The Best Trail Camera for 2016

browning strike force trail cameraTrail cameras are rugged, weatherproof, remote cameras with long-lasting batteries that can be left unattended for months in remote areas, or in areas that are difficult or dangerous for a photographer to access. Remote cameras have a wide range of uses. Artists, nature photographers, and researchers use them for time-lapse photography. Homeowners, researchers, and hunters use them to observe wildlife. In sports photography, remote cameras might be placed behind a basketball hoop, on a goal, or beside a racetrack. They are used as web cams to display scenic views as well as to monitor equipment in hazardous areas. They are also used for security and surveillance by many.

In this article we will break down the best trail cameras for you to use for your specific needs, as well how to use it properly.

Best Overall Trail/Game Camera

The Browning Strike Force Sub Micro ranks high on all features, and is our top choice. It captures daytime and nighttime photos and HD videos with sound. Daytime videos can last from five seconds to two minutes.

A fast trigger speed of 0.67 seconds and a recovery time of 2.3 seconds ranks it in the top five percent of all trail cameras on the market. Reviewers report that the camera captures head shots of animals as they enter the field of vision, full shots as they pass through, and “butt shots” as they leave, indicating that the field of vision consistently matches the camera’s 50 foot detection range.

In daylight, the camera’s light sensors easily handle direct sun, shade, or a mix of sun and shade, producing bright, clear images with excellent contrast.

The no-glow infrared flash for night photography emits no visible light, but some dimness, graininess, and blur is expected from these flashes. Reviewers report, however, that the contrast in the nighttime image is exceptional and that all areas of the image are evenly lighted. They could identify human faces and count the points on a large buck within a 50-foot detection range.

This trail camera uses six AA batteries. Lithium batteries provide approximately six months of battery life while rechargeable batteries provide about two months per recharge.

Camera setup is easy. The two-inch internal viewer with live preview mode allows you to see the area that is in the cameras field of view as you set it up. The camera’s size (5″ x 3.2″ x 2.5″ ) and the bark pattern printed on the case allow it to blend exceptionally well with tree bark.

Best Wireless/Cellular Trail Camera

Reconyx Cellular Security CameraWith the SC950 models, Reconyx enters the cellular trail camera market. Within 60 seconds of taking a photograph, the camera transmits a low-resolution version to either your cell phone or e-mail address.

The camera has a trigger speed of 0.25 seconds and a recovery speed of 60+ seconds. As with all Reconyx cameras, the detection range of 70 feet perfectly matches the field of vision. The no-glow infrared flash extends to 50 feet.

Again as with all Reconyx cameras, the case is extremely durable, and at 5 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ x 3″, it is easy to conceal.

The full resolution photos stored on the camera’s SD card are clear and sharp with good contrast. Colors in daytime photos are excellent. However, the lower resolution photos sent to cell phones or e-mail are compressed to 512 pixels by 384 pixels. They will show cars, trucks, and people in areas where they should not be and provide a description of the type of vehicle, the size of a person, and the clothing worn. Daylight images will show colors. They will not show details such as facial features or license plate numbers, and you will not be able to enlarge or blow up the compressed images to show such details. You will need to retrieve the SD card. For that reason, you should be aware that, to allow for continuous operation, the camera uses Loop Recording, recording new images over the oldest ones if the SD card is not retrieved.

Power consumption during daytime and nighttime photography depends on how long it takes the camera to connect with the network and transmit the image. The resting current draw is very low at 22 milliamps. The median from a series of tests rates power consumption for daylight photography at 13,175 milliamps and 14,139 milliamps for nighttime photography. These figures are higher than other cellular trail cameras. If concealment is not an issue, consider purchasing the Reconyx Solar Panel. However, the camera can capture up to 40,000 images from one set of 12 AA batteries.

Basic camera setup is similar to other Reconyx cameras. When you order the cellular model, you will need to choose either AT&T or Verizon as the service provider for the camera. Reconyx installs the appropriate sim card and ships detailed instructions on sim card setup and the available rates and service plans. If you already have cell phone service from AT&T, you can simply add a new line for the camera. If you are not already an AT&T customer, you can use AT&T’s no-contract GoPhone Plan.

The camera comes with a CD of software that you will need to install on your computer for cellular setup. You can set the camera to send images to up to two e-mail addresses and four cell phone numbers. You can also have the camera send one photograph a day as proof that it remains operational. Unlike most cellular trail cameras, the Reconyx SC950C allows you to use two schedules to set times when the camera will operate and when it will not. If the camera is used for security, you can use one schedule to turn off the camera during work hours on work days and the other to set the camera for full-time operation on non-workdays.

The camera can also be set to take up to 10 images in burst mode at your choice of intervals. Instead of entering its recovery phase after taking each individual image, the camera takes and transmits the full set of images, providing up to 10 images of intruder activity.

This is a versatile camera that can be used for either security or wildlife observation. The price is high, but justifiable for security uses.

Best Camera for the Money

Bushnell Trophy Cam HDThe Bushnell Trophy Cam HD Trail Camera with Night Vision has a trigger speed of 0.6 seconds with a detection range of 60 feet. A similar Bushnell Trophy Cam lists a recover speed of 2.9 seconds and a detection range of 50 feet. When set to automatic mode, the Passive Infra-Red (PIR) motion sensor monitors ambient temperature conditions and regulates the sensitivity of the trigger based on the temperature readings.

The camera is equipped with a day/night auto-sensor and can be set to take photos only during the day, only at night, or both day and night. Field Scan time-lapse mode allows the camera to take still photographs or videos at your choice of intervals independently of the motion trigger. Field Scan 2X allows two windows for photography or videos which is useful for capturing images during the magic hours of dusk and dawn. A similar Bushnell Trophy Cam stores videos as avi files, but, because it is not a true avi file, Mac computers require a free DIVX player to display the videos.

When triggered by the motion detector, the camera takes still photos or up to 60 seconds of video with sound both day and night with a video resolution of 1280 pixels by 780 pixels. Images are stamped with the date, time, phase of the moon, and the temperature. A GPS locator tag allows those with multiple cameras to input the longitude and latitude of the camera’s location and have that information embedded in the image file.

