So, your existing trail camera isn’t performing as expected and you need to retire it. Or maybe you have grown leaps and bounds as a hunter and want to upgrade your arsenal with a new and better trail camera.
Researching for the best trail camera can be so confusing and boring. But, you need not worry because we have already done the hard part of Research and Comparison for you.
We have done all the complicated work so that you can relax and find the best trail camera for you without any hassle. Below, is a list of best trail cameras present in the market that you can compare and choose from.
- 1 Best Trail Cameras 2016-2017
- 1.1 Best Trail Camera 2016-2017 Comparison
- 1.2 Browning Strike Force Sub Micro 10MP Game Camera
- 1.3 Bushnell 8MP Trophy Cam HD Trail Camera
- 1.4 Stealth Cam G42 No-Glo Game Camera STC-G42NG
- 1.5 Covert Special Ops Code Black 3G 60-LED Wireless Game Camera
- 1.6 Bushnell Trophy Cam HD Essential E2 12MP Trail Camera with Field Scan & Night Vision
- 1.7 Moultrie PANORAMIC 150 Game Camera
- 1.8 Browning Trail Camera – Dark Ops
- 1.9 Bushnell Trophy Cam HD Aggressor 14MP Wireless Trail Camera
- 1.10 Reconyx Hyperfire Semi-Covert IR HC500
- 1.11 TEC.BEAN 12MP No Glow Infrared scouting Camera
- 1.12 Best Trail Camera Below $100 2017 Comparison
- 2 Best Trail cameras below $100 2017
- 3 Trail Camera Buyer’s guide: What to look out for when buying the best game camera?
- 3.1 Things to Keep In Mind before Buying a Trail Camera
- 3.1.1 Image Quality
- 3.1.2 Battery and Power Options
- 3.1.3 Types of Batteries
- 3.1.4 Trigger Time
- 3.1.5 4) Infrared or Flash – What to Choose?
- 3.1.6 5) Detection Circuit
- 3.1.7 6. Video Recording and Picture Capturing
- 3.1.8 7. Memory Storage
- 3.1.9 Security Boxes and Anti-Theft Cables
- 3.1.10 Viewing Screens
- 3.2 Top Trail Camera Brands
Best Trail Cameras 2016-2017
Best Trail Camera 2016-2017 Comparison
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(Editor’s Choice: Best Buy, Best Trail Camera 2016-2017)
The Browning Strike Force Model is definitely one of the best trail camera in 2016- 2017. Browning Strike Force was launched in the year 2014. It enables you to capture or record the surrounding and the game in its most pure and unhindered form.
The Browning Strike Force 10MP Trail camera has very low trigger time of 0.67 seconds and has long battery backup. These two important features will hardly allow any special and vital opportunity to pass by without capturing it.
The package also includes an advanced time-lapse viewer software. That makes this game camera suitable for advanced users so as to use its capabilities to the full potential.
This trail cam is good for covert operations as it comes in a compact design with an efficient camouflage.
The zero Blur Night Infrared photos exclusive to the Browning series of trail cameras gives you a sharp and clean night view. Features such as sharp photos, long detection range and clear video etc. are a given with Browning Strike Force Sub Micro 10MP Game Camera.
is close to camera
The next choice that comes in mind when we think about the best trail camera is Bushnell Trophy Cam HD. It falls in mid-price range. It provides you with high-definition videos as well as 8MP resolution color images. You can put it to a multitude of uses including but not limited to wildlife monitoring, scouting game, home security, and surveillance.
The recovery speed and the amazingly fast trigger speed are among the top features of the camera. However, the sensor detection range is limited to 60 feet. This is a bit less when compared to other top brands but is more than enough for regular use. The manufacturer has included Passive Infra-red technology in Bushnell 8MP Trophy Cam allowing it to adjust the trigger signal sensitivity after analyzing the vicinity’s temperature.
Although the video recording also records sound and gives you sharp view. 32 LED lights are fitted on the Bushnell Trophy Cam HD allowing it to take great pictures within the range of 60 feet even during the darkest part of the night. It also has a night vision mode feature with no glow LED light capturing crisp pictures at night time.
The Bushnell Trophy Cam HD has variety of settings for the user’s convenience. You can set the cam for either only day or night use or have it working 24 hours a day. You can also condition the trail Camera to capture images at pre-set intervals using the time lapse feature.
The Stealth Cam G42 No-Glo Game Camera STC-G42NG is placed in mid-high price range and is generally suitable for intermediate to advanced users. It comes with a camera resolution in four variants i.e. 2, 4, 8 and 10 MP resolutions. These variants allow the user to capture video recording in high-definition according to their needs. The maximum time period for which Stealth Cam g42 can record a video is 180 seconds.
Same as Bushnell Trophy 8MP cam, the Stealth Cam G42 No-Glo Game Camera STC-G42NG has password protection feature to avoid unauthorized use and can support a capacity of 32GB storage memory.
With extremely light weight of 0.7 pound, you can use this Game Cam for scouting, game surveillance and home security. The company provides you with a weather resistant strap belt which you can use for multiple purposes including mounting the camera.
