Trail Cameras

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Trail Cameras

Stealth Cameras Review
Call them what you like; Wildlife, Trail or Stealth Cameras, but ever since I read about Steve Winter’s winning image in a major wildlife photographic competition back in 2008 and the controversy it caused (should the person be behind the camera when an image is taken) has intrigued me. In his case I believe he used an Canon Rebel SLR type camera with a remote setup. You can of course now buy very sophisticated camera trap systems and the BBC each year since then have a competition solely for Camera Trap images.
Trail Cameras

I have been fortunate enough to test various of these types of cameras from a local supplier Scott Country here in Castle Douglas www.scottcountry.co.uk you just can’t beat a friendly and helpful supplier always willing to answer your queries.

Are they any good for the avid wildlife enthusiast? In short yes, but read on. You could use them for a multitude of things from intruder detection, car theft surveillance etc But for this review I’ll stick to a wildlife context.

As you can see from the spec below these are highly sophisticated pieces of kit, but VERY simple to use. Although advertised as a stealth/hidden camera they both can be used as a hand held cameras.


Bushnell Trophy Cam (in brown) Model 119467

Features

8 MP high-quality full color resolution
Day/night autosensor External power compatible
Adjustable PIR (Lo/Med/High) 1-second trigger speed
Programmable trigger interval: 1 sec. to 60 min.
Multi-image mode: 1-3 images per trigger
Video length: 1 second to 60 seconds, programmable
Field Scan time-lapse mode takes images at pre-set intervals:
1 minute to 60 minutes
Temperature range -5° F to 140° F
PIR sensor is motion activated out to 45 ft.
Runs up to one year on one set of batteries
Adjustable web belt and 1/4-20 tripod socket
SD card slot
Spy Point Pro X Plus (in Camouflage green)
Features:
True 12.0 Megapixel picture quality
Supersized 46LED Infrared Illumination
Variable Infrared Illumination
Extended Battery Life
Large 3" Viewing and Information Screen
Digital Menu Control
Multi Shot mode takes up to 6 shots at a time (10sec delay between shots)
Removable internal camera
Variable delay between triggers
Detection Sensitivity: 5' to 50' (2m to 15m)
Can be powered by rechargeable AA batteries, lithium ion battery pack (can be recharged by solar panel) and a 12V power source.
Instant Trigger when powered by external power supply.
Adjustable web belt and tripod socket
SD Card slot

6 months on I have since tested the various new models from all the leading manufactures as they came out and it has to be said you get what you pay for. Is HD the best?, basically yes, it is always best to start with the highest quality you can get. Easy to downsize for internet etc. That doesn't mean anything less is no good. All produce very good quality and if yuor budget won't stretch to HD don't worry Paul at Scott Country will always tell you the best model that your funds will allow for.




Scott Country of Castle Douglas display stand at Birmingham June 2012 www.trailcameras.co.uk

At this point I will make it clear (unless otherwise stated) that the comments refer to both cameras. It’s a bit like would you buy a Nikon or a Canon digital SLR? It’s really a matter of your personal choice, each have their own exclusive good points.

The very first night I set it on a heavily used badger run that led to a sett I know well. It was a very cold February night, -8 degrees and the camera set to still images in infra red mode, black dark conditions, remember there is no need for a flash. It reminded me of my days of licensed bird ringing, you set your nets, in this case a camera, and wait and see what you catch. First thing the next morning I could hardly wait to see what, if anything I had photographed. I had chosen to set the camera (when triggered) to take 3 images in succession, then wait 30 seconds before it could be triggered again. It had taken nearly 60 images!!!! Because you can play them back on the small LCD screen there was no need to wait until I could get back to a computer. The black and white still images taken using the infra red sensor were good considering these cameras are only a few hundred quid, not thousands of pounds like some of the professional models used on TV, in fact many wildlife producers are now using these types of camera due to their picture quality, ease of use and cost. From a wildlife photographers point of view there was some fascinating and important information, apart from the actual images; it was the exif data. Something that could save me time and money. As with any camera always have the clock set and in this case it was telling me that the badgers were active at 7.30pm, 10.00pm and again at 5.20am. They of course automatically take colour images during the day.

The next evening I set the camera to video mode and again when the sensor was triggered the camera would film for 30 seconds then wait a further 30 seconds before it could be triggered again. The following day the footage revealed a similar pattern to the animals movements the night before, but it also recorded them hauling bedding back past the camera in the direction of the sett, perhaps indication newly born young or perhaps their immanent arrival? Perfect for talks and presentations or internet use, even printing should you wish to do so.

As this is an ongoing trial I will update these pages from time to time with text and images as well as links to video footage, so come back and check it out. Meantime I have placed a few sample images below. Feel free to get in touch for any specific information. Also check out the links below the the best and friendliest supplier in the UK.

www.scottcountry.co.uk or www.trailcameras.co.uk