Top 5 Trail Cameras and Game Cameras
A trail camera can be one of the most useful tools in a hunters arsenal. A trail camera lets you monitor game trails from the comfort of home. If you're trying to get the perfect trophy buck, a trail camera is an essential tool. With a good-quality trail camera, hunters will know what times of day and from what direction the deer come. Armed with this information, hunters know where to place tree stands to have the most success.
Unfortunately, not all trail cameras are worth the money. Some cameras have inferior sensors and do not capture good quality video at night. Others are only capable of taking snapshots which can be a drawback for some users. There are lots of different variations out there, making it difficult to choose the best one. We are going to show you five trail cameras we think are the best and we'll discuss why we think so.
How to Use This Guide
For those of you who are already familiar with how trail cameras work, we are going to jump right in to the best cameras on the market in 2020. We have also put together a buyer's guide to explain some of the most popular features and terminology for buyers new to trail cameras. Our best-of list and buyers guide will help you pick the best option for your wildlife viewing needs.
Campark builds some of our favorite trail cameras. What makes this one truly a great buy is the ability to connect remotely using WiFi and Bluetooth connections. It uses a 20 megapixel camera to capture crystal clear, high definition details. The game camera also shoots video at a resolution of 1296P. Night photos and video recording are accomplished using 36 infrared diodes. Images are recorded on a Class 10 SD card.
The camera connects to an app on your smartphone to access stored images remotely. That way, you don't have to take the camera down to get the images. That saves time and effort, making this one of the best trail cameras around.
- 20 megapixel photo/ 1296P video resolution
- 65 ft night vision
- 36 IR Diode
- 0.2 second trigger speed
- WiFi & Bluetooth connectivity
- Micro SD card Storage
- Great image quality
- WiFi and Bluetooth connections are convenient
- Setup is difficult for iOS users
- Must be close to camera to use WiFi/ Bluetooth download
Ctronics introduced this amazing trail camera in 2020 to compete with brand-name models. It truly impresses by providing separate lenses for day and night images, a feature found only on high-end units. This game cameras motion detection is side-mounted and has indicator lights to make adjustments easy so you get the camera positioned just right to maximize the quality of snapshots and videos.
The Ctronics trail camera shoots beautiful 4k video and can take photos at 20 megapixel resolution which allows for highly-detailed images. The camera trigger speed is a swift 0.2 seconds, so you'll get all those fast-moving animals, too. Data is stored on a micro SD card up to 512 mb capacity. It includes everything you need to get started, including one of the most secure mounts on the market.
- 20 megapixel photo/ 4k video resolution
- Micro SD storage
- 120 degree motion detection
- Up to 110 ft. night vision
- Three PIR sensors
- 0.2 second trigger speed
- IP66-rated for water resistance
- 2.4" screen
- Dual lenses provide exceptional day and night images and videos
- Sturdy mount is perfect for securely fastening the camera in the wild
- Requires 8 LR6 AA batteries for optimal recording
- Lacks WiFi connectivity
The Vikeri Wide-Angle game camera is an ideal mix of top-quality features and a budget price. It shoots HD video and takes snapshots using a 16 megapixel lens for easy to see images day or night. The camera uses 48 IR diodes to capture nighttime images without alerting animals to the presence of the camera. The Vikeri E2 stores images on a micro SD card and uses AA batteries or a 6 volt external power supply.
Many users noticed inconsistent triggering events, even when walking in front of the camera. In some cases, it's a matter of adjusting the camera's settings and insuring the motion sensor is pointing in the correct direction, but these issues seem to be more common on lower price units.
- 1080P video/ 16 megapixel photo resolution
- 48 IR sensor diodes
- 120 degree wide-angle image
- Micro SD storage
- 2.4" LCD screen
- IP66-rated weather resistance
- Affordable camera with good image quality
- Easy setup
- Inconsistent motion detection
- Micro SD card slot is difficult to accesses without removing camera
The GardePro A3 is a perfect blend of high-end features and affordable pricing, making this one of the best game cameras for hunting. The blazing-fast 0.1 second trigger speed is among the fastest on the market, and it takes three, consecutive pictures to make sure you get the shot you need. The A3 records video at 1080P and has a 20 megapixel camera.