(OUT OF STOCK) 3.9 The Covert Special Ops Code Black 3G 60-LED Camera is the only Trail Camera on this list that comes pre-embedded with 3G functionality. Using the MMS function, you can send the captured videos and pictures directly to your email or phone by purchasing AT&T sim card. The Covert Special Ops Code Black camera features 60 invisible infrared LED flash lights. It can capture image up to 60 feet with a trigger speed of 1.2 seconds. It is suitable for intermediate and advanced users and performs well both in indoor and outdoor climate and purposes. You can use it for home security as well as hunting game. The camera supports 32GB SD card and the user can switch between 3, 5 and 8 MP resolution when memory space is a constraint and you need to increase the number of images you can click. You can make changes to the time lapse mode, 3 adjustable sensitivity levels and 2 available phase timer switch functions by using the 2 inch color view screen. Covert Special Ops Code Black Game Camera requires 12 AA batteries for optimal performance. It can last up to 12 months with a single set of batteries. 3.5 The Bushnell Trophy Cam HD Essential E2 12MP Trail Camera with Field Scan & Night Vision is a HD trail camera which falls in the low to mid-range in pricing. It can click images in 3, 8 or 12 MP resolution at the maximum and in full color with the help of day/night automatic sensors. The trigger speed of Bushnell Trophy Cam HD Essential E2 12MP Trail Camera with Field Scan & Night Vision is 0.3 second and is reprogrammable with different image modes present in the feature list. Depending up on the image mode you select, this trail camera can capture 1-3 images per trigger. Despite being a standard definition trail camera, it still is able to capture good quality images and is compatible with 32GB storage memory card resulting in doubling the number of images you can capture using a HD trail camera. 32 night-vision LEDs are mounted on the camera. This aids in capturing all the action when used in conjunction with the time lapse feature. Using the time lapse feature, you can program the game camera to capture images every 1-60 minutes depending up on your choice. With limited video recording time of 5-60 seconds which is programmable and no sound to go along with it, the camera records at a resolution of 720p.
save memory space
secure the camera
Covert Special Ops Code Black 3G 60-LED Wireless Game Camera
(OUT OF STOCK)
The Covert Special Ops Code Black 3G 60-LED Camera is the only Trail Camera on this list that comes pre-embedded with 3G functionality. Using the MMS function, you can send the captured videos and pictures directly to your email or phone by purchasing AT&T sim card.
The Covert Special Ops Code Black camera features 60 invisible infrared LED flash lights. It can capture image up to 60 feet with a trigger speed of 1.2 seconds. It is suitable for intermediate and advanced users and performs well both in indoor and outdoor climate and purposes. You can use it for home security as well as hunting game.
The camera supports 32GB SD card and the user can switch between 3, 5 and 8 MP resolution when memory space is a constraint and you need to increase the number of images you can click. You can make changes to the time lapse mode, 3 adjustable sensitivity levels and 2 available phase timer switch functions by using the 2 inch color view screen.
Covert Special Ops Code Black Game Camera requires 12 AA batteries for optimal performance. It can last up to 12 months with a single set of batteries.
The Bushnell Trophy Cam HD Essential E2 12MP Trail Camera with Field Scan & Night Vision is a HD trail camera which falls in the low to mid-range in pricing. It can click images in 3, 8 or 12 MP resolution at the maximum and in full color with the help of day/night automatic sensors.
The trigger speed of Bushnell Trophy Cam HD Essential E2 12MP Trail Camera with Field Scan & Night Vision is 0.3 second and is reprogrammable with different image modes present in the feature list. Depending up on the image mode you select, this trail camera can capture 1-3 images per trigger.
Despite being a standard definition trail camera, it still is able to capture good quality images and is compatible with 32GB storage memory card resulting in doubling the number of images you can capture using a HD trail camera. 32 night-vision LEDs are mounted on the camera. This aids in capturing all the action when used in conjunction with the time lapse feature.
Using the time lapse feature, you can program the game camera to capture images every 1-60 minutes depending up on your choice.
With limited video recording time of 5-60 seconds which is programmable and no sound to go along with it, the camera records at a resolution of 720p.
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Falling in the mid-price range, the Moultrie Panoramic 150 Game Camera shows a much wider field view than a regular trail camera giving you a panoramic picture of your proximity. The panoramic feature of this trail camera doesn’t allow the game to hide anywhere leaving it exposed to the snapshot.
According to your need, you can switch between the 5 available operational modes in the camera. If you want to attach it to a tree so that it blends with the surrounding, you can opt for the Mossy Oak camouflage tree stand case.
30 LED lights are present on the camera. It also features the motion freeze technology for use at night time. It is a perfect model if you wish to do wildlife photography or want to secure your vicinity from intruders.
Using the PIR motion sensor feature, the game camera is able to recognize motion and heat up to the range of 45 feet. The low glow feature of Moultrie PANORAMIC 150 Game Camera makes it minimally intrusive.
The automatic sleep function saves battery drainage until next use. This will prolong the battery life and keep you from having to buy expensive batteries every few months.
The Browning Trail Camera – Dark Ops is a 10MP resolution intermediate-advanced trail camera. It is capable of recording HD videos up to 2 minutes with audio. The trigger time is an impressive 0.67 seconds. The detection range is 70 feet and is great for outdoor use such as scouting and hunting. But, it can also be used for home surveillance with the same effectiveness and without any problems.
This Browning trail camera can support external memory of up to 32 GB. Since this is a premium trail camera, the price falls a bit on the higher side.
The camera works well both during the day and night time. The trail camera comes equipped with invisible flash that will not frighten or alert any animal or subject when capturing images or video. Timer, burst mode and other features are easily adjustable from the view screen.
The display also shows the remaining amount of memory and battery life. The trail camera can be connected to a compute or TV set with the help of USB cables which can be purchased separately. For ease of installation and mounting, a strap is also included within the unit.
Bushnell is pioneer in the field of trial camera and with the launch of Bushnell Trophy Cam HD Aggressor 14MP Wireless Trail Camera they have made a new breakthrough in the field of trail camera manufacturing. This trail camera is loaded with features and one of the best trail cameras in the year 2016-2017.
You can use the camera and click pictures using your smartphone or your computer according to your ease. Also, you get a free iOS/Android app for uploading the pictures on web or Facebook. You can later access the pictures on your smartphone. Bushnell gives you 14MP resolution which is commendable and future-proof for next 5-10 years at the least.
