If you are in the market for the best trail camera for the money, then you need to keep several factors in mind before making a final selection. Buyers are often amazed at the wide range of prices in these cameras with some available for under $20 while others cost over $500. Understanding some basic facts will help you decide which trail camera meets your needs the best.
First, consider how well the camera is built to withstand the weather conditions it will likely encounter. Look for a game camera that is waterproof and not just water resistant. If you are looking for a camera that uses batteries and live in a cold climate, then consider those cameras using lithium batteries as these batteries will last longer when temperatures drop below freezing. Alternatively, if you going to be using the camera in hot weather, look for trail cameras that take NIMH batteries to ensure long battery life. If you buy a game camera with an external battery output, then make sure to choose a battery that is still compatible with your climate and will withstand the temperatures. Some trail cameras have solar panels, however, before considering this option consider the amount of sun that the panels will receive on an average day.
Many trail cameras offer the ability to take photos at night. If you want extremely sharp photos, then choose a camera with white flash. Be aware, however, that the flash from these cameras can scare away game and can attract thieves. Other game cameras rely on infrared flash which is a great option for those wanting photos of animals that might scare away easily. While some animals may see the red glow, it will not bother most and will not easily attract thieves. Infrared flash produces only black and white photos.
Before choosing a trail camera, consider if you want the camera to take videos. If you prefer this option, you can expect to pay more for the camera. Alternatively, you can find cameras with different megapixels that take black and white or color photos. This choice is strictly personal, but cameras that take videos use batteries faster. Do not allow yourself to worry too much about the available megapixels as most will do an adequate job. Some newer cameras also allow you to activate time lapse photography allowing you to monitor what the camera sees throughout the day.
Now that you have begun your decision making process, one of the most important factors is the detection circuit. The first number that you need to pay attention to is the trigger time. Cameras rely on motion to know when it is time to take a photo. The trigger time is the amount of time that elapses between the camera sensing motion and the camera snapping the photo. The shorter this time, the more likely it is to capture the animal’s photo. Cameras with slow trigger times often capture only part of the animal or do not capture the animal’s image at all.
The second part of the detection circuit is the recovery time which is the amount of time that elapses between the camera taking one photo and another. Some cameras offer burst options allowing them to take many photos in rapid succession. These cameras, however, use more batteries.
The last part of the detection circuit is the detection zone. The larger the zone, the more likely the camera is to capture an animal’s photo. This zone consists of three different factors that you need to think about before choosing the best trail camera for the money. The first factor is the detection range which is the greatest distance that the can sense motion and take a photo. It is usually measured in feet and inches. The second factor is the field of view which is how much the camera can see at any given times. In the past, many game cameras were limited to around 37 degrees but now cameras are available with 150 degree field of views. The last part of the detection circuit is the detection angle which is the distance that the camera can sense motion before it actually enters the field of view.
The camera’s memory is another essential factor to consider. Most game cameras take SD cards. Look for cameras that allow you to reformat these cards within the camera or expect to replace them often. While you can wipe them clean in a digital camera, doing so often wipes information from the card that the camera needs to operate.
Additionally, consider how you plan to view the photos. Some have the option of viewing the photos on an LCD screen on the camera’s side. This is a great option when reformatting cards. If you will not be near the camera often, then consider options that use Wi-Fi to view the photos or that send the photos to your cellphone or email.
Now, that you have you list narrowed down to a few choices, consider the security of the camera. This ensures that no one steals your camera. The best option is usually a security box that requires a key or passcode.
Having a trail camera can be a real asset when hunting for big game. Keeping these factors in mind allows you to choose the best trail camera for your money.