Covert Code Black 12.1 Review by Tim Hamilton

Covert Code Black 12.0 and 12.1 review by Tim Hamilton
Covert Code Black 12.0 and 12.1 review by Tim Hamilton
Item# covert-code-black-review

Product Description

See the Code Black 12.1...

The Covert Code Black 12.0/12.1 trail camera is a easy to use, small, energy efficient trail camera.

When looking for a trail camera some of the things you want to look for are:
  • Is it easy to set up?
  • Is it easy to install?
  • Is it Waterproof?
  • What about the videos?
  • What about the photos?
  • How long does the battery last?
  • How much storage does it have?

    What comes with the Covert Code Black 12.0 / 12.1 3g Trail Camera?

    Covert Code Black 12.0 / 12.1 trail camera comes sealed in a plastic container.

    Inside the container is:

  • The Covert Code Black 12.0 / 12.1scouting camera
  • A strap to attach it to a tree (or what ever you attach the Covert 12.0 / 12.1 trail camera to)
  • A warranty card
  • An easy instruction card for quick set up
  • A User's Manual for the Covert 12.0 / 12.1 trail camera
  • A sim card

    See the Code Black 12.1...

    Is it easy to set up?

    Yes. I found the Covert Code Black 12.0 / 12.1 easy to use and set up. The Code Black 12.0 has a built in 2 inch color screen for reviewing in the field and it is used for programming this trail camera. As with all trail cameras I recommend that you get to know the camera BEFORE you go to the woods to set up the camera.

    The only difficult part of setting up this camera in the past was setting the Cellular transmitting part of the camera. In the past you had to go to an AT&T store and purchase a Sims Card because it didnít come with it. Now the Sim card comes with the camera and you use a App through Covert. This should make things easer we will see.

    Once you open the Code Black you will find on the left side the viewing screen and all of the buttons used to program the trail camera. Also if you are holding the camera in your hands open turn the bottom of the camera up and you will discover on the left side a connection for the USB port and the slot for the SD card.

    When you look at the Covert Code Black 12.0/ 12.1 open on the right you will see the battery compartment for the camera. Flip the camera with the bottom facing up on the right side you will see a small hole with a rubber grommet with a cover. This is for the battery extender or a Solar Panel for this unit (if you are planning to use a battery extender or solar panel you must use rechargeable batteries). Also there will be a 1/4x20 threaded insert to attach the camera to a tripod or a Covert Tree 60 mount.

    See the Solar Panel...

    After installing the batteries and SD card with the camera open look on the left side you will see the viewing screen and the control buttons. To the bottom left you will see the power switch. This switch will slide into three positions OFF to the left, SETUP in the middle and ON to the right.

    Place the camera in the setup position. The camera will cycle through the Covert logo screen. Then it will go to the screen that has the current programming information. Top left will let you know if it is in camera or video mode top right will be the section dealing with the cellular part of the camera. The bottom left will be the battery indicator. Bottom right will be amount of photos that have already been taken and stored and the amount that can be taken.

    Press the menu button and the Code Black will enter the programming mode. Once in the programming mode you will see at the top of the screen you will see CAM, PIR, NET and SYS. CAM will be highlighted in yellow PIR, NET and SYS will be in blue.

    Remember to select the option that you have highlighted always press the OK button. If you select video and never push the OK button the Code Black will not select video it will go to default setting in that location. ALWAYS PUSH THE OK BUTTON!

    With CAM highlighted press the down arrow and you control whether the camera is taking photos or videos. It is pre set PHOTO press the right or left arrows and switch between PHOTO or VIDEO.

    Press the down button again and pick photo size your choices are 3, 5, 8 and 12 MP (mega pixel). Press the down arrow again and pick the PHOTO burst this will be 1-10 photos burst meaning how many photos the camera will take once it has been activated.

    If you go to the VIDEO section this is where you select the type of video length and all of that info. I will cover this later in this review.

    Go to the PIR section and press the down arrow and this is where you select the sensitivity Normal, High Low or Off. Then you set the trigger interval from 5-60 seconds (in 5 second increments) then 1 to 60 minutes. This is the time the camera will take between photos or video. Keep in mind that this is the time plus the amount of time for the image or video to save will be the actual time between activations.

