No matter how great your fishfinder or flasher, nothing beats actually seeing the fish that you are after. Live video can be a powerful tool for improving your angling skills, from species identification to behavior indicators.
Many hard-water anglers know that having your eyes on the water will increase your chances of success. Finding the right equipment is not easy.
This article will discuss the things to look out for when shopping for an underwater fish camera. We also give reviews of some of our favorite models.
Here’s a quick look at the top underwater fishing cameras.
- MarCum VS485C Sub water Viewing SystemOur Choice!
- Eyoyo Original Professional Sub water Video Camera S1322MG
- MarCum Recon 5+ Sub water Camera Viewing Systems –Our Choice!
- Vexilar FS800 Fish Scout Sub water Camera
Review of the Best Underwater Fishing Camera
MarCum VS485C Sub water Viewing System – Our Choice!
batteries included 12 volts, 12-hour battery. Battery life:6-8 hoursCable length:50′Monitor resolution:800 x 480Screen Size:7″ 16:9 aspect ratio LCD monitor |Camera viewing angle: Ultra-low lux Sony Super HAD II 90-degree Sony Super HAD II CCD
MarCum Red is a common color for hard water fishing. This name is trusted by generations of ice anglers for their winter fun. It faces a fierce rival in the flasher market with Vexilar, but on the ice camera front, we are calling it Big Red.
Marcum’s VS485C, the Recon 5’s bigger brother, offers a larger screen and a design that leans in the direction of pop-ups or shanties. The VS485C is a top choice because it has a powerful battery and a great camera and monitor.
Marcum is not afraid of the ice and, like Vexilar you can expect all-weather durability and a case that will cushion any knocks. Marcum’s main difference from Vexilar comes down to image quality. You will notice it right away.
Marcum’s 7-inch full-size screen is powered by a Sony camera that has impressive low-light capabilities. It also offers a sharp resolution. This resolution probably exceeds the camera’s analog capability. If the VS485C detects that the light level is too low or that the water is too murky, it will switch to B/W imaging. This is a nice feature.
The MarCum’s fish camera, which captures sharper and clearer images than other cameras, is our favorite. This screen is a great choice for ice fishing.
The manufacturer provides a sunshield with the unit. It is recommended in the manual that the screen not be exposed to direct sunlight. For best performance, we recommend keeping this unit indoors or limiting outdoor use to rainy days.
Marcum’s underwater fish camera is attached to this unit via 50 feet of cable. This is a nod towards Vexilar’s industry standard. Like its Vexilar rival, expect a video out port, but not an SD card.
We don’t believe that.AVI compatibility is a major issue, but you might disagree.
Eyoyo Original Professional Sub water Video Camera S1322MG
Batteries standard 12 volt (4500 mAh)
Est. Battery life:4-7 hours
Cable length:30m (98′).
Monitor resolution: N/A
Camera viewing angle:1000TVL with unspecified viewing angle, LED and IR lights
Eyoyo, a relative newcomer in ice fishing has established itself as an expert in customer service. Eyoyo engineers have gone so far as to ask for comments on ice fishing forums – an impressive move!
Are Eyoyo’s systems really competitors to the tried-and-true MarCum or Vexilar options?
This is the big question.
This unit is protected by a protective aluminum case. You can defeat the protection and no ice will be able to survive without it! Although users may experience occasional problems with electronic durability over time, the manufacturer is quick and responsive to fix them.
Eyoyo uses an Eyoyo 7-inch monitor which provides a crisp, clear color. There are no issues with the monitor. Users who did experience problems report that the manufacturer was prompt to assist them and great about replacing their screens.
The camera is our main concern. Eyoyo has not specified the unit but it claims that it offers 1000TVL resolution. Experts say it is misleading because it is an analog specification.
They claim that neither cable nor DVR can use a resolution of 1000TVL, as they are limited to maximums of 720TVL. Many Chinese companies mistakenly interpret 1080p resolution cameras to be 1000TVL. They mix and match digital and analog designations.
Users report high-quality video regardless of the resolution. They also praise the low-light performance of the infrared lights. In the real world, we have no complaints. However, MarCum’s superb Sony camera is superior in quality and range.
However, the Eyoyo has a long cable. This is a great feature, and we are very impressed.
This unit also has an SD card slot. However, it can convert video to.AVI files. It can be difficult to view or edit them on a PC/Mac, so it is best to rewatch them using this unit. It’s an excellent addition.