The nighttime red-glow infrared LED flash has a range of 60 feet. Some animals notice the flash, but are not frightened by it. A similar Bushnell Trophy Cam provides an adjustable nighttime flash with settings of low, medium, and high. Setting the flash lower shortens the exposure and darkens nighttime pictures, eliminating problems with motion blur and severe white out for objects within 10 feet of the camera. This setting also lengthens battery life. Daytime pictures are clear, sharp, and have excellent color. The video is also excellent and the audio is able to pick up sounds at some distance.

The camera uses four to eight AA batteries. A comparable Bushnell Trophy Cam used just 0.19 milliamps while resting. Daytime photography requires 403 milliamps while nighttime photography requires 685 milliamps. This ranks in the top 10 percent of all cameras for low power consumption. Batteries in the similar model could last from two to four months or up to six to 12 months if the camera takes few pictures. Battery life can be extended with the use of nimh rechargeable batteries.

The camera is user friendly and easy to setup. The case design is simple, durable, and with the Real Tree AP Camo design and a size of only 5 1/2″ x 4″ x 2 1/2″, it is very easy to conceal.

Best Trail Camera Under $100

Simmons Whitetail Trail Camera with Night VisionThe Simmons Whitetail Trail Camera with Night Vision receives an average rating of 4.2 stars out of five stars from 93 reviewers on Amazon. The camera takes both daytime and nighttime photographs and videos. It can be set to a resolution of either five or six megapixels for still photos. Video resolution is 640 pixels by 480 pixels. The Passive Infra-Red (PIR) motion detector has a range of 30 feet, while the range of the red glow infrared night vision LED flash extends to 40 feet. One reviewer reports that the trigger speed is exceptional for cameras in the price range. The camera requires only four AA batteries, but battery life extends to six or seven months. The LCD screen makes setup simple.

Most reviewers report satisfaction with the picture quality, but the images are not as sharp as those taken by eight megapixel cameras. The images are adequate for wildlife observation, but may not provide the detailed facial features that would allow easy identification of an intruder. Nighttime images appear to badly white out the center of the photo, especially for objects close to the camera.

Overall, however, most reviewers find that this camera fills their needs for inexpensive security or wildlife observation.

Best Trail Camera Under $200

Stealth Cam G42The Stealth Cam G42NG No-Glow Trail Game Camera receives an average rating of 4.3 stars out of five stars from 158 reviewers on Amazon. While the camera has a fast trigger speed of 0.49 seconds, it has a below average recovery time of 6.6 seconds. However, a firmware update is expected to reduce recovery time by half.

The camera has a detection range of 60 feet, and the no-glow infrared flash extends to 50 feet allowing the camera to monitor a wide area night and day.

The camera takes both still photos and HD videos with sound that range from five seconds to three minutes. Photo resolution can be set to two megapixels, four megapixels, eight megapixels, or 10 megapixels. Eight or 10 megapixels provide the most detail and the highest quality images. Animals close to the lens are in focus and there is little blurring, even with extensive motion. However, the background and objects more than 70 feet from the camera are out of focus. Interestingly, this is the opposite of most cameras. Daytime photos have vivid colors and good contrast, but some nighttime photos heavily white out objects close to the camera. A firmware update has improved nighttime photographs overall, but inconsistencies continue.

The camera uses eight AA batteries and requires 0.26 milliamps of current when resting, 646 milliamp seconds for daytime photography, and 1,475 milliamp seconds for nighttime photography. While the battery usage for daytime photography falls in the middle of the range when compared with the competition, the other two numbers are higher. Batteries will last three to six months, depending on the number of photographs taken. Lithium batteries work best. Alkaline batteries will work, but aren’t recommended. Nimh rechargeable batteries will not fire the infrared flash, so do not use them in this camera.

The case is well designed and measures only 5 1/2 inches by 4 inches by 2 3/4 inches. A bracket for a python lock and a threaded insert for a Slate River Mount are built into the case.

The camera can be set to take from one to nine photos in burst mode. It has three preset modes and one custom mode to choose from as well as a manual shot capability that is protected with a Secure Lock password. The preset modes include a three-photo burst at eight megapixels with a 30 second delay, a single photo at eight megapixels with a 30 second delay, and a 10 second HD video with audio at a 720 pixel resolution with a 10 second delay. When you move the slider to one of the preset modes, the backlit programming window lights up and the display scrolls through the settings for that mode. If you want a different setup, move the slider to custom mode and choose the settings you prefer.

This camera is a solid choice, but the slow recovery, higher power usage numbers, and inconsistent nighttime photographs are negatives to consider.

These trail cameras provide a range of options and prices for those seeking remote cameras for artistic purposes, security, or wildlife observation.

How Do I Select a Trail Camera?

When deciding which trail camera is best, the most important question is how you will use the camera. Will you take interior or exterior shots? Will you use the camera for nighttime photography as well as daytime photography? Are you using the camera for artistic purposes, sports photography, surveillance and security, or wildlife observation? Does the camera need to pan over an area or will it be fixed. Do you want still images, video, or both? Do you want a film camera, or do you want a digital camera with an SD card that can be left in place long term and that may be able to transmit images to your e-mail address or cell phone?

High quality images are important for any remote camera. Do not buy a camera with less than eight megapixels of resolution, especially if you intend to print the images.

Trigger speed is another important consideration. Camera used for sports photography, surveillance, or wildlife observation need a fast enough trigger speed to capture quick movements without blurring.

The range of the camera’s heat and motion sensors should match the camera’s field of view. When the trigger speed, the detection range, and the field of view work together properly, the camera should capture the person or animal that triggers the camera entering, passing through, and exiting the field of view.

The case of a camera used for wildlife observation or outdoor surveillance must be easily concealed, durable, and weatherproof, especially waterproof. It should have a sleek design with no protruding parts or controls that could be damaged.

The easier the camera is to use and the more simply it functions, the less likely it is that something will malfunction while the camera is unattended. The point of a wildlife observation camera is to reduce the presence of humans so that the animals behave normally, so it is important that both the camera’s battery life and its ability to continue to operate both extend for several months.

