What Is The Best Trail Camera?
A Quick guide for Trail Cameras
The Question should be " What is the best Trail Camera for you?".
When looking for a Trail Camera there's is thousands to pick from and to choose the best one you need to have at least a short list of criteria of what is important to you.
- Battery Life
- Picture Quality
This is the short list but I will explain them a little more below. There are many different ways to choose one that works best for you, but if you don't know where to start this is a good place to start.
Price: you don't have to sacrifice Quality
Game Cameras can come with many features and like with any thing else the price can go way up with these features.
But you don't have to settle for bad quality because of price when it come to Trail Cameras. Once you have figured out what you want the camera to do, you will be able to find one that works for you in just about every price range.
With that said if you are on a low budget you may have to make a few trade offs, but you should still be able to find one that does what you need it to do.
Prices range from 50.00 to well in to the hundreds.
Battery Life varies not only from camera to camera but with the way you use it and even because of the weather.
Most of this it common sense but here's a list of somethings to consider:
- How many picture's per second or hour.
- Day/Night pics or just day (flash uses more battery)
- Type of flash (more about that in Picture Quality section)
- How often can you check the camera
So let's say you buy a mid-range priced Trail Camera that uses 4 c Batteries. You put it out and have it set to take a 3 burst set of pics or video and incandescent flash at night, in the winter with Alkaline Batteries. This will be very low battery life.
That Same Camera set at 1 pic, no video, and minimal night pics, with Lithium batteries(which last longer in cold weather) is going to last a lot longer.
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Trail Camera Picture Quality
OK here I am going to try to put the most important things with out going on to long.
The 1st thing is don't get pull in by the megapixel's. A 5 MP camera with a good lens willl take better pictures than a 8MP with a low quality lens.
Night Pictures: if you want high quality color night pictures then you need a Cam with Incandescent Flash (basically the everyday flash you are use to on cameras). Infrared ( LED ) flash can take high quality pics but they are in black and white.
Trigger Speed: Basically how fast does the camera take the picture after motion has been detected. This usually ranges from 0.1 to as long as 5 seconds. If you are trying to get pictues where animals linger then a slower trigger is OK. If you are trying to take pictures of game on the move, faster trigger is needed.
Infrared or Uncandescent
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There are a few things to consider when it comes to range.
1st is the range of the motion detection. If you are trying to get pictures of a field you will need longer range detection then if you are getting pictures from whats right in front of the camera.
The width of the dectection is very important in most cases. If the camera only has a 3 foot wide detection area (even if it's 45 foot out from the camera) and you are looking to get animals in motion, then you are likely to get just the back end of your subject if you get them at all.
A wide detection zone will help get things that are lounging at the edge of your camera range along with those faster moving critters.
That said let's move on to picture depth. We have one Game Camera that takes great pictures. Everything is clear and good quality way past the area we are trying to get pictures from, but the camera is only triggered when something is with in the 30 feet and even less if we have it set for night pictures. Most trail cams will tell you the the flash range. This is a good gauge of your depth of field for pictures.
If you are going to want night pictures Range of flash should be consider 1st or at least along with picture quality.
Other Things to Think About
When trying to look for a Good Trail Camera the amount of infomation out there can be a lot to take in. I hope that this Short list can help you get started.
Here are a couple more things you can consider:
Memory: Internal or External ( SD Card and how large).
External Power source options: Most but not all Trail Cams will have a way to hook to an external battery pack or other power source. These are great when you want a lot of high quality pictures or you can't check your camera regularly. For instance, you have property up north and only get up there once a month.
Built in viewing: We have SD cards in all our Trail Cams and carry extra cards with us so we can switch them out and then run back and check them all on the laptop. There is some Cams that come with viewing screens built in but they are very small. Other options include SD card viewers and mini laptops. Some Cams UBS cable hook ups if you want to check pictures out in the wild.
Weather Proof: Most Trail Cams are built to with stand the weather, but some are built to with stand it better then others. Check the seals on your Camera's and make sure they are still weather proof.
Programing: The more options the more complicated the programing can be. Most of the one we have tried have come with pretty good instructions, but that hasn't stopped us from going out to check one and have nothing on it.
If you find a trail Camera you think you might want but just aren't sure, go to the manufacturer's site and see if they have the User's Manual on line. Take a look at it and see if it helps you in you decision.look for reviews on line, And Buy from somewhere that has a No Hassle Return Policy.