Thursday, August 24, 2017
Trail Camera Buying Guide
Every trail camera is designed with different goals in mind. When evaluating and comparing game cameras, consider each of the following points carefully in relation to your reason for wanting a camera in the first place.
The design of a trail camera (for example: MOULTRIE PANORAMIC 150 GAME CAMERA )
is important due to two factors: concealment purposes and durability.
A trail camera that is compact and covered in a camouflage tone (possibly with a bark-like texture) makes it easier to hide from potential thieves, as well as animals like bears that are known to destroy such devices.
If your trail camera is made of a durable material and is rated to withstand extreme weather conditions, you will get more life out of it than a cheap, flimsy camera that could be destroyed by a single drop of water.
2. Camera Clarity
The more megapixels a game camera has the clearer your pictures will be. Remember how blurry images were when cell phones with cameras first went on the market? Those were largely one and two megapixel cameras. Today’s modern trail cameras are rated as high as 14 megapixels, and you can also adjust the pixilation to save battery life if picture clarity isn’t a top priority.
High-definition video resolution is especially important for hunters who want to keep an eye on the movements and habits of specific targets. Trail cameras that have video recording capabilities come with everything from 240P to 1080P resolutions.
When considering your video recording needs, also pay attention to the length of the videos that your camera is capable of recording. Some models max out at 15 seconds while others can record for as long as 2 minutes and there are sometimes differences between daytime and nighttime recording lengths.
4. Flash & Night Vision
Night vision technology has made tremendous advancements in recent years. When it comes to scouting, tracking, and home surveillance, night vision is a necessity. There are three basic types of flashes when it comes to trail cameras.
An incandescent flash is the type used by standard cameras (the “white” flash). While functional for the purpose of snapping a photo, an incandescent flash is extremely obvious and will likely scare targets away from the area. Cameras with an incandescent flash are usually less expensive because they alert whatever triggered the camera to its existence and location. However, they also tend to have slower trigger and recovery speeds. Additionally, incandescent flash bulbs draw more battery power than infrared and covert LED bulbs. Incandescent flash trail cameras can take full-color photos during the day that turn out extremely well, and as of 2017 incandescent or “white” LEDs are the only ones that will result in full-color photos/videos at night.
Infrared flash trail cameras have LEDs that emit a reddish glow at nighttime. You might have seen infrared LED bulbs on security cameras in an office or at the convenience store. This kind of flash is useful for aiding in motion and heat detection and it makes photos taken at night clearer. While more subtle than an incandescent flash, animals and/or intruders can still notice the infrared flash if they are looking in the general direction of the camera itself. Infrared LEDs use substantially less battery power than incandescent bulbs, but nighttime photos may be somewhat grainy. Trail cameras with standard infrared LEDs can only capture photos and videos in black and white at nighttime.
The most advanced type of flash technology available today for trail cameras goes by many names, including ghost, black, and no-glow. Each of these terms is used by various trail camera manufacturers to describe illuminators that appear to emit no light whatsoever. The light waves produced by covert trail cameras are very effective at illuminating targets and they are virtually undetectable to even the most cautious animals. Trail cameras like the Bushnell 14MP Trophy Cam HD Aggressor and the Stealth Cam G42 No-Glo are especially advanced in this area. Such models have flash technology that uses slightly more battery power than a camera with an infrared flash, but no-glow flash photos are of the highest quality. Black flash trail cameras are the easiest to conceal and the most difficult to detect. Serious hunters who are willing to pay for the latest technology will likely opt for game cameras that use no-glow LEDs because they provide great results, thanks to the camera quality, lighting quality, and trigger speed. Photos and videos recorded at night will be in black and white but they tend to be exceptionally clear.
5. Detection Circuit
Range – A camera’s range will determine how close movement needs to happen for the camera to detect it and snap a photo or record a video. A minimum range of 30-40 feet is preferable, and some game cameras can detect movement from up to 100 feet away. Knowing where you plan to deploy your camera is crucial when figuring out how much of a range you’ll need.
Field of Vision – A trail camera that can detect movement 100 feet away is useless if it can only see things that pass directly to the front. The field of vision rating of game cameras tells you how wide of an angle the camera has. 40-50 degrees is standard, and some cameras have up to a 100-degree field of vision. A couple of cameras are even designed with a 360-degree field of vision (see the Wildgame Innovations 360 trail camera review above).
Trigger speed is defined as the amount of time between when the camera detects movement and when it snaps the photo/starts the video. The higher the trigger speed, the higher the chance that you’ll catch only the back end of your target (or miss it altogether). The Stealth Cam G30 Triad Armed trail camera and the Bushnell 14MP Trophy Cam HD Aggressor have two of the fastest trigger speeds at 0.5 and 0.2 seconds, respectively.
Recovery speed is the time a trail camera needs to capture and save a photo before being primed to take another photo. If you want to track multiple targets in a group or observe the general movement of a target then you’ll want a recovery speed of five seconds or less, and many game cameras boast recovery speeds of less than three seconds.