How to Use a Trail Camera

Braided safety cables and other mounting hardware secure remote cameras in areas where people might pass below. Gaffer tape and black wrap secure and protect camera cables. Surveillance cameras might be mounted on motorized brackets that pan over a wide area. Trail cameras are mounted in fixed positions and many have camouflage cases. Mounting these cameras at 30 inches captures images of deer and larger animals. A lower position captures smaller animals and game birds. Setting cameras to take three pictures in succession in “rapid fire” or “burst” mode captures fast moving animals without disturbing animals inclined to linger even when using a red-glow infrared flash that animals notice. Deer look in the direction of the flash but don’t flee. Predators such as coyotes and bobcats are more likely to be spooked. Purchasing a python lock or a security mount or box discourages theft of the camera.

Shutters on remote cameras can be triggered by a cable attached to a button, by radio remote, or, if the camera must operate independently of a photographer, by heat and motion sensors.

Check out this great video on the secrets of successfully using a trail camera:

Moultrie A5 Low Glow Game Camera Review

Moultrie provides a wide variety of game camera, feeders, and food plot sprayers, and has established itself as one of the most respected companies in the game and feed industry. For hunters and property owners, it is important to have eyes on the ground all of the time; Moultrie offers multiple options for game cameras to help keep a lookout when customers cannot. The company’s A5 Low Glow Game Camera upholds this reputation with high picture quality, exterior build, and wide variety of features at a reasonable price.

Product Specifications

This camera is ready for the outdoors with a waterproof case and day and nighttime modes. It can hold over 8,000 pictures on 4 C-cell batteries, which ensures you’ll get the photos you want. In addition, the game camera will take 10-second video clips. At only 1.4 lbs, the Moultrie A5 Low Glow Game Camera can easily be hung where you need it, and its low profile makes it an unobtrusive addition to your property. The casing has loops on the back to accommodate rope, bungee cords, or pull ties for mounting. The case locks securely to prevent leakage (or nosy raccoons), but those users who are concerned about tampering should purchase an additional lock to secure it.

Pros

With a price point under $70, this game camera packs quite a punch when compared to others in the same cost category. This easy to use camera requires no sophisticated additional equipment beyond batteries and an SD card: users can pull it out of the box and be using it in just a few moments. The A5 Low Glow camera is waterproof, so you can use it in any climate or weather conditions without worrying about your SD card.

A 5.0 megapixel camera is housed within the hard shell, and the camera can be set to go off at different time limits, the shortest being one minute intervals between photos and the longest being thirty minute intervals. The camera also has an auto rest feature, where it will conserve battery when it does not detect motion after 2 minutes.

Each photo is stamped with the moon phase, time, and date, which is helpful for gathering long-term data. During the daytime mode, the camera will take color pictures, but nighttime pictures are only offered in black and white. At night, a flash does go off when the camera takes a picture, but it is not bright enough to share any animals in tha area. It uses SanDisk 16 gigabyte SD cards, which are widely available at electronic, camera, and big box stores.

Even under heavy use, the camera’s batteries will hold up for several months before needing to be changed, and the memory is large enough that users will be able to gather thousands of pictures between disk clearings. If battery usage is a concern, the camera also has an external port for a 12 volt plug.

Cons

The camera’s shortest setting is one minute, so consumers looking to get rapid shots of their property will have to look elsewhere. The video mode does offset this issue some, but the quality of the video stills is not as clear as the still images. The range of the camera, particularly at night, is limited to only ten yards or so, which will frustrate hunters and property owners looking to get a wider view of the selected area.

While the camera is motion triggered, it can take several seconds to wake up after being idle for some time. This delay can cause owners to lose a clear picture of a passing animal or trespasser. Once the camera is active, though, some users have noted that it is highly sensitive and can be activated by the movement of trees or wind, which will result in a significant number of photos that do not contain wildlife. This issue can be offset by clearing the space directly in front of the camera of all brush and debris that could set it off.

The daytime photos are quite clear, but the nighttime photos are grainier. Other than the issues with the motion trigger, the biggest complaint with this camera is the nighttime picture quality. That being said, a 5.0 megapixel camera can only do so much, and, for the price, the camera quality is fairly good.

Who would want this?

A hunter or avid outdoorsman looking to learn more about the local game would be pleased with this compact, inexpensive outdoor camera. Because of its size and motion activation, homeowners who’d like an additional layer of home security will also find the Moultrie A5 Low Glow Camera a solid choice. While it doesn’t produce the highest quality images, this game camera offers plenty of features to help anyone keep an eye on who or what is nearby.

Primos 12MP Proof Cam 02 HD Trail Camera Review

The Primos 12MP Proof Cam 02 HD Trail Camera with low glow LED’s is a remote camera that is reliable and easy to use on the hunt, on the farm, or in your backyard. Equipped with 60 second videos including sound, full color day photos, and infrared night shots you’ll never miss a thing, whether it’s that trophy buck you’re looking for or raccoons digging through your garbage. It is simple to operate without any extra gizmos that might complicate its performance.

Details

The 12MP camera takes HD time lapse, HD videos, and stills with 48 low glow LED lights that reach out to one hundred feet at night so you’ll never miss a shot. They are arranged in a circular pattern to provide maximum illumination. The full color daytime images and infrared nighttime images have two resolution settings to assure you get the quality you’re looking for. An illuminated slide let’s you choose easily between settings.

It operates on eight AA batteries for a full nine months at normal usage. The battery compartment can be difficult to access because it is built for rugged outdoor use and to keep out water and the elements but you won’t have much call for changing them anyway. The front access panel is also tightly sealed but thoughtfully equipped with a padlock hole so it can be locked to prevent anyone from tampering with it.

While it has a 1.1″ character LCD screen for instant viewing, it also has a USB port and a slot for an SD or SDHC card up to 32 GB. The size of the card you need depends on the resolution and type of photos you are attempting to capture. Everything from 150 short 15 second videos to 80,000 lo resolution stills are possible and from 10 to 160 days worth of 60 second time lapse videos. The bigger the SD card the more data you will be able to collect.

