Top surveillance trail cameras reviewed – Buying guide & Comparison for 2023
If you are scouring the net in hopes of finding the best trail camera to use for surveillance, but you just lack time to do the research on the subject, this paragraph can help you out. After reading plenty of specialized reviews and after analyzing aspects such as overall brand quality, our recommendation to you is that you invest in the Distianert Trail Camera as it is a reliable product. The model has an amazing trigger speed of no more than 0.6 seconds, and there is no delay between the model’s triggers. As a plus, the device has an 80 ft. detection range during the day and a 65 ft. flash range in the dark that helps it take clear photos. If the Distianert Trail Camera is out of stock, please consider the TEC.BEAN Trail as it is another proficient unit that you might like.
Our Top Choice
The tool offers an impressive 0.6-second trigger speed and, more importantly, there is no delay between the triggers when it shots still images. It captures 16 MP crystal-clear and colorful images by day and black&white ones at night. Also on the plus side are the photos’ enhanced brightness. It also provides the user with 1080P HD video with sound.
One past buyer thought that the camo pattern on it fades away quite quickly.
The model come with a wide detection range of 80 ft, and the low-glow black-covert LED lights have a 65 ft flash range. Moreover, the 2.4’’ screen is perfect for quick analyzes of the shots it captured.
You'll love that this camera offers 12MP color images and also 1920 by 1080p HD videos with audio that can last up to 90 seconds. You can also take up to 9 photos per trigger, which is super fast since it has a speed of 0.6-0.8s. The added 36 no-glow IR LEDs make sure this camera can extend its night-time vision range up to 75ft and help you hunt down any animal.
Because it has so many features, the camera drains its battery fast.
You'll have many modes to choose from, including Motion Detection and Hybrid Mode and, since with just eight batteries it can last for a long time, you'll also find the piece very economical as well as practical.
Also To Consider
The biggest highlight that impressed buyers is its PIR Motion Sensor that can sense all animals in its proximity since it has a 55' detection range. Moreover, it sports a premium 0.4-sec motion trigger speed, so it won't miss snapping detailed pictures even if the animal you're hunting is super fast and sneaky. Another feature is the fact that the camera is very intuitive.
Although quite sturdy, this piece doesn't seem very premium-looking.
Lastly, the unit is equipped with 26 infrared LEDs that have a 100' range, and a super cool mode called Zero Blur that makes sure the stills or high-definition videos you capture at night are crystal clear.
Because we know that finding a good surveillance camera is not as easy as it might seem, we have composed a list of highly essential features that you should not ignore when shopping in this line of products.
Photo and video quality
Similarly to when buying a pair of high-quality wildlife viewing binoculars, where it is essential that you opt for a model with a wide FOV, one of the most important features that you have to consider when purchasing a trail camera for surveillance is photo and video quality.
From this point of view, many reviews of surveillance trail cameras suggest that you go for the model with the highest megapixel count as this means that you will be capable of taking high-quality images of the people that trespass on your property.
Similarly, keep in mind that some of the units that you can find for sale can also take short videos in HD. Moreover, similarly to the technology used when developing night vision binoculars, some products come fitted with features that allow the device to function both during the night and during the day.
However, if you decide to go for such a device, we recommend that you stay away from the items that emit a flash, as it might be seen by the intruders. Likewise, the models that make themselves noticed are more likely to be stolen.
Yet, if you want to be sure that your camera is good for the task, you could buy one that has a wireless connection. These models can actively send the recorded images and videos to a Dropbox account and, thus, you will be able to tell who stole it.
What is more, the models that use an SD card can also do the trick. Still, selecting such a unit means that you will have to collect the card and review its contents regularly. Nevertheless, if an intruder knows how a trail camera works, he/she can remove the SD card.
Detection zone and speed
If you want to purchase the best surveillance trail camera that money can get you, you should not overlook the detection zone and the trigger speed of the product. The detection zone of a unit consists of its range, meaning the distance at which a movement triggers the camera and the detection angle (the angle at which movement activates the unit).
Usually, most units have a detection range of between 65 ft. and 85 ft. and an angle of between 90 degrees and 125 degrees. Still, this feature depends on the particularities of each product. Even so, it is recommendable that, before you opt for a product, you go online and read what other users had to say about the capability of a product.
This aspect should be an essential part of the buying process because some manufacturers might not list the actual detection zone of their products.
When it comes to a unit’s speed, you should analyze the recovery speed and the trigger speed of a product. According to the specialists, it is advisable that you pick a camera that has a trigger speed of less than a second.
Design and battery life
Lastly, the product’s design and battery life should also be considered. Similarly to when purchasing a night vision monocular, you should pick a product that is small and lightweight. Also, the product should be camouflaged and thus, inconspicuous so that others do not notice it. This feature is crucial because it is linked to the efficiency of the camera.
Moreover, it is vital that you purchase a waterproof device that can perform well no matter the weather.
Likewise, the battery life of a device is important. It is advisable that you buy a model that is battery operated. Most units run on 4 AA batteries. Still, most devices can be fitted with as many as eight batteries. By doing so, you can be sure that you will only have to replace the unit’s power source twice a year
5 Best Trail Cameras (Reviews) in 2023
Are you still wondering what product to pick? If so, read the following list of options, and we are sure that you will find a reliable unit that suits your needs.
1. Distianert Trail Camera 16MP 1080P Wildlife Game Camera
With great reviews from previous buyers, this model is definitely one that should make it to your shortlist. The device has a resolution of 12 MP, and it can shoot 1080P videos that you are likely to find easy to understand because of their brightness and clarity.
