Whether you are a hunter or a farmer, whether you are interested in monitoring the wildlife in your back yard or just want to catch that jerk who keeps stealing your packages, there is a trail camera out there for you.
Trail cameras offer you a glimpse into the elegant beauty of the natural world around you, and it is important to understand what each one has to offer so you can weigh your options and choose one that best fits your needs.
To be honest, there are tons of options on the market right now when it comes to trail cameras.
These cameras can vary in terms of their size, storage capacity, image, and video resolution, whether they can be connected with cellular or Wi-Fi, their night vision capabilities, weather resistance, and their motion detection speeds.
Best Trail Cameras for 2020 – Quick Look
(Click on the name of any trail camera to read its in-depth review)
|Trail Camera||Sensor||Trigger Speed||Price|
|Campark Trail Camera|
|14 MP||0.3 Sec|
|Victure Trail Camera|
|12 MP||0.5 Sec|
|Apeman Trail Camera||16 MP||0.2 Sec|
|Meidase Trail Camera||16 MP||0.2 Sec|
|Wosoda Trail Camera||16 MP||0.3-0.8 sec|
|Oudmon Trail Camera||16 MP||0.3 Sec|
|Campark Mini||12 MP||0.5 Sec|
|Letscom Trail Camera||16 MP||0.4 Sec|
|UsoGood Trail Camera||14 MP||0.2 Sec|
|Toguard Mini||12 MP||0.5 Sec|
1. Campark Trail Camera – Best Overall Trail Camera
Also known as the Campark T45 Trail Camera, this trail camera is a bit pricier than its competitors, but it does give you some additional features and improvements that may be worth the extra cost if you want to maximize your game tracking or home surveillance.
Campark is a well-established company offering reliable, well-reviewed products, so it’s certainly worth a look at what this trail camera has to offer.
Our In-Depth Review:
If you are willing to pay a bit more and value the quality and range of the videos and images taken, then the Campark T45 Trail Camera is a good choice.
It offers a few features that are superior to the less expensive trail cameras out there, which can prove to be quite beneficial when trying to get a complete picture of where your deer and other game are moving. However, there are a few things it could do better.
First of all, its 120˚ wide-angle lens gives you a wider range of detection than some other cameras, so that deer you’ve been tracking doesn’t slip from view. It also has a range of about 65 feet which is quite good, although the quality does start to slip anywhere past 60 feet.
Another nice feature on this camera is the night vision. The quality is super high and not grainy due to the 42-piece low-flash infrared LED. Since it’s very low flash, it won’t startle away any animals: good if you’re tracking wildlife, but maybe not so good if you’re trying to catch the raccoon that keeps going through your trash at night.
With a trigger speed of 0.3 seconds, you’re getting just about what you’re paying for with the Campark T45. Most trail cams vary between 0.5 seconds (for the cheaper ones) to 0.1 seconds (for the most expensive). Unless you’re trying for high-quality photos of cheetahs mid-sprint, a 0.3-second trigger speed will be fine.
- 65-foot detection range.
- High-quality night vision.
- Multiple video and photo settings.
- A fast-enough trigger speed.
- SD card and batteries not included.
- SD cards can be difficult to remove.
- The casing is IP56, which means the lens may be harmed by dust.
Overall, the Campark T45 trail camera is a quality mid-to-high range trail camera. It’s made by a reliable, well-known company with a history of quality products, and it has all the features you would want in a solid trail camera.
2. Victure Trail Camera – With Drop Resistant Housing
The Victure Trail Game Camera is a high-quality, yet affordable option when it comes to choosing a camera either for security or hunting purposes.
At a lower price point, it still offers comparable features to the more expensive options and is a good choice for both beginners and pros.
The Victure brand is well-known and you can be sure you’ll be getting a quality product.
It is a very durable camera that can be used in just about any monitoring situation and provides quality images and videos both day and night.
Our In-Depth Review:
The Victure Trail Game camera is a lightweight, high-resolution game camera that can function as an effective tool for tracking game like deer or elk, and getting a useful sense of you game’s long-term movements. It also can serve as an inexpensive yet effective surveillance camera for your home or business.
Of the most popular game cameras on the market, the Victure game camera is one of the least expensive. Despite its low cost though, it offers a resolution on par or better than most of the others, at 1080p. This definitely comes in handy for identifying game through dense vegetation and getting a clear picture of what you’re looking at.
It also has a waterproof and drop-resistant housing, making it more than durable enough to withstand prolonged exposure to the elements necessary to track game or keep tabs on the outside of your home. Many other cameras out there don’t have the drop-resistant feature, so it’s something to keep in mind.
The camera also features a 2.4-inch LCD screen, which allows you to view any photos or videos that you capture directly without the need to take out the SD card and upload them. Very useful if you’re out hunting and you’re near the camera, and you catch a glimpse of something you’re not sure about and need to double-check.
- A lower-cost without compromising quality.
- Lithium-ion battery for longer battery life.
- Effective night vision.
- Waterproof and drop-resistant.
- 1080p image resolution.
- 0.5-second trigger speed could be faster.
- Shorter range (30-50 feet) than other cameras.
The Victure 12mp game camera is an inexpensive game cam with features that compete with the more expensive options. Its night vision is effective, quiet and clear, an important feature for both hunters and homeowners. It is durable and can withstand the elements, and has decently long battery life. If you’re looking for a good, lower-cost game camera, then definitely check this one out.
