Yukon Mobile Personal Recorder (Yukon MPR) - recording device review
PUBLISHED: 17:08 14 June 2016 | UPDATED: 17:08 14 June 2016
Chris Parkin presents a review of the Yukon Mobile Personal Recorder (Yukon MPR) film/recording device
A very functional kit with all required parts
Internal memory and great battery capacity
Some controls were very difficult to operate, particularly fast forward and reverse on screen
A great piece of kit but please show caution with what and where you display your video footage. This is certainly a great learning tool for the usually dark `classroom` in which Night Vision is used
Thanks also to Swillington Shooting Supplies for the Yukon Photon 6.5x50 XT
I have had a Yukon Photon fitted to several rifles for six months now and, I must admit, I’m a total convert for pest control. From .22 RF through .17 HMR to .223 centrefire, it has allowed many opportunities, but the addition of a video recorder was something I couldn’t quite see the benefits of – not until I had actually ‘plugged and played’ with Yukon’s MPR (Mobile Personal Recorder).
The personal recorder comes with everything you need to connect to any NV device, with a video-out port as well as a charging lead and extra video-out leads, allowing you to connect it to TV video-in ports, or your PC’s USB port, to download footage. The internal battery is a high-capacity lithium polymer design and, tapped into the mains via a supplied USB plug, charges the unit with a visible red light to signify its progress. There is a ¼” UNC standard camera tripod thread below the screen if you want to gun mount it but, unless you want to use the display screen for live footage broadcast, I found it easy to leave in my pocket, for which the one-metre lead is long enough. This does depend entirely on your shooting style, as I’m no lover of wires trailing all over the place, but most of my night-time forays are ambush style from fixed locations, so snagging the lead is no issue.
SD cards are the modern standard in data storage, and the MPR takes a standard full-sized card, which I prefer to the ‘micro’ units that are easy to drop/lose. You actually get a 1GB unit supplied, and the MPR has 2GB of internal storage itself which gets you started, but a 16/32GB card soon makes life a lot easier as the battery will power the unit to record long beyond your NV camera’s battery. I always carry spares anyway, so I leave no room for error. I taped the lead from my 6.5x50 Photon to the side of the scope tube, and wrapped the joint between the Photon’s supplied AV-out lead and the MPR’s video-in lead to add security – it’s a push fit and could easily disconnect otherwise. I charged the battery and had a go in daylight to familiarise myself with all the settings and features.
Make sure you follow the instructions in the manual for all the button controls and sequences, as these are quite extensive with various set-up options for video quality, screen auto shut off times, etc., but when you get the hang of things the systems become fairly obvious. You can take snapshot photos as well, but generally it is ‘fit, turn on, and forget’, because you have your hands full when shooting anyway and need little extra distraction. As well as using the on-board TFT screen to display previously recorded footage, you can also mount it to the gun and use it as a live feed for more relaxed viewing, or to allow a shooting companion to see what you are doing. Just be cautious of the fact that it will reflect significantly, lighting up your face when you are looking at it, and diminishing your own night vision, especially when you first turn it on as the Yukon blue/green logo at start-up is very bright; it would have been better in a dimmer colour in my opinion.
In use you have a remaining battery charge display, time stamp on the recording screen, and direct push buttons to control the features; you can set the display screen to automatically turn off even though the unit is recording, as this saves serious battery power. There is a vibration function to signify the on/off state, but its irritating ‘zzzz’ punctuates footage, so I turned it off permanently.
Scrolling through past encounters for display on screen is easy enough, but on longer videos I did have trouble getting the fast forward/reverse function to find the right place within the footage; although realistically, the whole point of a recorder is to record, not to distract you when actually out shooting, and when the files are transferred back to your PC or laptop, the world is your oyster. Video is recorded in AVI format with approximately 25MB required for each minute of film, but as resolution is quite low from the Photon itself, don’t expect glorious image quality on your TV or PC screen. Enlarging the fixed number of pixels to a larger physical size is actually counterproductive, so don’t rush out to buy a 50” widescreen display as the image will just become grainier.
When waiting out over fixed baits for a problem fox I loved the ability to set the gun up in a rest position with the screen turned on, and relax a little without having to keep my head nailed down to the eyepiece which, on long waits, anyone would find fatiguing. And, perhaps most importantly, as night vision is a slightly secret world, you cannot share what you are seeing with another person so, especially in the early stages of using it, it is very important to learn to recognise and differentiate quarry species and movement, as well as showing someone how backgrounds and backstops of known land can become obscure and deceptive.
After a shot has been taken, and especially if a miss has been recorded, I particularly like to be able to dissect whether the shot was good; although I don’t doubt my own ability to miss sometimes, it is very interesting to see how some shots can leave you scratching your head, when they appear to have been perfectly executed. The objective witness to your shot aim and release does show that sometimes it is the ammo going astray, not just your own imagination.
I’m not really one to get too interested in recording and playing back gratuitous and perhaps somewhat voyeuristic night vision videos to record my kiss for posterity, but with digital night vision becoming so much more accessible and functional for serious pest control, I cannot help but respect the ability recording the footage gives you to help show others what you are doing.
Sound is recorded on the MPR, and you will of course pick up the banter and chit-chat between a two-man team, so editing on a PC can be rather mandatory before further use of footage.