The unit comes equipped with a fast trigger speed of 0.6 seconds (and a pre-boot of 0.2 seconds). What is more, the camera has a multi-shot feature that allows it to take up to 3 pictures each time it is triggered.
The model comes fitted with what the manufacturer refers to as the latest detection sensor, and it has a trigger angle of 125 degrees. Moreover, this small unit has an 80 ft. detection range during the day, and 65 ft. flash range during the night.
The device is highly appraised for its easy to operate design, and it is warmly recommended by those that currently use it.
Buy from Amazon.com
2. Tec.Bean Trail Camera 12MP 1080P Full HD Game & Hunting Camera
Another product that is difficult to notice by trespassers is the model designed and sold by TEC.BEAN. This item has a trigger speed of 0.8 seconds, and it comes supplied with 36pcs no-glow IR LEDs that are very efficient during the night. The product operates on two modes, motion detection and hybrid mode, a feature that makes it highly suitable as a surveillance unit.
The IP66-rated case of the device is 100% waterproof, dustproof and corrosion resistant and, thus, you don’t have to worry about it not doing its job in challenging weather conditions. Even more so, the model features a time stamp option and a moon phase stamp that you might find interesting.
Nevertheless, the device has a battery life of up to 8 months. Still, this might vary in accordance with the temperature. The model is covered by a one year warranty with replacement or refund. A password can be set if you don’t want the people that steal it to review its recorded data.
Buy from Amazon.com
3. Browning Strike Force Elite Sub Micro Trail Camera 10MP
If you know a thing or two about this type of units, this Browning trail camera is going to stir your interest. The product has a 0.4 seconds motion trigger; it comes supplied with a proficient infrared 36-LED flash that has a range of 100 ft. and it has a recovery time of 0.8 seconds.
What is more, the manufacturer guarantees that the item will not deliver blurred images of any kind. The unit can also shoot 1280 x 720 audio videos that you are unquestionably going to consider useful.
The product has a resolution of 10 MP, and it can take up to 8 multi-shot images and eight rapid-fire pictures. A 55 ft. detection range is also included. The device has a screen for menu navigation and stings selection, and its data strip is said to display additional info such as time, date and temperature.
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4. Crenova Game and Trail
If you want a surveillance unit that can be used alongside a top-notch thermal monocular for the money, we suggest that you opt for the model designed by Crenova. This unit delivers HD images and videos, and it is supplied with 12MP of resolution.
The model allows its user to pre-set a working time for the unit so that its battery is preserved. If you want the product to function for an extended period of time, you can connect it to a solar panel or an AC adapter.
The item has a rather lengthy trigger time of one second and a viewing area of 65 ft. Still, some might argue that this is more than enough for a surveillance unit. A one year warranty covers the model. The device has many positive reviews from its previous buyers, and it is said to do its job well.
Buy from Amazon.com
5. Wosports 12MP Trail Hunting Camera Infrared Night Vision
We couldn’t have ended this selection without mentioning the Wosports Wildlife, a unit that closely resembles the Bushnell trail camera. This model has a full-color resolution of 12MP and the ability to take 920*1080P HD videos. The product has a long night vision range, and it comes provided with a 42pcs 940nm Black IR LED that ensures that color pictures are taken during the night and the day.
The device features a multi shot mode that allows the item to take up to three photos per detection, password protection and timing for each image. An SD/SDHC memory card is also supported. However, the card should not be bigger than 32 GB.
The model has an estimated runtime of 6 months before you have to change its batteries. Similarly to the other products that we have talked about, you have to use 8 AA batteries with it (the batteries have to be acquired separately).
Buy from Amazon.com
» Check the information from past years
If you’re in the market for a quality trail camera, you’ve come to the right place. Based on our findings, the Bushnell Trophy E3 is the best possible choice of product. Featuring a 0.3-second trigger speed, this camera allows you capture up to three clear images per one trigger. Moreover, one change of batteries lasts for one year of camera use. Thanks to the 16MP resolution, this trail camera enables accurate images while the automatic day and night sensor comes in handy for crisper and vivid shots of your target. Should you find that the Bushnell Trophy is out of stock, the second best trail camera in line is the Moultrie A-Series Game Camera.
How to choose the best trail camera
Due to the advances in modern technology, we can use trail cameras for hunting activities. Moreover, they have managed to become an important part of equipment for outdoor photographers and other homeowners that want to secure their houses. If you’re looking for a trail camera for sale that suits your needs and preferences, you might want to learn a few facts about how these devices work and the importance of their features in their overall performance. In order to lend you a helping hand, we’ve researched, and you can check the results in the following paragraphs.
One of the most important features that you shouldn’t overlook is the image quality provided by the trail camera. Basically, it all comes down to the number of megapixels. Just like a regular camera, a good game trail camera needs to have a fantastic image resolution. Hence, more megapixels.
According to most trail camera reviews, you can get a crisp image using a unit outfitted with a low megapixel count of just 4. So, there’s really no need to spend a fortune on a camera that has the largest capacity on the market because all you need is sufficient lighting and a megapixel capacity ranging between 4 and 7 MP.
The majority of trail cameras you’ll find available in stores have this feature, and they don’t cost much. Plus, you can get them at great discounts if you’re careful.
On the other hand, if you need a trail camera for night time photography or for capturing animals in their natural habitat, you might want to check for models with an 11-18 MP capacity. On top of that, if you’re into luxury class cameras that benefit from hi-tech features you can get one with a 20 MP resolution.
The reverse of having a trail camera with many megapixels is that you need to invest in memory cards, quite often.
