Today the trail camera has become popular because of many reasons; it is used for little human interference in wildlife photography. The images captured by researchers can easily be reviewed by others researchers’ .It can be used for quantifying different species in the area. It is used for identifying new species and sometimes rare species. It is used for photographic evidence of endangered animals and species. It is used for finding animals on which researchers are researching. Trail camera can be used for property surveillance and can be placed in garden, garage and in the building for security purpose. It can be used in factories and production unit for minimizing theft issues. It can be used for wildlife crime too.

The most common and featured use of trail cameras is however done in the field of hunting. Hunters usually place trail cameras in the areas they want to hunt during and before game season so that they can monitor the activities and habits of the animals and other subjects in the area.

Trail Camera Buyer Guide

Features of Trail camera:

Trail camera is an amazing modern technology of today’s scientific world. Trail cameras usually have a structure that consists of a waterproof box with a lens along with latest technical bits inside. Cameras are mostly operated by humans. However, a trail camera is self powered/self operated camera. Trail camera is a waterproof camera. Also because these are self operated they have waterproof structures and can be used for underwater photography too. Also trail cameras are designed to be used in the outdoors and therefore they have tough structures which make them durable as well. Trail cameras can easily work in daylight and during night time as well. Pictures and videos can be saved easily into internal and/or external memory depending on the model of the camera and whether or not it supports external SD card memory.

With the trail cams a person can record every single activity, minute by minute and second by second frequently. This can be done repeatedly according to a predefined schedule. They are fast gaining recognition and importance in the world of today. People are becoming more inclined to use trail cameras for hunting and other activities these days.

There are however over 100 different types and models to choose from with different aspects being important depending on how you plan to use your camera, it is therefore important to conduct research into the different models available and their features before making a purchase decision. There are many different sites online that offer trail camera reviews with in depth analysis into the different features of those trail cameras. But  finding the best trail camera (here is an example of good resource besttrailcamerareviews.org) for your needs also depends on more than just trail camera reviews, you also need to know how you plan to use it.

Potential Uses

  • Taking pictures obliviously with negligible light
  • Surveillance around evening time

Auto and truck permit plates around evening time. Due to front light glare, it is hard to take pictures of permit plates around evening time. By utilizing an IR visible with an IR 715nm channel or IR-Only cam, you can light up the permit plate from an impressive separation.

  • Night time creature studies

Trail cams are becoming an essential of today. It is an integral part of the surveillance now. These are the cutting edge gadgets with state of the art technology. To meet the needs and demands of the today surveillance trail cams are now designed more creatively and innovatively. It is normally self operating, durable, innovative and creative. The innovation such as the IR, Wifi and Cellular Motion has increased its utility in multiple of ways. It increased its potential to work efficiently even in the dark, with minimum light particularly at night. Not only that, surveillance Trail cams is used in wild life study and exploration. These are the cutting edge gadgets with state of the art technology. Here is a site that makes good comparisons and trail camera reviews of the most advanced products: www.trailcamerazone.com

How trail cameras function?

The primary rule of a trail cam or cam trap is that it can be put in a remote area and set to record when there is movement. You can then return and survey what has been recorded at a later date. What you need to do is open the trail cam, set the controls with the catches inside, close the case and strap it to a tree. Most trail cams are truly simple to set up. The principle controls are:

  • Type of recording – Movies or stills

Most trail cams have the alternative to record astounding feature or stills. These all ordinarily have sub settings for size and quality which can be designed to get best comes about. Motion pictures regularly utilize a great deal more memory than stills and use up a lot of battery life as well.

  • Length, size or nature of recording

Depending on the off chance that you decide to record a film or stills, you will have further choices: Movies – Size, quality and length of time. Stills – Size and quality

  • Sensitivity

Incorporated with most cams is movement location sensor. The affectability can be balanced relying upon what you are attempting to film and the area. You can set the affectability to overlook easy development and just record when an expansive item passes by.

Types of trail camera:

There are many different types of trail camera in the market and many different brands to choose from with the most popular ones being Bushnell (see here) and Moultrie as they stand for high quality trail cameras that have great features. According to different size, shape, and colors. But there are mainly two types of trail camera. One is the Incandescent flash camera another type is an infrared flash camera.

The incandescent flash camera can take photos day and night, but it can also become a frustrating tool because of its flash property that draws attention to the photo equipment. So there is always a high chance that animal may walk off from the camera. It uses more energy. It spooks animals away from the camera. Its trigger speed is slower than other type of trail camera.

