Ive done a little looking, and searched but there isnt alot that comes up.
I assume you want IR for night? any brands better?
I run Cuddeback Capture IR's. They are quite good, battery life isn't as good with some brands of batteries as I would like but the camera is very good in terms of triggering and image quality. Had mine for two years now and never really had an issue with it. Not cheap though. Stay away from the cheapo Walmart Cameras, I've owned several over the years and you get what you pay for.
Ah, a topic of which I can speak with some experience, having owned many. OK, the first thing you need to ask yourself is “what do I want to use the game camera for?” If your need is specifically to photograph or video animals you may want a different kind of camera than one you might choose for home security applications.
To simplify things you can divide game cameras up into two basic models, standard flash or infrared. Most game cameras let you choose either still image or video recording, some are programmable with both modes in operation, for example many standard flash cameras can be set to take video clips, but this will generally only function during the daytime, at night they default to still images. Infrared cameras will generally stay with their settings day or night. So really, what should you look for in a game camera? In no particular order, here’s the way I see it.
Flash or infrared
- I generally choose infrared for several reasons. Infrared seems to take less battery energy than a standard flash resulting in longer battery life (see below) Infrared also has the night video capability. Security
- a camera that sends out a bright white flash at night is a dead giveaway, not to mention an appealing target to thieves. The standard infrared emits a dim but visible light when triggered, there are also more expensive models whose infrared is completely undetectable. Distance
- infrared cameras advertise themselves with the number of infrared emitters they possess, as well as their stated range. In general, the more infrared emitters, the better picture quality and longer range you will have. As for their advertise range, well let's just say there is some creative marketing involved. Standard flash
- there is one benefit to a standard flash camera, color pictures at night. Infrared pictures and video at night will be black and white. Some people say that the standard flash cameras will spook wild game, to be honest I have never noticed that in the tens of thousands of game camera pictures I have collected in the past few years (I currently run 23 active cameras for a field study of bobcats- the furry animal not the machine….
) What I will say is that some of the cheaper flash cameras will emit a high pitched sound as the flash charges, and that can spook certain animals.
NIGHT TIME FLASH WITH MINK
Still vs. video
- again, most cameras have the capability to do both, although there are several exceptions. I prefer cameras that have programmable image burst modes that allow the user to choose how many pictures it will take per activation. For video modes, check to see if the camera allows you to choose the length of video per activation, generally 15, 20, 30 or 60 seconds. I have several cameras that will only shoot video clips of 30 seconds duration, at first it kinda ticked me off, but then again on the cameras I have that are user programmable for video length, I usually leave them set to 30 second clips anyhow.
VIDEO CLIP OF COYOTE, IR AT NIGHT
VIDEO CLIP OF A DEER HERD, IR AT NIGHT
Battery life and type
- this is perhaps more important to me than it might be to others due to the number of cameras I run. My recommendation, get the longest battery life camera you can. Some will burn through eight AA alkalines in two weeks or less. Battery type is also directly related to camera size. I have several cameras that use six " D" sized batteries, these cameras are about the size of a shoebox. Most of my cameras use eight AA batteries. These cameras are about the size of two boxes of .308 ammo stacked on top of one another. Battery life is of course heavily influenced by the number of activations you have on the camera, the battery brand and type, and environmental factors like temperature.
- this is, IMHO, an overrated quality in game cameras. I'd stay away from anything under two megapixel, but in reality there are other features to look for that influence picture quality more, the main one being trigger speed.
THIS IS A RED FOX TAKEN WITH A LOW MEGAPIXEL CAM
- get the fastest advertised trigger speed you can afford comfortably, and then prepare to be disappointed. I currently have seven different kinds of game cameras, and I've had three others in the past for a grand total of 10 different makes and models. Most of mine are comprised of what I would consider medium-high end units. I also have some of the fastest trigger speed cameras available, and a few of the slowest. There is very little difference in effective trigger speed when comparing the high end units to the midrange ones. The low end units are a different story however. What you will notice is that on most of the cameras, most of the time, even on the fastest trigger speed units, if an animal is moving at anything over a walking pace, the picture will be a bit blurry. If you're thinking of putting a camera on the big oak tree in your backyard and then flushing a 12 point buck past it to capture the "majestic stag in flight,"… keep dreaming. Even on the higher speed cameras I have you'll see lots of pictures of the north end of the southbound animals. Video seemed to do OK on moving animals, provided they’re not moving too fast. Trigger speed issues can be minimized with the proper placement of the cameras. Ideally you want the animal to move towards the camera instead of across of the cameras field of view.
NOTICE THE BLURRY HEAD, THE DEER MOVED AS THE PICTURE WAS TAKEN
LINK TO DAYTIME RACCOON VIDEO
-. Most cameras use SD cards, which are fairly cheap and will hold a lot of images and/or video. The thing to watch out for is what the maximum gig the camera will recognize. Some cameras will only recognize a maximum of a two gig card. Really cheap cameras don’t have any external memory and rely on their own very limited internal memory. Stay away from those.
USB/video out/other connection ability
-. Again, what works for me may not work for you or somebody else, but in my experience the easiest way to transfer images from the camera is to just switch out the used memory card with a blank one and then download the images from the used card onto your computer when you have time. I have experimented with everything from pulling the entire camera unit back to my office to taking a laptop/netbook with me for onsite transfer, and it’s just easier to switch out the SD cards, which like I said are cheap.
