Leaf River iR-7SS

The Leaf River iR-7SS is a digital game camera. The iR stands for infra-red, for night use. The 7 stands for 7 mega-pixel quality, sort of; it is interpolated to save on file size.

To operate this camera, you will need:
• camera
• whole bunch of batteries
• instruction manual

The “whole bunch” of batteries total up to seven, four D size and three C size. The battery installation is simple enough, but basic attention must be paid to the alignment so as not to risk acid leaks and void the warranty. The good part is that they do last a full month and more probably six weeks, depending somewhat on the outdoor temperature and humidity. When the camera is on and warmed up, a battery indicator displays an estimate of remaining battery life.

We are very serious about needing the manual to use this camera. It is one of those occasions where the greatest strength is also the greatest weakness. One of the best parts about the Leaf River iR-7SS is that it is highly programmable for use in quite a few different situations. The down side of programmability is that there are a lot of buttons to familiarize yourself with and not all of them are intuitive. Until and unless you use the camera frequently, you need to keep a set of instructions handy.

Many customers choose this model because it has the capability of taking video with sound. If you want to capture only still pictures, you should probably keep shopping for a better value. The Leaf River iR-7SS does perfectly acceptable still photos, color by day and black and white at night, but it is the video with audio that makes the camera special.

Video photography has is own unique set of challenges. The Leaf River iR-7SS meets these with a wide detection zone and a very satisfactory 30 frames per second. But having the correct settings is essential to avoid blurry shots. Nighttime videography lacks depth and tends to be a little grainy. The camera can be programmed to record day only, night only, or full time.

As with all game cameras, the best chance of getting great shots usually comes when the camera is mounted near a feeding area or along a known animal trail, so having a secure mount is critical. The iR-7SS comes with a mounting strap, but many owners innovate and use other means that suit their particular situation. The camera itself is a camouflaged print that blends in well. The infra-red technology does not require a flash so it does not spook animals; this is also the reason night shots are not in color. It accepts an SD card or MMC card and does not take pictures once the memory if full. These memory cards can, of course, be used to transfer photos to your computer. There is also a USB port and a TV out port.

The distance dial does more than select your preferred distance. It also regulates the sensitivity of the motion detector. As we said earlier about a case of the greatest strength being the greatest weakness, this is one of those times. A proper adjustment gives good pictures, not getting it right results in disappointing ones.

The Leaf River iR-7SS is covered with a one-year warranty and retails for about $280.00. On a scale of 1-5 it gets a 3.5, losing a few points for its confusing set-up.