The infrared flash camera is the most popular type of trail camera but other types like wireless trail cameras (see here) are also very popular. It works on the principle that if there is heat and the sensor of the camera detects it. Heat and motion triggers the camera and the camera captures the image. The pictures of infrared flash camera are black and white at night. It is more expensive than incandescent camera. It has long battery life .It has faster recovery and trigger speed.

Trail cameras have now become an essential aspect of hunting and also wildlife studies and researches. Although you will find hundreds and thousands of reviews available about game cameras or trail cameras online, you cannot buy one that suits your requirements until and unless you are pretty informed about the particular features of a trail camera and which type of a trail camera would suit your requirements best.  You should read reviews and try and increase your know how of game cameras prior to purchasing one so that you know which one will fit your requirements best.

If you are a hunting enthusiast or you like wildlife photography, game cams or trail cams can be a very effective tool for you to gather significant information about your subject. During or before the hunting season, trail cameras can be set up outdoors to collect valuable information about the prey’s habits and everything else.

There are infrared and incandescent flash cameras available that allow users great variations in resolution, quality, definition and color when taking pictures during the day or during the night time as well.  Also features such as battery life, external LCD monitors and others can be very valuable features depending on the needs of the camera user.

Earlier game cameras had only heat sensing technology to detect game and were very basic devices which gave no information about the type of animal, its size, and other distinct features and thus cameras were added. Models that came out in the 80s and 90s were very limited. They just had a 35mm film and only motion sensing technology which would get triggered even on the little movement of leaves as well and would capture that on film. Later onwards digital cameras were introduced and combined with heat sensing technology, the new innovations made the game cameras even more effective.

Infrared or incandescent flash?

This happens to be one of the most important decisions when one wants to purchase a game camera.  Incandescent or flash cameras both have pros and cons of their own. Which one proves to be optimal for the user depends entirely on their personal preferences and beliefs as to which one will be more effective, which will be a trade off and which is going to be worth the money spent on it.

Infrared

Infrared light is on the non-visible spectrum and therefore it cannot be seen. If someone is staring right at the camera while the infrared flash goes off, only them he/she/it will be able to see a tiny red dot when the flash goes off but it is minimal and doesn’t really reflect anything.

Infrared Flash Visibility

The best thing about using an infrared camera in comparison to the traditional incandescent flash camera is that there is absolutely no chance of spooking the animals the camera is being used to observe. When the game cannot see the flash, obviously the chance of it being spooked or wavering from its natural habits decreases to a minimal.

Power consumption by infrared cameras

Infrared flashes don’t need to charge before the flash goes off. Also each flash does not require a huge power consumption. In comparison to an incandescent flash the energy consumption is about 20-40 times less of an infrared flash. If you think battery life of your camera is more important to you, then sacrificing on color and resolution may be well worth the whole deal. Because infrared cameras don’t need to be charged as often, it also increases their trigger time and the time is also virtually unchanged from night time to day with infrared cameras. Whereas incandescent cameras are a full second slower at night during the day time.

Resolution, picture quality and definition

It is common knowledge that light is a big necessity for all cameras. Replace the bright flash light of the camera with that of an infrared light, and there is certainly going to be a big loss in the resolution and quality of the images. Also the color goes monochrome, as black and white. Infrared cameras take grainy pictures, they might be blurry at times and have lower quality and resolution as compared to the incandescent flash cameras. Therefore it entirely depends upon the choice of the user whether or not he or she is going to sacrifice on battery life, picture quality and resolution for colored images or he wants to have a infrared camera that will compromise on image quality but deliver performance for long and in an effective manner.

Incandescent flash

Flashes available on most of the modern cameras are incandescent.  The flash is very bright and will light up areas which are pitch black too. This can however be very beneficial but problematic at the same time as well. More light will definitely mean a good quality photo in a higher resolution but at the same time it means more power consumption and very potentially it can also spook the game.

Incandescent flash visibility

This flash is very visible. Everybody, people and animal can see it from a distance. People might not be but animals will be definitely spooked and run away somewhere. If a hunter wants to study the habits of a particular animal during day and night time, better picture quality might not be worth the deal.

Power consumption

As compared to infrared cameras, incandescent ones consume a lot of power. If battery life is an issue for the user, he should definitely opt for an infrared camera only.

