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Thread: Trail camera

  1. #1

    Trail camera

    Im thinking of getting one of these but never heard of many people using them. What range can they work to? What is good for the money?
    Regards Dan

  2. #2
    Little Acorn 5210A

    I use these and have had no problems other than one I dropped in the mud. Worked fine after it was cleaned.

    They have three sensitivity settings and cover a good distance.

    You may also consider a steel security box you can buy for these which give you added security for about 26

  3. #3
    Hiya,

    I use a couple of Swannn trail camera about 80 from maplins.

  4. #4
    We use them extensively in the USA. There are several features that will make them vary in price.

    First is the definition - usually listed in MP (mega pixels). Cheap one may be as low as 2 MP, some high end ones are 12MP ( and probably 15 by this fall). Something in the 5-8 range gives nice clear photos without overloading the SD card.

    Second is the lighting/flash - the simplest and cheapest use a regular white LED flash, with the more LEDs the brighter. Better ones use Red/IR that is less likely to spook deer, the best ones use Blacklight LEDs (not really blacklight, but that is what they call it) and this seems to be completely undetectable by deer.

    Third is the storage/transfer of pictures. The oldest and cheapest used internal storage, although most everything now uses SD cards. With an SD card you must physically go to the camera to receive pictures. The more often you go, more often you are scenting up an area and alerting deer to a pattern. The most advanced have a SIM card and act as a wireless mobile - sending picture to you from a distance. This is wonderful except for the cell charges (for example, when the squirrels find your bait pile and decide to host their own daylong conference - or in autumn when the leaves are falling and you get a picture every minute of the day, with a new leaf). These SIM enable are quite good for catching poachers, thieves, and trespassers, since theft of the camera does not stop transmission. We recently had a case where a thief captured a nice string of photos of himself, his vehicle, and his home. Since these pics can be geotagged, the police we able to recover the camera the same day.

    i am not sure what brands you are able to purchase in the UK, but definitely read reviews for them on Amazon and other sites. Some cameras are essentially disposable, since they fail at a high rate and are backed by a worthless warranty. Others (I have had exceptional satisfaction with Covert Cameras, a company here in KY) are known for excellent pictures, long life, and well backed warranties.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Cootmeurer View Post
    We use them extensively in the USA. There are several features that will make them vary in price.

    First is the definition - usually listed in MP (mega pixels). Cheap one may be as low as 2 MP, some high end ones are 12MP ( and probably 15 by this fall). Something in the 5-8 range gives nice clear photos without overloading the SD card.

    Second is the lighting/flash - the simplest and cheapest use a regular white LED flash, with the more LEDs the brighter. Better ones use Red/IR that is less likely to spook deer, the best ones use Blacklight LEDs (not really blacklight, but that is what they call it) and this seems to be completely undetectable by deer.

    Third is the storage/transfer of pictures. The oldest and cheapest used internal storage, although most everything now uses SD cards. With an SD card you must physically go to the camera to receive pictures. The more often you go, more often you are scenting up an area and alerting deer to a pattern. The most advanced have a SIM card and act as a wireless mobile - sending picture to you from a distance. This is wonderful except for the cell charges (for example, when the squirrels find your bait pile and decide to host their own daylong conference - or in autumn when the leaves are falling and you get a picture every minute of the day, with a new leaf). These SIM enable are quite good for catching poachers, thieves, and trespassers, since theft of the camera does not stop transmission. We recently had a case where a thief captured a nice string of photos of himself, his vehicle, and his home. Since these pics can be geotagged, the police we able to recover the camera the same day.

    i am not sure what brands you are able to purchase in the UK, but definitely read reviews for them on Amazon and other sites. Some cameras are essentially disposable, since they fail at a high rate and are backed by a worthless warranty. Others (I have had exceptional satisfaction with Covert Cameras, a company here in KY) are known for excellent pictures, long life, and well backed warranties.
    That's why I chose the 5210A

    It has 12 mega pixels, 24 black LEDs so can't be seen, 2 side PIRs and 1 front PIR so takes pictures before subject crosses main PIR, Takes both still and video and is reasonably priced at around 85-95 so wont hurt too much if stolen but make sure you don't buy one of the copies from china which are a lot cheaper but you have no warranty.

