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Thread: Best trailcam

  1. #1

    Best trailcam

    Any suggestions for a good trail cam at a reasonable price? Want it just to find out what is on the land.



  2. #2
    I can't tell you the best but I can tell you what I have and post a few photos so you can see what you think.

    I have a 2012 model Bushnell, the model number ends 437C. With Bushnell the model number is important as they have all got basically the same name and they all look pretty much the same but there are big differences between each year's model.

    The reason I wanted a 2012 model was that it had a very fast trigger speed. Some cameras are pretty slow and so miss a lot of shots where the deer walks across the front but is out of frame before the camera has time to fire. I was also not dead keen on spending a lot of cash for something I was going to leave up a tree and I got the Bushnell in the USA for 112. Mine is the smaller sized camera with the "low glow" flash as I'd prefer something smaller rather than bigger. Bushnell also make a bigger size that takes 12 AA batteries, their "black flash" ones tend to be in the bigger sizes. Bushnell get a good reputation for their sensor and I have had no false triggers that I can tell. They also get a good reputation for battery life and mine was out every day since August and still working fine so last week I put it into time lapse mode and set it to take a picture every minute. I left it doing that for 6 days, 8651 photos, and when I came back it was still working and showing a full 4 bars on the battery indicator.

    On the down sides - Trail cameras are outside in all weathers and are relatively "cheap" bits of gear so they are prone to failure. I'm sure there are people who have used the same one for years etc. but reading the US trail camera forums (where they take this stuff pretty seriously) it seems to me that the average life is between one and two years. You might get lucky and do better but I'd say any more than that and you are ahead of the game. Also the camera sensor actually needs to be aimed quite accurately at the area in which you want to detect deer otherwise it is either "shooting" into the ground or over their heads, this is something it took me a while to catch on to. The sensor is also only good out to about 40 feet which isn't very far if you decide you want the camera to cover a whole forest clearing. The flash range on my Bushnell is about 60 feet which is considered very good for trail cameras, a lot of the black flash cameras seem to struggle to do 20 feet.

    There are new Bushell models for 2013 and I'm considering a black flash one this year once the prices start to come down a little. I am confident that the "low glow" flash is seen by deer if they look directly at the camera and that they do run when they see it (I take 3 picture bursts and so have photos of them looking at the camera and then running all taken within 2 seconds). I also have a feeling that once they've seen it, even if they don't run, they start to avoid the camera - I often get lots of photos for 4 or 5 days and then they tail off to nothing. I believe the new 2013 Bushnell black flash (576C is the model number I think) cameras claim a flash range out to 60 feet, plus a sensing range to 60 feet as well and I think black flash, now the price is coming down, is probably worth having if it isn't going to reduce the flash range to next to nothing.

    Anyhow, I will post some photos and comments for you to see what I'm getting and consider if it might suit your aims:

    One of the recent timelapse photos with a deer in it. That deer is out beyond 50 feet and didn't trigger the sensor but was captured by the timelapse, the camera was up high and tilted down which would have reduced the detection range significantly:

    Demonstrating the fast trigger. As you can see by the motion blur I was walking very quickly. Also note that motion blur can be a problem as the cameras use relatively long shutter speeds to get max flash range and produce images in low light:

    A nice daytime shot showing the sort of quality you can get, note that the deer is very close to the camera and that to get good photos you really do need to be in close:

    This deer was looking right at the camera when the flash fired. This is the first photo of a 3 shot sequence and I will post the 2nd photo below it. I think the message is pretty clear - they can easily see the low glow flash and it does spook them. Note the time difference between the photos and also the motion blur when she runs:

    For self catering accommodation on the Isle of Lewis please visit:

  3. #3
    Thanks for this honest review about 150 was what I thought to pay so this fits the bill. Interesting about deer avoiding the flash.


  4. #4
    On the subject of avoiding the flash I should maybe add that the deer are sika and are very wary. It is possible your deer might be less sensitive.

    Other things worth considering are that the new 2013 year models of Bushnell camera are starting to come through now so if you were interested in going the Bushnell route you might get last year's model here in the UK at a reduced price. I really think the fast trigger speed is well worth having and would have missed many good photos and videos without it so don't buy a 2011 Bushnell as they were much slower.

    The price here compared to the USA is a total joke - when I bought mine they were looking around the 300 mark for it in the UK. If you buy from the USA you will have to pay postage, tax and import duty which will increase the actual cost to you significantly plus it does mean the warranty isn't worth much to you. However if you can buy at least two in the USA for the price of one here in the UK you can cover twice the ground or have a brand new spare ready to go if you get a failure. Trail cameras do die a lot so I think the 2 for 1 deal is a lot better than one with a warranty as we all know the camera will fail 2 days after the warranty ends.

    I should also maybe add that I've had a lot of fun out of mine and have learnt a few new things about the movements of my deer so while you don't need one by any means it can add some fun to your stalking days both in trying to pick new spots for the camera and also in reviewing the photos you've taken.
    For self catering accommodation on the Isle of Lewis please visit:

  5. #5
    Many thanks to big ears for this post, and to caorach for a very informative reply.
    cheers, Tedward.

  6. #6
    I use the Ltl Acorn 5210 cameras, both the MMS version and the basic photo/video units, they haven't let me down yet and are the 940nm versions which have the invisible IR led's. At 113 delivered you can't go wrong.

  7. #7
    I've been using the older version of the Ltl Acorn - deffo not covert! - some great reaction shots though.
    I will have to check out the current no-see-um batch,
    cheers, Tedward.

  8. #8
    Cabelas have a good range and they are a lot cheaper than in the UK

  9. #9
    I have bought stuff from Cabelas in the past and they are great to deal with.

    The only slight catch with them can be the cost of postage which they usually fix at 25% of the order value.

    It is important to remember that the tax and duty you pay here in the UK is based on the price if the item PLUS the shipping price.

    As a rough guide tax and duty plus the processing fee usually comes in around 25% - 30% of the value so for every 30 in shipping you add you pay another 10 to the British tax man.

    With this in mind it is often worth shopping around to see if you can reduce the shipping costs slightly as this can have a useful effect on the overall cost here in the UK once the tax man has finished ripping you off.
    For self catering accommodation on the Isle of Lewis please visit:

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