3. Apeman Trail Camera – With LCD Screen
The Apeman H55 is a great entry-level trail camera for those of you looking to get into tracking games, interested in-home surveillance, or just want to see what kind of animals are roaming around in your back yard or farm.
It has a solid casing that can withstand the elements, a no glow night flash that won’t scare away animals, and although the trigger-speed is not so great at 0.3-0.6 seconds, it will still get the job done for most purposes.
It’s sturdy, camouflaged design helps it blend indiscreetly, and it comes with a stand and a strap so you can place it just about anywhere.
Our In-Depth Review:
The Apeman H55 comes at around a mid-range price offered by most retailers. This price is a bit high, as it claims to be an entry-level trail camera, and there are some more affordable options out there that also claim this. However, it does offer superior image quality, at 16 MP, then some other entry-level options.
This camera has a test mode, so you can calibrate it beforehand to make sure you’re capturing the correct area and distance. It also features 1080p video quality and 16-megapixel photo quality that you can reduce in order to save space on the memory card.
It supports up to a 32GB SD memory card, so also be aware that if you keep the card in too long and the video/images taken surpass this limit, you will lose some of your pictures and/or videos.
The 2-inch LCD screen allows you to view your photos and videos directly on the camera without having to plug it into your computer. The menu options on the screen are also quite user-friendly, and you can scroll through them to choose your settings.
The Apeman also features a password protected lock, which ensures that nobody else will have access to your photos and videos if the camera is stolen.
- No Glow infrared flash.
- Password protected.
- 16MP image quality.
- Withstands high/low temperatures.
- Batteries and memory card not included.
- Instances of bad night vision.
- Instances of water damage, despite IP66 weatherproof casing.
The Apeman H55 seems like a solid, user-friendly, entry-level game camera that can withstand freezing temperatures and high heat pretty well. It’s no glow infrared lens that does not flash outwardly or make noise that will startle away the animals you are tracking. Although it’s trigger speed is just average, and there are reported instances of poor night vision, all-in-all this camera seems like a good option for someone looking for a good, basic trail camera.
4. Meidase Trail Camera – With Fast Detection
Meidase is a lesser-known company in the trail camera world, and really only offers two products, so take that information with a grain of salt. But although it may not be the biggest name out there, the Meidase trail camera has a lot of great features for a reasonable price.
They offer two cameras, a higher-end 20-megapixel camera, and a less expensive 16-megapixel camera.
Let’s take a look at the more affordable 16-megapixel option. This camera will certainly get the job done and help you track animals no matter the conditions.
Our In-Depth Review:
The Meidase 16MP trail camera features a user-friendly TV-style remote that allows you to toggle easily between settings to choose the best ones for your purposes. The 2.4-inch LCD color screen lets you see your pictures and videos right from the device without having to plug it into your computer, and the setup is quick and easy.
All the photos and videos are imprinted with a timestamp, temperature reading, date, and moon phase, so you will know exactly when each photo or video was taken and the conditions they were taken in. This allows you to adjust the settings and maximize the quality of your photos, day or night.
It has great motion detection performance, with high, medium and low sensitivities which will affect battery life and contrast, as well as a 0.2-second trigger speed, which is nearly as fast as you can get. It’s 120-degree wide-angle lens enables this fast trigger speed, and also makes sure you’re maximizing your range of viewing.
The night vision also features a no-glow infrared lens that is good up to 65 feet, and will not make a sound or flash that will scare away the deer in your backyard. The quality of the night vision is crisp and clear, although taking too many night vision photos/videos will fill up the memory card quickly and drain the battery.
- Multiple settings, loop recording, time-lapse.
- No Glow, no sound IR night vision.
- User-friendly functionality with a TV-style remote.
- Temperature, Time, Date and Moon phase imprint on photos/video.
- The waterproof case sometimes fails.
- Battery life.
The Meidase trail camera offers a lot of functionality. It has a ton of settings, and you can program it easily using the TV remote style keypad and the LCD color screen. The night vision has a great detection distance, at 65 feet, and the day time images are crystal clear. This is an affordable camera that has received excellent reviews, aside from complaints about the failure of its waterproof casing.
5. Wosoda Trail Camera – With Longer Trigger Distance
Wosoda is a company that offers multiple trail cameras, some of which have upgraded night vision and image quality.
It’s another company that offers cheap-yet-solid, entry-level cameras that are dependable and affordable.
Their 16MP, 1080p trail camera is a mixed bag, however. Although it is inexpensive, it lacks a lot of the features available on other trail cameras.
Even still, it will effectively capture good-quality images and videos, both day and night, and has decent battery life. Let’s take a look.
Our In-Depth Review:
The Wosoda 16MP trail camera will be one of your cheapest, most basic options, and in this case, you’ll get what you pay for. It does not have a display screen, so you will have to plug it into your computer in order to view any images or videos that you capture.
This also makes it a bit harder to set up and adjust settings. Other trail cameras have a screen right on the camera that helps you both see any images you capture on-site, and allow for more user-friendly setting control.
This camera does have multiple modes to choose from, including a timer setting, time switch and a timestamp function so you know when the image or video was captured. It also features 1080p full HD quality videos and clear 16 megapixel images.
The casing is IP54 weatherproof, which also isn’t great compared to other trail cameras. This rating means that it is not fully dustproof, and may get damaged in heavy rain.
- 1080p full HD video resolution, 16MP images.