The camera is also equipped with a delay switch which allows you to choose the amount of time that you want to elapse between photos or videos and to set the delay between video and stills in time lapse mode.

The 72″ tree mounting strap is more than adequate for most situations. It can also be attached to a tripod for use in mounting applications other than while hunting. Using a small flexible tripod allows it to be attached to the railing of a deck even.

On the front is a red light that is used for detecting motion of the prey. Once it detects movement it will snap pictures with a .4 second delay. This speed is what gives the Proof 02 the ability to never miss an animal.

Operating the Camera

Unlike cameras with more bells and whistles that are rarely needed or used by most hunters or backyard enthusiasts, operating this camera is as simple as it gets. It comes with an instruction manual, but most people who’ve used a digital camera or computer will be able to start using the camera without the manual. Just install the batteries and SD card, close the covers, turn it on, and it does the rest.

There are three modes of operation for this camera – on, off, and setup. They are relatively straightforward.

Make sure the camera is in the OFF position while installing batteries and the SD card as well as when you connect it to a computer via USB cable. Even when in the off position, the camera still uses a very small amount of battery power to maintain settings, so if you will be storing it for a long time, like between hunting seasons, removing the batteries is best.

In the ON position the camera will be set to capture photos and video. It has a 15 second lag to allow time to close the front of the camera and move away from the area. After that it will begin to record any movement.

The SETUP mode is for changing preferences between stills and videos. It also lights up the LCD screen and shows how many photos have been taken and what the remaining battery life is for ease of monitoring. You must move to the SETUP mode from the OFF position. Moving to this position from the ON setting can cause the camera to freeze up.

Pricing

The Primos Proof 02 is moderately priced. While it doesn’t have all the features of more expensive models, with it’s ease of use and long battery life as well as the high quality of images it produces, it is well worth every penny.

Brand

The Primos brand is a well-known icon for hunters and has long been recognized for quality and durability in the hunting industry.

Here is a video that someone captured using this camera and posted online:

Browning Strike Force Sub Micro 10MP Game Camera Overview and Review

Strike Force Sub Micro 10MPBrowning has been a leader in outdoor gear for quite some time, but the new Strike Force Sub Micro 10MP Game Camera may be the company’s best creation to date. Coated in a highly effective, visually appealing camouflage design, it’s capable of capturing HD videos and photos of nature in its purest form. Videos can be taken for up to two minutes per shoot and thanks to its super quick trigger, photos can be taken at lightning-fast speed. With a ton of features and a modest price tag to boot, there’s a lot to like about the Browning Strike Force Sub Micro 10MP Game Camera!

Features:

  • Measures only 4-1/3 x 3-3/4 x 2-7/16 inches, making it one of the smallest game cameras around
  • HD video with sound
  • 10MP image resolution
  • 45-foot detection range
  • 100-foot infrared illumination range
  • Zero Blur technology for incredible picture sharpness
  • 0.67 second trigger speed
  • Numerous multi-shot settings
  • Rapid fire picture capabilities
  • Picture stamping shows date, time, temperature, and more
  • Easy-to-use backlit control panel
  • Powered by six AA batteries

Design

There’s been a little downsizing taking place at Browning, and I’m not talking about the corporate kind! The good folks at Browning have taken everything we love about the company’s Strike Force Series of game cameras, such as HD video, a rapid-fire function, and a 100-foot infrared illumination range, and managed to fit it into a mini trail camera that fits right in the palm of your hand.

The innovative little camera is coated in a visually appealing yet highly effective camouflage design and comes in a handy compact case featuring a fantastic Master-Lock Python cable slot. This simple yet awesome feature allows you to make use of its nylon-webbing strap or easily secure it to almost any tree.

While some users have reported problems with the camera’s latches, like other Browning products, the Strike Force Sub Micro 10MP Game Camera comes with a full warranty and Browning will replace any malfunctioning camera with no questions asked.

Video

Thanks to its HD video capabilities and top-notch video processor, you can capture nature in its pristine form and shoot videos in crystal clear 1280p. Depending on the situation, videos can be taken from five seconds to up to two minutes per shoot.

Photo

The Browning Strike Force Sub Micro 10MP Game Camera generously offers 10-megapixel performance for enhanced picture quality, HD video with sound, and Zero-Blur technology for nighttime infrared photos. With a lightning-fast trigger time of 0.67 seconds and a 100-foot flash range for IR photos, this pint-sized game cam is one of the best in the industry. Oh yeah, I almost forgot to mention the programmable picture delay as well, which allows you to set delays ranging from five seconds to up to 60 minutes.

Multiple Camera Modes

As far as game cameras go, the Strike Force Sub Micro 10MP Game Camera takes surprisingly fast photos. With a super quick trigger time, it’s capable of capturing up to six rapid-fire and eight multi-shot images. In multi-shot mode, the camera can take several photos every time a deer, turkey, or other animal triggers it. Typically, each shot is three seconds apart. In rapid-fire mode, the game camera can take up to six photos in much faster 0.3-second bursts.

Display

The Browning Strike Force Sub Micro 10MP Game Camera comes with an easy-to-program backlit control panel and display that’s easy to read and reasonably clear. There is also a picture info bar that shows a variety of details, such as the date, time, temperature, and moon phase.

Buck Watch Time-Lapse Software

Like other Browning Strike Force game cameras, the Strike Force Sub Micro 10MP Game Camera comes equipped with Browning’s Buck Watch time-lapse software, allowing you to take time-lapse videos and pictures prior to programming it. This is particularly helpful when setting the camera up in a new location where you’re not quite sure where deer or other game is entering from. It can capture an entire field or location and take photos or videos of game more than a whopping 200 yards away, ensuring you never miss a single animal. With the software, you can also play back video clips, making it an awesome tool for hunters and other outdoorsmen.

