trace 5MP will be fine for most users and applications. The camera also has a live-stream option for anyone interested in that, but I didn’t test it.
While the Camojojo website is currently offering a discount that lowers the price to $109, I have seen this camera listed for $100 or less at other outlets. Either way, it’s a great value considering the features and performance.
Is the Camojojo Trace the Best Cell Cam at This Price?
I’m not ready to call this the best cell cam in its price range yet because I’ve still got more testing to do, and there are other excellent values out there, including the Moultrie Mobile, which is a great camera for the money. I do feel comfortable saying that the Trace is the best one you’ve most likely never heard of. I was a little skeptical at first, but after this initial testing, it became clear that this is a very impressive debut from such an unknown brand. While there are some x-factors that still need to be sorted out, including battery life, which requires more time to test thoroughly and is especially important here given how many batteries it requires. The fact that it only works with AT&T is another knock, at least for now.
But besides those concerns, everything that makes a good camera good—easy setup, fast trigger, good detection, and quality pics and vids—is here, and at a killer price. All in all, the new Camojojo Trace is an affordable, high-performance cell camera that deserves a hard look if you use AT&T. At this price, you might as well get one, and if you like it as much as I did, get several.