Choose Which Wildlife Trail Camera to Buy
Our Guide to Choosing and Buying the Right Wildlife Trail Camera for You
The features we think are important, and why.....
1. Camouflaged Case
Makes the camera easier to hide from both your wildlife targets, and also would be thieves.
2. High Image and Video Resolution
Go for the highest resolution you can afford. Try to go for a unit which combines 12mega pixel images with HD quality video
3. Side Prep Motion Sensors
These allow the camera to sleep, then be woken up by movement detected by the very low power side prep sensors, so by the time the target is in the picture area the unit is awake and ready to fire. If you don't have this option, you'll be reliant on the camera being fully awake at all times, which will greatly shorten battery life, and also cause you to record lots of false position images and video - a frustration to avoid.
4. Long Battery Life
Battery life can vary from a couple of days to several weeks. The best trail camera units have sufficient battery capacity and power conservation features to allow the camera to remain live for at least a couple of months. Writing this in December 2012, we have a unit deployed late august which still has over 1/4 of battery life left with continuous use.
5. Night Vision
Some of the most interesting activity occurs at night. Without night vision your camera may well trigger, but you'll just see darkness.
6. No Glow Invisible LED Infra Red
Many units come with visible infra red lighting. This means each time the unit is triggered, the LED's will glow red, which means they can be seen by both wildlife and would be thieves. Our preference is to choose a trail camera with completely invisible infrared. This will still provide ample illumination for several metres.
7. Viewing Screen
Choosing a trail camera with a built in set up screen will help you position the camera to get the best view of the target area. Without this, you may end up adjusting the camera angle/position once you've viewed images captured.
8. MMS/Email Messaging (Our opinion - OPTIONAL)
We've got trail cameras with Sim cards fitted, and it is a very useful feature, but certainly not essential. The benefits are that you'll know when the camera has taken an image because you'll receive a copy by MMS or email, within a minute or so. One potential downside is the cost per message you may by charged depending on your SIM deal. Another potential pitfall is that MMS technology is very dependent on having a good signal from your mobile network, which is sometimes not strong enough in the rural areas you may wish to deploy in. To help you decide, the Ofcom Site finder Mobile Phone Base Station Database Map is a good point of reference.
We'd particularly like to share your views of trail cameras you've tested. Use the form at the bottom of every page, or email us.
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