Pros

  • It’s small and compact size allows it to be easily mounted on the smallest of trees
  • The Zero Blur function totally eliminates motion blur and allows for quality photos at night
  • Comes with Browning’s legendary Buck Watch time-lapse software
  • Package includes a USB port, TV out, and external 12-volt power jack
  • Comes with an impressive one-year warranty

Cons

  • Some reports of the latches breaking when not properly handled
  • Some of the buttons are rather close together, making it difficult for some people to operate

Bottom Line

The Browning Strike Force Sub Micro 10MP Game Camera comes stacked full of features typically found on game cams twice the size. With an effective and appealing camouflage design, HD video and photo capabilities, a really quick trigger, and a ton of features designed to make it one of the best game cameras ever made, it’s hard to go wrong with this impressive game cam.

Moultrie Game Spy A-5 Gen 2 Low Glow 5.0 MP Trail Camera Review

As one of the world’s leading game and feed supply companies, Moultrie continually has produced innovative designs in trail cameras, animal feeders, and food plot spreaders. Released in 2015, the Moultrie Game Spy A-5 Gen 2 Low Glow 5.0 MP Trail Camera lives up to the high standards that the company has established, and provides a solidly built camera that consistently performs. The Gen 2 version of the bestselling Game Spy camera is a welcome addition to the Moultrie camera line.

Product Specifications

The Game Spy trail camera uses a 5.0 megapixel digital camera to capture images of deer, raccoons, intruders, and more. The photos are saved on an SD card (which must be purchased separately), a convenient feature since SD cards are widely available. The camera has a 40 foot detection range and a 50 foot flash range, as well as a long-range nighttime infrared light. The camera comes with multiple options for photo taking: users can choose to have a 10-second, 30-second, 1-minute, or 5-minute lapse between pictures once the motion detector has been activated. The camera can be programmed with a time and date stamp on each photo.

One of the biggest changes in the A-5 camera’s revamp is the company’s decision to switch the type of batteries that the camera requires. Instead of the Gen 1’s need for C-batteries, the Gen 2 camera uses 8 AA batteries. For hunters out in extreme weather conditions, the camera also offers the option of using lithium batteries.

Consumers can use the included all-weather mounting strap to secure the game camera to trees or shrubbery. The strap and eyelet system ensures that the camera can be tightly fitted wherever you choose.

Pros

Although it shares its name with the bestselling earlier A-5 model, the Gen 2 version of the Game Spy Low Glow Camera has been completely redone.

With a new look and style, the Gen 2 version comes with a multitude of new features including a faster camera response time and a multi-shot mode to capture animals in motion. Unlike the earlier version of this model, the Gen 2’s response time is nearly instantaneous: after the motion detector has been triggered, a photo is snapped within 1.5 seconds, give you even more glimpses at the wildlife on your property. An improved lens allows for better quality photos than similar game cameras. Thanks to advancement in image compression, the Game Spy Gen 2 captures and stores more than twice the number of photos than the earlier version.

The new design allows for better concealment of the case and its lights, which translates to better pictures at a closer range. The design, which is more rounded than the Gen 1 version, is more waterproof and allows the water to drip off without harming the camera or LED lights.

Overall, the Game Spy’s second version is user friendly, and–at a price point that hovers around $70–very economical.

Cons

Despite the upgraded features, this game camera still has a few areas where the company can make some improvements. Generally, the nighttime photos were grainier than daytime ones. When designing the camera, Moultrie tried to make it more rugged, but, in doing so, they made it more difficult for users to open and close the casing. The range for quality pictures is highly variable depending on the foliage next to and in front of the camera. The Game Spy camera does not come with thermal imaging triggers, so users will find that the camera snapped a picture of anything that moves, whether it is a leaf or a bear.

Additionally, the camera requires users to insert the AA batteries into the casing even if an external power source will also be used. Without the AA batteries, the camera does not time or date stamp any of the photos, a glitch that seems unwieldy.

Another issue that this camera has is the lack of range when it comes to camera angles: the Game Spy only takes photos of what it directly in front of it. To remedy this issue, the consumer would have to place the Game Spy on a tripod and manually change the angle, which would increase the camera’s visibility to game.

Who Would Like This Product?

Since it packs such a punch while remaining cost efficient, this product should be considered by anyone looking to purchase a game camera. While it doesn’t have all of the bells and whistles of more expensive models, the Game Spy A-5 Trail Camera is an excellent choice for hunters who want a way to track what game is crossing their land. It is also an economical choice for homeowners who want another layer of protection in their home security systems. Regardless of the reason for purchase, consumers will find that this game camera is reliable, hardy, and effective.

Stealth Cam STC-P12 Review

While some low-profile cameras can be used for home and business security as well as in the wilderness, others are designed especially for trail use. Such is the case with the Stealth Cam STC-P12 6.0 Megapixel Digital Scouting Camera. If you are looking for a camera to do reconnaissance work to help you set up a duck blind or deer stand, you may have considered this model. Read on to learn more about the Stealth Cam STC-P12’s specifications, features and most importantly, what its users have to say about it.

Stealth Cam STC-P12 Specifications

Stealth Cam STC-P12The camera measures 6 x 4.8 x 2.2 inches. It takes both still images and video footage and stores them on a standard SD card, which is sold separately. It also offers mini USB output, for users who want to, for example, look at images on a laptop in the field without removing the SD card. There is no viewing screen on the camera. Photos are stamped with the time, the date and the phase of the moon and are color when taken during the day, black and white at night.

The STC-P12 operates on 8 AA batteries, sold separately, and is equipped with a low-battery indicator. A port on the bottom side of the camera also allows users to attach a 12-volt battery pack if desired for longer operation without the need to change batteries.

It has a 50-foot detection range and offers 6.0-megapixel resolution on its images. Nighttime images are taken using infrared technology, and there is no flash.

Features of the Stealth Cam STC-P12

The Stealth Cam, with its tree bark casing is relatively unobtrusive when mounted in the wild. Animals are not disturbed by its presence nor by its operation. Humans, however, may notice the infrared light glow when the camera is activated at night or the subtle LCD status display, and it is therefore not an ideal security camera to catch vandals or intruders.