What is the verdict?
Let’s say that–provisionally–we’re impressed. Eyoyo clearly cares about customer satisfaction and is open to hearing from anglers. We would still consider one MarCum unit if we had the money. The poor battery life can be a problem on the ice.
- Amazing customer service
- High quality, big screen
- Night fishing with infrared lights
- Cable length
- Battery life is very poor
- Durability issues
MarCum Recon 5+ Sub water Camera Viewing Systems
Batteries Internal lithium-ion battery pack
Est. Battery life:5-6 hours
Monitor resolution:800 x 480 Hi-Res Color
Screen Size: Monitor LCD 5″
Camera viewing angle:110 degrees
Marcum is a well-known name on the ice. They have been providing winter fishing adventures for years. Marcum is a well-respected company that can be trusted with their products to perform season after season. This holds for the Recon 5+ too.
The 5+ upgrade to the Recon 5 adds SD card compatibility and video recording. This is a worthwhile addition and it’s worth paying a little more to get that feature.
The Recon 5+ can be used as an alternative.
Marcum’s decades of experience translate into bomb-proof durability. MarCum claims an operating temperature range of 14F-104F. Users report that the internal lithium-ion battery pack can hold a charge for up to one digit. Normal conditions will require that the pack lasts for 6 hours before it needs to be recharged.
The Recon 5+ has a 5-inch display with a very high resolution and is paired with an unspecified camera. Although the camera isn’t as good as the MarCum VS485C’s amazing Sony, it does the job and provides a 110-degree viewing angle. It also has three angles settings, one each for horizontal, normal, and one for down.
The camera, like the MarCum underwater fish camera that we reviewed, will automatically change to B/W when light levels or turbidity make it difficult to capture clear color video. This is a nice feature that allows you to expect sharp images, excellent quality, and plenty of range with this fishing camera.
The Recon 5+ is small and easy to transport. However, the screen size is not as large as other similar cameras. It should also be kept out of direct sunlight.
This is a great choice if you are looking for an easy-to-store, compact, and easily stowed underwater fish camera system with an SD card slot. It records video in.AVI format and changes the resolution to 720 x 240. These files should be viewed again on the Recon 5+, rather than being exported to a Mac or PC.
- Robust, durable
- OK battery life
- Excellent monitor
- A good camera
- Easy to store and transport
- Slot for SD cards
- Short cable
- .AVI file format, and modified resolution for recordings
Vexilar FS800 Fish Scout Sub water Camera
Batteries Battery enclosed, 12 volts, 9 Amp Hour
Est. Battery life:9 hours
Monitor resolution:480 x 234
Screen Size:7-inch LCD monitor with 16:9 aspect ratio. Displays 7 colors
Camera viewing angle:90 degrees
Vexilar is a reliable name on the ice and generations of anglers have relied on their technology on hard water. It’s safe to say it’s in constant competition with Marcum. This causes tempers when rivals are criticized.
We have to recommend the MarCum VS485C and Recon over the Vexilar because they offer superior camera technology. Comparing the MarCum VS485C with Recon, we found that they offer superior picture quality.
Despite this, the Vexilar FS800 is gaining a lot of popularity and has replaced the Aqua-Vu system among ice fishermen. It is a great combination of durability, performance, and it can be fished within its limits.
Let’s begin with the good.
Vexilar’s experience on the ice has translated into real-world durability. From an enclosed battery that can provide a full day of fishing regardless of the weather to a case that can withstand the elements, you have no worries. Vexilar claims that the operating temperature range is between -22 F and 150 F. We don’t think there’s any reason to doubt this claim.
Although the 12-volt battery system is great, it’s important to note that when charging, you need to have power on. This precaution is often ignored by many users who arrive on the ice without any charge and believe that their camera system has failed.
Let’s now get to the good.
This system’s heart is a seven-color monitor that has a decent resolution. It can support color or B/W camera that has poor picture quality. There is also an auto gain control which can cause problems in low light regardless of user inputs. This means that fish can sometimes be difficult to see at the camera’s limits. The auto gain control can also cause the picture to darken abruptly as it attempts to adjust.
It can be difficult to read the Fish Scout screen in bright sunlight. This unit is best used in the shade of an ice shed or pop-up.
The FS800’s camera hangs from a 50-foot cable. This model is not suitable for those who fish deeper than 50 feet, as many ice anglers do.