If you don’t have time to check the camera on a daily basis, look for a unit that enables you to set the level of resolution for capturing images. This feature is vital if you leave the trail camera unattended for an extended period of time.
The area where the trail camera picks up the movement right before capturing the image is called detection zone. Basically, it’s like a triangle that stands out front the camera. Any detected movement inside the triangle area is recognized and then photographed by the device.
Regarding detection type, there are two aspects you need to consider, the range and the width of the tool. Typically, the range goes from 30 to 100 feet for mid-range models.
If your budget allows you to, get the highest range you can because this translates to a larger detection area and more pictures to catch on your trail camera. On the contrary, a narrow range can lead to missing out incredibly opportunities to capture a great picture. This is an impediment especially if you like to hunt or photograph wild animals.
Keep in mind, though, that a device with a narrow range provides fewer pictures, but many of them are better quality, compared to those coming from trail cameras with wider ranges.
If you take a look at some reviews of trail cameras, you’ll notice that all of them talk about battery life and type of batteries used by the product.
The worse possible scenario is to make dozens of return trips to replace the batteries and check the memory left on the SD card.
If you want to avoid this hassle, you need to pay attention to the type of camera that you decide to purchase.
Don’t fall into the trap and believe that if a manufacturer claims that a trail camera lasts up to one year with one set of batteries. Some of them won’t go more than a month without a new replacement. Therefore, check for details about the brand you’re interested. Aside from this, consider the type of activity you need to use the trail camera for.
Besides, the batteries have a strong influence because it can either decrease or increase the time you can operate the trail camera. For example, lithium batteries are a tad more expensive, but they are able to boost the range of the flash. Nickel Metal Hydride or NiMH, also known as rechargeable batteries, are quite an excellent choice if you need to travel. They are convenient and practical, especially for outdoor enthusiasts. However, think twice about choosing them if you live in a warm climate because they discharge fast in high heat conditions.
Usually, trail cameras use SD cards to store the captured videos or photos. Furthermore, there are several kinds of storage capacities. An advanced card with large memory can hold up to thousands of photos.
Depending on the megapixel capacity, you need to choose the storage space wisely. While a 32GB card comes in handy for storing more than 10,000 8MP photos, it will store less than 4,000 pieces of 22MP. Not to mention the fact that using the time-lapse or bust feature too often will take up space without even know it.
If you need a trail camera for house surveillance and you don’t have time to check it at the end of each day, you need to get an SD card with plenty of storage.
Be sure to check the label of the trail camera and see if it is compatible with every type of SD card. A unit that works great with a 32GB capacity might have a hard time recognizing a capacity like 64GB.
From the very first start, you need to establish a budget that you’re willing to spend on a good trail camera. However, make sure you understand that a cheap trail camera is not enough if you’re looking for top-notch quality and cool features such as wireless or Bluetooth technology. These are more suitable for people that need a low-budget unit to complete their hunting tools.
Also, go through several product reviews and read the technical specs, too. If you don’t opt for the ideal camera trail from the beginning, you’ll wake up needing another tool after a couple of months.
8 Best Trail Cameras (Reviews) in 2023
Deciding to get a trail camera is indeed an excellent investment because it provides a lot of benefits without having to overspend.
You can find plenty of good options under $100,00 that showcase cool features useful for hunting activities, outdoor photography or home surveillance.
Depending on your needs and purpose, you can easily find a trail camera that has a long life battery and a wireless function. It’s important to check the battery type prior to making a purchase because this device is up and running 24/7.
A device that uses wireless technology can be paired with your smartphone in order to deliver the captured photos and videos instantly. Plus, if you need a tool to secure your home, it’s best to be able to maneuver it from a far distance.
If you’re tempted to get a cellular trail camera, you should know that you can use your phone to set the camera and the trigger speed according to your desires.
Finding just the right trail camera for your needs can be a daunting task as the market is full of high tech options that may or may not be the best bang for your buck. Luckily, our team has put together a list of models that you should check out before investing your hard earned money.
Best trail camera under 150
1. Bushnell Trophy HD Essential E3 Digital Camera
You don’t have to spend all of your savings on a trail camera because many units provide excellent performance and great features and don’t cost much.
This model is a good choice for trail camera if you need a reliable product for your outdoor activities or house surveillance.
Featuring adjustable settings, the unit enables you to capture up to three images with one trigger. As far as videos go, you can use the camera for shooting anywhere from 5 to 60 seconds at a time. Simply set the trigger interval and let the camera capture the perfect shot.
Thanks to the 16MP resolution and the automatic day and night sensor, the images you get with this device are incredibly vivid and clear.
Furthermore, one set of batteries are more than enough for one year of extended usage of this trail camera.
The unit is outfitted with a fast 1-second recovery rate that allows you to make one picture after another, with fewer blanks in between.
Best trail camera under 100
2. Moultrie A-Series Game Camera All Purpose Series
If you’re in the market for a trail camera that is affordable, yet packed with important features, you must take a look at this unit.
Equipped with 32 LEDs and nighttime invisible infrared technology, this trail camera allows you to see clearly even from 60-feet away, no matter the light conditions. This way, if you need to use to tool for capturing wild animals on camera, you can do so without letting them know that you’re in the near proximity.
Due to the Motion Detection Delay, you can opt to capture images after different time intervals, ranging from 5 to 5 minutes, depending on your desire to conserve the battery power.
The best part is that you can choose to attach the trail camera to a tree using the 72-inch mounting strap or install it in a freestanding area with the help of the threaded insert located on the bottom of the unit. The camo pattern comes in handy if you want the camera to blend in with the natural environment.