Resolution and image quality

The image quality and resolution of incandescent trail cameras are their unique selling point. Infrared cameras stand nowhere near to the incandescent cameras when it comes to image quality and resolution. The picture will be crisp, sharper in comparison to an infrared camera image and will also be available in its actual colors.

Other features

Once it has been decided by the user about the type of flash they want,  it is the time to decide and look at the differences between various types of cameras available in the market. You should keep in mind that a high priced model will definitely have additional features and a greater usage as compared  to their low price counterparts. However it should not be forgotten that some additional features that come with additional cost might not be useful to a particular user at all. Therefore a wise decision needs to be made.

Resolution

Resolution of all cameras is measured in megapixels. You can easily find digital cameras in the range of 12-18 megapixels but when it comes to game cameras the most available choice is within the range of 3-7 megapixels only. The higher the number of the megapixels, the more clearer and crisper the image will be.

Capture modes ( multiple, burst shots, videos)

There are game cameras available now that offer users the option of shooting videos as well. Hunters don’t really need the option of video shooting but this can prove to be very useful  if the camera is being used for surveillance or security purposes at home or offices. Other options in the capture modes available in the cameras include burst shots (pictures are taken over a specific time period) and these capture activities and actions that just one photo might actually miss. Although burst shots are great if you want to capture images of the subject in various time slots and in various actions, this might be heavy on the memory card and fill it up much faster.

Also video shooting options also have a downside as they consume up a lot of battery life and take up memory space as well. If you need to take videos, ensure that you have a memory card with a big memory space. Also you will need to check your camera more frequently to get video chunks from it.  High activity levels will burn battery and take up good memory space real quick, so ensure that your camera has enough of battery and space to operate normally.

Security

Game cameras need to be protected as they are more often used outdoors than indoors. The best way to secure a game camera and protect it against all kinds of damages is its security box. The security boxes are made in such a way that they can hold the camera within and have built-in holes for running cables through and also a padlock system. A lot of other security features for game cameras include password protection, padlock tabs so that the case cannot be opened by all. However a thief with proper equipment will be able to dismantle the padlock easily and the password protection doesn’t really matter unless the unit hasn’t been stolen.

There are also anti theft cables which allow users to hook up their trail cameras some good distance above the ground which is great for capturing shots and videos and will also keep the camera away from the eyes of thieves and snatchers.

Viewing options

There are a number of trail cam models available in the market which have built in LCD screens which will not only tell users about the number of pictures taken but will also allow them to view those pictures from the memory card there and then.  Although the images on the small LCD screen of the cameras won’t be as visible and as clear as they might be on monitors or bigger screens, they will at least give you an idea about what is going on, and what the camera has captured. You can easily check if the camera has captured something worthwhile by viewing the images on the LCD screen then and there. This will also enable you to decide whether the current position of the camera is fine or not.

Note: you should however consider the fact that having a LCD screen on the camera is going to be drain on the battery. Also if you spend time in the woods fooling around with the camera, you are more likely to spread your scent and distract the animals in the woods.

Battery life

A number of hunters live at a great distance from their hunting locations. Also a lot of hunters don’t really have the time or feasible set up to visit their hunting locations every other day to ensure their camera unit still has power or not. Cheaper cameras can burn about a half dozen of batteries in a weeks time. There are units that last about months on the same batteries so an insight on the camera’s battery life is a must before the purchase.

Camera consumption affects the battery life but there are people who ignore this aspect all together and grab the first camera whose features appeal to them.  So before you buy a trail camera, check for its battery life and the type of batteries it can consume. Those which take rechargeable batteries can give you long working hours. If you properly maintain rechargeable batteries you can have your camera working for hours. There are various types of batteries available in the market, alkaline and lithium being the most common ones.

There are a number of trail cameras that come along external power supply options.  There are models which have 6V or about 12V of external battery supply. These cameras are excellent solutions for hunters who live far away from the observation area or the place where the camera has been set up.

There are a lot of different models of trail cameras in the market which come along solar power panels. Most of them take about 5-6 C’s batteries and they really don’t cost up that much. Users can leave their solar powered cameras in the game area for about weeks and months and get some of the best game pictures and finest observations.

External batteries or a solar panel for power is a great option for trail cameras that are monster battery consumers.  Also high end trail cameras have low battery indicators that proves to be very helpful in such conditions.