- Works well in cold weather.
- Good daytime quality images/videos.
- Simple design.
- No screen makes usability more difficult.
- IP54 weatherproof makes it vulnerable to damage.
- 0.3-0.8 second trigger speed is slower than other models.
The Wosoda 16MP trail camera is a basic, inexpensive, entry-level option for people looking to test out a game camera. It has all the basic functionality of most trail cameras and takes high-quality images during the day. It’s clearly not the most durable camera, however, and it’s trigger speed leaves much to be desired.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t have a built-in screen to view your images and videos on-site either, but if you are just looking for a basic camera to monitor around your home, then this one will certainly do the job.
6. Oudmon Trail Camera – With 2.4 inch LCD
Oudmon is a solid company that offers a few different trail cameras. They are tough, weather-resistant, and offer great picture and video quality, and well as a good detection range.
The 16MP Oudmon trail camera comes in at a bargain on Amazon, marked down significantly, so you’ll be getting the functionality and quality images and videos of a more expensive camera for half the cost.
This camera will work great for both monitorings the outside of your home and out in the wilderness because of its sturdy design and dependability.
Our In-Depth Review:
The Oudmon 16MP trail game camera is a multi-functional and dependable game camera that will give you everything you need no matter the application. It can be used around your home to catch people stealing packages at your doorstep or for monitoring the hummingbirds in your birdfeeder. It’s durability also makes it a great choice out in the wilderness for hunters looking to monitor the game.
The camera offers super high-quality images and videos, with 1080p video and 16MP images. You can also adjust the setting to give you time-lapse and programmed intervals of image and video capture. Furthermore, it also records sound, which is an excellent feature on a game camera. Even if you aren’t able to capture the animal in your video, the ability to record sounds can give you an idea of what’s happening near the camera.
The night vision on this camera is excellent, with a no glow, 48 piece infrared LED lens that is discreet and quiet. It also boasts an impressive 90ft detection range that will capture animals at a distance with good quality.
Its IP67 waterproof casing is extremely durable and tested to survive full submergence underwater at shallow depths. This makes it an ideal camera for rainy climates, and give you peace of mind that it will withstand whatever the elements throw at it.
The Oudmon trail camera runs on 8 lithium or alkaline batteries (lithium recommended) that will last up to two years if you keep it in standby mode. Obviously, if you are using the highest quality setting with lots of videos, the battery life will decline, but this is true for most trail cameras. Unfortunately, the Oudmon camera will not run on rechargeable batteries.
Its 0.3-second trigger speed is not the fastest, but it’s also not the slowest, and will still give you reliable images and videos wherever you decide to set it up.
- IP67 waterproof case protects the camera equipment even underwater.
- Great picture and video quality.
- Good battery life.
- Excellent detection distance.
- Locking mechanism can be difficult to open.
- It doesn’t run on rechargeable batteries.
The Oudmon 16MP trail game camera is a durable, high-quality trail camera that you can use just about anywhere. It’s long battery life and durable casing make it great out in the elements, and it’s LCD screen allows for an easy user interface and convenient, on-the-spot assessment of images and videos. For its price, this camera is a nice option for just about anyone.
7. Campark Trail Mini Camera – Small Camera from Campark
If you are looking for a more compact trail camera that still has many of the same features as most of the bigger ones, the Campark Mini is the trail camera for you.
Campark is a reliable company that offers a variety of different trail cameras with high-quality image and video resolution.
Trusted by homeowners and hunters alike, this camera will do the trick in just about any situation. It has a variety of settings for both images and video, and its compact size makes it discreet enough to be used for home security.
Our In-Depth Review:
The compact size of the Campark Mini T20 trail camera makes it a very appealing, discreet and easily-hidden camera that has basically the same functionality as similar, larger trail cameras out there.
At only 70x105x40mm, it can fit in the palm of your hand and can be hidden easily in the branches of a tree or on the ground in some brush. Its camouflaged casing gives it even more stealth, and you can rest assured that it will stay hidden (as long as you place it securely).
It has a 120-degree wide-angle lens that maximizes the area for possible wildlife spotting, and with a detection range of 65 feet, the Campark Mini competes with most other trail cameras out there at this price, mini or full-size. It has good night vision capability as well, with 850nm infrared LEDs. Unfortunately, it is not specified whether or not the night vision is no-glow or emits any sound.
The Campark Mini’s casing is graded at IP56, which makes it great for heavy rain, but maybe not so great when it comes to damage that can be done by dust. For a detailed breakdown of the IP grading system, you can check out this website, which will definitely help you assess the durability of these trail cameras when it comes to extreme weather exposure.
Its 2.4 inch LCD screen is remarkably the same size as the screens on most other full-sized trail cameras. Like most of the other screens on this list, it makes it so much easier to control the settings and gives you access to your pictures and videos without having to connect the camera to your computer.
- Compact and lightweight.
- IP56 waterproof casing.
- Adjustable resolution.
- 120 degree wide angle lens.
- 12MP resolution not as high as other cameras.
- Not specified whether night vision is no-glow.
- Some complaints about the night vision quality.
The Campark Mini is a reasonably priced trail camera from a reliable company. It is multi-purposed and can be hidden well because of its compact size. Hide it in a tree to track birds or near your front door for security. It is a small, versatile camera that is quite handy and easy to use. Despite its compactness, it still boasts a 2.4 inch LCD screen and a 120-degree wide-angle lens. This is a great little camera for anyone looking to monitor their property or track game.