This trail camera is mounted with 48 no glo LED flash lights with a range of 60 feet that will not spook the animal or an intruder and click best pictures which you can praise and boast amongst your friends.
The game camera has a very quick trigger speed of 0.3 seconds and can click from 1-3 pictures per trigger. The daytime pictures are clear and crisp and so are the night time pictures. When the game is within the flash detection zone, the pictures are noise free. Video recording comes along with audio and can record from 1 to 60 seconds according to the user’s needs.
The battery life is short when compared to other models of Bushnell. But, the battery life purely depends up on the usage of the hunter. The camera has external battery power supply which helps in reducing the hassle of changing batteries for every few months.
Weight of the camera is 1.8 pounds which is on the heavier side when compared to other cameras present in the market. The casing is strong and weather resistant which is very important for a camera of this price ranges.
Reconyx Hyperfire Semi-Covert IR HC500 trail camera is a high end trail/game camera and lies in the higher price range. The most impressive feature of Reconyx Hyperfire Semi-Covert IR HC500 trail camera is its long lasting battery. With 12AA batteries, the camera can work perfectly up to 12 months without any trouble.
Reconyx Hyperfire Semi-Covert IR HC500 trail camera has a very good casing. It is strong and sturdy and weather proof.
This camera can capture 2 frames per second with the trigger speed of 0.2 seconds. You get crisp images at day time while during the night time image quality is monochrome infrared. The picture quality is very nice and the camera can capture high-definition picture of 1080p.
TEC.BEAN 12MP No Glow Infrared scouting Camera is one out of the box and fully loaded camera that we definitely needed on our top 10 list. The camera is for the intermediate to advanced users and has a price range of mid to high.
TEC.BEAN 12MP No Glow Infrared scouting Camera is a high definition camera that captures images and videos in full HD. You have 2 video recording options in this camera: i) 1920x1080p that records videos at 15 frames per sec and, ii) 1080x720p at 30 frames per sec. You get to record audio along with video for up to 90 seconds which is an impressive add-on to the camera.
When we talk about image capturing, you have multiple resolutions of 12MP, 8MP, 5MP and 2MP to choose from. This will help you save on memory when in need.
Images are crisp and clear during daytime due to the HD technology and black and white during night time. The camera is fixed with 36 IR LED flash lights that stretch to 75 feet long covering a large distance allowing you to capture good quality images during night time.
TEC.BEAN 12MP No Glow Infrared scouting Camera comes installed with its patented motion freeze technology which will allow you to keep an eye on cold blooded animals without getting disturbed by the movements of grass in the detection zone.
Best Trail Camera Below $100 2017 Comparison
Best Trail cameras below $100 2017
The Moultrie M-1100i Game Camera is second to none when it comes to performance. This game camera is fitted with a full color 12 MP resolution camera. The trigger speed is lighting fast 0.5 seconds. The detection range is 50 feet, thereby giving you more than enough options for places to mount it.
If you are worried that the game will detect the camera when it is working, then the detection zone can extend up to 80 feet if you use the no glow flash technology. That is more than enough for your hunting needs.
This game camera is one of the flagship models of Moultrie trail cameras, which is the reason why it falls in the medium price category. It weighs 1 lbs with the dimensions being 7.5×9.5×5 inches. That makes it really easy to hide anywhere within your house or in the wild.
The Stealth Cam G30 Triad Armed 8mp Trail Camera gets one of our highest recommendation and rating (an astounding 4.5 out of 5 stars).
This camera can click great images in 2, 4 or 8 MP resolution. It can also record high-definition videos with audio for a duration of minimum 5 seconds to maximum 3 minutes.
The compact make of the shell is strong and easy to open making the camera even more secure due to double protection. Strategically placed slots enable quick access to the memory storage slot and the port. The Stealth Camera G30 supports memory storage card up to 32 GB. You can also protect your data using the password encryption feature.
The ZenNutt HD Mini 12 MP 1080P Waterproof Low Glow Infrared Night Vision Trail & Game Camera provides you with high definition pictures and videos. With a resolution of 1080x720p, you are sure to like the vivid pictures this trail camera clicks. This camera can click 1-3 pictures per trigger without any recovery time which is great.
The camera is fitted with 42 IR black LED flash lights that doesn’t disturb the game and click images covertly. The flash range is 65 feet which is good when compared to other cameras in the same price range.
The detection circuit covers a complete of 120 degree which is extremely good. Also, it has a detection zone of up to 65 feet. The camera is weather proof and is IP54 certified. Your images are safe with the camera as it is password protected.
The ZenNutt HD Mini 12 MP 1080P Waterproof Low Glow Infrared Night Vision Trail & Game Camera has a 2.4” wide LCD screen that helps you view clicked images without transferring it to your computer. The screen needs no setup as it is already setup for standard use by the company.
The camera supports up to 32GB SD card but does not come with one. Also the battery life is not very impressive reducing the recommendation level. The camera can last up to 6 months with 8AA batteries which is average.
Moultrie A-20 Mini Game Camera is another one to make it to our list. The camera has 12MP resolution and is a good option for people on a budget.
Video quality in Moultrie A-20 Mini Game Camera is okay and not very praise worthy. You get resolution of 640x480p while recording but the camera is not able to record audio. There is an option to customize your image capturing mode. You can go for single shot mode or multi-shot mode.
The casing of the Moultrie A-20 Mini Game Camera is hard and weather proof. The company provides you with 2 years of warranty which is very impressive and assuring. Also, the camera has back lock which you can use to lock and secure the camera to the tree.
Stealth Cam P18 7 Megapixel Compact Scouting Camera is the second camera from Stealth brand in this list. This is a 7MP camera which offers a detection zone of up to 60 feet. It is useful for home security and wildlife scouting.
