Trail cameras are self-operating, motion activated devices that are used to shoot wildlife or sports and in surveillance applications. They are often referred to as scouting, remote cameras or camera traps. In the wildlife field they are used by professional and amateur wildlife observers, conservationists, researchers, documentary makers, and hunters.
Cameras are normally fitted to a tree or a post with a strap. They come in a waterproof, camouflaged casing and are purposefully designed to withstand all weathers. This includes temperatures from -25 - +70 Degrees Celsius and humidity levels up to 95%. You make them animal, thief and vandal proof by purchasing a lockable security box.
Cameras are battery operated (normally with x4 AAs) and power can last up to a year on some models. When installed, motion detection sensors trigger the automatic recording of live video footage, or take still photographs. A fast trigger speed of around 1 second means the camera immediately captures the subject. It will produce high quality images in full colour during the daytime, or black/white at night.
The camera is pre-programmed via an LCD display or remote so you can record video and take shots according to your preferences. Settings include: Image size Number of photos Interval between shots Video length Audio on/off First take picture, then record video
Images are stored on the device memory or an SD card. They can be viewed through the LCD display, on an SD card reader, via the USB port or TV-out.
MMS/GPRS Trail Cameras use GSM/GPRS technology which enables images and videos to be sent automatically via mobile phone or email. A SIM card is slotted into the camera and you can program where you want your images to be sent. The device will even send you a text when its battery is running low. You can get a free pay as you go SIM and top up as and when you require. If you secure one with free text messaging or data you can keep the cost to a minimum.
Examining the specification and comparing different makes and models can be quite daunting, here’s a little help.
Image resolution This is measured in mega pixels, the high the number, the more detail captured. It basically means you can create bigger prints without image distortion. You’ll see the maximum resolution in the specification, although most models allow you to choose what resolution to take shots in eg 3, 5 or 12mp. Therefore you can control the file size of photographs and how much space they take up on your SD card. Image size This will tell you the maximum size of the image in pixels. For example a camera set at 5mp resolution produces an image of 2560x1920. That’s 2560 horizontal pixels and 1920 vertical which equates to 5,017,600 pixels or 5mp.
Video size Often measured in Frames Per Second (FPS), the higher the number the better the quality. You’ll see this in our specification as 640x480: 20fps – this means the camera can record 20 frames per second at 640x480 pixels. You can also buy trail cameras in HD this means they can record 1080 horizontal lines of an image – the same as a HDTV.
Detection Subjects are detected through a passive infra-red (PIR) sensor which measures light radiating from objects in its field. Contrary to popular belief, the sensors don’t actually detect motion but abrupt changes in temperature. Sensitivity can be adjusted - High/Normal/Low and some cameras have an auto adjust feature. You’ll find the PIR sensing distance range given in metres and feet on our website e.g. 65ft/20m.
Night vision Cameras operate in complete darkness using infra-red LED emitters which produce black and white videos and photos. Unlike an incandescent flash, an infra-red (IR) flash does not generate any visible light and it uses much less power. This is paramount in wildlife photography as the last thing you want to do is alarm the animal you want to photograph. The IR flash range shows the cameras ability to photograph something at night and is given in feet and metres.
LED glow In some models the infra-red emitters produce a faint glow which is not conducive to stealth photography. Bushnell combats this by using black LEDs which are invisible to wildlife and humans. Look out for Ltl Acorn’s 940nm models which are more discreet with low-glow technology.
Camera Trigger The trigger speed is important for obvious reasons; animals can disappear in the blink of eye so it must be lightning fast to catch the best shots. In good trail cameras, this is normally around 1 second. Our best-selling Bushnell Trophy Cam HD has the fastest trigger speed of 0.6 seconds.
Battery life When you set up your trail camera, the last thing you want to do is keep having to go back to the site to change batteries. Some cameras can last up to 1 year without needing replacement batteries; the average is 3-4 months. We have a solar panel camera kit in our accessories section which can power a 12mp camera for up to 1 year.
The Bushnell Trophy Cam is a digital scouting camera. It can be triggered by any movement of game in a location, detected by a highly sensitive Passive Infra-Red (PIR) motion sensor, and then take high quality pictures (up to 8MP still photos), or video clips. The Trophy Cam consumes very little power (less than 0.2 mA) in a standby (surveillance) state. This means it can deliver up to six months standby operation time when the device is powered by the full capacity of AA alkaline batteries, and up to twelve months utilizing lithium AA batteries. Once motion in the monitored area is detected, the digital camera unit will be triggered at once (typically within one second) and then automatically take photos or videos according to previously programmed settings. The Trophy Cam is equipped with built-in infrared LEDs (“black” IR LEDs on models 119576C/119577C) that function as a flash, so that it delivers clear photos or videos (in black & white) even in the dark, and it can take color photos or videos under sufficient daylight. The Trophy Cam is designed for outdoor use and is resistant against water and snow.
Includes many new or improved features, including: