Stealth Cam Nomad IR Review – Disappointing Results

I recently picked up the Stealth Cam Nomad IR digital game camera kit for evaluation.  I had high hopes for this low cost trail camera, but have to say that I was disappointed in its performance.

I was excited to test this scouting camera because of its low price point.  I picked up the kit for around $149.00, which included the I-530 game camera, a 2 GB memory card, batteries, and a security bracket.  I've had lots of questions from readers looking for the best infrared game camera at the lowest price possible.  I had hoped that the Nomad IR would meet that criteria, but there were ultimately some issues during testing that would make me not recommend this game cam.

The first minor issue I encountered was with the mounting bracket.  I've had previous Stealth Cams and previous mounting brackets, but this one just didn't seem to have as tight of a fit as prior models.  This normally wouldn't be a concern, because it is still a very secure solution, but the issue is that it could potentially shift its position and block the camera lens.  I ended up using a twist-tie through the bracket lock hole to hold it tight to resolve this issue.

My big concern with this scouting camera had to do with performance related to image quality.  This camera had big issues during the transition periods from light to dark.  This resulted in pictures that were washed out due to over compensation by the infrared LEDs.  It's almost like the timing needs to be changed to allow the LEDs to cut off sooner.  I have a series of videos near dawn that start off looking OK, but are increasingly washed out by the IR LEDs as more daylight sets in.

Here are some example images from these videos:

This first image was from a video captured at 6:32 am.  Note that it is a bit washed out.

Stealth Cam Nomad IR Picture

This second image was from a video captured at 6:42 am.  Note that it is even more washed out.

Stealth Cam Nomad IR Picture

This third image taken at 6:50 am is barely viewable because it is almost completely washed out.

Stealth Cam Nomad IR Picture

You can see how this became more of an issue as the natural light increased.  This issue continued until the IR LEDs completely cut off, and pictures were just taken with natural light.

In Stealth Cam's defense, I may have just gotten a lemon of a game camera for my testing.  I spoke with the service employees at the retail establishment where I purchased this game cam, and they stated that they had not seen and unusually large number of returns on the Nomad IR thus far.  I ultimately swapped this game camera for the new Moultrie I-35, which has the same price point as the Nomad IR.  The I-35 is the next model that I'll be testing in my quest for a low-cost game camera that still offers good performance.


You can see my full video review below.  Any comments on my YouTube video are appreciated.

38 Responses to “Stealth Cam Nomad IR Review – Disappointing Results”

  1. Tim Murray says:

    Thanks for a great review. I was about to pick up the Nomad IR, but think I’ll hold off now.
    Can’t wait to see your review of the Moultrie I-35. I didn’t realized they had released new models for 2010. Thanks for the heads up!

  2. Keith McComish says:

    I experienced the same washed out pics that you displayed.

  3. Bill Soucoup says:

    I bought the Nomad in the fall of 2009. Half my videos and photos are washed out. Stay away from Stealth Cam

  4. jason cook says:

    i am on my second stealth cam (both infared nomad 5.0). have had problems with both of them. i thought stealth cam pioneered game cameras and would be happy with my choice. was i wrong!! DO NOT BUY ANY TYPE OF STEALTH CAM!!!!

  5. Bluetick_Hunter says:

    I just bought this cam and set it up today. i also had problems with the bracket being to loose. I am also wondering if you had your camera facing East. I read in the manual that if you put the camera in the east or west it will alter photos due to the rise and set of the sun.

  6. Thanks for the comment. I have it facing southeast. More south than east. I typically carry my GPS with me and reference the compass when hanging my game cams. I think the issue that this camera had more than anything was determining when to transition from infrared mode to non-infrared mode, and vice versa.

  7. Steve Miller says:

    I bought this game camera too. I took it back after seeing my first round of pictures. They were pretty bad.

  8. Rich says:

    I wish I had read the reviews before buying. Mine died after a month and 10 pictures. 2 were at dawn and were completly washed out. With the 4 sec warm up delay, I took pics of a lot of behinds. It also did not seem to detect anything along a used trail at 20 yards or a mineral lick at 30 yards. My cheapo Wildgame camera performed better.

  9. Gary Buck says:

    Camera the worst, customer service right at the bottom. Warranty,they will replace with a refurblished unit. I would not purchase another Stealth Cam Nomad IR. Don,t make the mistake I did, TWICE, to bad for me.

  10. Sorry to hear that Gary. Stealth Cam needs to get their act together, because there are a number of other game cameras hitting the market in the same price range that are outperforming them. My very first game camera was a Stealth Cam, and I’d like to give them the benefit of the doubt, but they have continued to disappoint me as well. I’d love to see them work on improving their trigger speed. That would be a good place to start.

