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Brinno GardenWatchCam Time Lapse Camera Review

The Brinno GardenWatchCam is a weather resistant, time lapse camera that will help you capture cool video of activities that regular snapshot photography can’t easily do. Imagine capturing a flower blooming, a house being constructed, the autumn leaves changing colors. You can do that with the GardenWatchCam. Let’s take a look.

Package Contents

GardenWatchCam
2GB USB Flash Drive
4 AA Batteries
Mounting Stake
Setup Software
User Manual
Warranty Card

The GardenWatchCam looks sort of like a large webcam. It’s made of a hard plastic, with a Green color that will blend in well outdoors. On the front of the camera are 3 status LEDs, the Lens and a power button. The lens rotates to select two capture settings: Macro and Standard. The Macro setting will focus from 19 inches away and the Standard setting focuses 2.6 feet and beyond.

The LEDs alert you to low battery and memory. It also will blink every 15 seconds to indicate that the camera is powered on.

The GardenWatchCam is powered by 4 AA batteries that are thankfully included with the package. One set of batteries will last for up to 6 months when set to take one image every hour.

Image capture frequency is set by rotating the dial between the batteries. As you can see, you can choose between 7 different time settings. The first 6 settings and are chosen simply by opening up the camera and turning the switch to the desired time (ranging from 1 minute, 5 minutes, 30 minutes, 1 hour, 4 hours, 24 hours).

The custom setting can be set to take shots between 5 seconds to 12 hours (the default custom setting is set to 20 seconds). To change the setting you have to run the application on the included CD. Unfortunately, you’ll need a Windows PC to do this. There’s no Mac compatible app yet. This app also is needed to set the date and time for the captured videos.

Your videos are stored on a USB stick. Included with the camera is a 2GB stick. The camera supports up to an 8GB stick.

To start using the camera, install the batteries, choose the image frequency, insert the USB stick and put on the back cover.

Then you can either screw the camera onto a tripod or use the included mounting hardware.

You can use 1 or all 3 stakes depending on how high you need to position the camera.

The GardenWatchCam is weather resistant and has been designed to withstand a driving rain, morning dew or high noon heat. There’s no info on the Brinno site to indicate if the camera can withstand extreme cold temperatures too.

The camera is definitely simple to setup. Just place it where you want to capture the action and power it on. The only issue I have with it is that there’s no viewfinder or LCD display, so you don’t really know if you’re pointing the lens in the exact perfect spot. You either have to eyeball it or let the camera capture a couple images, remove the USB stick and go check the captured video on your computer to see if it’s pointed correctly. Once it is, you can leave it running as long as you like.

In my first test, I set the camera lens to Macro mode and set it to take an image every 30 minutes for a couple days. Videos are captured in AVI format (1280 x 1024 resolution). Here’s the result of my first test:

I was trying to capture the flower bud at the top center of the picture, but the weather was too dreary and rainy, so it didn’t bloom. You’ll notice some parts of the video that are black. The camera is supposed to not take photos when it is too dark out, but as you can see it did anyway.

My 2nd test was shot indoors on a tripod. It’s of me cleaning Gadgeteer HQ. The camera lens was set on Standard focus and it captured a picture every minute:

The GardenWatchCam is really fun and easy to use. I hope that Brinno will consider adding a Mac compatible app to allow the custom time and date settings.

I am excited to think of various ways to use this camera and am going to set it up outside pointing to my woods line so that I can have it capture the leaves turning colors for Fall. I’ll probably leave it running for a month or longer and will add that video to this review when it’s complete. What would you capture with the GardenWatchCam?

 

Product Information

Price:$139.95
Manufacturer:Brinno
Retailer:Amazon
Pros:
  • Easy to use
  • Water resistant
  • Lots of uses
Cons:
  • Software to set custom snap interval and date/time is not Mac compatible
  • Needs a viewfinder

{ 10 comments… add one }

  • Andy Chen September 13, 2011, 6:30 pm

    Oh wow, that was way more entertaining than I thought! That record when dark bug is kind of a bummer, though.

  • Julie September 13, 2011, 7:42 pm

    @Andy Brinno is supposed to get back to me on that… But yeah…

  • RainyDayInterns September 13, 2011, 9:37 pm

    Pet cam?

  • Gary September 14, 2011, 10:06 am

    you also can record a short trip in a city:
    http://youtu.be/s949A22wCWg

  • jhon September 14, 2011, 10:16 am

    I like the sudden appearance of what appears to be a cat (or a long tailed panda) which just as suddenly vanishes. Very cat like.

  • Julie September 14, 2011, 10:59 am

    @gary That was very cool. What did you set the frequency to?

    @jhon That was my ninja cat Max ;)

  • Gary September 14, 2011, 10:01 pm

    @Julie I use the 7th setting, GWC will capture frames at 5 sec time interval! then use video editing software(like iMove) to combine several clips, and increase the video play speed 3x, so you will get a more smooth video like i made!

  • Bob DeLoyd September 15, 2011, 2:01 am

    Be cool to hang it around your neck and walk around taking pics every minute so you’d know where ya been during the day- come in handy if you’re forgetful like I am :)

  • Julie September 15, 2011, 2:58 pm

    @Gary thanks for the tip! Does yours still capture images at night when there’s no light?

  • Leighton December 11, 2013, 1:57 pm

    I have one and it work great, I would like to a iPhone app that bluetooths to the camera and allows you to change settings and view the image being taken, rather than having to connect the thumb drive to a computer

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