    Next will be Time Lapse mode: Time lapse is when your camera will take pictures with out being triggered. In this position you can select how often the camera takes pictures. Your options are starting at 3 minutes you can select increments of 1 minute until you reach 59 minutes then every hour up to 8 hours. If you select OFF in sensitivity the camera will only operate in TIME LAPSE mode.

    If you don't want TIME LAPSE be sure get it to off and press OK or the TIME LAPSE will still run.

    Next will be the START STOP mode if you only want your camera to operate in certain times of the day this is where you set the times.

    In the NET mode this is the section where you set up the wireless network part of the camera.

    You will need to be patient as you camera does the initial set-up it will be looking for cell service. Remember if you do not have good cell service the 3g capabilities will not work with out cell service. You can still use the camera but it will not send any photos with out cell service.

    While finding the network you will see the words Searching Signal, in red on the screen. The camera will then say Connecting to Server as it is connecting to the server. Once you see AT&T in the top right corner, you are ready to move on.

    Quick Tip: If your camera says Connection Failed, turn the camera OFF then back ON. (Power Cycle.)

    While in the NET mode on the send mode line you have OFF which explains itself then you have INSTANT.

    INSTANT: Turns wireless feature ON to send a picture every time the camera is triggered.


    If the OVERWRITE is on it will replace the newest image with the oldest image if the card is full. If you use a 2GB or larger SD card you should not have this problem unless the TIME LAPSE is on.

    Is it easy to install?

    Yes. When you get ready to go to the woods you want to remember to bring a few things with you. The Covert Code Black trail camera, batteries, an SD card (up to 32GB) the strap along with the sim card and the antenna. If you are going to use this 3g capable trail camera you must have the antenna attached.

    The strap is easy to use, in the past it has been a 3 part strap and was sometimes a pain to adjust but now it is all one piece and easy to adjust.

    Is it Waterproof?

    Yes the Code Black 12.0 / 12.1 is waterproof. As long as the cover is closed and secure. If you are going to put this or any trail camera in low lying area near creeks or rivers. Be sure that you install the camera high enough that if the area floods your camera will not be under water.

    It is waterproof but it cannot be submerged in water. Also you need to inspect the trail camera housing for any cracks. Believe it or not sometimes the deer and especially HOGS get ruff with the trail cameras and may damage them.

    If you are in an area with Wild Hogs or an area that people are stealing trail cameras I suggest putting your camera in what is called a Bear / Security safe for your trail camera. Basically it is a steel box that you secure to the tree and the camera goes inside this box. Each camera has a specific box for its operation.

    The safe can be secured to the tree with long screws or a Master lock python cable or both so you can lock it all up. For the Covert Code Black 2016 or newer are the price will be $39.99 for the safe. Master Lock python cable 3/16 is $15.99 and 5/16 is $24.99. These are the prices at

    Bear/Security Safe for Covert Code Black 12.0 is $34.00 Master Lock python cable 3/16 is $15.99 Master Lock python cable 5/16 is $24.99

    What about the videos?

    The videos are very good color in daylight and black and white at night. Remember to choose between VGA 640 x 480 (approx. 30fps) or QVGA 320 X 340 (approx. 24 fps). You can also adjust the lengths of the videos from 5 second to 60 seconds. The videos are in AVI format.

    640 x 480 videos are about 300 kb per frame that makes it about 17 MB per second, and about 1054 MB per minute. All this said and after talking with the manufacturer no one can tell you exactly how much video you can get on a card but you can expect to get 1 to 2 hours of video with a 2GB SD card.

    Realistically so you may get around a hour or more on a 2GB SD card.

    Code Black 12.1...

    I did not do a 320 X 240 (QVGA) video I feel that the 640 X 480 (VGA) this is a much better quality video and with today SD cards you should have plenty of storage.

    I recommend using 640 x 480 resolution for 10 to 15 seconds if you are checking your camera at least once or twice a week. This will give you plenty of video to see what is in the area and it will not use as much of your battery.

    What about the photos?

    I think the photos are very good. Remember as with any IR (Infrared) or Black Out (Black IR flash) camera you will have two types of photos. COLOR in Daytime and BLACK and WHITE at night.

