Whether you are a wildlife photographer or a hunter, trail cameras can benefit your outdoor activities. A trail camera, also known as game cameras, allows you to see an area’s natural animal activity without human interaction. These cameras work by the use of motion detection; when an animal trips the sensor, the camera will take a picture or start recording a video.

Regardless of why you are using a trail camera, it is advised to set up multiples to get different views of the same site or cover more area. These cameras are rugged and typically attached to trees with straps and screws, so there is little need to worry about leaving delicate equipment out in the elements.

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What to Look for in a Trail Camera?

A trail camera should be durable, weatherproof, and secure due to the environment it will be used in. Depending on how you intend to use the camera, there are a handful of elements to look out for when trying to find the best trail camera for you.

  • Trigger Time

This is the amount of time the camera takes from when it senses motion to when it takes a photo or begins recording. The longer the trigger time, the better chance you have of missing whatever tripped the sensor.

  • Detection Range

This is the range of length at which the camera can detect motion. The larger the range, the better the camera. The field of view goes along with this, as it denotes the width of the angle at which the camera detects movement. A wider field of view allows for more time to get a shot of the creature.

  • Image or Video Quality

For those interested in trail cameras for wildlife photography, this is an essential quality of a camera. The image or video quality is measured by megapixels. The more megapixels a camera has, the better the quality of photo or video.

  • Battery Life and Power

Typical trail cameras have an extended battery life of six months and up to a year. But the more features a camera has, such as the ability to record a video or transfer images over a cell signal, the faster the battery will drain. Many cameras run off of AA batteries, although some higher-end models are solar-powered.

What Are the Best Trail Cameras?

Browning Trail Camera Spec Ops

Browning trail camera spec ops SLR Lounge

This compact trail camera boasts an impressive 20-megapixel sensor for optimum image resolution and an ability to capture 1920 x 1080 full HD video, perfect for viewing on the big screen at home. The camera comes with a USB and TV-out jack, just for this purpose. The passive infrared motion sensor can detect movement up to 80 feet away, and the invisible night vision allows for impressive photos without startling the animals.

The Browning Trail Camera Spec Ops XR runs off eight AA batteries and can last up to seven months. With a 0.4-0.7 second trigger speed, you are sure to get the shot no matter how fast the animal is moving.

Adorama | B&H | Amazon

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Wildgame Innovations Mirage 18

Wildgame innovations mirage 18

With its adaptive illumination, this trail camera automatically controls the exposure based on the distance to the target. It provides quality photos and 720p video with an 18-megapixel sensor while employing silent shield technology to prevent the animals from being frightened away.

The Wildegame Innovations Mirage 18’s detection range extends out 90 feet with trigger speeds less than half a second. It has an extended battery life and runs off of 8 AA batteries.

Amazon

Spypoint Solar Dark

Spypoint Solar Dark Trail Camera

The Spypoint Solar Dark may be more costly than some, but it provides the added reassurance that comes with a solar-powered camera. In addition to its nearly unlimited battery-life, the camera boasts a detection range of up to 110 feet and an invisible flash range of up to 90 feet.

This trail camera’s 12-megapixel sensor, with its blur reduction and time-lapse mode, will provide excellent quality photos and 720p videos perfect for nature enthusiasts and wildlife photographers alike.

B&H | Amazon

Browning Strike Force Sub Micro 10MP

Browning Strike Force HD SLR Lounge

This trail camera combines a fast trigger time at 0.67 seconds and a 10-megapixel sensor with zero blur night photos to produce quality photos and video. Its infrared flash reaches up to 100 feet for sharper, more defined images.

This is all done on six AA batteries, and the camera includes the Browning Buck Watch time-lapse viewer.

Amazon | Adorama | B&H

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Bushnell Trophy Camera Aggressor 24MP Low-Glow

Bushnell Trophy Camera Aggressor

With its responsive 0.2 second trigger time and 100 feet detection range, this durable trail camera has a field-tested design that is perfect for hunters and wildlife photographers alike. It includes black LEDs invisible to both animals and other humans while having a guaranteed battery life of up to a year.

The Bushnell Trophy Camera Aggressor features a 20-megapixel sensor that produces clear, crisp images with a video capture resolution of 720p.

Amazon | B&H