8. Letscom Trail Camera – With 2-inch Display
The LETSCOM trail camera is another miniature option for those of you looking for a compact and lightweight option.
Anyone who really values a camera that can be easily hidden, carried and set up will certainly love this great little camera that, like the Campark Mini, is one of the best mini trails cams out there.
While LETSCOM is a lesser-known name than Campark, it still offers some excellent features that make it worth the gamble inherent in choosing a brand that may not have the track record of a company like Campark.
Its affordability, size, and functionality make it a great entry-level camera that can be used in many different ways.
Our In-Depth Review:
Even though it doesn’t have the name recognition that Campark has, this LETSCOM trail camera actually has higher quality features that make it a more appealing option than the Campark Mini. It is about the same size and can fit neatly into the palm of your hand.
Its small size is great for a hunter who wants to carry and set up multiple cameras in a certain area but doesn’t want to lug around a bunch of full-sized devices. At just over seven ounces, it is lightweight and will be easily hidden amongst brush or tree limbs.
The LETSCOM offers multiple settings and lets you choose between time-lapse, video mode and photo mode. It also lets you choose the length of video you want to record, which as we’ve mentioned earlier, saves battery life for prolonged use. You can choose a video length of 3-60 seconds or 1-10 minutes.
You can also adjust the camera’s motion sensitivity between low, medium and high. This helps you eliminate unnecessary photos and videos that eat up memory card space if you’re placing it in an, especially busy area. Just change the setting to low sensitivity, and you will only capture the images that wander closer to the camera.
In terms of detection, the LETSCOM is good from up to 60 feet, which is competitive with similar models, and its 22-piece low glow infrared lens allows you to capture clear images at night with pretty good resolution.
Its 0.4 trigger speed is on the faster end of comparable models, which ensures you won’t miss that deer bolting through the forest or that hummingbird darting towards your feeder.
It comes with a 2-inch Tuft color screen which allows you to see your pictures and images right from the camera. There have been issues with the keypad, with complaints about difficulties with button sensitivity, so that is something to keep in mind.
- Multiple applications.
- Lightweight, compact design.
- Good night vision quality.
- 1080P video recording.
- Set up key problems.
- Short battery life has been reported.
- 90 degree sensor angle could be better.
The LETSCOM trail camera is another great option when it comes to miniature trail cameras. Its design doesn’t sacrifice quality, and it takes excellent pictures and videos with a decent detection range. Its night vision works well and isn’t grainy, and its casing is comparable to similar models. The LETSCOM is a great little entry-level camera that is multi-purpose and easy to set up.
9. UsoGood Trail Camera – With 90 Degree Detection Angle
The UsoGood trail camera is a great multi-purpose trail cam that offers some excellent features and functionality.
Whether you plan on using it for hunting or just want to monitor the animals in your back yard, this camera offers quality images and videos day or night.
UsoGood also offers a higher-end trail camera with 20 mega-pixel image quality, but for now let’s take a look at the company’s more affordable option, the 14 mega-pixel trail camera.
Either way, you go, UsoGood is a solid company that offers quality trail camera products that are easy to set up and use.
Our In-Depth Review:
The UsoGood 14MP trail camera is an excellent multi-purpose camera with high-resolution images and video. Its durability makes it great for prolonged exposure to any type of weather, making it a perfect option for both hunting and home surveillance.
With two different mounting options, you can position it in many different ways, allowing you a ton of different angles from which to capture your images or videos.
Its IP66 grade waterproof casing will withstand just about whatever mother nature can throw at it, so you can be sure it will survive and continue to function even in the harshest of conditions.
Image detection problems seem to be a common problem when it comes to trail cameras, but USoGood’s 0.2-second trigger speed is super-fast and won’t leave you with blurry or partial images, night or day.
Another great thing about this camera is that it has sturdy, durable buttons that will be responsive and allow you to quickly and easily move through the settings displayed on its 2.4 inch LCD screen. And with a 4x zoom option, you can zoom in on your images or videos when you replay them, letting you soak in more detail and nuance.
The time-lapse function on the UsoGood allows you to record more subtle changes to your environment, like the growth of plants or the changing colors of leaves in the autumn. So even if you aren’t that interested in animals or home security, you can still find an interesting and enjoyable way to document the world around you.
- IP66 waterproof casing is dust resistant and safe in heavy downpours.
- Sturdy, user-friendly buttons.
- 0.2-second trigger speed.
- 42-piece, 940nm no-glow infrared LEDs are excellent for the price.
- Cases of poor audio quality.
- The SD card can be difficult to insert and get out.
- Can be difficult to mount.
With the UsoGood 14MP trail camera, you’ll get high resolution images and videos both day and night. It has a quality keyboard that allows you to easily scroll through a setting option on its LCD color display and is durable enough to withstand rain, sleet, and snow. Great for hunting, wildlife monitoring, home security, and farm observation, this camera will function well just about anywhere.
10. Toguard Mini Trail camera – With 12MP Sensor
The Togaurd Mini is another one of those trail cameras that is compact and easy to carry around.
It offers you good quality images and video for an entry-level, low-end trail camera, which again can be great if you want to set up multiple cameras and maximize the area you are monitoring. To guard offers a few different types of cameras, and their full-size one is also of good quality and dependable.
So let’s look at some of the key features and attributes of this small-yet-functional trail camera.
