October 15, 2019
Making great memories is one of the best parts of hunting and shooting, and Tactacam now offers you a way to preserve those memories forever with high-quality footage shot through your scope. The company’s new Film Through Scope (FTS) technology utilizes a revolutionary new optical design that allows you to easily and securely mount a Tactacam camera on your rifle or crossbow, so that you can capture footage from the range or field, store that footage, and even upload it to social media platform like Facebook. What’s most impressive is that all that technology is packed into a lightweight, easy-to-use system that won’t interfere with the function of your scope.
Tactacam was founded in 2013 by Ben Stern. Like so many other hunters, Stern wanted to be able to capture high-quality video of his hunting experiences to share with his family, particularly his grandfather. His experience teaching photography classes at the university level provided him with a background in camera design and function, and Stern began developing lightweight, durable camera designs that could hold up to abuse in the field and capture high-quality video. After two years of testing and prototyping, Stern released his first camera design to the public, and Tactacam was born.
The FTS system takes field videography one step further by allowing the shooter to film through their scope. The secret behind the FTS system is a series of mirrors allowing the camera to record through the scope without distracting the shooter or altering or distorting the sight picture. Thanks to the FTS system’s versatile design, it mounts on as many as 98 percent of the scopes on the market, and installation takes just a few minutes. A bracket attaches the Tactacam camera to your scope, and the bracket itself weighs just under seven ounces. With the camera, bracket, and inserts in place, the entire FTS system adds just 10 ounces to your firearm or crossbow, making it the lightest point of view camera on the market.
Tactacam Long Range Shooter Package
If you already own a Tactacam Solo, 4.0 or 5.0 camera you can simply purchase the FTS system and mount your camera to your optic in a matter of minutes. However, Tactacam offers a Long Range Shooter package that includes the FTS system, a 5.0 camera, battery, USB cable with wall charger, a lens cloth, carrying case, and owner’s manual. The Tactacam 5.0 is the premier point of view camera on the market, offering 8x zoom, 4K image quality, premium lenses with low-light sensors. There’s an autofocus feature so all your recordings provide sharp detail, and there’s even a 360-degree microphone that picks up audio in the 0-100 dB range.
The outer shell is made from soft touch composite which, unlike hard-shell cameras, won’t clang against your treestand or low-hanging branches and spook game. Each 5.0 FTS camera comes with an internal lithium battery with a runtime of about 2.5 hours, and there’s also an external battery-life indicator so you know how much time remains for when that big buck steps into view. The 5.0 camera weighs in at just three ounces.
The Long Range Shooter package carries an MSRP of $569.99. Considering it offers many of the same features you’ll find on cameras weighing far more and unmatched ease-of-use, it’s a great bargain. If you already own a Tactacam Solo, 4.0 or 5.0 camera you can purchase the FTS system for $139.99.
Ben Stern set out to make Tactacam products very simple to use, and you don’t have to be tech-savvy to install the FTS system or record high-quality video when using the Long Range Shooter Package. There are step-by step directions in the user manual, and Tactacam offers a series of high-quality, easy-to-follow online videos that walk users through installation and setup.
To begin, you’ll need to select the proper insert for your optic. Each FTS system comes with seven C-shaped inserts that fit onto the rear of the scope and allow the FTS system to be tightened in place without damage your optic. I used a Trijicon AccuPower scope for testing, and I found that the #4 insert offered the most secure fit for that particular scope. The FTS system then slides into place and the camera can be rotated to the right or left side of the scope. You’ll need to adjust length-of-pull and focus so that the FTS system is properly positioned to provide clear video images. The system is secured in place via two bolts that are tightened using the provided Allen wrench.
After the 5.0 camera is charged, it fits into the bracket. It may seem counterintuitive to place the lens of the camera inside the bracket (I reversed the orientation when first mounting the camera) but that allows the view through the scope to be transferred to the camera. You can then tighten the bolt that holds the camera in place, securing the Tactacam to the FTS system and aligning it so the mirrors allow the image in the scope to be transferred into the camera body. The lens of the FTS system doesn’t distort the image or cause color changes, and it doesn’t interfere with your shooting.
The 5.0 camera, like other Tactacam models, allows you to begin recording with the touch of a button. The camera vibrates to indicate that it’s powered-up and recording, and it instantly begins capturing images through your scope. When you download the Tactacam smartphone app, you can make adjustments using your phone, and images and video from multiple cameras can be viewed and stored on your mobile device. It didn’t take long for my phone and camera to sync, and soon I could control my Tactacam FTS system from my mobile phone. The system also allows for live streaming, so your friends, family, or followers can stay abreast of what’s happening while you’re in the woods or at the range. To pause recording, simply press the button again.
On the Range
I mounted the Tactacam Long Range Shooter package on a Kimber .270 rifle, and while the recoil from that gun isn’t particularly excessive, it does produce a jolt that could potentially damage delicate video equipment. The Tactacam FTS system has been thoroughly tested on hard-kicking rifles, though (up to and including the .50 BMG) so regardless of the firearm, you can count on the FTS and 5.0 camera to withstand the setback. Filming is a matter of simply reaching up and pressing the button, and in a matter of seconds I was recording video to my phone. Start-up is fast enough that you’ll have time to begin filming even when a big buck surprises you in the woods.
In addition to simply filming my shots, I was able to playback the video and critique my shooting. The anti-shock feature on the camera allows you to film steadily (even when that big buck walks in), and you can assess your reaction to recoil at the shot. I also was able to watch for movement prior to the shot, an indication of flinching, and being able to playback the footage from your shot in the woods would be extremely valuable, allowing you to determine where you struck and animal and even to identify landmarks that will help you determine where the animal was standing when you fired if a follow-up is required.
I was impressed by how unobtrusive the FTS system is. After a few minutes on the range, I forgot that the system was there, and the simple one-touch startup allows you to stay in the scope while you begin recording. And removing the FTS system was easy and there was no damage to the optic. One FTS Long Range Shooter package will work on multiple guns and crossbows with different optics.
Tactacam has revolutionized the way we film in the field, and the new Long Range Shooter package make through-the-scope video easy and affordable. Plus, the image quality is equal to camera systems costing much more. Hunting season is for making memories, and Tactacam allows you to capture and relive those memories with your friends and family.
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