Understanding Game Camera Features and Why They Matter

Posted by  Wednesday, May 15 2013 4:00 pm
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Today's cameras feature innovative technologies, featuring full HD video capabilities, no-flash infrared sensors, high megapixel images and extremely long battery life. At first, purchasing a game camera may seem overwhelming. Which camera should you go with? There are so many options — which are necessary and which are not? This guide will run through the various functions of game cameras and key points to consider when purchasing one.  

The first thing you will notice when shopping for game cameras (also called trail cameras) is the wide range in prices. There are cameras available for those on a tight budget, as well as more expensive cameras. Does the old saying "you get what you pay for" remain true for game cameras? Essentially, it comes down to your needs. Without a doubt, there will be a camera that is right for you.  

Flash Type  

UnderstandingGameCameras Bushnell
Newer game cameras, such as the Bushnell Trophy Cam, have an infrared flash and captures video and audio.

While a regular flash isn't common on most trail cameras, it is still available. Some of the more economically priced cameras take photos utilizing normal flash. However, the most common flash type found in today's cameras is infrared.

Infrared is much different than the common "flash" we think of from a game camera — it isn't a burst of visible light but rather a wavelength outside the visible parameters. An infrared flash prevents game from seeing the flash, making it less likely the camera will spook the animal. In addition, it is less likely that unwanted guests will see the camera, minimizing the risk that it is stolen. Most cameras today featuring infrared, such as the Moultrie Gamespy or the Bushnell Trophy Cam HD 8 megapixel camera, can take high-resolution photographs along with HD video with audio!  

Battery Life  

One very important feature is battery life. Of course it will get expensive to continuously buy batteries for your camera. Plus, you don't want to scent up your favorite hunting spot every week to make sure the batteries are good. It is best to find a camera with extremely long battery life so that you can place it in the woods and confidently leave it there for an extended period of time. The Moultrie D-55 IR has exceptional battery life, drawing in minimal juice both day and night yet producing high quality photos.  

Trigger Time  

Once you have a camera up, you better make sure it is ready because you don't want to miss anything! Believe it or not, there is a difference in trigger speeds between cameras. The trigger time is the time that it takes from the camera sensing movement to when it actually takes a photograph. The RECONYX HyperFire has a very fast 1/5 of a second trigger speed. At that speed, even deer bolting by your camera should be captured in the photograph. Cuddeback cameras historically have great trigger speeds as well. In both cases, the old phrase "you get what you pay for" is very true. These cameras are on the upper end in price, but you will avoid frustration when that monster buck's rack is just out of view.

Security Options  

UnderstandingGameCamera Securitybox
This Bushnell Scouting Camera Security Box is one of many options to protect your investments from theft.

Some cameras are not cheap, but any camera for that matter should be protected. The fact of the matter is, criminals roam the woods. To protect your camera, get a security box fit for your camera, similar to the Bushnell Scouting Camera Security Box. There are multiple options available, all of which protect your camera and make it harder for thieves to grab your camera.  

Memory  

Does the camera have a built in memory? What about a memory card (SD card)? The type of memory can be selling point. An SD card is a memory card that allows you to store photos shot on the camera and then remove it to upload onto a computer. A removable memory card may be the best option for those cameras that do not have an onboard viewer.

However, some cameras feature an onboard viewer that makes looking at pictures easy in the field. Either way, make sure your camera has a reliable memory system so that your pictures aren't easily lost.


 

 

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Last modified on Wednesday, July 16 2014 11:26 am
Mitch Strobl
expert

Mitch Strobl is Chairman of the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA) — under 25 and enjoys writing, photographing and video taping his hunting and outdoor lifestyle. His true passion is archery hunting, but he also enjoys shooting trap and fly fishing. To reach Mitch, please send him an email at mitch.strobl@yahoo.com

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