There is a 1/4 x 20 screw hole on the bottom of the camera for tripod mounting, or it can be attached to a tree with the included strap. A lock is suggested if leaving the camera unattended in areas where it may be subject to theft. The STC-P12 is weather resistant but not suitable for submersion in water.

Video recordings on this trail camera are 15 seconds in length. In “Burst Mode,” the camera can capture one to six images per triggering event with adjustable recovery times between image captures.

What the Users Say About This Model

Even though the Stealth Cam STC-P12 is a relatively older model, its low price point at under $100 makes this camera attractive for people who want to get their feet wet with trail cameras or for those who may be worried about theft of a higher priced model.

Regular users recommend getting the best SD card available, up to 32 gigabytes, for long-term use and the best quality, fastest photos. Viewing the photos in the field can best be accomplished by either connecting the camera to a laptop via the mini USB port, for which a separate cable would be needed and may be unwieldy in a wilderness setting, or by removing the SD card and inserting it in a conventional camera. Use of the SD card with a home computer requires an SD card reader.

The trigger time with the STC-P12 can be a bit slow compared to other newer and more expensive trail cameras. Daytime photos are crisper than night images. Users report the camera captures true to its indicated range, and it will also produce good images of animals within a few feet of the lens. Some users enjoy this camera for getting covert images of the birds at their feeders, while others have found it useful for catching yard critters and neighbors’ intrusive pets.

Setting up the camera is fairly easy, and the preset options make this model basically a plug-and-play device out of the box. There is no software needed to manage the camera’s images, so this model is usable by both PC and Mac owners, and as mentioned above, the SD card could simply be viewed on another camera with a viewing screen. Custom configurations may be a bit trickier to get right, so it is advisable to test out these settings first to ensure they are to your specifications.

All in all, the Stealth Cam STC-P12 6.0 Megapixel Digital Scouting Camera makes for a solid entrance into the trail camera world. With a low price point and extreme ease of use, many would-be trail cam users find the barrier to entry removed for advance game scouting. Also, at under $100, many users find it feasible to purchase multiples of the same model to position in different areas to compare results. If you’re seeking a camera that can double up as a security camera, you’d do better looking elsewhere, but the Stealth Cam STC-P12 should be a definite contender for reasonably priced, user-friendly trail cameras.

Stealth Cam G42 No-Glo Trail Game Camera Review

Stealth Cam G42When it comes to expressing opinions about pricey camera equipment designed primarily to capture images of wildlife, consumers are not shy, which is why the introduction of the Stealth Cam G42 No-Glo Trail Game Camera was met with a mix of hope and skepticism. As sales increased, it was hard not to notice the balance of good v. bad reviews, many of them extreme, which is why one rave review grabbed our attention: A veteran wildlife photographer bought and used 20 G42s for an extended Central American assignment and raved about his experience so glowingly, we wondered if he was using the same model bashed by others. If you’re considering this camera, avoid buyer’s remorse by doing your homework before making a buying decision.

Features

Where to begin? How about with the TRIAD® 10.0 Megapixel with 4 resolution settings: 10mp, 8mp, 4mp and 2mp. HD Video recording features extend from 5 to 180 seconds with audio capacity, and the camera’s time lapse function features PIR Override capability. Engineered with 42 “black” IR transmitters to cover 100-feet of terrain, you can expect the G42 to deliver one to nine images per triggering in burst mode. Recovery time runs from zero to 59 seconds and the external LCD feature displays all of the data you need to tag images with time, date, moon phase and temperature. The G42 camera housing is durable and weather proof and the SD card slot accepts up to 32GB cards. There’s a USB output portal and the camera also offers an external power jack. This camera requires eight AA batteries.

Benefits

For wildlife photographers in need of surreptitious performance, the G42 has been shown to operate as stealthfully as its name, so you won’t wind up with blurry photos of deer spooked by shutter flashes. The trigger time is fast at 0.5 seconds and for equipment designed specifically to capture motion, blurring is kept to a minimum. Photos snapped during the day are sharp and detailed, so if you have had issues with false triggers in the past, this camera could be your solution to that maddening issue. When compared to older low-glow stealth cameras, the G42’s glow flash has been called “one of the best on the market,” even when compared to high-profile competitors like comparable Bushnell equipment. Little things mean a lot, which is why owners love the generic icon generated each time the camera saves a file, so you won’t have to click every file to spot the image you seek.

Pros

Photographers who spend endless days searching for the highest quality equipment on the market are delighted to find that the price tag attached to the G42 is affordable, especially if you consider the number of features that come standard with this camera–and the quality of the photos themselves. Case construction is excellent, solid and everything about the camera’s workmanship is lauded by happy users. Ambient noise associated with this camera is, for all practical purposes, undetectable. If you find set-up times to be annoying in general, this alone could convince you to choose the G42 over others since set up time is fast and easy, even for those who admit to being all thumbs. Weather extremes test a camera, and reports from satisfied users point to high functionality in 100-degree heat, dust and even torrential rains.

Cons

The main complaints coming from those who returned their G42s tend to revolve around external factors rather than the camera itself. Reports that the G42 battery compartment showed signs of rusting after only a few months are infrequent, but battery selection dominates complaints. Owners using cheap AA batteries to power their cameras claim they die fast and leave photographers in the lurch, which is why name-brand alkaline or lithium batteries are recommended. Your likely response is, “How about rechargeable batteries?” Experienced wildlife photographers say that their frustration levels reached maximum capacity when they tried using rechargeables because, in their experience, they don’t hold up at night or in low light. Want to keep your blood pressure in check? Follow the lead of satisfied G42 owners by avoiding rechargables and relying upon high-quality branded batteries. Additionally, be aware of the fact that memory card issues have also plagued G42 users. This camera best supports two brands of memory card: SanDisk and PNY. By using a full size, type 10 card (not a macro), transfer rates should be fast and photos of excellent quality if you stick to these two card brands.