The camera is fitted with 18 IR LED Flash lights with flash range of up to 50 feet. This helps the camera capture good quality picture during night time.
Recovery time is up to 1 minute which adds to the cons of the camera. But the camera is full of benefits as well. You get 4GB memory card and 8AA batteries along with the camera which is a nice add-on to the package. The camera can support up to 32GB SD card.
Further, there is a small USB slot which you can use to download pictures from the camera without plugging it to your computer. The Stealth Cam P18 7 Megapixel Compact Scouting Camera also has external battery plugging option which you can use to save on batteries (Cable to be bought separately).
Trail Camera Buyer’s guide: What to look out for when buying the best game camera?
About Trail Cameras
Want to buy the best trail camera 2016-2017?
It’s very important to have intimate knowledge about trail cameras in order to purchase the best camera for your needs. So Let’s Begin!
Trail cameras are sturdy, water resistant, weather resistant, self-operable, self-powered and are able to capture images and record videos 24/7 to its internal memory storage. You can strap and mount the trail cam on a tree and leave it there for months together and later retrieve all the files it has captured. You can also use trail cameras for home security purposes by attaching it to a nearby tree or your porch. It is a good way to keep a tab on animals and unwanted people wandering in your vicinity.
What Do They Look Like?
Trail cams come in variety of designs, although they are mostly in small size with weather resistant capability and camouflaged outer cover. They work very much like a digital camera but they have an edge over digital cameras in terms of night vision, motion detection and time recording. All the controls of the trail / game camera are finely placed inside the waterproof box which covers the body. Also, they are secured well with the use of large clips.
Trail cameras mostly have internal battery source. However, there are few models available in the market with external battery source. The recording and captured images are written to an external and removable storage card.
Different Types of Trail Cameras
Infrared Digital Trail Camera
Shopping for a game camera is not an easy task when you take into account all the different features such as focus, sharpness, movement detection, pixels, megapixels and resolution. That is why we have created an unbiased list of trail cameras, so that you can buy a camera that is perfect for your needs.
Images clicked with cellular camera are transmitted to your phone or tablet over the internet. You can insert a SIM in the slot provided and then use it similarly to a phone. You would need a data pack for the SIM card as most of these trail cameras work with GSM networks. Nowadays, motion sensor is present in most of the trail cameras available in the market. This feature is activated as soon as the lens detect motion in its range. All in all, cellular cameras are very hands on and hassle free as it does not require tons of wires. Just a few wires and you are good to go. Also, the setup and installation is very easy.
Wireless Wi-Fi Camera
Wireless cameras features an internal transmitter which transmits your clicked images over a wireless network. In order to connect and transmit images, you would first need to select the wireless network of the receiving device in the trail camera. Though unconventional and loaded with exciting features, it is outstandingly uncomplicated, user friendly and applicable for this modern age. It is particularly suited for indoor/semi-indoor use because it has only a few attachments and hardly any wires.
In your absence, do you feel the need to keep an eye on what’s going on in/around your home? Or you may want to keep tabs on your storage house, or your office space, or even your business establishment? A fully functional security camera (also called a surveillance camera) is just the right kind of camera for such tasks.
Security cameras are not prone to bias as it is tamper proof and totally dependable. If any unexpected or malicious incident does happen, the security camera will record it in real time. You may use the recorded footage later as intangible proof.
Installation of security cameras also usually deters miscreants from committing malicious acts as they usually are overly careful if security cams are present around them.
1. If you have been a victim of vandalism or burglary in your home or business place, the security camera gives a reassuring sense of security as is it virtually tamper proof. As the efficiency of security cameras in the wild has not been determined or properly validated, it can prove inefficient in such set ups.
2. Apart from its traditional use, it can also be used for outdoor purposes. Suppose if you have set up temporary residence in the wild, these cameras can keep an eye on unwanted intruders such as wild animals and keep you two steps ahead from the perils of the wild woods.
Keep the following points in the back of your mind before installing a security camera.
1. Law prohibits installation of security cameras in private places like a bathroom or a toilet.
2. If you have a security camera installed inside your home, it will record all the intimate and private moments and conversations which of course you wouldn’t want shared with anyone else. You will need to regularly delete the data lest it falls in unwanted hands and turns up on the internet and other places. It would be wise to delete unwanted footage daily in order to avoid data leakage risks.
1. If you have been a victim of vandalism or burglary in your home or business place, the security camera gives a reassuring sense of security as is it virtually tamper proof.
As the efficiency of security cameras in the wild has not been determined or properly validated, it can prove inefficient in such set ups.
If you require to track and record even during the night time, then infrared cameras can be a suitable option. Infrared cameras are best suited if you need constant supply of video footage in the wilderness. The clarity of the night images is great as these cameras are high resolution. They also have motion sensors that switch the infrared function on and off automatically.
These cameras are being increasingly used in the wild as the image quality and clarity is sharp and friendly even at night and dim lit conditions. Due to their high resolution snaps and sensors, infrared cameras have always been used in experiments by scientific researchers.
1. Installation is easy as they generally come as a single unit with the recording storage and lens. 1. In spite of numerous advantages over other types of cameras, the main limitation is the cost. They are costlier and hence has not gained much popularity for use in domestic security and smaller establishments.
2. The sturdy nature of the infrared camera makes it more effective against tampering.
3. The make and design of infrared camera is such that even when deliberately damaged they do not give way easily.
2. Also, it has limited use around reflective surfaces due to LED lights fitted on these cameras. The light reflects right back at the camera resulting in a picture which is just a ball of light.
