The most profane may have never heard of these gadgets, but hunting enthusiasts who know well what a trail camera, or a night vision hunting camera. We also know them as hunting cameras, although as you can see, you can use many names to refer to them. Best trail camera or surveillance cameras for hunting are cameras specially adapted for night vision, which allow recording in the dark autonomously and outdoors. That is to say: you place them, you activate them, you leave them recording all night, and the next day you pick them up to check the results. They are used in hunting especially for trapping, waiting, waiting or to follow animal tracks … but they can also be used as security cameras in open enclosures.
What is a trail cam? What can I do with a night hunting camera? How is a trail camera different from a conventional video or photo camera? These are all questions that may arise the first time we come across one of these devices. The fans of hunting or the world of wildlife observation may have it more clearly, but just in case we will try to explain it to all audiences. If you are looking for best trail camera, then you are the right place!
A trail camera is an autonomous camera, which allows you to record at night, without plugs, outdoors (with rain or bad weather, inclusive) and in very harsh conditions. They are usually used as surveillance cameras for hunters, but also as photo-trapping cameras, or simply to monitor what happens in a very large area of land (farms, preserves or large outdoor enclosures). When buying one of these mini video cameras for hunting, you have to take into account a lot of criteria and operating parameters. These are complete cameras, capable of doing many different things … and we must be clear as users which of their functions are going to be important for us, and which are not.
The basic characteristics of a best trail camera are following:
Hunting cameras with Infrared: the choice of light is an essential factor for our trail camera. They can have incandescent light (flash) or infrared light. The latter is the most used because although the flash offers a better quality, many animals are afraid of it and flee. Within night cameras with infrared, we have to distinguish those of red dot or black infrared. Blacks work at a much longer wavelength, and they are practically invisible to a human eye.
Batteries: the ideal is that our camera uses alkaline batteries (better than rechargeable ones). Most trailcam cameras support up to 8 batteries, although they can work with 4. If we anticipate that we may have problems of duration, because we are going to use the camera running for a long time at night, then maybe we should buy an additional battery or some solar panel that acts as support.
Resolutions: at the time of writing this guide, you can find hunting cameras of 14 MP (megapixels) and Full HD for video capture. Get the best trail camera.
Protection and camouflage: almost all hunting cameras use standard camouflage colors to go unnoticed. It is also worth evaluating its housing (you can buy a metal box as an accessory separately) or block its operation with a PIN code, in case it is stolen. We must bear in mind that it is an object that we will leave running outside for a lot of hours or days in a row.
No. of photographic captures: one of the most important functions of a hunting camera is the photographic capture by motion detection. When the motion sensor of the camera is activated (normally by the presence of an animal), a sequence of photos is automatically triggered whose duration we can determine: from 1 photo to bursts of 5, 7 or 9 consecutive shots.
Duration of the videos: if you plan to record many videos with your trail-cam, find out it’s maximum duration so as not to take surprises afterward.
Trigger speed: between 0.1 and 5 seconds, and the faster the better. It depends on the type of animals or situations that you want to capture, but a too slow shooting speed can make you lose track and make the animal leave the field of view of the camera when the photo is shot.
Objective / Lens: the viewing angle should be as wide and deep as possible in order to capture better images.
Programming: a programmable hunting camera is very useful because it will allow you to determine at what times of the day you will start recording. The rest of the time will not consume energy. With this, you can leave your camera installed for several days, with the assurance that you will only record the hours that you have previously defined.
Sound recording: some cheap hunting cameras only allow you to record videos without sound. Do not forget to check this detail if you are interested in capturing the ambient sound in your recordings.
Screen: if your hunting camera has a screen, you can see photos or videos in the same camera, and you can also better calibrate where you are focusing on leaving it.
Test mode: many night cameras for hunting have a test mode that allows the user to know when the camera detects movement (or temperature) and begins to record. If this test mode is activated, the camera emits a red light so that we know that the camera is recording, very useful if we play with different configuration parameters for our team. All the checks are few before leaving it opens all night in the open.
Advanced features: this is the kind of things that you will only find in some more expensive or newer models … but that really make the difference if we are going to give intense and expert users to our night vision camera. Among these qualities we could mention, for example, the Time Lapse mode, the possibility that atmospheric and climatologically data appear in all the captures, or the connectivity to send photos to the mail or to the mobile (as long as there is network coverage in the area where the camera is installed).