Conclusions

Knowing up front that the biggest threats to your sanity, should you decide to buy a G42, are likely to be batteries and memory cards–and given the fact that experienced wildlife photographers are generally happy with their purchases–your decision to buy one may be an easy one, particularly if you’re on a budget and want the best quality at the lowest price point. There have been the usual number of complaints associated with customer service issues surrounding purchases, but since this has nothing to do with the camera itself, apply due diligence by choosing a reputable seller and you can check that off your list. In general, about 60-percent of buyers report being delighted by their G42 purchases and another 25-percent are happy with theirs, so odds are in your favor that if you address battery and card issues up front you will be favorably disposed to join this community of satisfied purchasers.

Trail Camera Review: Simmons Whitetail with Night Vision

Simmons Whitetail Trail CameraEver wondered what goes on after dark or whether your favorite hunting spot is seeing any action after sunset or are you just wasting your time and need to move on? You can’t be there 24/7 to see what’s happening, or can you? If you have a Simmons Whitetail Trail Camera with night vision you can, and with multiple models to choose from, there is one for every budget.

Priced in the $100 range this model has three settings to choose from for video capture – 3MP, 5MP, or 7MP – all with full color resolution and high-quality 640×480 images in daylight and black and white in night vision. Still photos can be taken in either two megapixels or four megapixels. The motion activated sensor has a range of 25 feet in daylight and up to 30 feet after dark, and the infrared LED night vision sensors are barely noticeable to avoid spooking game while filming.

The Simmons trail cam operates on four AA batteries, has up to six months of battery life and can store 32 GB of data on a user-supplied SD card, holding thousands of still pictures, and expanding your recording time to about 30 days before you need to download the images and reset the SD card; buying two cards will allow you to simply swap and leave. The less time you spend in the area, the less you spread your scent so game is not spooked. The camera is light-weight, needs no additional mounting box, comes with box and strap to mount as is, and it is easy to set up (even without reading the directions) unlike other cameras you may have used before so you are ready in a hurry to “see” what is going on when you can’t be there. The four MP camera gives a clear image and the motion activated sensor can capture a moving target in stills or video.

This camera also offers a time and date stamp to allow more accuracy when plotting game movement, tracking certain individual animals, and observing the nocturnal habits of the area game, such as the time of evening with the most activity. This allows you to track exactly how early game is on the move, so you can plan your days with more precision knowing when the local animals will begin to move before the area is fully dark.

There are some issues with delay in the motion sensor, which can be up to five seconds, and will sometimes cause the camera to miss the target, especially small animals so it returns pictures of the landscape only in that case. Some fine tuning on the capture area may help to correct issues with animals moving out of range before the picture is taken, but this is by far the biggest user issue, although most were perfectly happy with the camera as-is with no mention of delay issues.

While the battery power is good, some of the added features over more basic cameras can cause a faster battery drain. To compensate for this, you may want to upgrade to lithium or rechargeable batteries, instead of regular. Keep in mind that you get what you pay for, meaning you have to decide what features to splurge on and which to scrimp. In the case of the Simmons trail cam, the budget-friendly pricing is the main selling point in consideration of what you want a trail cam to do. This one gives very good value for the price, meaning if fast, super-sharp professional quality images are what you are looking for you may have to upgrade and spend more, but this one will satisfy a large number of owners who do not want to invest a large sum of money to take usable images.

Even though the trail camera is designed to capture images of game animals, you can use it for spying day or night for any reason. The product has been used to capture the nocturnal activities of indoor cats related to a behavior issue or as an inexpensive home security camera. Some users have simply set one up to see what kind of critters are roaming the backyard at night and causing problems such as foxes or dogs killing chickens or other animals.

If you desire a bit more resolution in your pictures, go for the 6 MP trail camera. It offers either 5 or 6 megapixel 640×480 videos. It has all of the functions of the 4 MP trail camera with a bit sharper images and for just a little more money it’s still a great value.

All of the major trail camera ranking sites include the Simmons trail cam in comparison to others where it scores high marks for affordability, ease of use and battery life. For the beginner or even the experienced videographer, this trail cam is worth a second look.

Bushnell 8MP Trophy Cam HD Hybrid Trail Camera Review

The Bushnell 8MP Trophy Cam HD Hybrid Trail Camera is a well rated mid-priced trail camera perfect for capturing pictures of that trophy buck on a hunting expedition. At around $150 to $200 it is more expensive than other models and has a lot of competition, but its range of features and settings, and its durability have made it a favorite with sportsman for several years.

Quick Features

  • Bushnell Trophy Cam HD HybridRange – 60 to 80 feet
  • Trigger Speed – .6 sec with 3.3 sec recovery
  • Flash – 32 no glow IRD LED
  • Dimensions – 8x10x 5.5 inches
  • Power – 8 AA batteries
  • Imaging – 8MP stills with HD video
  • Display – Black and white LCD

Imaging

The Trophy Cam HD offers a range of picture settings and quality. It can be set to 3MP, 5MP, or 8MP to adjust for SD card quality. Stills can be captured from one to three per trigger or combined with video to make sure you capture everything you want to see. The HD video, which included audio, can be set for 1 to 60 seconds in duration and has a resolution of 1280 x 720p.

The 0.6 second trigger speed is super fast with a programmable interval of one second to one hour. Combined with an adjustable PIR motion sensor, this camera won’t miss a thing, including snowflakes and gnats, so it’s advisable to check the sensitivity of your settings before leaving it in the field. On high you can average any where from 1,000 to 2,400 photos in an eight hour time frame depending on the weather and position of the camera.

Day time imaging with the Trophy Cam HD is great for any hunter’s needs, providing sharp full color images. Night time stills, however, range from grainy to average with the worst taken at pre-dawn when the sky light is changing. They are black and white which reduces the clarity of them especially when taken at further distances. Night time video, on the other hand, is great for capturing any critter who wanders in range or neighbors dumping trash or raccoons eating the dog food.

It has thirty-two no glow or black LED lights located above the camera lens that provide an eighty-foot night time range of capture but the clearest images are in the twenty-five to fifty foot range.

One of the unique features of this camera is that you can set it for time-lapse. In the Field Scan time-lapse mode it captures images at pre-set intervals from one minute to sixty minutes. This feature works without the motion sensor so if you need to film a certain time of day, this is a great option.