1. Installation is easy as they generally come as a single unit with the recording storage and lens.
1. In spite of numerous advantages over other types of cameras, the main limitation is the cost. They are costlier and hence has not gained much popularity for use in domestic security and smaller establishments.
This type of camera is especially made for use at night. The camera switches automatically to flash mode when the day starts turning into evening and night. This makes it suitable for use in both the day as well as the night.
1. Installation and setup is simple and easy. 1. The main strength of flash camera – the flash feature – also turns out to be its main limitation. When shooting in the wilderness, the flash can easily frighten and scare away wild animals thereby wasting your invaluable time.
2. As they are available in a plethora of sizes, they are easily portable.
3. The sharpness and image quality is really great.
4. Zoom capabilities are one of the best features available in flash cameras.
2. Also, as the flash feature is activated, the flash camera makes a shutter kind of noise.
Both of the above features make it a bad option for use in the wild as the flash and shutter sound will scare off the animals.
3. For covert operations also, this camera proves to be a bad option as there is hardly anything covert about it. Also, the flash can be a nuisance to your neighbors if you are using it for outdoor monitoring.
1. Installation and setup is simple and easy.
1. The main strength of flash camera – the flash feature – also turns out to be its main limitation. When shooting in the wilderness, the flash can easily frighten and scare away wild animals thereby wasting your invaluable time.
Things to Keep In Mind before Buying a Trail Camera
The quality of an image depends upon its resolution and is measured in Megapixels (MP). More the MP, the better will be the resolution and in turn the image quality. Trail cameras generally have an average resolution of 5-7 MP. However the range can vary from 2 MP to 20 MP, with 2MP being the most basic and inexpensive while the best cameras are equipped with around 20MP and capable of capturing High Definition pictures to give you the best experience you can get.
There are certain cheap trail cameras available in the market that comes with 1.5 MP cameras as well. But, we would suggest ignoring such game cameras as they are usually no good. Their image quality is alarmingly poor.
If you want to capture the moments of your game and you are concerned with preserving those memories (game videos and snaps), then we would like to recommend at the least a 7 MP -8MP resolution trail camera.
We would advise you against buying any camera that has resolution of less than 5MP. The images can turn out a bit pixelated and shoddy when viewed on a full screen. Their performance is at its worst during night time hunts and the quality of the image is absolutely appalling.
Using a camera of around and above 5 MP can give you night and day images with huge variations.
If your pockets are a bit deep and you are not worried about spending a bit more for a great camera, then a 10 MP and onwards camera will be a great investment. These trail cameras will provide great contrast and fine HD quality day and night pictures.
If you buy cameras with infrared flash, then it will provide you with only black and white snapshots at night. The other drawback is that with increase in resolution of your camera, the price it commands also increases a bit. Hence you should consider buying a decent game camera that does not burn a hole in your pocket.
If your need is strictly gaming, then opt for a camera with 5-8 MP. However, if you want to use your camera for the purpose of wildlife photography, then a high resolution/high definition camera is a must.
Battery and Power Options
A game can generally stretch for hours and can last even days. So, the last thing that you would want to prove troublesome is low charge in your battery. So it is very important to look for a camera that provides you with good battery backup. Imagine mounting your camera and leaving it unattended while you indulge in the game, and then coming back to fetch it only to find out that your camera died on you in the middle of the night. Ahh, what a bummer that would be!
Most of the brands in the market deliver cameras with battery backup ranging from 6 months to a year. But the truth is that actual battery life is usually less than what is specified. The main culprit are some of the features that hog up a lot of battery power. So depending upon the number of features you use simultaneously, the battery life can drain much faster.
A luminous flash drains considerably more battery power than its infrared equivalents. Similarly a cellular camera consumes more battery juice than the regular trail cams.
Lithium batteries provide much better performance and life than the alkaline ones. Also keep in mind to buy a trail camera with minimum of 8 AA battery sockets.
A more expensive option is to go for rechargeable batteries which tend to last for years at a stretch. If you average the cost of these high-end batteries over the years they last, you will find them to be more economical compared to the non-rechargeable ones. Another good thing going in favor of rechargeable batteries is that they are weatherproof.
If you spend a lot of time in wilderness, a camera with plugin option can be a good choice. However, you have to bear in mind that you would have taken the entire plug in system with you which can prove to be quite cumbersome and bulky.
Finally, stick to the recommended battery brands for best results. Also, check to see if your camera has a battery indicator before buying to protect yourself from unforeseen shutdowns.
Types of Batteries
Rechargeable Nimh Batteries
Rechargeable Nimh batteries are preferred by many people because they have a long life and cost you less money on an average over a period of many years. A single charge on Nimh battery set can last up to 3-4 years depending upon your usage and the quality of battery. Their effect on the environment is also minimal as you will leave throw away less batteries.
The most common drawback of rechargeable batteries is that they consume lower voltage in comparison to their lithium and alkaline counterparts. When fully charged, Nimh batteries produce a charge of 1.4 volts which then reduces to 1.2 volts over time.
Now, the dilemma is that many trail cameras require a charge of 1.5 volt to run efficiently. If the security camera senses that the voltage is low, it may assume the battery to be dead resulting in it shutting down itself. This is not something you want. Another problem is that most of the cameras produced after 2011 are compatible with rechargeable batteries but demand at least 1.5 volt which a Nimh battery fails to deliver.
Also, rechargeable Nimh batteries do not work well in a heated environment. Anything in excess of 90 degree can cause a sharp decline in battery life. It is better to use alkaline batteries if there is a rise of temperatures in your vicinity.
Rechargeable Nimh batteries are quick in self-discharging themselves even when not put to any use. So, use it as soon as you remove it from the charger or you will lose power unnecessarily.