  11. Gene Prokop says:

    My Stealth Cam was straight forward and easy to setup. I did find the trigger time was diffrerent than advertised; 10-12 seconds vs 2-3.
    An email131913191319 on 01 Nov to StealthCam was read within a hour. However, I still have not received an answer as of this date, 15 Nov.
    Totally frustrated!!!

  12. Tom Karlinski says:

    Ditto, ditto, and more dittos. I had most of the problems voiced to date. I bought my camera in June. While I thought the Nomad I530IR photo quality was acceptable, the camera could NOT switch automatically from day to night use. To make a very long story short, I started my complaints to Stealthcam on 13 September, and just today, 10 weeks later, I’ve finally gotten them to send me a new camera from CA via UPS 2nd-Day (at my expense) so I’ll have it at least for the second weekend of deer shotgun season(missed scouting time). POOR product. VERY POOR Service, and with a lousy ATTITUDE to boot. STAY AWAY FROM STEALTHCAM PRODUCTS!

  13. Yes Gene, I’d say that StealthCam has a great opportunity to improve their customer service and their products. I hope they do.

  14. Tom, I hope your replacement cam works better than the first one. Good Luck

  15. SMS says:

    Ditto on the washed out. Thought I just had a bad one but see i’m not the only one. Been on hold on the customer service 800# for 45 mins and will report back with what they say. Problem is only in the early morning-whited out too badly to see photos.

  16. SMS says:

    All,

    Got throught to customer service, it is a recognized problem, and they have firmware to download on their website to reportedly fix the issue with white out.
    1-go to http://www.stealthcam.net
    2-click support tab
    3-click downloads
    4-in the lower right under Stealth Cam Firmware click STC-I530IR link for the Nomad IR
    5-it’s a .zip file so save it to your computer
    6-then open it and un zip it
    7-put your SD card in your computer and format it to delete all pictures
    8-copy all the files (5 of them) to the SD card-NOT THE INSTRUCTION PAGE
    9-then follow the instructions to update the camera

    The gal was quite helpful. I’m at the office so haven’t updated the camera but will report back about whether it works. I’m not a technical guy and this wasn’t hard to do.

    Good luck.

  17. Thanks Scott. That is good news. Let us know if it works better after the update.

  18. SMS says:

    I installed the firmware and it seems to have fixed the issue. I tested the camera at first light, 30 mins and 1 hour later. Thie pics at first light and 1 hour after are perfect. The IR came on during the 2nd one (30 minutes after first light) resulting in a very minor white out but the pics were very usable. So it’s off to the field for a couple weeks and if the results are different I’ll share them. But I recommend if you have one of these, or the IR 40, download the update and it should help. Presumably new cameras are coming off the line with this in there already.

  19. That’s great news Scott. After my experience with the Nomad, I have been hesitant to test any more of StealthCam’s products, even though I have been dying to pick up the StealthCam UNIT for a test. Knowing that improvements are being made, I may give them another shot. Thanks again for the great info!

  20. Christopher K. Smith says:

    I downloaded the firmware per the instructions and it absolutely resolved my problem with the wash out! Thanks for posting the information!

  21. Connie Banks says:

    Our Stealthcam 1530IR worked great for first four months, now is giving us a lot of green and black washed out pictures, has anyone else had this problem.

  22. Ray Orlemanski says:

    To All,

    Thanks for your comments which are on the negative side regarding the performance of the Stealth Nomad IR Cam. Midway USA has a Special Price of $74.99, for this item till the last day of May 2011. I was ready to order one of these until I read the poor reviews. Guess I’ll research the independent comments of their competitors cams. Thanks for the info.

  23. Ray, that sounds like a good buy. Please see the comments on this post, and there are some instructions there for updating the firmware on this game camera. We have received many reports from readers of this blog that this firmware update has resolved their issues with this game cam. It might be worth a shot now!

  24. Highwall Jim says:

    I purchased a Stealth Cam NOMAD on 9-1-11. I email131913191319ed them on 9-8 indicating the problems I was having with the STC-1530IR, and that I was totally disappointed with my purchase. Their website indicates up to 48 hrs to respond. On 9-23 I again email131913191319ed and asked if they were going to respond to my 9-8 email131913191319 (which I included). My computer indicated that they had opened my email131913191319 on 9-28. It’s now 10-7 and I still haven’t heard from them. I guess they’re trying to wait until the warranty runs out. The trigger speed is super slow and when used side-by-side with another camera I have, it misses a lot of deer (and not by slow trigger speed). I was unable to find a place to read or leave a review on their website. Their customer service, as well as their NOMAD camera, sucks.

  25. Jim,
    I feel your pain. I’ve had issues with Stealthcam responding to email131913191319s. I’ve submitted some questions in the past that I have never gotten a response to.
    Depending upon where you got the cam, you may want to see if they will let you swap it out for another, or give you credit for a different one. Even though you are past the 30 days that some stores require for a return, I have returned some cams that I have owned for longer than 30 days with no problems.