The one bit of tech GardePro took advantage of with this camera that sets it apart is the excellent Sony Stavis sensor. This sensor provides some of the cleanest and clearest images possible in day or night shooting. The sensor automatically compensates to prevent over and under exposure.
- 1080P video/ 20 megapixel photo resolution
- Sony Stavis sensor
- Standard SD Card storage, up to 128 Mb
- 100 ft. night vision
- 2.31" screen
- Lightning-quick motion detection
- Photo compression takes up less space than other models
- Some users report issues with lack of waterproofing
- Short battery life
Sometimes, you can buy a budget item that's better than more expensive options, though that's rarely the case. The Victure trail camera bucks the trend by offering an easy-to-use game camera with excellent features at an affordable price. This camera is also really popular with people who are monitoring animals in their yard, which turns out to be one of the more fun ways to use a hunting camera when not hunting.
The Victure camera takes 1080P video and 16 megapixel photos with a 0.5 second triggering speed motion sensor. These sensor is a little slower than higher priced units, but also seems to be more responsive than many competitors. Night vision is accomplished using 26 IR sensors, which is fewer than other cameras.
- 1080P video/ 16 megapixel photo resolution
- 26 IR Diodes
- 0.5 second trigger speed
- SD Card Storage
- Uses 8 LR6 AA batteries or external power supply (both separate)
- Low cost camera
- Easy set-up and image retrieval
- Image quality is average
- Battery life is short
Buyer's Guide to the Best Trail Cameras in 2020
We put together this buyer's guide to help inform you about the terms used to describe different features. This information will help you make an informed decision when buying a new camera so you don't waste time and money.
Trail Cameras vs. Security Cameras
There are a few important differences between trail cameras and security cameras. The first thing you should know is that security cameras are intended for 24-hour viewing, whereas trail cameras typically only capture images and videos when motion is detected.
The intended use also creates another significant difference: most security cameras are designed to plug into a power source for constant video. Trail cams are almost always powered by AA batteries, though some are capable of accepting low-amp 6v power supplies.
Obviously, placing a security camera where you don't have power is going to be a problem. On the other hand, some buyers use trail cams for security because they are only interested in motion detection. This allows a camera to be placed in remote areas where power access isn't possible.
All but one of the trail cams on this list are capable of wireless downloading of files. This is a big deal for many users, because it means you must go to the location of the camera and remove the card, download the data, then reinstall the card before the camera will continue to work. Some cameras feature loo-recording, allowing the video to overwrite older files, but many low-cost cameras simply stop recording when the card is full. High-resolution images take up more space, so higher quality cams will need more frequent retrieval of data.
Night Sensing Technology
There are two primary methods of creating images at night. One way is with a traditional flash. When motion is detected, the camera flashes light and takes an image. While this can give good images, many animals will avoid the area in which a flash of light is witnessed, so you might be chasing off the very animals you are trying to identify.
The other method is the use of infrared diodes. These diodes sense changes in temperature to create images. There are two types, passive IR (PIR) and active IR (IR). Passive IR is often more sensitive to temperature changes, a benefit when the camera is used in optimal temperatures, but active IR is more effective in extreme weather. PIR diodes tend to fail to trigger when snow is falling or in blazing heat.
A limitation of all IR sensors is the lack of ability to detect through obstacles like panes of window glass. The sensor must have a clear and unobstructed view of the surroundings to be effective.
Buying the best game camera for your needs depends on how you wish to use the camera. The options we shared today are among the very best you can buy, and they all tend to have similar features. If you are setting a camera in an attempt to identify the perfect trophy buck and get an idea of the times and directions he comes and goes, you'll want one of the most sensitive and highest resolution cameras possible. On the other hand, if you are simply trying to find out what types of critters are eating your veggie garden, a lower cost camera will provide you the images you need without costing an arm and a leg.
We hope you enjoy this list of the best trail cameras in 2020. Any of these cameras will make an excellent addition to your wildlife watching tools, and can make the difference between a successful season and spending several days in a tree for no reason.
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