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How To Buy A Wildlife Camera In 2020
If you are enthusiastic about learning more about the wild world around us, or if you live near to particularly interesting flora and fauna, then there is every reason you will want to take a closer look at various animals with a professional camera system.
Many people make use of a wildlife trail camera to carefully capture and analyse animals which are otherwise likely to be scared off by traditional digital or flash camera systems.
For professional wildlife photographers, as well as those who simply enjoy learning about various beasties, there are plenty of brilliant trail cameras out there which are worth taking a closer look at.
But what should you be looking for from a wildlife trail camera? Are there any particular specs or features that make certain models stand out from the pack? Should you necessarily pay more for the privilege? Not always!
In this buying guide, we will take you through everything you need to know when it comes to finding the perfect wildlife trail camera. We are not just going to consider pricing, but also some of the premium features which might appeal to some of the more tech-savvy snappers out there.
Do stick around for our breakdown of frequently asked questions at the end of the guide, too.
What is a Wildlife Trail Camera?
Sometimes just referred to as trail cameras, these devices are used to take pictures of wild animals in their natural habitats. They are used by professional photographers and hobbyists alike.
Not only are they built to offer zero disturbance to creatures that lurk around, but they are also triggered whenever motion is detected. Therefore, you won’t have to lie around for hours on end waiting for a rogue deer to scamper across, only to miss the shot completely.
Trail cameras are also used during hunting to help analyse prey. Therefore, they are used for a wide array of purposes and will appeal to many different types of people.
That, too, is why there are so many different types, as well as why there are various features and functions built into some of the more advanced models.
You can get some truly fantastic photos from trail cameras. Anyone expecting grainy, blurry shots will be surprised by some of the brilliant snaps that people have been able to take with modern systems.
You only have to look for the right hashtags on Instagram, for example, to see what’s possible through this technology. If you are wild about wildlife, there is every reason you should look into investing in some equipment of your own.
You may already have a fancy camera set up and ready to go – but there are plenty of advantages in using a trail camera over everyday digital standards!
Things to Consider
You’d be surprised at some of the various features and factors you’ll need to bear in mind when looking around for the perfect camera. As we always do, it’s time for us to break down what you can expect from the best systems around, and what you might want to compare and contrast while shopping.
Of course, one of the first things you should be taking into account is capture quality. Anyone who knows a bit about camera technology already will know that photo quality is measured in megapixels.
Essentially, the bigger the number, the better your shots are going to look. Some cameras work as low as one or two megapixels, however, you can buy some which stretch all the way up to ten, and beyond. You will likely need to pay more for the more capable, feature-rich cameras.
As mentioned, the best trail cameras will work at a lightning-quick pace to capture action as and when it happens. You are also going to, therefore, need to look or cameras with trigger speeds that react quickly to sudden action.
This is an absolute must if you are trying to capture animals who are notoriously quick and on the move! The shorter the trigger speed, the more shots are going to be taken at any given time.
You are going to need a camera which can and will reload quickly so that you can capture the next beastie to gallivant across your shutter.
You may well have noticed that many cameras of this nature come in a variety of camouflaged looks. That’s because they are easier to hide from animals.
If you have a strange looking box planted out in the open, you are going to risk every chance of an animal avoiding you. Therefore, trail cameras are coloured and designed so that they can easily blend in.
Once again, it is all in the name of making sure critters don’t get spooked along the way.
Many trail cameras work on basic batteries, which means you will have to prepare the odd clutch of AAs every now and again. However, the best cameras actually run on solar power.
This means that, of course, they can recharge during daylight hours to give you plenty of juice as you go. It may cost you more to invest in solar power outright, but think about how much money you would otherwise spend on swapping batteries out every five minutes!
Most trail cameras nowadays will let you capture video as well as photos, however, not all will capture in full HD. If you want the best footage quality, you should be looking for 1080p or 4K.
However, again, this quality is likely to drive up the price. If it’s important to you, it’s worth shelling out for – simple!
Always check the detection range on a trail camera before you buy. Ones which boast a wide range will, of course, trigger more often, and will likely give you more snaps to look at in the long run.
However, there is sometimes a trade-off in terms of sensitivity. If a trail camera is too sensitive, it is likely to be shuttering every five seconds – or quicker, obviously! Therefore, pay attention to what users have to say before buying.
Frequently Asked Questions
It’s time to take a look at what shoppers are likely to ask of trail cameras before they buy. Take a look at the answers and make up your mind before you part with any cash!
Are All Trail Cameras Waterproof and Weatherproof?
No – this is something which you should be looking to compare while shopping around. Look for models with clear waterproof ratings, such as IP65, which shows that they can generally be used in all weathers.
How Much Do Trail Cameras Cost?
Wildlife trail cameras can vary drastically in terms of price. Naturally, the better quality results you can expect, the more you will generally have to pay.
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t get your hands on a bargain every once in a while. You can expect to pay around £30 to £40 for an entry-level camera, however, be prepared to pay £100 to £200, even more, for the very best.
Do All Trail Cameras Come Fitted with Night Vision?
No – not always. Most should, and likely do, but the quality of photos and videos you receive are going to vary wildly. Look out for capable, well-reviewed cameras which offer night mode and infrared as standard, and don’t be afraid to pay a little extra in the bargain.
Should I Buy a Trail Camera if I Already Have a Top-Range Camera?
It is always worth considering buying a trail camera if you want to specifically capture wildlife. Traditional digital cameras are only ever going to do so much when it comes to automatically capturing footage, and what’s more, there is a risk that you will scare animals away.
Your expensive camera equipment is also at serious risk of getting damaged out in the open, too!
Why Do People Buy Trail Cameras?
People buy trail cameras because they are easy to leave to capture wildlife. They are not easy to spot, and they are built to react quickly, while not disturbing or unnecessarily scaring any critters you come across.
They are resistant against weather, generally, and they can capture footage and photos during the night. Many people buy trail cameras when they have tried and failed to get good shots through traditional photography.
A trail camera is a superb investment if you want to take more photos of wild animals, or if you do so for work.
If you are new to the world of trail cameras, don’t worry. There are plenty of great choices and options out there, and it is easier than you might think to compare and contrast between various systems.
Always read up on what verified buyers have to say, and make sure to budget accordingly. Sometimes, it is better to invest more money than a little if you want to get the best tech.
However, do always keep your nose to the ground for a serious bargain or two.