Alkaline batteries are the least expensive and widely available option. As any other product available in the market, it also has its share of drawbacks. No sooner than you have inserted these batteries in anything, it will start to drain up the power. It starts with voltage of 1.6 but drains quickly.
Power drain of alkaline batteries is noticeable in their performance. It is evident from the first captured picture which is crisp to the last picture which turns out dull/dim.
Cold temperatures hinder the performance of alkaline batteries. They tend to lose half of its charge in weather that is cold and freezing. In conclusion, the cost of the alkaline batteries might be low and it may be extensively available, but the lack of consistent power and performance in low temperatures doesn’t make it a smart choice of battery to opt for.
The type of battery that we would recommend for optimal performance is lithium battery. It offers countless benefits and is really dependable.
To begin with, they provide consistent and most power which results in pictures of superior quality due to more light generated by the flash. 1.8 volts is the upper limit for lithium batteries. The higher voltage results in a longer battery life. It means your trail camera can be used for a longer time in the field.
The chemical composition of lithium batteries is such that helps it remain immune to low temperatures.
If your trail camera requires D cell batteries, unfortunately, the lithium batteries won’t be compatible for use. On the contrary, if your camera is designed for use with C cell batteries, you are in for some luck as they are of exact size as the lithium batteries. Instead of C cells you can then use AA lithium batteries and also derive the benefit of higher voltage.
The drawback of lithium batteries is that they tend to cost more money. Also, you will have to throw away the batteries after they have run its course.
Other Power Options
If you need it, you can hook up an external battery to the power supply of your trail camera. Most cameras either has a 6 volts or a 12 volts input for an external battery. This can be a great solution if you are not able to change the battery on a regular basis. One thing to bear in mind is that the battery should be compatible with your camera model. Trying to manipulate the connector can result in damaging your camera.
Solar Power Panels
If you need continuous power supply for your trail camera, solar power supply can prove to be a shrewd option. If weather is usually clear and sunny, you can do your part in saving the environment by using solar panels. With solar panels you need not worry about changing your batteries for years to go. They will ensure continuous supply without harming the environment and can act as a great substitute for regular batteries.
Check your trail camera’s battery details to make sure the solar power panel you buy is compatible with your camera.
Trigger time is the time in which the trail camera senses movement and snaps a pictures. Less the trigger time, the better. The process works in the following way:
1) An animal enters into the view of the camera.
2) Sensors pick up the presence and activate the camera.
3) It then triggers a snapshot
4) The picture is saved in the storage.
The trigger time of your trail camera has to be much below one second. If trigger time is high, by the time your camera captures a snap, your game would be out of the detection zone. And it will leave you with nothing prominent in the captured snap.
On the contrary, if you wish to monitor non-moving objects/places (for e.g. a place where you have tied bait or a place where a deer herd lives) then a slow trigger speed of your trial camera will do. The preceding examples are the only ones where your game would linger or hover for some time before moving out of the detection zone giving you enough time to capture a good picture.
The best trigger speed in a camera available is 0.14 seconds. On the contrary, the slowest trigger speed jumps up to 4 seconds in a few cameras available in the market.
A wireless cellular camera will basically have a trigger speed on the higher side compared to non-wireless camera. It’s because the wireless cellular camera takes time to transmit the signal and the captured image back to the storage.
4) Infrared or Flash – What to Choose?
Trail cameras come equipped with flashes of two variants. They are Infrared or invisible flash and incandescent flash which is better known as LEDs. The flash of your camera can either enhance or dampen the quality and experience of the game. So choosing a camera with the right type of flash is of high importance.
LED flash emits bright white light. In turn, it makes the images taken in dull and dim light quite refined and clear. One of the most striking things is the quality and contrasts of the pictures even during the night time although the day shots are more prominent. Even night shots come in color and are pretty decent when compared to the day ones.
The common drawback of LED flash is that it can frighten your game during the night time. The intense bright LED flash light can also make you visionless for few seconds. Furthermore, it may alert other hunters to your presence in the area.
If you want to use the camera for security purpose, then it is better to avoid LED flash security camera as it can alert any intruders. Also, the bright light can be annoying – a reason for your neighborhood to hate you.
The infrared flash, on the other hand, creates an unnoticeable detection zone which does not attract any attention. The red dot on the camera, which really is highly unnoticeable, is the only visible thing that the flash may have that you might be able to see when paid good attention to. For your covert night games, infrared flash is the way to go.
Some of the latest game camera models have even managed to hide the red lights resulting in the camera being completely camouflaged in the surrounding.
The good news is that few brands have introduced cameras with dual flash interchangeability. You can opt for these types of cameras as they provide you with an option of switching from LED flash to infrared invisible flash and vice versa as per your requirement.
5) Detection Circuit
Detection Circuit is the range within which camera sensors can detect motion and trigger the camera to take a snap. As mentioned in the Trigger Time section, trigger speed is determined in seconds while detection range is determined in feet.
Nowadays, trail cams with range up to almost 100 feet are available in the market. These long range trail cameras are the preferable choice for hunting in wilderness or even on a farm.
If you need to cover a small area, only then go for a low-range camera. Otherwise, it is preferred to buy a long-range cam. An average trail/game camera has range of 55-70 feet.
When buying a hunting camera you need to make sure that you receive what you have paid for. Few camera models present in the market are not able to perform up to the mark as claimed. They only provide approximately 2/3rd of the range promised.
Along with the distance you must also take into account the field of view. The field of view is the width of the angles within which the hunting cam tracks the motion. Naturally, a wide field of view means that the trail cam will be able to click a better picture as your game remains in the detection zone for a longer time.
Recovery time and trigger speed, both are very important criterions that calculates the amount of shots that you will manage to capture in a particular timeframe.
Recovery Time is the time in which your camera gets ready again to click the next picture. It can be as high as 5.5 secs and as low as 3.3 secs.