Best affordable trail camera
3. X-Lounger Wildlife Trail Camera Trap 1080P 12 mp No Glow
You don’t have to worry about finding a trail camera that you can use for outdoor purposes. This unit is equipped with a 2.4 inch LCD screen and a 0.5 trigger speed. These features are incredibly useful if you enjoy capturing images with wild animals in their natural habitat.
Another great thing about this trail camera is the IP66 waterproof feature which enables you to leave the device outside no matter the weather conditions.
Also, due to the 90-degree detection angle, the camera has a wider field of view. If you opt for this product, it’s practically impossible not to catch on camera every detail, even from a far distance.
The unit works with 8 AA batteries and has a standby time period of 6 months. The flash range is 66 feet for photos and videos taken at night and 85 feet for capturing images during the day.
Best trail camera to use for surveillance
4. Distianert Trail Camera 16MP 1080P Wildlife Game Camera Low Glow
Every homeowner sometimes knows how difficult it is to keep their place safe and not exposed to potential dangers. So, having a trail camera that can be used for house surveillance is indeed a major plus because you benefit from full access to what happens in the surrounding area of your home.
This unit boasts a super fast trigger speed of 0.6 seconds without any delay between the triggers when capturing still images. This way, you can rest assured that you’ll never miss a shot because the trail camera is able to catch up to three pictures at a time.
Even in low light conditions, the product offers the same level of performance. Moreover, it can easily get 12 MP crystal-clear shots when the light is bright and clear black and white images at night.
Because of the great detection zone and flash range, this trail camera has a wider flash range in the dark.
Best trail camera for home security
5. Hunting Camera TEC Bean 12MP 1080P Full HD Trail Camera Infrared
This trail camera is perfect for home security due to the 2M belt you’ll find included in the product package that enables you to strap the camera to a tree or another surface that you believe is perfect for capturing different important angles. The IP56 spray water protection design keeps the unit free of any damages, even if the weather conditions are bad.
You can get excellent photo and video quality because this device is outfitted with a 12MP full-HD feature that ensures great contrast and clarity. Moreover, the camera can take up to 3 photos per one trigger.
You’ll never miss a move because the short trigger speed is less than one second. Once the videos and the photos are captured, you can play them and see every detail on the wide LCD screen.
If you don’t want to let the other know that you are using a camera for surveillance or for capturing images of the wildlife, you should know that this product has low glow infrared night vision LED’s for the flash range that extend the shooting distance up to 65 feet.
Best wireless trail camera
6. Browning Strike Force Sub Micro 10Mp Game Camera
A good trail camera must possess features that come in handy if you need a tool for your hunting activities o for capturing wild animals on camera. Also, it does a great job at keeping an eye on your house and its surroundings. So make sure you get a tool that has a long standby and provides great photos and videos, day and night.
Outfitted with a super fast 0.67 second trigger time, the unit doesn’t suffer from blank moments between shootings. You can rest assured that all images can be seen in full detail because the camera is able to records both photos and videos in HD quality.
As far as the battery life goes, you won’t have to replace the batteries too often because the camera works non stop for a long period of time.
Even if the target is moving at a far distance from a camera, you’ll still get a clear view thanks to the 100 feet flash range.
Best cellular trail camera
7. 4GLTE Cellular Trail Camera Snyper Commander
The benefits of using a cellular trail camera are priceless because you can control the unit from the comfort of your office or home, with the help of your smartphone. Plus, whenever you need to see the footage, you simply take a look at what the camera sent you.
This unit works with a SIM card provided by the manufacturer. Just make sure you add a data plan to your cellular plan in order to be certain that the camera is working day and night.
Basically, you have the possibility to use the camera as a wireless or regular trail camera, depending on your needs and location.
However, don’t forget to purchase an SD memory card of no more than 32 GB capacity so you can store every single video and photo on it.
If you need this product for home surveillance purposes, you’ll most likely appreciate the fact that camera has no flash.
Best game trail camera
8. Akaso 12MP Trail Camera Night Vision 1080P Hunting Camera
Hunters know the importance of having proper gear and tools when you’re spending time in the outdoors. Not only you need to be able to catch the movements surrounding you, but you need to make sure your trail camera remains undisclosed.
The reason why you’ll most likely fall in love with this game trail camera is that it is equipped with a 12MP HD image and videos with sound quality. Furthermore, the wide 2.4-inch LCD display is extremely useful for replaying the images after being captured.
One cool aspect is that the unit has a fast triggering speed that enables the images to be shot quickly, almost in real time. Even if your target is within a 65 feet distance, you’ll still see it in full detail.
Since the trail camera is completely waterproof and dust-proof, you can use it in difficult environments such as deserts or tropical rain forests.
Top trail camera brands
Bushnell Outdoor Products has been for over the past decades one of the industry leading manufacturers of sports optics. Guided by the ultimate desire to produce strictly high-quality goods, the company is able to deliver to its customers reliable and affordable items such as binoculars, telescopes, night vision equipment, trail cameras, and GPS tools. All products have earned multiple awards the collections are aimed to please people from different areas like sports spectating, nature studies, hunting, fishing, and stargazing. Due to their innovative technologies, they have managed to create Holosight which is a non-magnifying holographic weapon sight.
Moultrie is known to be one of the leading companies in game management. The products made by this manufacturer are extremely durable and more than affordable. Among the goods released each year by this manufacturer, we should mention feeders, scouting cameras, feed supplements, spreaders, sprayers, and all sorts of accessories for hunting deer, turkeys, fish, and so on. With more than 30 years of experience, Moultrie has managed to give its clients only top-notch products, including game cameras that have been previously tested by hunters, outdoor enthusiasts, and other professionals in the field. Each year, new product arise that have even more useful features.
