For some time I have been thinking about getting a trail camera for general wildlife scouting and also for watching the deer.
From what I can gather Reconyx make the best trail cameras but I really didn't want to spend that sort of money so in the end I decided on a 2012 Bushnell Trophy Cam HD which is Bushnell part number 119437C. The Bushnell part numbers seem to be a nightmare and they seem to change the spec of the cameras every year so getting exactly what you want can be tricky. The reason for going for this camera is that the 2012 models have a 0.6 second trigger speed and 60 foot flash range both of which I thought important when trying to get photos of sika which only move at night. In the USA these cameras cost £113ish and the total cost delivered with all the VAT etc. paid was around £180. That I know of the 2012 versions of this camera are not yet available in the UK and the 2011 versions have a much slower trigger and less flash range but are available in the UK. Basically the reason I bought the Bushnell was because it was as close as I could get to Reconyx in terms of features at a price I could afford.
As well as being triggered on motion this camera can be set to do 2 periods of time lapse per day so when I put it out I set it to take a photo every minute for the 2 hours around sunset and sunrise. I was then able to make all these pictures into a video which was nice, though probably not very useful. However, the time lapse facility would be great if trying to cover a larger area than just that within range of the motion detector.
I have only had the camera out for one night and it didn't detect any animals at all as the weather was awful. However I did a walk past test which would appear to demonstrate that the camera triggers pretty quickly, as you can see I had the head down and was walking pretty quickly but was still detected close to the edge of frame:
The trees opposite the camera are at least 50 feet away I would guess, at least to their trunks, and I was probably 35 - 40 feet from the camera when it detected me in the shot above. The following is a sample night shot taken about 1 hour after sunset, though it was a very dirty and overcast night so it was probably pretty much pitch dark:
This shot was taken an hour before sunset and as you can see it was already sufficiently dark for the camera to be operating in B&W mode. There is pretty heavy tree cover in this area as well as the weather being bad:
So, all told first impressions are pretty positive as it seems to perform as expected. Now I need to find some locations to place it where it will not get stolen and where there is a chance of seeing some wildlife.