Finding the Best Trail Camera in 2018 can represent one of the best moments to familiarize yourself with the main features of the devices. Trail cameras came a long way from their beginnings and are now more sophisticated and better connected than ever before. One of the main reasons to take your time in choosing the best trail camera comes with learning the most important features which will make the difference both in terms of performance and in terms of budget.
There are many types of trail cameras to choose from, regardless of your budget. If you will want to choose the best camera, you will need to look for some of the latest technologies which can improve the images and the usability of the camera. However, if you decide to invest in a top range trail camera, you should also ensure it comes with top protection as well since you want to avoid the device being stolen. So which are the most important features you need to look for? Read our Trail Camera Reviews to find the best camera for your needs.
Sensor and image quality
The sensor is the core of any camera. Trail cameras are no different and this is why you will need to consider the sensor as one of the most important characteristics of a good trail camera. The good news is that you can find various sensors which will work for all needs and for all budgets.
Is a bigger sensor better? Many users seem to be struggling with the issue of megapixels. But it is not necessarily the case where more megapixels lead to better images. Some cameras with low megapixels still get the edge in some situations such as in night time photography where their bigger design allows them to capture more light. But each manufacturer has a different sensor and this is why you will need to balance this feature and see what you can realistically expect in terms of image quality. If you are unsure that you want to spend the most amount on a top sensor, you can compensate with a good flash which will get the brightness you want in the pictures, even though, you may not be having all the possible details with fewer megapixels.
The production cost of modern sensors remains high. This is why the final price of the trail camera will be affected by the quality of the sensor as it may represent the biggest expense in the manufacturing process. At the same time, together with the flash, the sensor can be the most important characteristic of a camera.
The range of a trail camera can represent a solid feature to guide your purchase. The range can vary from a few yards up to over 100 yards. But you will have to be realistic on what range performance you need. If you`re going to place the camera in a dense area with trees and bushes you may not get the full benefits of a long-distance performer. This is why you will need the long-distance cameras for larger open spaces which can be the perfect area to capture your subjects.
The range of the camera is also influenced by the range of the flash, especially in low light situations. You will also need to consider that the flash will usually cover larger distances and this is why you can have good brightness even when your subject is further away.
The range of the camera will also influence your pictures in terms of sharpness. It may be harder for a camera to focus on a subject which is further away. But with the modern technologies that come with trail cameras, this will become less of an issue.
The trigger time plays a crucial role for trail cameras. While many devices can still come with a high trigger time, there are plenty of options to choose from which don`t need any improvements in terms of the shutter speed. This is why it will be important to consider faster triggering times, especially when you try to capture fast-moving subjects.
The trigger time can also make you miss an important shot and this is why you`ll need to find the right balance between the fast trigger and good image quality. There is no point in having a fast triggering speed if your focus or brightness is not at a decent level. Many cameras struggle in this area and this is why you will need to ensure the triggering time is up to standard as it can come as a great addition to a fantastic sensor.
The trigger time also needs to synchronize with a good flash which needs to respond in time to match the high speed of the shutter. The good news is that this will be done by the manufacturer and you won`t need to make any adjustments. The sole exception comes with the removable flashes where you can add your own flash. But these cameras are still quite rare and in most cases, they offer flashes from the same manufacturers which are adapted to your camera.
Flash and infrared
The flash is a very important characteristic of a trail camera. As it will play an essential role during night time when many animals begin to move, it is important to consider the flash as one of the top characteristics of a trail camera. Unlike many other options which are made as a marketing tool, the flash will provide the light you need to power those dark situations.
But there are a couple of options you can try and the good news is that there are plenty of options that include both technologies. One of them comes, of course, with the traditional flash. The other options come with the infrared flash which is invisible. So which one is better? The short answer is that there is no major advantage with the flashes. Both have their strong and weak points. The traditional flash can be seen by the subjects which can be scared and avoid the area altogether. The infrared flash comes with a red light which is visible on the trail camera. The good news is that many manufacturers are looking for solutions to camouflage this light as much as possible.