The game you are going to snap is not going to remain at a single place for a long time. As a matter of fact, majority of them may pass so quickly that you only have a timeframe of milli-seconds. As stated in the Trigger Time section, cameras with capture time as low as 0.14sec is available in the marketplace. Any trail cam that has a trigger time of more than 1 second is considered quite slow. You wouldn’t want to use such trail cams for gaming purposes.
The wireless cellular cameras generally have a high recovery time. The reason being is that they have to transmit the picture to the storage after every capture. And only after that it gets ready for the next click.
A rate of 5 second per snap is considered quick and normal. But, if you are looking forward to hunting using a wireless cellular cam, then it is definitely a bad idea.
6. Video Recording and Picture Capturing
As stated in the Image Quality section, 5MP – 7MP is the average range of most brands. If you wish to capture high resolution pics, only then should you purchase a high-end trail camera with 10MP resolution and above. There are quite a few high resolution game cameras available in the market which you can choose from. But, if you are using the trail cam for just hunting purpose, then a 5-7MP camera is more than enough.
The high-end game cameras have resolution between 10MP-20MP. The most being offered by any brand in the market is 20MP. With 20 MP the user receives high quality snaps and performance both during day and night time.
These days there are more and more features added to the trail cams, one of the most prominent being video recording. With the recording time ranging from a minimum 3 seconds up to 5 minutes, there are many options available to choose from. Few cameras allow you only black and white recording while many gives you colored video recording with High-Definition grade.
If you game during night times then you may face a bit of problem recording videos as the quality of the video recorded during night time is not as good as the day time. Further, if you have selected a game cam with no audio function, then you will end up with a video without any sound to compliment it. Thus, while purchasing a trail camera make sure to check out whether the camera provides audio functionality or not.
As also discussed above, Flashlights is an important aspect to keep in mind while buying your trail camera. The type of Flashlight you use directly determines the picture quality you get. Two basic flash options to choose from are 1) LED Flash 2) Infrared Flash.
Led Flash emits bright incandescent light resulting in strong flash and colored pictures with huge contrast. Infrared Flash has invisible light that captures picture without the game able to detect anything.
Bright white flash caused by LED flash can alarm the game or any unwanted intruder if you are using the camera for security purposes. Further, it may also annoy the neighbors due to its strong flash filtering during night times.
Few trail cameras having flash light have the option to disable it as per your need but this feature is not really needed. As the camera is designed to work with LED Flash, turning off the flash may just give you blank pictures.
On the other hand, Infrared Flash gives you the pleasure of being undetectable and able to monitor the surrounding with optimum camouflage. Infrared Flash is the best if you game at night times. The only drawback is that infrared flash can capture photos in black and white during night times.
You can expect 5 to 50 LEDs to be present in your camera if you opt for LED Flash cameras. It will no doubt brighten the surroundings and produce better picture quality. But, it also tends in annoying neighbors and alarming the game.
Infrared Flash, due to its invisible flash, is the camera to opt for, if you want little or no attention to be drawn towards it. It has only a red light which is noticeable if paid attention to. New Infrared Flash cameras come with features that even hide the red light making your operations highly covert and undetected.
Best suited for night operations, Infrared Flash cameras do not blind you with intense bright light. The only drawback we found was the black and white picture captured during night time and the quality of contrast of the night pictures when compared to pictures taken in the day.
You should also thoroughly check the Detection Range of the camera.
7. Memory Storage
Most users don’t want to compromise on battery backup under any circumstance. Similarly, we also shouldn’t compromise on the storage capacity of the trail camera. Imagine you being in middle of the game and capturing pictures when suddenly you run out of storage space and cannot record any more video or snap one more picture.
Few of the cameras in the market comes with storage as low as 8 GB, but you musn’t opt for these cameras as you would need to change the memory card very often. Majority of the cameras in the market are compatible with 32 GB memory card. A few may even be able to accommodate a higher storage volume.
Now, choosing the storage capacity directly depends on the usage. If your usage is high and you do not wish to regularly change the memory card, then opt for higher storage capacity camera. If a single trigger of your camera produces multiple snapshots for you to choose from, then definitely you need a bigger data storage capacity
You can keep only the perfect of snaps when you filter all the unwanted pictures your trail camera has stored in the memory card, but this will not be possible for you to do during the game.
Also, you can do the filtering and deleting of unwanted pictures only after the game. That means that during the game unwanted pictures will keep on accumulating space in your storage capacity.
You should understand that hunts may go on for a long time and will result in many pictures being taken. Also if you record videos, the memory gets occupied very quickly. If the video are in HD, then you will see your storage memory filling in no time.
A video will always take more space than a picture as it is an accumulation of multiple pictures captured in a small timeframe. Be it HD picture or video, it will eat up your storage memory in no time as there is no compromise on the quality.
If you are going to record videos exponentially, you must think of carrying extra storage memory cards. A back up storage will prove to be of great help if the game goes on for longer time periods.
If you sole purpose of using a security camera is to safeguard your vicinity, then you must opt for a camera with high storage capacity and storage backups to ensure the security. You wouldn’t want to perform the daily drill of deleting unwanted pictures to keep the storage clean especially if your vicinity includes heavy flow of people, vehicles or animal traffic.
It is highly advisable to stick to the recommended brand of storage memory cards for best results. It is not necessary that every card will run in all the cameras. Hence, a standard memory card of good brand is always best to use in recording videos and capturing pictures.
Security Boxes and Anti-Theft Cables
How would you feel if the trail camera you bought to stop theft and secure your vicinity gets stolen? Yes this can happen. The simple reason is, trail cameras are costly and therefore an easy target for the thieves to prey upon. Considering the harsh climate and merciless weather conditions the trail cameras bear time and again, even the best trail camera can get vandalized if not hidden properly.