Durability

The Trophy Cam HD is built for rugged outdoor use. It’s weatherproof case is tightly sealed against the elements. Latches can be difficult to manipulate with gloves on but that just assures that no water will get in the case and ruin the camera. It is also built to withstand rough handling with no discernible damage even after several accidental drops.

It can be run on AA batteries or 12-volt DC power. With adjustable settings it can use either four or eight AA batteries with an average life span of around 26,000 pictures or one year on low setting. Some reviewers have reported going three years when using lithium batteries which are compatible with this camera. Higher settings will drain the batteries faster.

The temperature range for this camera is -5 to 140 degrees F. During off season, it should be stored without batteries in a cool dry location.

Ease of Use

On standard settings the Trophy Cam HD is easy enough to use that even a child can set it up. However, it comes with a detailed set of instructions that are clear and easy to follow for adjusting the vast number of settings available to get the picture quality, imaging type, and battery life that you need. They can be overwhelming to some, but anyone with a little experience will be able to work this camera with ease. A feature other cameras have that this one lacks is a display on the LCD viewer to help navigate the settings.

Overall

For overall quality, price, and range of features, the Bushnell 8MP Trophy Cam HD Hybrid Trail Camera is a good buy in the $150-$200 price range. While it doesn’t offer the high quality photos you would get from a more expensive model, it does produce good color photos and videos during daylight hours and reasonable black and white photos and video at night.

Reconyx SC950C Cellular Enabled HyperFire Security Camera Review

If you’ve been looking for a solid security or trail camera to connect with your mobile, you may have heard about the Reconyx SC950C Cellular Enabled HyperFire Security Camera. While this model has a fairly steep price tag, you may find it well worth it when you look at all the features it brings and what users have to say about its performance. Read on to take a closer look at the Reconyx SC950C to see if this camera is the right one for you.

Uses for a Cellular Enabled Security Camera

Security cameras have multiple uses, and the Reconyx SC950C doesn’t limit you to just one application. For home use, you could, for example, find out who’s stealing your newspaper every day, who is on your front stoop when you’re not at home or which one of your teen children is sneaking out in the middle of the night. You can have the images from the camera sent to your cell phone (see “Features,” below), so you don’t even have to be home to get near real-time security information; there is approximately a 60-second delay between the time the image is taken and the time you receive it.

Businesses have also adopted this type of camera for covert security purposes. The Reconyx SC950C would make it easy to photograph vandals after hours on your work property, keep tabs on a construction site or monitor employees who come and go from restricted access areas. You could even see who is violating your smoking policy when you’re out of the office.

Where the Reconyx SC950C and similar cameras really shine, however, is when they are used for trail cameras. Because of its stealthy presence, the Reconyx SC950C is ideal to set out in the woods to monitor game before setting up your deer stand or duck blind. You can also use this camera to catch pesky critters on your property, like raccoons or gophers, or to see what your crafty pets are up to while you’re at work.

Specifications for the Reconyx SC950C

The Reconyx SC950C camera measures 5.5″ x 4.5″ x 3″ and fits nicely in a jacket pocket or backback compartment. It operates on 12 AA batteries, which is a hefty power draw, so users are recommended to either use lithium batteries or purchase separately a solar charger from Reconyx. The camera works within a temperature range of -20 degrees to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

There is no video mode for the Reconyx SC950C, only still photographs. This camera can take up to 40,000 images on extended battery life, in color by day and monochrome at night. It uses loop recording to write over the oldest images when the maximum threshold has been reached. Thumbnail photos are sent to the devices you have networked to the camera, and larger images in higher resolution are stored on the camera’s SD card, which is included.

The Reconyx SC950C offers 3.1 megapixel resolution on its images and a 43.2-degree field of view. The detection range for the camera is 70 feet, and the flash range is 50 feet.

The Reconyx SC950C comes with an external power jack and all the Windows software you need to set up the camera for your personal use. It can transmit thumbnail images via text message or email to your computer or cell phone. To use this model with your cellular phone, you need to make sure that your carrier is in the coverage area, and know that there may be a small monthly fee to add this to your data plan. The Reconyx SC950C allows for up to four mobile phones and/or two email addresses to be connected to the camera.

At present, AT&T and Verizon are the two networks that can be used for image transmission in the USA. The manufacturer should be consulted for international carriers if you are interested in using this camera overseas. The SIM card comes pre-installed on the Reconyx SC950C for AT&T and international carriers.

Reconyx SC950C Features

Users love the multiple configurations that accompany the Reconyx SC950C camera. Time lapse settings range between one and 60 minutes, with five-, 15- or 30-minute increments in between. Even more so, fans of the Reconyx SC950C appreciate that you can use different programming on various days of the week, so your weekend settings don’t have to be the same as those of your weekdays. The ability to custom select your on/off periods is particularly advantageous for businesses.

The setup of the Reconyx SC950C is fairly intuitive, although Reconyx does provide quite detailed instructions. If you’ve never used a trail camera before, give yourself a little extra time to get used to the process.

Another top feature of the Reconyx SC950C is its rapid detection without any distortion and its precise coordination between the field of view and the detection zone. You won’t be getting any fake triggers or missing deer with this model.

The camera case is a dark army green color that blends easily into many surroundings. The camera also uses “No-Glow” infrared technology to minimize detection when in use.

Be aware that the photos transmitted are, as mentioned above, compressed thumbnail shots and not meant to be blown up. They do, however, provide highly accurate, near real-time images of whatever is going on in the area where you place the camera, and you can always access the SD card for better photographs. Also, know that if you are purchasing this camera for security purposes, it is not designed to capture license plates.

The two biggest issues with the Reconyx SC950C are the battery life and the price. The former can be addressed by purchasing a solar pack to eliminate the need for batteries altogether.

At at price that hovers around $1,200 the Reconyx SC950C definitely comes in at the top of the range for this type of camera. However if you are losing money to illegal activity at your business, worried about your home security or are an avid hunter who can fill a freezer with meat by bagging a nice buck every fall, it may well be worth the price. If using the Reconyx SC950C in the bush, it may be wise to pick up a cable lock for it, as you won’t want someone walking off with this baby.