If you ask any hunter what type of calls he prefers, the answer will be Primos. Covering a wide area of hunting products, this company has managed to grow so much over the past decades, that today, people rely on its goodies whenever they need proper tools for their outdoor adventures. Primos Hunting is specialized mostly in calls for all sorts of species, from elks, deer, turkeys, to predators and waterfowl. On top of that, you can purchase other important tools like blinds, game trail cameras, shooting accessories, attractants, and hunting gear. Moreover, this company is responsible for producing the popular TV series called The Truth.
Also known as Browning Arms Company, this American manufacturer is specialized mostly in firearms and fishing equipment. The company was founded more than a century ago in Morgan, Utah and has gained a lot of popularity ever since. Plus, Browning was created in order to market the sporting designs made by John Browning, a great firearms inventor, known worldwide. Many innovative products have been manufactured here under license by famous firms such as Remington, Colt, and Winchester. Browning offers a wide array of shotguns, pistols, and rifles as well as knives, fishing rods, bikes, sports bows, and reels.
The Stealth Cam was launched in 2000 by the GSM outdoors in order to reinvent the concept of wildlife monitoring trail cameras. Compared to traditional trail cameras that are manufactured using shelf components that are wired together, this company builds units starting from the ground as complete cameras, without involving any mismatched parts. Each product boasts a simple and user-friendly design and many interesting features that come in handy for the users that are looking for surveillance and hunting cameras. Over the past years, the manufacturer has gained global recognition due to the multiple awards and groundbreaking innovations.
Frequently asked questions about trail cameras
Q: Will a trail camera work through a window?
One major problem experienced by users is related to infrared security cameras that are placed through or behind glass windows. The reason why this issue occurs is that these trail cameras tend to wash out the image when they are located behind glass panels.
Then, you can’t see the recordings clearly. To fix this problem, try to turn off the IR light which can reduce the reflection. Moreover, bring the camera lens closer to the glass windows. You can use a suction cup to mount the trail camera to the window. In addition, if you have the possibility, install street lamps outside your house to increase the level of light.
Q: Can I use a trail camera for security?
The trail camera is an excellent security tool because it comes with many programming setting and several configurations. The majority of units available on the market are capable of capturing photos and videos.
Depending on their features, trail cameras can record perfectly when it’s dark outside or in low light conditions. This is extremely important if you want to catch burglars, vandals, or trespassers. On top of this, some manufacturers make license plate trail cameras that are optimized to capture the plate numbers of vehicles. If you have the opportunity, invest in a cellular trail camera that sends the captured videos and pictures straight to your phone.
Q: Where should I mount my trail camera?
Where you decide to mount your trail camera depends on the situation and the purpose you’re using this type of tool, in the first place. For instance, during the hot season, when deer use trails or different travel corridors to get from their bedding place to the food source, there’s the location to mount the trail camera.
Always make sure you check the surroundings and don’t mount in a place with low visibility. Furthermore, it’s a great idea to camouflage the device, so it blends with the environment to keep it out of the potential trespassers face.
Q: What is a trail camera used for?
There are many situations where using a trail camera is imperative. If you didn’t know, these types of instruments come in handy for hunting animals, capturing the wildlife on camera, house surveillance, and security.
Basically, whenever you need a tool to capture images without letting the other know their being monitored, the trail camera is your best option. Thanks to its camouflage features, this unit can be easily mounted to a tree or a pole. From there, it will get on camera every move. If you’re a hunter, you’ll know when to take action. If you’re protecting your household, no trespasser will remain uncaught because the trail camera is indeed an eligible proof.
Q: What is an infrared trail camera?
Hunters are more likely to opt for infrared trail cameras because they have a wide range of detection and allow the user to shoot night videos that are clear and bright. If you’re looking into the LED lights of an infrared camera, you’ll notice a visible red glow.
Since most people need trail cameras for night surveillance, it’s understandable why this type of units are so popular. Plus, if you’re in the market for a hunting camera, it’s advised to get an infrared one because flash cameras are detectable by animals and scare them when in use.
Q: Why use a trail camera?
Many people might not recognize, but the trail camera offers endless possibilities no matter the reason you decide to invest in one. Firstly, you get a solid proof that indeed you were close to a large deer or that one thief tried to trespass your house and steal from you. Also, you can brag about that hunting trophy because with the help of a trail camera people can rest assured that you’re actually telling the truth.
No matter the reason why you’re interested in using a device like this, you need to make sure that you choose the one that is appropriate to your needs. If you need to control the camera from a far distance, a wireless or a cellular unit is a must.
Q: How to view trail camera photos on an iPhone?
Compared to phones that use the Android operating system, iPhones don’t allow to insert a memory card in order to view the images and videos captured by the trail camera. If you want to replay the images on your iOS smartphone, you need to get a proper trail camera from the start. For example, a cellular trail camera works great with the data plan from your mobile provider and transmits the recordings and the footage straight to your phone, without having to remove the SD card from the unit.
Just make sure you place the camera in an area where you have phone signal otherwise you might have a hard time transferring the information.
Q: How to camouflage a trail camera?
You either want to hide the camera from plain sight, or you want to be certain that the other hunters don’t find it and steal it or vandalize. No matter your reason, you need to avoid the intruders spotting your trail camera. It’s crucial that you blend the unit with the rest of the environment.