Our In-Depth Review:
The Togaurd Mini 12MP trail game camera is a great little trail cam. Although it doesn’t quite stack up to the previously-mentioned Campark Mini and LETSCOM trail camera (both of which weigh less and feature a few higher performance features), it is still a compact, functional and easy-to-use product that is effective for tracking game, monitoring wildlife, or in surveillance.
Its wide-angle, 120-degree lens gives it an edge to other mini trail cameras out there that only have a 90-degree angle. And if you plan on getting a few of these cameras, then your scope of detection has the possibility to be quite expansive.
The Togaurd Mini has a 0.5-second detection speed, which is pretty average in the grand scheme of things. Both the Campark Mini and the LETSCOM have similar detection speeds.
A cool thing about this camera is that it is pretty easy to set up. The default setting is already set when you buy it, so all you have to do is adjust them to get your desired quality after some trial and error.
Its two-inch LCD screen makes adjusting settings quick and easy, and the buttons are easy to press and won’t lead to frustrating, repetitive, forceful jabs at the thing while you’re trying to control it.
You can adjust the video length as well, which will save you battery life and space on your memory card. The default setting is five seconds, but you can also choose 3s-60s or 1min-10min. Just definitely be aware that if you choose the longer video options, then your batteries will drain quicker and your SD card will fill up faster.
- Multiple video length settings.
- 32 pieces of low glow infrared LED night vision.
- Good battery life.
- Default settings are already set for easy set up.
- LED lights reported to be visible and make sounds.
- IP grade not specified.
The Togaurd Mini Camera gives you just about everything you could want from an entry-level, low-cost trail camera. Although it has a lower resolution than the LETSCOM mini camera, it is the same as Campark’s and offers the same type of night vision capability. Its pre-set default settings make it easy to start using, and the LCD screen gives you the ability to see your images on the move. All-in-all, the Togaurd gives you a good bang for your buck.
Trail Cameras – Buyer’s Guide
What are Trail Cameras?
A trail camera, also known as a remote camera/game camera is used in places where the photographer is unable to be physically present near the camera to snap the shutter.
Trail Cameras allow them to capture images from a distance. They are durable, waterproof and can take pictures even in very low light environments.
Trail cameras are especially crucial for clicking pictures with limited access where the photographer doesn’t have the permission to go, or simply to reach extremely tight spaces where it is impossible for a person to reach.
Very often, trail cameras are also used to capture a moment from multiple angles from a distant location.
These cameras are especially popular amongst professional researchers, hunters, security experts and wildlife filmmakers.
How do Trail Cameras work?
Trail cameras are relatively low-priced for what they offer. They are immensely reliable devices with excellent performance. The working of a trail camera can vary according to its use, and the features you are looking for.
Trail cameras need to be installed at the location. It is wiser to have them suspended, especially if you are looking to place it in the wild. This way, there will be fewer chances of your setup being disturbed by animals.
This would require a clamp to be attached to a tree or any other sturdy object. The camera will be placed in a protective box that is secured to the clamp. Trail cameras can also be placed on tripods or stands but that will be beneficial only to be fixed temporarily, for a very short time.
Solar-powered trail cameras are all the rage since they require even lesser supervision and don’t run out of power. Battery operated cameras are also an option, although, they need to be changed every now and then.
Now comes the most important part, clicking pictures. The trigger varies depending on the needs of the photographer, and the subject of the photography. The cameras can be programmed to take pictures when they detect motion, sound, changes in temperature or simply by a cellular signal at the photographer’s command.
The images taken by the trail camera can either be stored in its internal memory/SD card or can be directly transmitted to a connected device, or even sent in real-time via e-Mail.
Features to look for
Detection Range and Detection Angle
If you are about to make use of a motion-sensing or sound detecting trail camera, you would also have to place a detector for when you want the camera to capture the image.
The detection zone needs to be determined beforehand because it is important to consider the distance between the place of detection and the camera, keeping in mind the time it takes for the camera to be triggered and snap the shutter.
The detection zone is comprised of two things, the detection range, and the detection angle.
The detection range refers to the distance that the Passive Infrared Sensor (PIR) can sense motion and heat in front of the camera.
Ordinarily, most trail cameras have detection ranges of up to 65 feet whereas some of the high-end cameras have an extended range of about 100 feet or more.
Sometimes, trail cameras might have very high sensitivity which sends false triggers and takes pictures and videos in the absence of anything worthwhile.
To eliminate this problem, some cameras are equipped with sensitivity adjustments to eliminate the possibility of false triggers that fill up the camera’s storage unnecessarily.
A much less talked about, yet highly important feature of a trail camera is its detection angle. It is the angle up to which the camera can detect the motion/heat. Most cameras have a detection angle of about 45 to 45 degrees while some might also go up to 60 degrees.
Since the angle of detection isn’t a common variable, it is often omitted in the model description of a trail camera.
Trail Cameras can also record videos. The resolution of the video recording is pivotal for it to actually be useful.
Back in the days, even 720p resolution for a trail camera was a big deal, but these days, many of the newer models typically offer 1080p recordings. Some of the high-end models can also record 4k videos.
More often than not, trail cameras are used for taking pictures instead of videos. The practicality behind this is because the camera consumes less power for photography. The quality of an image and its resolution are measured by its megapixels.
The more the megapixels, the better is the image quality. The amount of light in the environment also plays a significant factor in determining the number of pixels that would give clarity to the image.
