It’s no secret that the old Primos TruthCam 35 is one of the best game camera values on the market. Opinions will vary, but dollar for dollar, it is a tough model to beat. But as time passes, new rivals come along with newer and better features, higher reliability, and most importantly – the coveted top seller status on Amazon. So I bring you the old Truth Cam’s match: The Stealth Cam SPC-P12 Scouting Camera (affiliate links – see below)
I keep an eye on the best seller lists because in my view, there’s no better way to learn the truth about a product than from a big group of Amazon users who are painfully honest in their reviews. In the “under 100 dollar” range, the TruthCam 35 always dominated. And it should have. Great battery life, durability, it was reliable and did what it was supposed to do, it was simple to operate, and it offered a great blend of features and value. So let’s dig in and see what the “way under $100” Stealth Cam SPC-P12 is all about.
Power and Battery Life
The Stealth Cam STC-P12 uses 8 Alkaline or Lithium batteries, AA-size. You swap them out by opening the front cover and removing the two battery doors. So you will get your mug taken when you do. It’s a whole lot easier to find AA’s in a convenient store than C’s or D’s – not to mention less expensive. You can use rechargeable batteries if you like. As with any electronics, just be sure you use a quality set and not the dollar store cheapo’s. Not to knock them, but there’s a time and place for those, and your deer camera isn’t one of them. It has a low battery indicator – helpful for gauging the life left. But you might be pleasantly surprised buy how infrequently you have to change them. Reports of batteries lasting from a few weeks to over a year are very common on this model. It’s specifically designed to be highly efficient from the manufacturer. But in the end, your results will largely depend on local temperatures, battery age, quality and camera settings. From all reports, about a year on a set of batteries is expected.
Visibility & Detection Range
A lot of folks want these scouting cameras for scouting people. So one of the frequent questions I see with them is, “can you see the flash?” – and with this model, yes. There is a visible glow to the IR lights, so both people and animals can see it to some degree. This is low glow versus no glow. As for the camera’s visibility, you can expect about a 30 to 40 foot night picture IR range. It uses 12 infrared emitters that illuminate the area pretty well.
The initial trigger, at about 4-5 seconds long, can miss some side to side action. But the recovery time between shots is quick. Burst photo mode lets you choose up to 6 photos to be taken per activation, so once that first movement is triggered, you’ll have a great shot to choose from. It’s super-important to set this camera up properly. Carefully place it so you catch animals coming up the trail rather than aiming sideways across it. Avoid aiming toward the sunrise or sunset. You can get some great pictures with a value camera if it’s set up properly.
SD Card Capacity
The manufacturer’s web site claims about 23,000 photos on a 32G card set to 6MP quality (~5,800 with an 8G card). Most users report the 8G card is a good mix of both storage size and value for the job, but it really depends on how frequently (or infrequently) you pull pictures. Hint: buy 2 SD cards so you can swap for an empty one. The plug the full one into your laptop for downloading at home. For direct downloading, you’ll need a mini-USB to standard-USB A/B cable (not included).
6 Megapixel delivers some beautiful pictures. In fact I read report after report of reviewers being surprised at how good the quality was for such a low price. Night time images are good images, and in black-and-white. There were some reports of pixelated (blurry) night images, but for every one complaint, there are 5 who say they’re great. I think it really depends on your expectations. Bottom line is, you’re not going to blow any of these pictures up into a poster you can sell, but for viewing activity on a computer, the quality is excellent, day and night. With that said, if you’re expecting a super high performance trail camera, then this may not be the scouting camera for you. In the end, this one is about value.
Photo Credit: Amazon users PaPa and Paul C.
It’s 6″ tall by 4.8″ wide by 2″ deep and weighs in at 9.1 ounces. Fairly standard by industry measurements. They’re actually surprisingly small when you see them in your hands versus online. They can pretty easily be concealed from people and animals. For users who are looking to catch a person or a car on camera, it’s small enough to strap to a tree, a mailbox post or a railing (hidden from view by plants, of course).
It has a standard 1/4″ by 20 threaded receiver on the bottom for a tree mount or tripod. It also includes a strap long enough to fit around most trees. But for those of you in Northern California, you may need a couple of bungee cords for the Redwoods. A nice (simple as it is) feature is that the cover door locks open so as not to interfere with what you’re doing when programming or swapping cards. There’s a padlock loop on the door for a lock (not included). And it carries a 1 year (from purchase) parts and labor warranty from Stealth Cam.
- 6.0 Megapixel
- Video recording 15 seconds
- 12 IR Emitters / 50ft range
- Quick Set
- Burst Mode 1-6 images per triggering
- 5-59 sec / 0- 59 min recovery time out
- External LCD status display
- Time / Date / Moon Phase
- SD Card slot up to 32GB
- Test Mode
- Low Battery indicator
- Mini USB output
- Operates on 8 AA batteries or external 12V power jack
- Stealth Cam STC P12 manual in case you need it
External 12v power supply
Python cable lock
Universal pivot ball-joint tree mount
P series security box
Consumer Ratings (out of 5 stars)
Gander Mtn: 4
- Very low price
- Small and light
- Dial programming is simple to set up and use
- Buy three for the price of one average model and still get very good performance overall (set up properly)
- Mac Compatible with version 10.6 and above, in addition to pretty much all Windows versions
- No audio recording (if that’s important to you) on the SPC-P12, even though the manual says it does
- Trigger time is slow when compared to the more expensive models
- May miss a running animal, but properly set up on a trail lengthwise, it will work well.
The Stealth Cam SPC-P12 Scouting Camera Conclusion
It seems that the worst reviews of the Stealth Cam SPC-P12 scouting camera are all the same – that the trigger speed is slow, so that it catches the tail of the animals. I would bet those users have it set where it’s pointing across the trail rather than up the trail. That or they’re trying to use it to catch cars driving down a driveway. But even those who complain of that still say the images are great. So set up right, this camera is just unbeatable for the money. Head on over to Amazon to pick one up for about $60-$70.
Here’s a YouTube video that studies the different reactions between a camera mounted waist high, and ones mounted head high. It starts getting really good at the 4 minute mark:
Take this inexpensive, value-packed trail camera combined with proper mounting up head high, along with carefully aiming down a trail rather than across one, and you’ll gather some amazing images day and night – not to mention being able to use your video to learn critical behavior traits, and less (or none) of a negative buck response. Good luck out there – Be safe and have fun!
Please note: (The links I provide are affiliate links, meaning I receive a small commission automatically if you purchase using them. It does not change your cost at all, and helps me out. Thank you for reading and bookmark TheBestTrailCameraReviews.com to see the latest hunting gear reviews!)