But the range is also important with flash technology. The range of a flash can make the difference between a great shot and an unsuccessful attempt. This is why you will need to find the best solution for your camera early on when you can decide what type of flash you will use in the wilderness. The range of the flash can also vary from a few yards and up to over 100 yards. This will be a great base for your outdoor photo needs.
Modern trail cameras are up to date with the latest requirements from modern users. These requirements include video capabilities and the good news is that there are plenty of good options to choose from. A major issue with video remains the quality and the recording time. Although there are plenty HD options to choose from, there are also many cameras which are not focused on delivering good video quality. Video quality itself is subjective as not all users need top quality. But if you decide to purchase the best trail camera you need to expect good video qualities from such designs.
Recording time is still limited to a few seconds for most cameras. This is not necessarily a bad point with trail cameras as the files can be easily managed by the memory card and with transfer to your laptop. You also have to take into consideration that not all video-capable cameras come with sound recording. This is why you will need to ensure your trail camera comes with a microphone which can record sound if this feature is important to you. Beyond a point, sound recording can become not necessary. For example, if you constantly record subjects at an increased distance, it may be useless to couple this with sound recording.
The storage capacity of a trail camera can represent the weak point or the strong point of image handling. The good news is that most cameras come with large storage capacity. This capacity can record a few thousand pictures and the good news is that this will give you the opportunity to have multiple shots of your targets and you can even try recording a few pictures with the time lapse function which can give you a better understanding over a period of time.
There are multiple storage options to choose from which are usually based on an SD memory card but SDHC is still offered by some manufacturers. The good news is that this will be one of the top features to choose from when you will be working with a fast camera. Fast trail cameras need fast memory cards. Not many users know, but SD memory cards come with a class system which refers to the speed in which the card is able to save the image. For larger files which usually come with the cameras with more megapixels, you will need a higher class memory card. If you are choosing a trail camera which comes with advanced functions such as time lapse or multi-shot modes, you will need to find a card which will be able to handle the increased flow of pictures. This is where you will need to read the users` manual which will explain everything you need to know about recommended storage.
Some modern cameras come with built-in screens. These screens can be a good addition for some users. They can offer a preview of the shots and it can represent a simple and handy addition which can save you time while transferring the files to a computer.
Most built-in screens use the LCD technology and the good news is that this will be a great addition in terms of proper color reproduction. If you are looking to save battery life, using a camera with a built-in screen may not be the best choice.
But can a screen be of real use to all users? Many users can go without a built-in screen. In most cases, you will only be able to assess pictures to their true quality on a PC. This is why the screen is not among the basic features of a trail camera, but it can represent a top addition which might justify the increased price you would pay for such a technology addition.
Since you might be spending a considerable amount of money on the top design of a trail camera, you might want to look for protection options. The good news is that some manufacturers offer different locking mechanisms which can protect your camera against theft. Some of these mechanisms will not protect your camera against damage and this is why some manufacturers even offer different sheltering options for the top trail cameras. It will be up to you to camouflage your camera as best as possible as this can be one of the proven methods against theft.
The budget is an important characteristic in your purchasing decision. It has the power of putting you in an advantageous position where you can look for all of the major features to be included in your trail camera. But your budget also needs to be set according to your real needs. This is why choosing a design which is made for an entry-level market can represent a good option if you are planning to purchase multiple cameras to monitor an increased area. The good news is that affordable options can be a good choice for this situation although they may lack the advanced features of connectivity which would not require you to reach every camera to retrieve the memory card.
You will also need to keep in mind that you may need some other accessories as well such as locking mechanisms, memory cards or batteries. This is why you have to plan your budget accordingly. The more cameras you will buy the bigger these expenses will be and the truth is that most manufacturers don`t offer memory cards with their trail cameras and you will need to purchase them separately.