Detection Circuit

This is one of the most important aspects of the trail camera. The entire detection circuit is made up of three different parts in the camera. These include the range or detection zone as it is commonly known, the trigger speed and recovery time of the camera.

The detection zone is made combined with the detection distance and width of the camera.  The distance at which the camera can detect game and trigger to take the picture is the detection distance. The greater the distance of detection, the more area the camera will cover and it will be able to take pictures of animals standing further away from the cameras as well.

A lot of cameras have a very narrow range of detection. This means that the animal or the subject needs to cross the center of the lens so that it can be detected and the camera triggers to take the picture. The camera’s sensing mechanism is known as passive infrared aka PIR. Other models available in the market have greater detection zones and thus they are triggered by action in a huge area. The wider the width of detection in a camera, the better it will be, as per the user’s needs.

Trigger speed

Trigger speed or trigger time is another very important aspect of a good trail camera. The trigger speed is the amount of time that passes when the animal/subject is detected by the camera sensor and the time when it takes the picture. A fast trigger speed can bring a whole lot of different to the entire photo taken. It can mean the difference between catching the subject in action and missing it within a fraction of a second.

Memory types

There are a lot of cameras that come along with internal memory. This is a great feature because for such cameras, one does not have to buy external SD memory cards and the images can be taken directly from the unit. This can however be troublesome as the hunter might have to dislodge the camera, connect it to a pc or laptop and then take out the pictures. If a camera has an external memory card, the card can be taken out easily and swapped with a blank one while the user takes out the pictures from the card. Also using an external memory card, the memory of the device can also be expanded. If you want to expand and upgrade the memory of your trail camera, you can spend some extra money and buy one which supports external SD memory cards.

Wireless/ cellular trail cameras

There are a number of trail cameras in the market that use the GSM technology to send pictures via text or email over a network. These trail cameras work with a text-only SIM and have MMS mode enabled into them through a network carrier and once the pictures are taken, they are transferred over the network to a mobile number or an email id. Cellular trail cameras have built in antennas into them which actually enable the camera to trace signals and also strengthen them in case the signal happens to drop or get weaker somewhere. If you think your hunting area is under your network coverage, you can get yourself a cellular trail camera.

Anywhere where there is decent cellular network coverage, you can use the cell trail cams. You can also be alerted via text or email when there is activity near the camera. These sort of cameras make great security and surveillance cameras as well because they can provide instant notification. These are great for cabins, boat docks and also storage sheds.

Wireless/ Wi-Fi trail cameras

The world has changed and today you can find trail cameras with built in wireless, Wi-Fi technology as well. There are models which can detect Wi-Fi from up to 300 feet and can be accessed remotely or transfer data using the Wi-Fi technology as well. Also they don’t require any carrier charges or monthly subscription. The only drawback of a Wi-Fi enabled trail camera is that it can have a very terrible battery life and a bad range.

Where to buy a good game camera?

Retailers who deal in hunting gear and other sporting goods are where you can find a good game camera. Also there are a number of hunting expos where game cameras can be found if you are willing to purchase them physically. The best option one would have when it comes to buying trail cameras will be definitely online as no physical store can provide people with such wide variety of choices under one roof and no greater platform to compare pricing options.

Budget and price

This is the most determining factor when it comes to purchasing a trail camera. You will obviously know that a high end trail camera will definitely be hell expensive but its features and usability will be worthwhile. Whereas if you invest in a low cost camera, there are chances that you don’t get what you’ve been actually looking for.  The best way one can determine what game camera they want is to research the market for the requirements and features they want in a camera, look up different brands, compare prices and then finalize their choices after much thinking and deliberation.

Game cameras are very complex and every camera has its own individual features and specifications. This guide will help you walk through the buying process of a game camera very easily. Read this up, take into account the features you want according to your concerns and specialized needs and then compare prices of the cameras you have available in the market.

With this guide it is hoped that you will have better knowledge and will be able to decide which trail camera you want in a more informative manner. You won’t be fooled or become overwhelmed by the number of choices available to you in the market and also have knowledge about what you need.

In easier terms, you will be able to understand each and every technical specification of a particular trail camera easily, you will identify potential investments and those which will only make you cry for the money you invested in them. It is very essential that you go through this guide before you can purchase a trail cam for hunting, wildlife study, photography or even security surveillance at your homes or offices.