Many devices feature a camouflage print design that works great in the woods or your backyard. If possible, get cameras that don’t have flash or release lights that can scare animals or trespassers. Also, place the trail camera as high as possible because, this way, you remove the risk of having the camera noticed by others.
Common mistakes with game cameras
People are so eager to set up and start using their game cameras that they forget the basic principles about the way these unit work and their requirements. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that trail cameras can be installed everywhere you desire and check the game law before attempting to install a device.
The first mistake you can make is to invest in high-speed SD cards that are more suitable for advanced cameras. If you do this, your camera will lose in terms of battery life, and you might get unresponsive moments when trying to look at the images.
Under no circumstances, try to view the content of the SD card straight from the game camera. Or even worse, erase the images with the help of the digital camera. In this case, the camera you own will rewrite the file structure used by the device to store images on the SD card. Therefore, always reformat the card while it is still inside the camera to prevent this kind of issues.
You’ve probably noticed that while some batteries cost almost a fortune, other are incredibly cheap. There’s a simple explanation for this fact. Brand batteries last longer and ensure great performance for electronic devices.
Since rechargeable batteries operate on at a lower voltage, it’s quite logical why you shouldn’t use them for your trail camera. Otherwise, the unit will tend to shut down out of the sudden even if the batteries are fully charged.
In terms of mounting the game camera, it’s really not the best option to position your camera to East or West. Pointing the device this way will result in a period of time during the day when the photos captured by the camera will be incredibly low quality. Therefore, place the camera to face either North or South.
Types of batteries for your trail camera
Without batteries, your trail camera won’t capture the images and videos that you so much desire. Getting the most out of your trail camera is extremely important, and you can only do so if you decide to invest in great batteries that won’t damage your device. On the contrary, it will keep the camera running for many years to come. Since excellent batteries are a tad pricier, you might feel inclined to choose cheaper brands. However, make sure you understand the risks and opt for quality batteries, instead. Because the majority of products are equipped with AA batteries, we should discuss their types in the following lines.
Typically, this type you’ll notice more often on the label. Most trail cameras use Alkaline batteries so you’ll find a variety of models in your search. It’s a known fact that their cells get their energy based on a chemical reaction between Zinc and Manganese Oxide. These batteries come with a standard 1.5 output.
The main advantages of using Alkaline batteries are their availability and affordability. No matter what store you enter, you’ll most likely find them among their products. They are sold at gas stations and drug store so you’ll never have to complain about not having enough batteries to replace them.
Plus, you don’t have to empty your entire bank account to make a purchase because they cost less than a dollar and you can purchase a bunch to be certain that your trail camera is up and running.
The downside is that Alkaline batteries don’t get along with cold weather. Because they have water-based electrodes among their ingredients, their capacity to function properly is lowered when temperatures drop. On top of that, they suffer from voltage lost. An easy explanation would be that when the camera is in use, you’ll notice that as the battery wears down, the trigger speed and other features operate slowly until they stop for good. This process can happen really quickly because Alkaline batteries have a short lifespan.
Some people are serious penny savers. It’s quite normal to look for rechargeable batteries since they’re so practical and versatile. Over the past years, there have been numerous advancements in the rechargeable batteries department. You’ll no longer hear complaints from people that their freshly charged batteries have drained in a couple of hours. Nor about the ‘memory’ effect produced by continuous charging.
Nickel Metal Hydride come in handy in many situations, and they showcase some advantages that can’t be overlooked. For example, they are outfitted with more energy density. Compared to standard Alkaline batteries, these provide a consistent voltage output during the discharge cycle. So, you can expect tons of photos and videos while using them.
But, the main reason why people can’t seem to get over these rechargeable batteries is related the amount of money saved because one set of NiMH batteries can be charged for more than 1,000 times before throwing them to the garbage can.
Another notable advantage is that you don’t have to worry about cold weather problems. Unlike Alkaline batteries, the rechargeable ones will deliver the same level of performance even if the weather outside drops below 32F. This is definitely a plus if you live in cold areas.
Unfortunately, not all trail cameras are compatible with NiMH batteries because these operate at a lower voltage that doesn’t fit well a top-notch game camera. This is why, if you can, dump this option and check for other solutions. It’s more important to enjoy all the benefits of using a trail camera to the fullest.
The third type which happens to be the pricier one boasts a long discharge cycle and over the top performance. They can last up to three times more than Alkaline batteries and half the amount of time needed for NiMH batteries to fully discharge.
As mentioned above, Alkaline batteries will enable you to use your trail camera to the optimum as the batteries drain. Lithium batteries, on the other hand, will provide the same level of excellence until they drop dead.
The only possible drawback when talking about lithium batteries is that they cost three times more than Alkaline units. If you want your game camera to work at a full capacity day and night, it’s best to opt for quality over quantity.
Tips on making the most of your trail camera
Nobody can deny the fact that a trail camera is an important scouting tool that is a real help for hunters and homeowners. Aside from this, it can definitely lead to a tad more meat in your freezer if you know how to make the best out of it. So, make sure you learn a few useful tips for setting up your game camera.
One crucial factor is to never face the camera towards the sun. You’ve probably heard this affirmation coming from many people but, the reality is that nothing is more frustrating than checking the trail camera for photos only to find out that almost a half of them show sunlit vegetations.
If you don’t follow this rule, the camera will suffer both from heat and movement. Facing a unit straight into the sun results in a change of temperature caused by the combination of the summer or fall breeze and blowing wind. Then, the camera will immediately start to believe that there’s an animal in the proximity. So, it will start using the memory capacity to store footage of the sun and brush instead of an actual game trophy. Preferably, you should try to place the trail camera so that it faces North.