To solve this problem, you need something that is sturdy, strong and resistant even to the powerful blows of weather and robbers. In such cases, a theft cable and security box is the best option. Security boxes are manufactured using low gauge steel. It helps them protect your security camera from direct animal scratches and even hard blows.
A big camera with an even bigger security box can attract unwanted attention and result in exposing the covertness your security camera demands. Thus, see to it that you choose a camera which is compact and easy to hide in the vicinity to avoid any kind of detection from the game or robbers. If space is a constraint for you, a compact security came is a must.
Make sure to have a simple but effective lock mechanism for your security box so that you can easily retrieve your trail camera. Also, after the installation of the security camera, see to it that the lock is well maintained and is weather resistant to avoid any problems later.
Various colors and designs for your security box are available in the market. You can get a camouflaged black box and many other options as per your choice and requirement. These variations in the exterior of the boxes are made to not just make it look better but to hide and blend the box in the surroundings with ease.
In order to not attract the attention of the game, thieves, fellow hunters and unwanted intruders, a well hidden security box is a must. Do not buy your security box without first checking its compatibility with your trail camera. If the security box is not a perfect match and size, your game cam’s camera shutter and flash can get easily blocked. For easy installation and mounting, hooks and brackets are also available along with the security boxes.
To protect your security camera from theft and damages from animals and passerbys, anti-theft cables proves to be vital. They also help you get perfect shots from a height you desire. The grip is easily adjustable as they are of free size.
A security camera should be mounted in varying positions so as to find the perfect place to safely install it. If required, you can install these security boxes with the camera on a rock or tree in your vicinity where you wish to monitor the surroundings.
Anti-theft cables are strong and durable because they are made of multiple thin steel wires twisted and meshed together to make it resistant and strong. To keep your hand safe from cuts and bruises from the tough steel, it comes with a coating of vinyl so as to make it soft for handling.
Although not all trail/game cameras have a viewing screen, it’s an essential feature that benefits users to a great extent. A view screen is helpful in the setup of the security camera at the proper angle, position and height. It also aids you to review the pictures taken by the camera immediately without any delay.
Viewing screens usually comes in 2-3 variants, notably 1) High Definition 2)LCD screen 3) Regular Screen. Depending upon your needs and requirements you can select which variant you wish to connect with your trail camera. Money is also a factor to decide as LCD screens although being of superior quality and viewing experience are of much higher cost than a regular viewing screen and its High-Definition counterparts.
LCD screens tend to be more sensitive than a regular viewing screen. To help you protect the sensitive nature of your viewing screen, you can cover it up with a screen cover and save it from common wear and tears in unsafe conditions.
The only limitation of connecting an external viewing screen is that it makes the whole package heavier and bulkier.
There are different viewing screen sizes available in the market for you to choose from. A small view screen is not recommended as it does not fulfill the very objective for which it was built. On the contrary, a large view screen for your game/security camera makes it heavier and bigger in size.
If you view your pictures on a frequent basis and have a large screen connected to your security/ trail camera, your battery backup will run out of power very fast.
Top Trail Camera Brands
Many Camera brands are fighting tooth and nail to acquire majority market share in the trail camera industry. Few names are prominent while some of them are underdogs trying to make it big in the industry. Since you are looking to get the best product your money can buy, you must opt for a brand that has maintained its quality in the market and is trustworthy.
Here we are about to list few brands that we found to be reliable. This quick short list of brands is created to help you choose the most suitable trail camera for your purposes.
One of the most distinguished names in the trail camera manufacturing industry is an American manufacturing company called Bushnell. Bushnell offers high quality hunting cameras with excellent range in products and pricing.
Most of the cameras are loaded with impressive features such as high resolution image capturing, wireless technology, HD video recording, setting option, no glow infrared and other etc. No matter if you are looking for LED trail camera, wireless game camera or infrared hunting camera, you will find one within Bushnell’s extensive range of cameras.
Bushnell is not only into camera manufacturing. It also deals in imaging and optic products like binoculars, telescopes, night vision equipment, spotting scopes and others.
Moultrie is another leading brand in the trail camera industry. They have a wide range of hunting cams and accessories that can be used for home security as well as wild life photography/game/hunting purposes. Video recording and images of high resolution are the norm in most of these cameras. One of their best trail cameras is the Moultrie Panoramic 150 Game Camera. It provides panoramic image with the broadest detection range.
Primos have a wide range of product line that caters to every hunting need of yours. You can find both low range and high range products & hunting camera in the Primos product line.
Browning is another brand that is well noted in the marketplace for its top of the line game cameras. Apart from hunting trail cameras, Browning also manufactures firearms and optics. High definition image, time lapse image capture, lighting quick trigger speeds, night vision infrared illumination are some of the best features of the Browning line of trail cameras.
Reconyx, SpyPoint, Stealth and Wildgame Innovations are some of the other brands worth consideration. Some of their cameras have made it to our top ten lists, despite having a smaller range of products.
5 Common Mistakes with Game Cameras
The Bottom Line- Wrapping it Up
In the above list, we have reviewed some of the top rated game/trail cameras the marketplace has to offer. These trail/hunting cameras boast of top of the line features. These features in turn helps to increase your wildlife photography or game experience.
You should be able to find a game camera worth purchasing from among the top cameras listed above. The game cameras mentioned above have been carefully handpicked after rigorous research reviewing various trail cameras available in the market. These trail/game cameras can be used both for wild life surveillance/gaming and home security.
Certain important features you need to keep in mind while buying the best trail camera are lightening quick trigger speed and recovery time, high-definition resolution videos and image capturing, and a rough-and-tuff build and design that can withstand any weather conditions.