The user experience is one of the least discussed topics around trail cameras. This is due to the fact that there was little innovation until a few years ago with these products. There are more manufacturers than ever before and the good news is that they will constantly fight to create better products and an improved user experience. The good news is that this will play your advantage. You can now find trail cameras with built-in LCD screens. You can even find trail cameras which connect wirelessly and which don`t require your physical presence with the exception of battery changes.
There are constant efforts to minimize the settings of trail cameras as well. These settings can often seem complicated and might deter users from using the cameras at their highest potential. The good news is that the user experience is constantly improved and you can find that even top cameras can come with step by step setup which significantly improves the results and the time spent with the camera.
The connectivity of the trail cameras is one of the main areas of development over the past years. The good news is that this feature will see technologies such as Bluetooth or other wireless alternatives considerably improve the user experience and data transfer. If you are looking to maximize your efforts with data transfer without the hassle of constantly removing the memory cards, you will need to look for a camera which comes with wireless solutions.
Connectivity will become increasingly important when you will use multiple cameras. This is where you will need to save time if you want to make the most out of every opportunity. But can also mean that you will need some type of synchronization and this is offered by some manufacturers.
Handling multiple cameras from a single device is offered by some manufacturers. This is why it will be important to find the best solution in this case as all the data can be transferred to a single device. Many of these cameras use SIM card technology to achieve more freedom in terms of data transfer.
Battery life is an important characteristic of modern trail cameras. Although the quality of the batteries will influence this, so will the technologies of the camera. This means you`ll have the ability to choose a design which will work for your situation. Even as modern cameras come with a battery performance of a few thousand pictures, you will want to consider that some technologies will require more batteries. These technologies are the HD video capabilities, the larger sensors with increased megapixels and the connectivity technologies which might put increased pressure on the battery life.
- Additional power supply
If you are looking for more energy efficiency, you can look for trail cameras which offer external power source connectivity. This means you will have the possibility of choosing a camera which can work for much longer than just a few thousand photos. The only impediment will be represented by the storage options and the good news is that you will have the ability to use multiple memory cards with some of these designs to maximize the storage capacity based on the improved energy efficiency.
- Monitoring battery life
If you want to ensure you get the most out of your battery life and don`t end up with no battery power, you will need to monitor the battery life. This is primarily done physically, from the camera where you have an indicator for the low battery levels. Advanced cameras will allow you to monitor battery life from distance. But you will also be able to ensure a good battery life even with minimal monitoring. The average camera on the market can take more than 10.000 pictures of a single battery pack. Usually, the batteries are changed once or twice per year for optimized trail cameras. But some functions such as time lapse can have a significant impact on the battery life.
Choosing the best trail camera is now easier than ever before due to all of the information on the technologies which allow the devices to perform at the highest level. The good news is that these devices will work for a wide range of subjects and in varied conditions which make them a versatile solution for your monitoring needs. If you are looking to find the best trail camera you will need to take your location into consideration. It will be the first aspect which will tell you which type of camera works best for your needs. Thus, you will be able to choose the best range for your situation and choose a flash to work with this situation. The good news is that this will represent the perfect opportunity to maximize your potential photo quality as you will know exactly what solution to choose.
Together with a fast response and a complete list of features which include video capabilities, you will be able to set your trail camera up for the best photos. One of the main characteristics of the top trail camera also comes with the user experience. No user wants complicated menus and settings and this can be the area in which the major manufacturers can have an advantage when it comes to offering a solution which is practical for most users.
Lastly, you should not forget that connectivity is the future of trail cameras and you should focus as much as possible to include the new technologies into your shortlist of features for your chosen device. With so many options on the market, having wireless data transfer can represent a top solution for your needs as an advanced user. If you are looking to use multiple trail cameras, you can work with connectivity in-between the devices to maximize all of the potential of hassle-free data transfer.