    In this Day Time photo the Deer are about 65 feet from the camera.

    In this Night time photo the deer are about 45 feet from the camera in an open field if there was something closer behind them the flash would be able to bounce off the background and have a better picture but this one is pretty good for night in an open field.

    At times you will get some of your photos that just don't look good they may be anything from fuzzy to half of the photo may be in black and white and half in color. Most of this can be eliminated when you FORMAT the SD card.

    On this Code Black trail camera you can choose the megapixel of the photos you can choose from 3, 5 8, or 12MP. All will produce good photos both day and night. I recommend using the 8 or 12 MP this is what the Covert 12.0 / 12.1 is made for to take high MP trail camera photos. The 3 and 5 MP use a little less energy but not enough to make a difference use the 8 or 12MP.

    Remember when you program your trail camera to set the photo BURST this is the amount of photos taken each time the camera is activated. On this camera you can choose 1, 2, or 3 and up to 10 photo BURST.

    The Code Black 12.0 has 42 black IR lights and the 12.1 has 60 so it can light up a pretty good area at night so it will take good photos at night. Sometimes just at dark you will get some not so good quality photos but again format the SD card and most of this will be eliminated.

    With 42 Black IR lights this Covert camera has a flash range of somewhere around 50 to 70 feet the package says 100 but that is in perfect conditions. I am not saying it won't do it but I have yet to see it reach 100 feet.

    How long does the AA battery last?

    This Covert Trail Camera can be ran with 4 to 12 AA batteries. I recommend using at least 8 if you are going to just be taking photos and will be checking the camera regularly. If you are going to be taking video or using the 3g capabilities I recommend using 12 AA batteries at a time or even use Lithium.

    I used regular AA alkaline batteries and they lasted for several weeks shooting video and still photo (not at the same time). If you use AA lithium batteries the Covert Code Black 12.0 trail camera could last for several months.

    AA alkaline batteries pack of 4 will run you anywhere from $2.50 to about $5.00 versus a 4 pack of AA lithium batteries will cost you $9.95 and up. Always carry some extra batteries in your pocket just in case!

    Don't forget you can also attach a Solar panel external power source. This Solar panel external power source comes with a power cord to attach to the Covert camera and is weather proof.

    Covert Solar panel power Source for the Covert trail cameras will cost $69.99 and will include everything you need to make the connection to your trail camera.

    How much storage does it have?

    The Code Black trail camera only has one type of storage and that is on an SD card. It can accept an SD card up to 32GB.

    A 2GB SD card will store a lot of photos and videos. The Code Black will show on the viewing screen an estimate of the amount of photos that whatever size card you have in the camera will hold. I used a 2G card and it showed that 1879 photos could be stored. You can find a lot of charts on the Internet about how many can be stored but if you use at least a 2G card you should have plenty of storage.

    Now if you are using this Trail Camera in TIME LAPS mode you need to use a SD card that is larger than a 2G. I recommend using at least a 8GB but a 32GB card will be even better. You will need a large amount of storage because you will actually be taking a lot of photo. I also recommend using 12 batteries and even a battery extender or solar panel. Remember if you are using a Solar panel you must use rechargeable batteries.

    Basically you are taking a photo every few seconds you can even set the camera to take a photo every 5-second to every 8 Hours. You then save the photo in a program (A download of this program comes with each camera) and the program stitches the photos together into what looks like a video.


    I give the COVERT CODE BLACK: 4 stars out of 5


    It is small and lightweight. It records video in two different resolutions and still photos in color and black and white.


    Some times the night photos are dark and a little grainy when sent via 3g but the full resolution is recorded on the SD card. Battery life is not as long as in the past but I may have gotten some not so fresh battries.

    I give this trail camera a big Thumbs Up. It was very easy to operate and with the manual it was easy to learn. It has a viewing screen to check your photos with in the field. The CODE BLACK trail camera is a little pricey if you only want a camera to record photos or video and not send anything via 3g but if you are wanting or needing the camera to send you photos using 3g this camera is reasonably priced. Trail Cameras and More have the Code Black 12.0 for $399.99 with FREE shipping.