    You may also want to check on your firmware version, and see if the firmware they have for the I530IR on this page ( http://www.stealthcam.net/sc_downloads_d.html ) is newer. I have reports from several individuals that the firmware update resolved numerous issues with this camera.

    I personally was disappointed in this camera. I’ve tested other brands that performed better for the same (or less) money.

  26. P. Zadonia says:

    Used one year and pics are washed out in daylight. Sent an email131913191319 last year to Stealth Cam and no response. Now it will not read an SD card. Last cam from this manufacturer. Over rated.

  27. P. Zadonia says:

    Failed to post the cam mod. for the above STC-1530IR.
    Also feel the pain. Not a cheap camera. One would expect a little customer care. Well, there are a lot of camera mfg’rs out there that will surely welcome the added business.

  28. Glenn Steeber says:

    My STC-I450’s flash has died or is dieing. It’s taken thousands of pics over the last 3-1/2 years. I use the 12V battery pack. I had ‘washouts’ with it – facing east and west – and recently getting black-outs. It started a few weeks ago. Last night there were 170 pics (I have a lot of ‘coon and fox around) – 165 black – I had switched to the ‘C’ batts as a test. CALLED Stealthcam this morning about a fix. Probably cost $125 with shipping for a one year guarantee repair. Decided on the STC-I530IR ’cause of the night video capability. Now that I have acustomer number I will call them and ask about ‘fixes’ to latest production. I’ll let you know what I find out.

  29. That is great Glenn. Most appreciated!

  30. Glenn Steeber says:

    Just got off the phone with customer sevice at GSMOutdoors. All of the firmware upgrades issued are part of the
    STC-I530IR software in the cameras. While I was on the phone I checked to see if they still had any of the discontinued I450’s like the one I have. No luck – told me to try eBay for a reconditioned one. Any way, I’m gonna check the ‘Net and see if anyone has the the I530 on sale. Kinda like the idea of the night time video capability. BTW, it really pays to get the 12V battery kit. With the cost of C’s now you’ll get pay back in no time.

  31. OILGUY says:

    JUNK,TOTAL JUNK,BOUGHT THIS SEPT 2011,SAME PROBLEMS AS ALL THE OTHERS,WASH OUT,OR NO PICS AT ALL,WILL NEVER BUY A STEALTH CAM AGAIN AND CUSTOMER SERVICE SUCK.I’LL STICK WITH CUDDYBACK OR OTHERS.

  32. Glenn Steeber says:

    Got an I530 from Pine Mountain Archery thru eBay. It was delivered last Thursday (10/3). Didn’t have an SD card for it (installed a 4GIG the next day) so set it up with internal storage that afternoon. Got 8 great pics. Been recording 45 and 90 second videos each night since then. Two nights ago I set it up after dark and it picked me up – B&W – when I was about 40′ away. Yesterday I set it up at twilight. It picked me up again in color. I keep 6 C’s in it to maintain the settings but plug in the 12v when I set it up. Great pics/videos on the ‘puter when downloaded. Semms to work as promied: day/night pics, day/night videos, color and B&W.

  33. william says:

    i bought the STC-1530ir off ebay and just got it in the mail131913191319 yesterday but haven’t set it out due to not having any C batteries so im looking into getting the 12V battery kit but seeing all the bad comments on this camera i may return it but if i decide to set it out i’ll let ya know how good or bad it performs.

  34. Just make sure you follow the instructions in the comments to ensure you are on the latest firmware update.
    That seems to have resolved most people’s problems.

    Good luck.

    -Greg

  35. William says:

    I followed the instructions in the comments and the camera worked perfect the trigger speed was a tad slow though but I love this camera but as it usually happens it was stolen a few weeks ago so now I gotta buy a new one. 

  36. Sorry to hear that. Every game camera should come with integrated locking devices. I’ve had a camera stolen too, and learned my lesson. I’ve also picked up video of a trespasser trying to steal one of my cams.

  37. Thomas says:

    I just tried my 1530IR cam. It was facing NNW with a shad being cast over the cam from 4:30 pm on and a shad being cast until 10:00am.. several of the photos were washed out pretty bad. The photo’s look like Black and white photo. The night photo’s were great, as were the mid day photo’s, just the early morning or late evening one washed out. Everything else seems to work fine I won the cam in a giveaway so I am ok with it. But I would not spend my money on one.

  38. Check on your camera placement to make sure that it is not facing in the direction of the sun if possible. I have had pictures washed out when the sun in low in the sky in the morning as it rises and late in the day as it it setting. Sometimes just positioning your camera on the other side of the trail facing in the opposite direction can make a world of difference. Best of luck.

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