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Trail Camera Buying Guide



3. Most cellular trail cameras send the photos to your smart phone via an app you will download. You can allow the app to send you notifications so when something triggers the camera it will notify your phone. You can then open the app to see what has triggered the camera. Some cameras even offer live streaming to your phone. In the app you will also be able to make setting changes and look at battery life and data used.




trail camera buying guide


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What we've covered in the First Time Trail Camera Buyers Guide so far is just the beginning. Game cameras are incredibly complex and each camera is unique in some way. Don't stress, let us walk you through the buying process. Some of you have very specialized needs or concerns. Maybe you are looking for a cellular trail camera, a camera for cabin security, a wildlife camera, or some other variety.If you can't quickly find what you are looking for, it's probably faster to call us (1-800-791-0660, Mon-Fri, 9-5 ET) or email info@trailcampro.com. We will spend as much time as needed to make sure you get the right camera.


There are two types of trail cameras: non-cellular and cellular. Non-cellular cameras are more traditional and are usually more affordable than cellular cameras. However, cellular cameras offer several convenient features not available in traditional game cameras, like the ability to receive captured images directly on your smartphone.


Non-cellular trail cameras take a picture every time something moves in front of the camera. Once the picture is captured, it is saved to an SD card, which you can later retrieve to view the images. Some models are even able to record short video clips so you can watch how the deer move through an area. While non-cellular game cameras are affordable, they require that you physically go to the area where the camera is mounted in order to retrieve the SD card and view the images.


In addition to the image quality, the trigger speed and recovery time are some of the most crucial features to consider when choosing a trail camera. Trigger speed refers to the time it takes the camera to take a picture after it detects motion. A camera with a faster trigger speed is more likely to capture the full image of a moving deer. Most high-end game cameras have a half-second trigger speed or less, but a slower trigger speed will perform just fine by food plots and other areas where the deer tend to linger.


Your trail cam is going to use a lot of batteries. Eight AA cells is a typical requirement, and some cameras need as much as twelve. However, many cams, such as the Browning BTC-4P Command Ops Pro, can also accept power from an outside source, usually a 6- or 12-volt battery or power bank. A growing number of trail cams can operate on solar power, such as the Spypoint LINK-S-V Solar Cellular Trail Camera, which has a built-in solar panel that charges an on-board 12 VDC lithium battery to power the unit. If need be, the cam can also run on eight AA cells or a plug-in DC power supply. Brands including Moultrie, Bushnell, RECONYX, and Spypoint offer solar panels designed to work with select trail cams.


In addition to techniques and tutorials that enable you to achieve great results from your cameras, lenses, tripods and other photography equipment, Lauren can regularly be found interviewing some of the biggest names in the industry, sharing tips and guides on subjects like landscape and wildlife photography, and raising awareness for subjects such as mental health and women in photography.


To make the right choice when buying a trail camera, it is important to answer a few basic questions - do I want the trail camera to send me photos instantly via MMS, or is it okay if I view them later from the memory card after checking the trail camera? Do I want the most beautiful photos and videos because I want to show them off, or do I just need to know what animal and when it was in front of the trail camera? Am I looking for the highest quality trail camera and don't mind paying extra, or would I rather get something with good value?We use different trail cameras and setups ourselves, depending on the conditions and circumstances. We have tested them in the long-term and can therefore recommend which model and settings to choose for any conditions. In this article you will learn:What a trail camera is and how it worksWhat the main parameters of trail cameras are and how to navigate themHow to not be fooled by parameters artificially inflated by manufacturersHow to send photos from a photo trap directly to your smartphoneHow long the batteries in a trail camera lastHow to choose the right memory card for your trail cameraWhich models we liked personallyWhat is a trail camera and how does it work?Trail cameras (or camera traps) are special devices that automatically capture photos or videos when they detect motion. This would most often be the movement of people or animals. They are thus most commonly used to monitor property and protect against burglars, or to detect animal activity.


A trail camera consists of the camera, motion sensor, night illuminator and control elements. It is most commonly powered by 4-8 AA batteries, but can often support 12V external power supply too. You can leave the trail camera by your cabin, or in a tree in the woods, for extended periods of time. There are models that can run for more than 12 months on a single power cell.Some trail cameras can send you the captured images directly as MMS or email. This lets you know what's happening in front of the trail camera in real time. Meaning you don't need to go check the memory card in the trail camera as often. It is also a great tool for protecting your property.


Trail cameras use a PIR sensor to detect infrared radiation, i.e. the heat emitted by warm-blooded animals to capture movement in front of the trap. In addition to trail cameras, these sensors are also often used in automatic lights and certain types of alarms. In order for the trail camera to take a picture, a source of heat must be moving in front of the sensor.CameraThe quality of the cameras used in trail cameras varies quite a bit, with some taking crisp and clear photos, while others take grainy and unsharp ones. There are also big differences in video quality. As you'll learn below, the quality of the resulting footage is also highly dependent on the sensor used. You'll find sample photos and videos in our reviews to give you an idea of what results to expect from a particular trail camera.Night IlluminationUsed to illuminate a dim scene - various designs of infrared illuminators are used most commonly. The illumination of some trail cameras is virtually invisible to the human eye, and even most animals. However, the illuminators in cheaper trail cameras are often highly noticeable. There are even models on the market with the classic white flash you know from your camera or mobile phone. These are particularly useful when you need to take detailed and coloured images at night.Control ElementsNearly all trail cameras have a built-in screen - either directly on the front, or with a design that opens to reveal the screen hiding inside. The buttons can be large with good ergonomics, or relatively small and difficult to access.What are the main parameters of trail cameras and how to navigate them?You can find different parameters for each trail camera, but some will affect your satisfaction significantly more than others.Image ResolutionThis determines how detailed the photo will be. It means how many pixels it will have. In general, the higher the resolution, the more detail you will see in the photo. This is probably the parameter inflated by manufacturers the most by far, so be especially wary here.


Most trail cameras have a sensor with a relatively low resolution, typically 2-5 megapixels. However, you can choose significantly higher photo resolutions in the menu, often upwards of 20 megapixels. Since a trail camera can only take a photo with the same resolution as the sensor itself (i.e. 2-5 megapixels), it then digitally enlarges the photo to several times its original size and saves it on the memory card. However, this process does not increase the amount of detail in the photo in any way, it just enlarges it. Moreover, photos enlarged in this way take up a lot more space on the memory card, plus the process of digitally enlarging them consumes additional battery power.


between 2 similar trail cameras, with one boasting a resolution of 4 Mpix and the other 22 Mpix, you will be likely to think the latter must be inherently better. As we have explained, that is not the case at all.


We can sometimes encounter a similar trick as seen in photos in video as well. Some manufacturers boast 4K video, but in reality, it is just digitally enlarged FullHD video. Once again, it's just about making the parameters look better on paper.Another phenomenon you may encounter with trail camera videos is choppy motion instead of smooth. The manufacturer might state that the trail camera captures video at 25 frames per second (the normal rate for smooth looking motion). In reality, however, the trail camera cannot capture that many frames, capturing only half the rate for instance. Instead it does a simple trick and adds each captured frame into the video twice in a row. This will achieve the advertised number of frames per second on paper, but the video will appear choppy.Motion will appear choppy on lower quality trail cameras, even though on paper they have the same parameters as higher quality traps.Trigger SpeedIn order to save as much power as possible, a trail camera works in long-term power saving mode with only the motion sensor running. Once it detects motion, the camera and, night illuminator (if necessary), are initialized, and only then does the trail camera start taking pictures. This process normally takes only fractions of a second. 041b061a72


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