Typically, you would want to look for a camera with a megapixel count of 8-12MP for a sufficiently-lit setting. A more mid-range camera would offer you 12-14 Megapixels. However, if you wish to capture images during nighttime or pictures of fast-moving animals, a wiser choice would be to opt for a higher-priced camera with 16-20 Megapixels.
Make sure you have sufficient storage space in your camera if you are aiming for high-resolution images since they take up more space.
The trigger speed refers to the time elapsed between the detection of heat or movement and the moment when it captures the image. Having a trail camera with a faster trigger speed increases your chances of capturing the shot of your target. If the trigger speed is slow, your target would have long passed the view of the camera for it to be pictured.
The range of the trigger speed can vary from 1 second to as low as 0.2 seconds.
Trigger speed might become insignificant in cases where you are monitoring an area where the target will not be on the move. For instance, if you are monitoring a feeding area for animal sightings, the animal will likely be staying there for a while. In such a case, the trigger speed will not affect the outcome.
Recovery time measures the time between the shots taken. It is the duration that the trail camera needs for it to be ready to take another picture while the object is still in the detection zone. It directly affects the number of pictures that can be taken within a span of time.
This is why the recovery time needs to be accounted for in order to calculate how many images can be captured when the target triggers the trail camera. A camera with a super-fast trigger speed will not improve the number of frames per minute if the recovery time is too long.
Apart from video recording and pictures, another form of media production is stop-motion photography.
This is a technique where an object is consecutively photographed while it is in motion with such frequency that when the frames are spliced together, the progression can be traced in a way that it looks like a video recording.
If the recovery time is too long, then the photographs would be too far off to make it look like a video. Here, one would argue that instead of taking a picture, they could just record a video. The simple answer to this is that a video would give lower resolution and take up much more power.
Image stamp refers to the information that the camera adds to the image when a shot is taken. The basic information mentioned is the date, time and temperature. These days, high-end cameras are offering stamps that provide more information like GPS coordinates, moon phase, wind speed, and barometric pressure.
Camera ID or name is a seemingly irrelevant feature that comes in handy for people using multiple cameras to figure out which of the cameras took the shot.
So, before purchasing a trail camera, make sure to check-out its sample image for the information stamp and all that it accounts for.
Flash is unarguably one of the most important features of a trail camera.
The first thing you need to consider is whether you even want a flash.
Of course, to have a clear nighttime image, it is vital to have a reliable source of light, but another factor to consider is that the flash might drive away your subject. Secondly, you need to figure out which kind of flash technology you need.
There are three options to choose from –
The incandescent flash is the most common type that we are all familiar with. These white flashes are perfect to capture colors as they bring out the hues with distinct clarity. However, this type of flash can also scare off animals that you might be looking forward to.
Incandescent flash can also affect trigger and recovery time since it takes some time to recharge for the next shot. That is why this flash is the least common type of flash to be used for trail cameras.
IR Flash is used for a majority of trail cameras. Their benefits include – they use less power, shorter trigger and recovery times and capture more images a minute than white flash. Despite this, IR Flash is used for low-resolution imaging since the pictures come out grainy if the target is moving, and they come in B&W.
Low Glow Flash
Some trail cameras are equipped with a flash with low- level spectrum of red light that mostly remains undetectable by mammals. The low-glow infrared flashlight enhances the image greatly, without scaring off the game when it walks in front of the camera. Low glow flashes are priced a little lesser than no glow flashes.
No Glow Flash
The no-glow flashlight uses black LED lights that are undetectable by the human eye. When the target triggers the detection zone, the image will be clicked by the trail camera with perfect clarity without revealing itself.
If you are planning on using a trail camera for security purposes, no glow flash is better since it wouldn’t warn the intruder of the camera’s presence.
Recently, a new feature found in some models of trail cameras is Bluetooth connectivity. Bluetooth is a wireless technology that transfers data from one Bluetooth enabled device to another over short-distance radio waves. This way, you do not need to connect a cable or extract the SD card to access the media. Most Bluetooth devices have a range of about 100 to 150 meters.
This feature of a trail camera will come in handy in more than one situation. Bluetooth helps you keep an eye on the area without disturbing the setup or scaring away your target with your presence. Of course, you still need to be in the general vicinity for your device to catch the Bluetooth signal, but it still gives you the space to remain significantly away from your monitored spot.
Trail cameras are often positioned in hard to reach areas, whether by being suspended at a height or placed underneath other objects. Bluetooth will reduce your efforts since you wouldn’t have to get a ladder or remove the camera from its place to access the images.
All trail cameras run on batteries. The choice of your power-source depends on your usage of the trail camera and whether you are looking for internal battery power, a battery box or solar panel power supply.
Internal Battery Power
The most common type of battery to be used by trail cameras are AA batteries, while some also work on C or D battery types. These can end up working for months, depending upon your usage.
There is a wide variation in terms of how long the batteries can be used. This is an outcome of more than one factor.
Firstly, the type of battery. High-quality lithium batteries have a longer life and provide better results. Some photographers opt for rechargeable batteries that provide a lower voltage than their disposable counterparts.
Secondly, if your camera is set to click more pictures, it can significantly shorten the battery life.
Thirdly, you also need to account for false triggers that might set off the camera in the presence of unrelated traffic. The batteries in an area with a lot of traffic wouldn’t last very long.