Unfortunately, not all people are honest, and many of them like to steal things they find unattended. Leaving your trail camera simply hanging on a tree in the woods without any camouflage protection is a clear invitation for thieves. If you’ve invested your entire savings on a high-quality game camera, it’s best to check for solutions to prevent this thing from happening.
Even though you can’t stop someone who’s determined to look for trail cameras, you can make or purchase a heavy-duty box. These lock boxes are incredibly useful because they can’t be opened by everyone only the actual owner.
Another advice is to hang the unit somewhere where the visibility is low and as high as possible. It’s quite a challenge to see a trail camera if it’s up in the air because most people tend to keep an eye on bears and other wild animals.
Every trip you made to the trail camera to check for battery life or see the photos and videos recorded during your absence is basically a hunting session because animals perceive it this way. Try to avoid leaving your scent behind so that the wild animals can’t sense that you were there. Even if months pass by, they are capable of detecting the smallest amount of stench.
To fix this issue, your boots, clothes, and body must be odor and perfume free. In addition, listen to the weather reports and check the trail camera exclusively before big storms.
Don’t fall into the curiosity trap and make trips to the game camera too often. If you don’t have control over your impulses, you risk compromising the entire hunting purpose. If you’re using the trail camera for house surveillance, you can get caught by a potential burglar that monitoring your home to see when the opportunity arrives. As difficult as it might sound, resist the urge to visit it on a regular basis because you won’t get to benefit from using this device as much as you intend to.
Since trail cameras work 24/7 to provide you with photo and video recordings, it’s logical that they need an excellent set of batteries. You might find it practical to get cheaper Alkaline batteries that are available in any store, but the sad truth is that they don’t last much and don’t offer the same level of performance as Lithium batteries do. No matter the weather conditions, Lithium is the best possible option because they ensure long battery life and more clarity for the images because they don’t interfere with trigger speed and detection zone features.
Because game cameras are intended to ensure mobility and versatility, you should know that it’s perfectly fine to change the location of the unit. Especially at first, when you haven’t learned how trail cameras work, you’ll need time to see the best routes and where you can expect deer and other wild animals to make an appearance. It depends a lot on the time of the year, temperature, and available food. In terms of house security, you can change the spot if you feel that the camera is too exposed.
All in all, you shouldn’t miss out the sum of benefits ensured by a trail camera because it is a useful tool for numerous activities, including home surveillance. Easy to set up and to handle, a unit of this kind can be purchased even if you don’t have a big budget. The instructions are clear, and you can check out multiple videos online where professional hunters explain the advantages and places to mount the trail camera.
If you need to go hunting with your buddies and you’ve got a whole escapade planned out, the trail camera is your best shot to get a trophy that you can brag about later on to your friends and family. Plus, even if you don’t come home with meat, you can still have a proof that you were close to a huge wild animal thanks to the clear photos or videos recorded with the game camera.
Because many homeowners face the danger of having their house attacked by thieves, a less pricey solution that offers fast and real results is to install a trail camera. This way, you catch the burglar in full detail. And if you decide to purchase a cellular trail camera, you get the images straight to your smartphone using the data plan from your mobile provider.
How to make the most of your trail camera
Using a quality stealth trail camera can help improve all the hunting excursions you may take, but as is the case with most hunting gear, to get the most out of your new purchase, you will have to deploy it properly. A trail camera is a hidden beacon of information that you can use to gather data and make each trip more successful than the other.
With this nifty product, you will also protect yourself, and your hunting license since you will always be aware of which animals are around and increase the likelihood of getting your first shot right. In the guide that can be found below, we will explain how to use the trail camera in all situations, and how you must install it to get the best performance.
Size, connection, and durability
Because most models on the market such as the quality Bushnell trail cameras come with camouflage patterns to make them blend in with the environment, size does not matter as much as you’d expect. This means that you won’t have to spend extra money to get the smallest device on the market since a trail camera is not likely to alarm local wildlife.
The camera is placed too high in the trees to alert even the larger animals, and even if birds might find it, they won’t sit atop it for too long to obstruct your viewing. The two features that you should really focus your attention on are connectivity and durability.
While in the past you had to worry about wires running throughout the woods, modern options are connected to video monitors using wireless signals. This means that you can sit far from your camera and still receive a video signal from it. Thus, the range is the selling point of all trail cameras, and choosing a model with a broad range is recommended.
While most models are designed to withstand even the harshest weather, not even the premium Browning trail cameras are fully protected from all severe weather conditions. This is why many hunters recommend that you cover the camera with camouflage or tarp to prevent moisture from ruining it.
You can also purchase special housings for them, or if you are handy with woodwork, you may build your very own small housing around the device to protect it from the rain and other small woodland creatures. The camera housing will end up looking very similar to a small birdhouse.
Learn how to set up the trail camera correctly
To set up your trail camera properly, you need to determine the best location for placing it based on what you are expecting or hoping to capture. Most experts recommend that you first scout the spots using a combination of your knowledge of the area and Google Maps.
It would be best if you placed the camera off the beaten path since that is the location that game is more likely to avoid. The device should also be facing toward the trail so that you get a better chance of capturing more usable photos. If you choose to conceal your camera, you need to make sure that the lens is kept clear.
You can then install the batteries and make sure that you don’t forget about the SD card or whichever storage method your purchase uses. This step is significant because if you forget the memory card, all the hard work you’ve done will have been for nothing.
Now it is also the time to make sure that the timer, flash, trigger frequency, and speed settings are configured to your liking. Finally, you can test the trail camera by activating it, and it is recommended that you do this during both day and night, while using a variety of settings to see which ones give you the clearest pictures.