It is also important to mention that although the FS800 supports video-out, it does not support recording or SD cards.
- Robust, durable
- Battery life is excellent
- Big screen
- Camera with low resolution
- Poor control of auto-gain
- Short cable
- No SD card/recording
Our Choice – The MarCum VS485C Sub water Viewing System
We believe the MarCum is the clear winner. It beats its competitors on almost every front.
The VS485C is a superior camera, delivering sharp images under a range of lighting and turbidity conditions. It is analog but performs admirably. We are also impressed by its performance in clear water. The VS485C’s screen is superb and it gets top marks for durability and battery life.
It has limitations, including a cable length of 50 feet and the absence of an SD card.
We would love to see a longer cable or at the very least an option for one that matches Eyoyo’s amazing 98-foot offering. We can live with Eyoyo’s limited battery life, but we can accept what it has.
We don’t want to miss the SD card, given all the problems associated with it.Avis
The Recon 5+, however, is a better option for anglers who want something more portable. It also features the recording options that many anglers desire.
We hope this guide has helped you to get to grips with fishing cameras.
How to Choose an Underwater Fishing Camera
Low temperatures can be a real problem for hard-water anglers. Even the most powerful ice fishing heaters and shelters can only create a tech-friendly environment.
You need a camera system that can withstand a lot of punishment, such as ice pools, plummeting mercury, or bumps and knocks while you drag your sled.
The length of cables is an important concern.
The best underwater fishing camera can only see what is in front of it, unlike the flasher’s transducers. There are exceptions like MarCum’s Recon 5+, which has a three-position camera. Practically, a camera must be able to be suspended almost to the bottom to use it. Your camera must be able to reach the bottom of weed beds to view them and the fish that live in them.
Marcum and Vexilar provide 50 feet of cable. Eyoyo offers nearly 100 feet.
The choice is easy for deeper water.
High-Quality Cameras and Screen Resolution
This is the most difficult technical specification for these systems. It’s also worth noting that these fish-catching systems are essentially just disguised security cameras. The same applies to both.
Two systems can be used to measure resolution: pixel count or TVL (television lines).
Pixel count refers to a digital measurement of resolution. It matches two numbers (megapixel count) in the horizontal or vertical dimensions. Simply put, the higher the resolution, the more megapixels.
These numbers can also be used to describe the shape of the picture, as in 480×234 It’s 16 to9 in this example, which is ‘widescreen’. If the horizontal number (first), exceeds the vertical pairing (second), it will result in a very flat picture. This can be difficult to see on a standard monitor.
TVL, by contrast, is an analog measurement of video quality. It describes how many horizontal “television lines” a camera can capture. Definition: “The maximum number of alternating dark and light vertical lines that can easily be resolved per picture height …..” A resolution of 400 TVL is 200 distinct dark vertical lines and 200 distinctive white vertical lines that can be counted across a horizontal span equaling the height of the image.
As you can see the TVL count is a significant determinant of image quality.
The cable that connects the camera to the monitor cannot exceed 750TVL. A better camera is wasted money.
It is also worth noting MarCum’s superb Sony camera, which is available on the VS485C is actually a CCD/analog unit measured in TVL. This means that MarCum converts TVL measurements into digital megapixels in its product description.
According to the technical specifications, none of the systems that we reviewed used a digital camera.
Camera Viewing Angle
Your underwater fishing camera is not designed to capture tiny details. You want a broad field of vision.
We were able to choose between a 90-degree or 110-degree view angle on the models that we tested. Both models work well and there is no competitive advantage to either.
The standard screen size is around 7 inches. As you would expect, smaller portable units like the Recon 5+ are available.
We love the 7-inch benchmark for ice fishing. Space in a pop-up is often at a premium when there is more than one angler.
Many anglers wish to capture the fish they catch with their underwater fishing cameras and hooks and then share them with their friends.
Consider a model with an SD card slot if that is something you are looking for. These videos will be saved in.AVI format which unfortunately is not the most user-friendly.
Normally, you will need to download software to view and edit.AVI files. Windows Media Player won’t open them.
It sounds complicated if that seems like it. It might not be something you need, so it may be worth passing.
These systems are known for their battery life, which is one of the most important features. More is better. An underwater fisherman’s camera that only has a short time window of use is not enough. We prefer to see estimates that allow for full-day fishing.