  6. #6
    Ive got a few bushnell HD max's that i have scattered about the place they have about a 50 foot radius good pictures in night and day

  7. #7
    Little Acorn 5310A Wildlife Camera Trap with Covert 940nm Infrared (Wide Angle)
    Small, easy to use, easy set up (a must for me) and reliable. Just over 100 from Amazon. I've got 2.

    bryn

  8. #8
    Hi Dan71 I have 8 acorns and 2 Maginon wk1 spread over 600 acres they have been out there for over a year and apart from battery changes have been no trouble at all.

    Each camera is in a steel box (ebay) cam taped, with a 6ft steel cycle cable (halfords) locked round a hefty tree, the photos are really good day and night.

    I have some footage of both Deer and Boar that just would not be possible without the cams.

    regards WB

  9. #9
    I've been running two Bushnell cameras, one for 2.5 years and the other for just around one year now. When I bought them they were "last year's model" as they had all the features I needed plus there was some discussion that the newer models weren't quite so good. There was also a big cash saving to be made buying the "old" model.

    I think the first thing to understand is that trail cameras have a relatively short range in terms of detection and, more importantly, flash range. Also because they use a very wide angle lens anything that isn't pretty close soon becomes pretty small in the frame. So, if you put one on a tree at the edge of a big field then you will not see much. They are best used in more confined spaces, say on a known deer track or where you can bait deer into them. I find that images are probably best in the 10 - 20 feet sort of range and while they will trigger beyond this and the flash will reach beyond this you need to be thinking about 20 feet as your optimum range no matter what camera you are using.

    The next thing that is important, at least to me, is trigger speed. For me this is the key to getting images as many animals will pass the camera relatively quickly and so if your trigger is slow you will get lots of empty frames with nothing in them. You will think you are getting false triggers but, of course, what has actually happened is the animal has moved on before the camera has triggered.

    Sensing is also important as you are not there and so don't know how many triggers the camera missed. Some camera makers get a good reputation for sensing while others don't. It is worth taking a look over on the chasing game forums as they are VERY into their cameras:

    Chasingame.com discussion forum Index page

    Another important factor when setting up a camera is aiming the sensor - when I first started out I underestimated just how important it is to have the sensor pointing in the right place. If you angle the camera up, or down, then you will greatly reduce its ability to detect animals moving about and so you will see a marked reduction in triggers, or not get any at all. This is down to your picking a good spot and lining everything up well when you put the camera out.

    Good battery life is also useful as some cameras get through their batteries in a few weeks. Bushnell say they give a year of battery life and, if anything, this is an underestimate as I have had mine go for a year and take tens of thousands of photos on one set of lithium batteries and this includes lots of night time images with the flash.

    Image quality, and the number of pixels, is probably the least important factor as in most cases you are not looking to take a photo to put in the family album but rather are looking to see what is about. Keep in mind that you have no control over light and conditions so there might be rain on the lens, or mist, or condensation, or the sun might be right down the lens, or there might be lots of lens flare etc. So, the pictures are never going to be works of art and it is best not to suffer the illusion that they might be. Reconyx are considered one of the absolute best (and by far the most expensive) trail camera makers and they have stuck with 3.1 Mpixels and when you consider the environment and intended use this is probably more than enough.

    Also consider that what you have is cheap electronics in a cheap plastic box so a trail camera is basically a disposable item (except for Reconyx maybe) and I would say that the average life is around 2 years. Sure, people get longer than this but many also get much less.

    Although I have Bushnell in the end you have to do your own research depending on your requirements. My suspicion is that Bushnell were right at the leading edge of sensing, trigger speed and image quality for a very reasonable price but that they might have given up a lot of ground to other makers in the last year or two so although I've been happy with my Bushnell cameras I would suggest you look at all the options because the world moves on.

    Here are a few images from my camera, they are all quite old as I haven't uploaded any recently, but they give an idea of quality in less than optimal conditions and also the importance of a fast trigger:



    This is why you want a fast trigger - a dog running past which the slower cameras would have missed and a deer caught just entering the frame:






    Daylight:



    Good triggering at what is for most cameras a considerable range, in the first image the deer isn't easy to see. I always shoot 3 shot bursts so you can see it in the second image:





    Pitch black but no question that she saw the flash as she can be seen running off in the following images:

    For self catering accommodation on the Isle of Lewis please visit:
    http://www.7south.co.uk/




  10. #10
    One of the best posts I have read on a particular subject, well informed and full marks for taking the time to put it up, well done.

    regards WB

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