Trail Cameras, what they are and what they can do.

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by HK_User, Mar 2, 2015.

  1. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey

    Trail cameras and their manufactures are in a constant race. Part of the race is money, another part is sales brochures. If in doubt then find a specification that list what a trail camera will do.

    Well you can't really find such a spec, you will find a lot of variables and disclaimers. The reason is location, location, location. Trail cameras are end user controlled and this alone would drive a Philadelphia Lawyer crazy if they were to try and develop a proof positive document that could be defended in court much less on a trail.

    Recently kellory and I were discussing the subject of trail cameras and I realized I had my own experience to draw from but nothing I could put down as solid information.

    So in my spare time I did some reviews of what my cameras will do.

    Here are a few things to consider on trail cameras use.
    1. What are you trying to capture?
    2. What time period are you looking to record?
    3. What season will see the greater use?

    1. What are you trying to capture? Now that sounds pretty easy to define and it might be if your area does not have domestic animals in the area. Domestic animals in my test of the last 4 days trip the cameras 75% of the time. This is an important number if you want to have a plan of reviewing your recorded events.

    2. What time period are you looking to record? This can be divided by light and dark or both. This decision will play a large part of how long your batteries will last as does item 1. In this the night time load can be at least 3 different types of flash units, each requiring a different load on the batteries and a quality of the picture that varies immensely.
    Photo flash, this is a standard type flash and can be used to collect color prints.
    Dark Flash is one that is the least desirable unless you're looking to capture humans on your land.
    IR Flash most used but many have a reddish glow and can be detected by most animals and all humans.

    3. What season will see the greater use? This factor can exhibit the most variables into your battery use. Cold kills batteries, in my case, in just 4 days I had a low battery indicator. From a full charge to a Low Battery indicated on the cameras read out. Some cameras do not have this feature and others have a shut down point or will only take pictures in the daylight at a certain point of the design. Summer use on known trials and no domestic animal in shaded area and warm climate can extend to months.

    This is but an overview and one reason others need to spend time using the camera to understand the minimum of its design.

    Tully Mars, Motomom34 and kellory like this.
  2. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Consider also the anticipated distance from the camera to the area you are watching. Important if night and flash are contemplated, and can affect the detection as well.
    Yard Dart likes this.
  3. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    If you can afford the outlay. These type will email or text you a pic as it is made.
    Cellular Game & Trail Cameras | Trailcampro

    When using cameras that cost a bit of coin, try setting one camera to cover another in it's field of view. Not only will you get another view of what ever trips the trigger. But if a two legged varmit messes with your camera, you can often catch them doing it.
    Set cameras above reach (without tools or ladders) and they will often go completely unnoticed. Use of a backup battery, will make your internal battryies last much longer, and they even have small solar panels made to top off rechargables in the cameras.
    6 Volt Solar Panel Charger - 630mW
    Tully Mars likes this.
  4. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey

    I have a couple of remote recording cameras, mess with it or steal it and the very small recorder, well hidden and out of sight will tell the story for you.

    You can stack all the batteries in parallel you can afford but if the temps drop the camera may not work because the incoming voltage will drop and the camera will shut off.

    I also have a camera or three at remote sites just to keep tabs on things that wear shoes.
    Tully Mars and kellory like this.
  5. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    I've never had a camera shut down from the cold yet. It is possible, but -20° wasn't enough, with a backup battery.
    Wrap it in camo and insulation, and hang it up high, you'll be fine.:)
  6. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey

    That depends on how many pictures it takes and if the flash is used. Mine average 60 pictures in a 24 hour period. Like I said it all depends on what you are tracking and how many other animals are around to trip it. Each picture means less time for its use.

    Physics and chemistry will catch up to you sooner or later.
  7. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    "Physics and chemistry will catch up to you sooner or later."

    Agreed, that is why I don't rely on the internal batteries, alone. The backup battery keeps them topped off, and an insulated battery produces heat as it is being used.(enough to keep it active). I go one step further, when using cameras, and add the solar charger. It is a belt and suspenders approach, (it works).:)
  8. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey

    Then I guess by your post that you check your cameras in the -20 temp?
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2015
  9. Gator 45/70

    Gator 45/70 Monkey+++

    I have one in the eve of my house aimed at the driveway,
    Another aimed at a feeder, Both Moultree and several years old, These 2 are the only ones that have held up in all conditions.
  10. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey

    I have a Moultrie in a remote site. It is an older one and is only something like a 4mp. It is inside and handles life pretty good in an unheated bldg.

    The Problem with low batteries is that when it warms up the Low Battery signal goes away and the batteries appear normal. You never know that unless you check them at low temps.

    Mine showed that the other day, yet when placed in a charger in the house it took less than an hour for a full charge. No doubt they would have been good to go outside after it warmed up. Problem is, I'm looking for night timer predators and even solar won't work at night and extra batteries really are in the same boat as installed batteries with low temps.
  11. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    Yeah, I was stupid enough to hunt in it. But I have a portable blind (several) and a couple blind heaters. It was cold enough for my facemask to stick to my face, and the deer had enough sense to stay bedded down. But the camera still worked, and it is an old one. It is an simple test for it, because when the batteries die, the memory is gone. The card slot is damaged, so it is only able to use the internal memory. I collected the camera for the pics, and it was still live. It works.:)
  12. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey

    I/M is a flash memory.
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