External Battery Box
Traditional battery power might not be sufficient to sustain a trail camera for an extended period. Here it will be convenient to swap it for a Battery Box. A battery box can cost almost as much as your regular trail camera, but it does save you the additional expenses of changing the internal batteries.
Battery boxes are also a little bulky and somewhat challenging to conceal. There is also a chance for it to be stolen if placed in a public area but is a great option if you are planning to set it up in the wilderness. Make sure your trail camera has an external power port.
Solar Panel Power Supply
For research or surveillance purposes, where you are planning to monitor the area for the coming years, solar panels can prove to be an indefinite source of power for your trail camera. Many manufacturers have solar panels for their specific trail camera model or you could just look for one that is compatible with multiple brands.
Just like the case of Battery Box, Solar Panels are quite expensive but will pay for themselves over time. They can be hard to conceal from the human eye, but it wouldn’t be a problem if you plan on putting it in secluded areas.
Most trail cameras come with a built-in viewing screen. This makes it very comfortable to take a quick peek of the images at the field site itself.
The screen also works as a menu interface that is easier to operate.
The only drawback of having a viewing screen is that it causes the trail camera to be slightly bigger. This affects the camera’s ability to be concealed and for it to be compact.
SD Cards Security
Since most trail cameras have a very low internal memory, you need to consider the SD Card. Trail cameras always have an SD Card slot. While most of them can handle up to 32GB there are some models that will be able to work on SD Cards with larger memory size.
It is very convenient to retrieve the images from an SD Card if you have a slot for it in your device, or even if you use an SD Card reader.
How and where to set-up a Trail Camera
First of all, the location of the trail camera is to be determined. This largely depends on what exactly you are looking to capture. If you want to capture animal movements, setting up the camera near a water source could be of great importance.
If you have access to additional information about the area or if you could speak to the locals around the area you can also figure out the common trails used by animals. With a little more knowledge, the experience can turn into expertise.
The second thing to make sure while deciding a place to set up the trail camera is to make sure that it is at a considerable height so that the smaller animals do not mess with it. This tactic will keep your camera safe, as well as make sure that you get a holistic angle.
You also need to calculate the distance from the spot where you are presuming your target would pass by. If the camera is too close or too far, the picture wouldn’t be of much use.
Before leaving the sight make sure to double-check all your settings – SD Card placement, Wi-Fi/cellular network, angles of detection and your lockbox. Missing out on any of these details could end up leaving you with nothing despite following all the right instructions.
How to hide a Trail Camera
To get the best results from a trail camera, the camera must be obscured so their presence does not alert the targets. It is crucial to photography that the equipment blends perfectly with nature and doesn’t look like anything out of the normal. If the animals sense something uncanny, their behavior might become altered, or they might even avoid the area altogether.
Mounting brackets provide some security to the camera from industrial thieves. Once you place the camera inside a lockbox and fix it to the mounting bracket, it would make it unlikely for a thief to be able to steal it. To break it off, the person would require some heavy tools which are of course very difficult to carry and would make that person look very conspicuous.
Camouflaging the trail camera is consequential to getting good results. This step must not be skipped since it not only gives better results for getting good clicks of wild animals, it also hides the camera from the eyes of thieves and intruders.
Most trail cameras come with a built-in camouflage print but despite that, a bird-box or false foliage would definitely add to it. Natural camouflage is susceptible to decay. Plastic foliage would be much more practical and easy to maintain.
Aside from these critical steps, taking some additional astute measures can make significant differences in the outcome. Many photographers place their trace cameras inside birdhouses or make a conspicuous twin divert attention from the original trace camera.
After sufficient forethought and a little effort, the perfect placement of a trace/game camera would get accurate results.
Types of Trail Camera
These are the most popular trail cameras. These cameras come with motion-sensing technology that gets activated whenever some movement occurs within the detection range. These cameras use a lot less power and are much better to keep track of animals since you don’t have to spend hours searching through the footage for signs of the animal. They only get activated by motion and remain inactive during the rest of the time. Thus, you don’t have to replace the batteries too often.
Wireless Wi-Fi Camera
These cameras run on transmitters that can directly send the images to a computer or any other device. This makes it convenient for photographers to access the photos without going out into the field. This hassle-free technology allows you to place a camera and not disturb the sight. The only drawback here is that it requires a Wi-Fi network which makes them inconsequential in dead zones. Another thing that you may have to worry about is that the internet connectivity also makes the data susceptible to getting hacked.
This is a better, more convenient version of wireless Wi-Fi cameras. Instead of access to the internet, they require a cellular network which is comparatively easier to gain access to even in secluded areas.
They can directly send the pictures to your mobile phone, without needing wires or any other form of a physical connection. These cameras can also be hacked. They also require a weatherproof casing since they cannot withstand elements like other trail cameras.
Should I go for Flash or Infrared?
If you are looking to capture images in color, or you are looking to shoot images of the site, instead of animals, then it is better to have a flash trail camera since it gives better resolution and shoots in color.
Infrared, on the other hand, has a better trigger and recovery time, along with the advantage that it is undetectable.
The choice depends on what kind of photography you are looking for.
Trail cameras are prone to stealth and require additional measures than just concealing them. The anti-theft cable is the cheapest, most viable method of maintaining the camera’s security if you are unable to invest in a full-fledged security box. They come with a security pin system or a lock/key concept, but make sure to check the strength of cable and bolt locks since cable cutters can easily break through them.
How many Trail Cameras do I need per acre?
