TACTACAM 5.0 Hunting Camera: Gear Review – Dialed In Hunter

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If you’re anything like me, you spent quite a bit of time as a youngster, and even an adult, consuming hunting media. Watching others embark on adventures around the world, doing something that we love is just downright inspiring. It pushes us to chase our dreams out in the mountains. As I got older, documenting such adventures became more and more appealing to me. Not so that I could be like the TV personalities I’d watched as a kid, but to simply have something to look back on. Something that I could share with my future kids and grand kids. “See? Your Dad used to do some pretty cool stuff.”

Carrying a DSLR or mirrorless camera around is hard work though. It just is. They are cumbersome and can be a distraction from the whole hunt, especially if you’re filming alone. GoPros revolutionized this and made it simple for us to strap a camera on our head or bow and go. All the while, we are capturing quality footage with just a push of a button. What if I told you that there was a camera specifically made for this? A GoPro made for hunting. Something made by folks who are like minded. The company is TACTACAM and their 5.0 camera is built for us hunters.

Who is TACTACAM?

I remember first hearing about Tactacam through the whitetail world. For me, that meant outdoor hunting television, due to my home being in the West. Company founder, Ben Stern saw a need in the hunting world, and set out to fill the void. It was a small camera that mounted on your bow, crossbow, or firearm made to film your hunt. One of his complaints with the GoPros that we all know so well was how far away it made the animal look. This is where TACTACAM is different. When an animal is 30 yards away, it won’t look like it’s triple the distance, which is often what you’ll get with the wide angle lenses on the GoPro. With the high intensity situations that often come with hunting, this camera also had to be easy to use. It’s a one step operation, lightweight, and waterproof. TACTACAM might be located in Minnesota, but they are moving into the western hunting world more and more each year.

What is the TACTACAM 5.0?

TACTACAM 5.0 on Josh from Dialed in Hunter

There are a few different TACTACAM cameras on the market. For the purpose of this review, I’ll be talking about the 5.0 model. This camera weighs in at just 3 oz with the battery, so it won’t be weighing you down in the field. The battery is said to give around 2.5 hours of battery life, which I have found to be fairly accurate. Keep in mind, I am never every filming for 2.5 hours straight though.

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Tactacam 5.0 attached to bow

As far as different modes go with the 5.0, a hunter can choose between 4k(green light), 8x zoom(purple light), and slow-mo(blue light). When the device is turned on, there will be a light around the record/power button and the mode/wifi button that will let you know which mode you are currently in. Resolutions that can be used with the camera are 4k 30fps, 1080 120fps, and 720 240 fps. You’ll be writing that sweet footage to a mini SD card.

Josh from Dialed in hunter using the Tactacam 5.0 on his bow

I softly glazed over the wife button earlier. Yes, the 5.0 camera has wifi capabilities and can be connected via bluetooth to your smartphone with the TACTACAM app. This will enable the hunter to change settings, see what you’re filming, and stream their hunt live. Pretty neat huh? Would this whitetail country bred camera hold up to the rigors of western hunting though?

First Impressions

My first impressions of the TACTACAM 5.0 were pretty positive. The lightweight and rugged outer shell seemed very well constructed. Another thing that was pleasing was the size and shape. I could see that this little cylindrical camera would fit great in my pack and not be bothersome on my bow. Hearing about the proposed video quality also set me at ease. I remember when 720p was mind blowing. Nowadays though it’s almost displeasing to look at. Everything needs to be at least 1080 and the 5.0 takes that a step farther with its 4k capabilities. A step in the right direction. Something else that I was super excited about was just having the ability to film random things along the way. Grabbing B-roll shots with the 5.0 honestly appealed to me more than the shot. I’ll get into the why around that later.

Josh from Dialed in hunter nocking an arrow while using the tactacam 5.0

With all of that cool stuff said, I will admit, I did have my concerns. The first was if the image quality would actually reflect the advertised quality. I’ve see some cameras out there claim to film in 1080, but the footage is absolute garbage. My next concern, despite the seemingly great construction, was how it would hold up getting knocked around in the field. No matter how rugged a camera is built, there is still always an urge to protect it from the elements and things like dropping. My last worry was actually capturing the shot with the camera mounted on my bow. I shoot with a surprise shot, so my bow has a tendency to recoil and drop after I shoot. That would mean watching the animal get hit wouldn’t be in the cards. It was something I was OK with though. Time would tell.

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My Experience

Josh from dialed in hunter at full draw with the tactacam 5.0

The first time I took the TACTACAM 5.0 for a spin was at the local archery range. My plan was to just walk a course with a few friends and film sporadically along the way. I wanted to get walking shots, shots of them shooting, pans, and of course a point of view of my shots. The experience was pretty painless. It is ridiculous how easy this thing is to operate. All I had to do was press one button and we are off to the races recording. This would prove a huge bonus in the field.

After getting home and reviewing the footage, I was pleasantly surprised at the quality. It definitely didn’t look like the garbage I had encountered in the past, and was quite the opposite. White balance looked pretty good and everything looked crisp. My suspicions about shooting were true though. Everything was there right up until my shot when the bow flailed to the left and low. Keep in mind, this definitely won’t be an issue for everyone though. Most folks aren’t shooting a surprise shot and that’s totally fine. For those that do, TACTACAM does make a head mount, which I plan on testing to alleviate the issue.

In the Field

Josh from dialed in hunter with his 2020 archery javelina captured on camera with the tactacam

As I sit here and write this, I’ve had the 5.0 in my possession for two hunts. An archery javelina hunt and and archery deer hunt down here in Arizona. Good for our sake, we didn’t encounter any inclimate weather on these hunts, but that means I didn’t get to test the camera in nasty weather. There was a ton of wind though, which had dust blowing all around, brush busting, and general abuse from packing out game thrown at the camera. It held up great to everything and the battery life was awesome. I’m not one to keep any camera on and running though. The device gets turned off once I get my shots. On backpack hunts, where battery life is scarce, this is how one needs to operate.

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Watch the Javelina Hunt Down Below!

All of the footage looked great. On both hunts, I was fortunate and filled tags. And on both hunts I got the kill shots on camera with the 5.0. As I figured, seeing the animal actually get hit with the arrow didn’t happen. That was something I expected though. I also got them on camera with a GoPro, so that I could compare the two. The difference is quite dramatic. Watch HERE starting at 4:46 to see footage from a GoPro and a TACTACAM flip between one another. With the GoPro the javelina is barely visible. With the 5.0 though, the javelina is clear as day and much closer in the shot. The ease of use along the way is something that I can’t stress enough on. One button folks. Press one button.

Pros

  • Lightweight and small
  • Very easy to use
  • Quality footage

Cons

  • Pricey($429)
  • Slight learning curve to learn how everything works
  • Might need to invest in head mount to capture shot with a bow

Closing

The tactacam 5.0 resting on Josh from dialed in hunter

When I was a kid, I always thought that a bow mounted camera would be so cool. Years later and a company like TACTACAM comes along, as if they heard the thoughts of my younger self. This isn’t just a camera for a bow though. TACTACAM also offers a FTS(film through scope) package. This allows one to literally film what they are seeing through their rifle scope and capture the shot from that perspective. INSANE technology and a no brainer for anyone who wants to film a rifle hunt. These can also be attached to shotguns for bird hunting adventures. All in all, I think the TACTACAM 5.0 is pretty neat and definitely see myself using it more this season to capture some more memories. To learn more about this product and others in the TACTACAM lineup visit www.tactacam.com.

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>