- I can’t think of a situation where I would put a camera worth $50-$500 dollars anywhere and not secure it. The camera housings are plastic, and although they are weatherproof (although not submersible under rising floodwaters as I’ve personally learned
) they will not offer any protection against theft. You need to use a camera security box and locking cable. Shout out to camlockbox.com, they make the best boxes in the business and usually have two styles available for each camera, standard and extra security. The extra security boxes are practically bulletproof, the standard security boxes should be fine for any situation that would not also damaged the camera beyond repair. The security boxes are there to prevent theft, but by necessity have openings in the front for the lens and flash system of the camera, so if somebody wanted to they could really a mess up your camera, although without bolt cutters they probably wouldn’t be able to take it. Speaking of bolt cutters, there is no sense in buying a camera, investing in a lockbox and then attaching it …….
•To a tree with only bungee cords
•To a tree about as thick as a broomstick
•Using zip ties, etc.
Use a good quality cable, my favorite is the kryptonite, 5/8 inch, 3-4 feet long bicycle lock.
CAMERA PLACEMENT IS CRUCIAL, THE FLASH CAUSED A GLARE OFF THE WET LEAVES, BUT YOU CAN STILL SEE THE OTTER.
-most cameras come with some type of warranty, usually one year. Speaking of one year, that is about how long I have spent on hold with a particular company concerning the multiple returns of their game cameras. Go with a reputable company, but be prepared to wait if you need service. Some common things that go wrong with cameras are-white out or black out images, failure of the infrared system and LCD display failure.
- there are a few consumer grade specialty game cameras out there, I’ll let you do your own research, but most of the specialty cameras involve the wireless transmission of images-some at considerable range- or cellular uplinks. Bass pro shops sell a brand called a buckeye, it’s pricey but pretty cool for remote image viewing.
security boxes (also sells cameras)
trail cam pro
good camera review site
My own personal recommendation...the Bushnell Trophy Cam- Great battery life, 2 year warranty, better than average pictures, good video, good IR range, good trigger speed, light and portable, less than $200.00
Any questions, just ask.
Originally Posted By frozenny:
I know this isn't what you really want, but here is my input....
Deer, at least mature deer, are really sensitive to pressure. The young stupid individuals are more or less oblivious, but deer do not mature and live to a ripe old age (4,5,6) if they do not learn quickly. Over time I've found that these BIG bucks (and BIG does)simply will not tolerate human presence like the young stupid ones will. How does this apply to deer cams? Well, with a deer cam you need to make a trip out to set up the camera. Then you make regular trips to retrieve images. End result is you've made sseveral trips to that location prior to ever hunting. End result? Its effectively "burned" for mature deer. I've seen this sort of 'once a week" pressure have no apparent effect on fair numbers of does, fawns and young bucks. However, its completely changed behavior of mature adult deer.
If someone made a camera with a battery pack that would last 3 months or more and some sort of remote imag retrieval that would permit downloading of images from 200 yards out, I'd buy 'em. Until then my deer cams have either been given away, stashed in apile of junk in the basement, or tossed in the trash.
I have seen on TV a few guys use systems like that. They used solar panels and some type of battery that fits in a waterproof case. Looked like it was in one of the Remington ammo crates. Not sure how but they could upload the images also to a laptop from xxx feet away. If you where in a area where you do not have to worry about people stealing your gear I'm guessing there would be a way to make a hard line from the game cam 200 yards away plug it in your computer and download the photos.
I would suggest reconyx if you want to capture something that will not be standing still in front of the camera, such as a person. I have had moultrie, cuddeback, and other brands. The fastest, most dependable have been my reconyx. The shutter speed on them is a fraction of a second unlike all other game cameras that have much longer shutter speeds. They are a lot more expensive, but they are truly that much better than the other brands I have owned. Just my .02
Pepare for bullet point rambling:
I've been running trail cams for 15 years, back when they used film.
leafinthewind echos my experience, he defintely outnumbers me in both number of cameras and different models.
I'm betting I know the company he had issues with, starts with a "M" and rhymes with moultrie
, am I right?
The reconyx are super, but out of my budget, the time lapse feature is awesome.
I run one Plotwatcher unit, which takes pictures at 5 or 10 second intervals all day, the software turns this into a time lapse video.
This is real neat as you get a video of all of the traffic in a food plot, with no with trigger speed or trigger distance issues.
I only get 4-5 days out of each set of batteries, AA rechargables. Same duration for regular alkalines, only they are more expensive in the long haul.
I've never locked mine and have been lucky to have only lost one, I've thought about placing a cheap walmart unit to watch my better cameras
In certain more public areas, I carry in a ladder and place them high so folks can't easily reach them, and I don't leave them in one place long enough for someone to bring their own ladder.
The Bushnell Trophy Cam and it's clones are pretty good but I don't experience even close to the advertised battery life, and I don't like the remote contol unit that you have to carry.
I carry spare memory cards and just switch them out in the field, I seek out SD card camera models that can accept external batteries and/or 6V or 12V rechargeables, I also like to attach a solar charger to extend battery life and minimize my intrusion changing cards and batteries.
In Indiana you can't bait, but in the off season I put out whole corn and the picture numbers jump exponentially.
In my experience, I honestly can't recommend a particular brand or model.
I hope some of this helps, just jump in and experiment.
I took a wild ass guess on distance. I'll have to step off actual distances from the gates when I'm out there this week.
I'll spend as little as I have to, but as much as I need to. Since I'm going to need several cameras, but not all will need to be super-stealthy or high security, I may be able to go cheaper on some, and spend more on others - unless mix-and-match is a logistical pain in the butt. Advice in this regard would be helpful.
Thanks for the chasingame link.