This question is completely subjective depending on what you are aiming to capture. If it is an empty area with no obstacles, you would only need 2-3 cameras to place in different angles to cover the entire area. If there are too many trees or other such obstacles, you would need more cameras for monitoring the region.
Will a Trail Camerawork through glass?
A trail camera, like any other ordinary camera, would work just fine if it is pressed against it. However, if there is a significant distance between the glass screen and the camera lens, the light would reflect and distort the image.
In simple terms, yes, a trail camera can work through the glass but you will have to place it in the perfect angle, taking into account the source of light and its angle of reflection.
Best Trail Camera Brands
Some of the popular brands are Bushnell, Spypoint, Minox and Stealth Cam. Recently, GoPros have been all the rage and are often being used by photographers to be used as Trail Cameras due to their compact form and epic durability.
Advantages of Trail Camera
The trail camera, with its information stamp, provides the user with all the relevant details along with the image captured. This makes it extremely user-friendly since you don’t have to worry about keeping additional records apart from setting up the trail camera.
Using a game camera to monitor areas with risky terrain or the threat of wild animals keeps the photographer away from any direct harm. You can get all the same results without putting yourself through all that effort of staying out in the wild.
Beyond the threat of staying in the wild, the time factor also plays a crucial role in photography. You can capture images at multiple locations while also putting the same hours in a more productive task that requires human supervision.
Allows you to record growth
A lesser talked about aspect of a trail camera is its ability to trace growth. Many environmentalists, as well as nature photographers, use trail cameras to take pictures of fauna for a long time to monitor its growth.
Faq’s Related to Trail Cameras
What trail cameras can send pics directly to your phone
Bluetooth enabled cameras or the ones with a cellular network connection can send images directly to a phone. Spartan FD GoCam, HCO SG580M IR Wireless, and Snyper trail camera are some of the models that come with this feature.
Are trail cameras noisy
A few trail cameras have a light buzzing sound. These might bother some species of deer but most blend into the surrounding sounds. Trail cameras do not have trigger sounds. This prevents the game from getting scared off.
How far does a trial camera can see
Most trail cameras have a detection field of about 50-100 feet. Some high-end models can offer an extension to about 120-150 feet. This distance is sufficient to capture the image of your target and any distance greater than that would need you to zoom into the picture and the pixels might become stretched for an average resolution camera.
What is the difference between trail cameras and game cameras
Game camera and trail camera are the same. Another term for them is a 'remote camera'. The wordplay here is based on the functionality of the camera. A game camera is a trail camera that is used to keep an eye on animals, mainly related to wildlife photography. Therefore, a game camera is a rugged and weatherproof camera that is designed to be used outdoors, and sustain itself without supervision. A remote camera is a camera that can be set to click pictures remotely. These are mainly used for sports photography and security purposes. Simply put, all game cameras are trail cameras and all trail cameras are remote cameras.
What type of batteries should I use for the trail cameras
The answer to this lies in the purpose that you would be using the trail camera for. If your camera is placed at a location where you can access it frequently with ease, lithium batteries are a good option. If your camera requires a greater power source, you could also go opt for an external battery box. However, they are comparatively more expensive. In case you are looking for a more permanent solution to manage the power source for your trail camera, solar panels would be a wise choice and would save you from additional expenditures of replacing the battery.
What size SD card do I need
Almost all trail cameras in today's market can process 32GB SD Cards. For some photographers, this might fall a little short of their desired storage, especially if they are using a high-resolution camera that produces images that need more space. For this purpose, some cameras come with 64GB compatibility. The physical size of the SD Card also varies. You need to make sure what kind of camera you have and whether it carries a miniSD, microSD or the standard SD card slot.
How many trail cameras should I get
This question is completely subjective depending on what you are aiming to capture. If it is an empty area with no obstacles, you would only need 2-3 cameras to place in different angles to cover the entire area. If there are too many trees or other such obstacles, you would need more cameras for monitoring the region.
What is the best time to deploy a trail camera
Trail cameras for capturing images of the wilderness need you to have some existing schemas or knowledge of the seasons in the context of the fauna's seasonal behaviors. For instance, to record the growth of deer and other creatures, spring and summertime are the perfect opportunities. With some luck and strategic placement of the camera, you could even trace the evolution of their antlers over a couple of months. Hunters looking for bucks can find them in the winter season since that is the time when deer shed their antlers.
Can I just use a digital camera
Digital cameras with the feature of distance photography can be placed in a setup to function like a Trail Camera but the harsh environmental conditions could prove to be an obstacle. So, to use it safely and to be able to maintain its durability, a digital camera can only function in place of a trail camera if it is used in a controlled, indoor setting.
Should I get a wireless trail camera
A wireless trail camera is a better option. Firstly, it allows you to monitor your site from a distance. This way, your target isn't driven away by your presence. Wired trail cameras can also become somewhat problematic since the chances of technical failures are higher if the wire is exposed in the wilderness. For security details or sports photography, wired trail cameras are a viable option since they have lesser chances of getting hacked and the vital information being stolen.
If you are a farmer or a wildlife photographer, there should not be any second thoughts on buying a trail camera.
They are cheap, yet very useful devices.
Here is the short summary of this in-depth Buyer’s Guide:
The Best Overall Trail Camera on our list is Campark Trail Camera.
The camera with the highest sensitivity would be Wosoda Trail Camera.
And the smallest, yet a very powerful game camera would be Campark Mini Trail Camera.