In my competitive shotgun career, I have always looked for pieces of technology that give the shooter and instructor different perspectives on shooting a target. I recently had the opportunity to use the new Tactacam 5.0 on the range to evaluate its effectiveness of capturing a shot.
The Tactacam package I received had the basic equipment for mounting and using the camera on rifles and shotguns this included; the Tactacam, gun mount, under scope mount, battery, and charger. I took everything out of its packaging and began to play with the camera. The Tactacam unit charges to 80 percent in two hours and 100 percent in just under three. When fully charged the camera has the ability to record 2.5 hours of video, although this is a possibility, I would recommend using to take short clips, 10-15 seconds. It’s easier to navigate through your footage this way.
The Tactacam camera itself seems to be quite the rugged outdoor camera. When you hold the unit in your hand it feels sturdy. The top of the unit features 4 different indicator lights. There are 4 lights on the front of the camera in a vertical line, which indicate battery life. The second light is a Bluetooth indicator. This light allows you to tell if the camera is connected to your phone through the Tactacam app. The third light/button is the power and record button. The last button/light is the mode/Wi-Fi button. This allows you to switch between all three of the camera’s modes; actual speed, zoom and slow motion this button, if held down for 3 seconds allows the camera to connect to your phone through Wi-Fi. Once the camera is connected through Wi-Fi you can use your phone to control the camera.
The rear of the camera features two separate locking mechanisms to protect the ports, SD card, battery, as well as keep the camera water resistant. By unlocking both you can gain access to the USB and TV ports as well as the SD card slot and the battery. The Inside of the rear cap features a quick reference guide for the mode light indications, I found this to be a nice touch in case you are in the field and forget what light corresponds to each mode.
The New Tactacam 5.0 has 4 modes, three quick-change video modes (green, blue and light blue) and blackout mode.
Green mode is real-time video. It is the standard recording mode that captures 4k video at 30 frames per second. I found this mode to be easy to use and it allowed me to capture the highest quality video. The low light capability of this mode is also intriguing from a hunting aspect.
Video 1 recorded in the Green mode, which is full speed 4k video
The blue mode is also called the zoom mode. Once connected to your smartphone through the Tactacam app you can adjust the zoom on the camera. This mode allows you to capture 2.7k video at 30 frames per second with the ability to have 8x zoom. I spent most of my time in this mode trying to get the correct zoom I wanted to see the target I shot. The great part about the zoom function is that once you set your desired zoom it will stay set when in the other modes so you can capture real speed and slow motion.
Video 2 recorded in Blue mode, which is the zoom mode capable of 8x zoom. This video was recorded with 8x zoom in slow motion.
The blue light mode is the slow-motion mode. This mode captures 1080p video at 120 frames per second. This was by far my favorite mode on the camera. I demoed the camera on the shotgun range shooting targets that fly at 55 mph. This mode allowed me to slow down the shot and play the video frame by frame once I downloaded it to my computer.
Video 3 recorded in Light Blue mode, which is slow motion mode that records in 1080p at 120 FPS
The last mode is the blackout mode. This mode allows you to operate the camera with no external visible lights. When in this mode the camera lets you know it is recording with 2 vibrations and lets you know when it has stopped recording with 1 vibration. I think this is very practical from a hunting perspective for early and late light conditions. I did find it to be a little confusing at first because you have to remember if the last vibration was 1 or 2. I believe with a little practice this is easy to figure out.
Switching modes is pretty easy, once you turn the camera on you just press the mode button once until the light matches the corresponding mode. The only issue I had with this was that it was difficult to tell the difference between blue and light blue mode, and it is difficult to see when you are in direct sunlight.
I found the hardware to be very sturdy. The Hardware set that came with my camera was labeled “hunters package. It contained the under barrel mount, the under scope mount and the Allen wrenches that were appropriate for each mount. I chose to mount the under barrel mount on my over-under shotgun. I had some concern about being able to reach the mode and record buttons with it mounted to the gun, but I was pleasantly surprised when it was mounted I could access all of them without any trouble. The under gun mount had a nicely padded cradle for the gun barrel, and I did not notice any scratching or marking of the barrel after mounting it.
The one negative side to this mount is that it requires two different sizes of Allen wrenches in order to mount it correctly. I would prefer to see the mount use one size, I will admit that I am not the most organized individual, but if you manage to lose one of the keys it is difficult to adjust the camera in the field. That being said once the mount was affixed to the barrel I had no issues with it moving or coming loose while shooting.
The second mount I received was the under scope mount. I chose to mount this on my AR platform. I mounted it to the rail, just in front of the scope. It is mounted to the rail with a simple hand-tightened knob. I really liked the ease of mounting this because it didn’t require any Allen wrenches and was very easy to adjust. However, I would make sure that the knob is tightened with small pliers because if you only hand tightened it, it tends to loosen after 10 shots through the gun.
The Video Quality
I found the video quality to be great. The app allows you to play back previously recorded clips as well as record from your phone. This is pretty handy because you can line up the camera correctly and don’t have to guess what the picture will look like after recording.
I really saw the quality of the video when I downloaded the clips to my computer. I was able to play them and was very surprised by the clarity; even the slow motion was clear and crisp. The real-time clips where a little hard to see, because the targets where so fast, but I think it would be a great option for wing shooting when the target is bigger.
This Tactacam also allows you to stream your video to Facebook live. You sign into your Facebook account through the Tactacam app and start streaming your video through your phone. The video quality is good and the app is very user-friendly.
I had my suspicions about the Tactacam 5.0 when I pulled it out of the box. I was afraid that the camera was going to be difficult to use. However, the quick start guide and owner’s manual do a great job of helping you get started. Once you let it charge and play with it for a few minutes it becomes very straightforward and easy to use. The only real problem that I found with the camera was that it uses two different Allen wrenches for one of the mounts. Other than that I would recommend the Tactacam camera to video your hunts and help you see how you can break targets better on the range.
MSRP on the Tactacam is $429.99
Learn more about the Tactacam 5.0 by clicking HERE.