Management, monitoring, and maintenance
Managing your new device can make the difference between a successful and a failed endeavor. Companies update the firmware of their devices quite often to patch software bugs, add features, and increase performance. You should download these updates as soon as possible to prevent memory and photography issues.
You should also keep a personal log of what the camera has seen and at what time, especially if you use more than one trail camera. This will allow you to learn the habits and movement of the game in your area. To make things easier for you, you should number each camera and SD card.
If you have multiple cameras, you should also consider getting multiple SD cards so that you can switch them out and take the ones with photos home to organize them. SD cards nowadays are very cheap, meaning that the price won’t be a problem.
Similarly, since you will be visiting the trail camera quite often, you should take a scent remover with you to spray the camera (but avoid spraying the lens) when you are done and then wipe it dry with a clean cloth. To help prevent animals from picking up your scent, you should always use neoprene gloves when handling the camera.
Learn how to use your video feed
Using a trail camera during an active hunt can be very difficult for a lone amateur hunter. The video feed becomes useful once you have another hunter from whom to take directions. More experienced hunters can use the video feed in the field or bring the monitor back to the cabin or camping location.
If you watch the video feed while you are in the cabin, you can learn when animals pass through so that you can plan your next excursion accordingly. Video information can also help you avoid spooking animals on the way to your perch.
The video feed from your trail camera can also give you more confidence since you will be able to catch animals off-guard. Any bit of information can change the way you hunt, and as long as you hunt in the same general area, you will be able to use this information for subsequent hunts.
How do Trail Cameras Work?
Nowadays, trail cameras have become an essential part of our lives. So, no matter if you use a Bushnell trail camera for hunting or for detection, you probably know just how practical such items are. To help you understand how such devices work, we have prepared a short article that you should check out if you are interested in this subject.
What are the most important features a camera should have?
Although the models that you can find online can be quite different, there are a few features that you should expect to find in most cameras. For instance, most models have a motion detection option that activates the trigger and a set detection area.
Also, just like in the case of regular cameras, the image resolution is key as units of this kind also have to take quality pictures. Other aspects that you should also have in mind are the sharpness, the pixel count, and the quality of the lens focus that a product comes supplied with.
In order to understand how different types of trail cameras work, it is vital that we present to you a short but inclusive list of devices that are currently available.
Similarly to a digital camera binocular, a digital trail camera is a self-contained device that can have nighttime capabilities, and that can store power and data. Such an item is activated whenever a person or an animal enters the detection zone of the model. Whenever this happens, a still frame or video is recorded.
However, the detection zone varies from one product to another. Also, the range of the device is determined by the placement of the unit. Even more so, you should also know that some of these cameras also have a video option.
Film cameras are very similar to digital ones. The difference between the two lies in the medium. In other words, while a digital unit records a picture onto a memory card, a film camera utilizes traditional film.
As a drawback, in order to go over the images recorded by film cameras, you have to develop the negatives. Due to their lack of practicality, most devices of this kind are only used for nature photography and not for surveillance purposes.
If you are a big fan of technology, and you are in need of a model that can supply you with updates about the property that you are using the cameras to monitor, these models might suit you. Whenever a cellular camera takes a picture, the image is not stored in the unit. Instead, it is transmitted to the owner’s cell phone.
Still, these products use a SIM card and, thus, a data package is crucial in order for them to function properly. Additionally, you can only utilize cellular models in areas with good cell phone coverage.
If you are in need of a Primos trail camera that can be used while hunting, be sure to consider a strobe flash model. In this case, whenever the detection zone is activated, a small LED flash is produced. What makes these type of cameras so well liked is the fact that they have a long range performance and that they can supply the buyer with high-quality color images both during the day and during the night.
Although these units are quite popular, some utilizers have argued that the flash that the model emits can scare away the game. Plus, when used for surveillance, these items can be easily stolen as their presence is not concealed.
Some of the most sought-after trail cameras out there are the infrared ones. Most Moultrie trail cameras that feature infrared are used for hunting during the night and for nighttime wildlife monitoring.
These options are preferred by many because when the detection zone is activated, the camera emits a light. As a result, the image that it captures is bright and clear. Depending on the model that you decide to invest in, the produced light can be either red or white.
Furthermore, it should be noted that IR cameras are not very likely to alarm the animal as no visible light is generated. Also, when compared to flash models, the IR alternatives have a longer lifespan.
Still, keep in mind that the images captured by IR models during the night are in black and white and they show little detail. So, they might not be suited for those that intend to take high-quality snaps of the wildlife.
If you intend to use a trail camera in order to record video clips, it is vital that you purchase one that can record sound. The images and the sounds recorded by these cameras are digitally stored onto the device.
Even more so, you should keep in mind that some of these units can be remotely activated. Moreover, some of them can be actually triggered by using a timer or a motion sensor.
If you decide to acquire a model of this kind, you will be able to actually control the area that the lens of the camera should focus on. Consequently, you won’t miss anything that is going on in the area that you are surveilling.
As expected, given the advancements in technology, trail cameras come in a myriad of forms and styles. Before you decide what model fits you best, it is crucial that you spend some time assessing your needs. This way, you will be able to select an item that can cater to your needs.
On the one hand, if you need a product that you can use while hunting, it is best that you purchase a device that is discrete and silent. Also, you should stay away from cameras that produce bright lights as they might scare away the game.
On the other hand, the units that are suitable for surveillance often come provided with a great mounting system. Besides, most of these items can be controlled from a remote position, and they often come supplied with a Wi-Fi connection.
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