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NHBS Guide: How to choose a Trail Camera

Antonia Peacock
Antonia Peacock

As we enter the warmer spring months many of the UK’s mammals become more active as they establish territories, build nests and find mates. Despite all this activity, observing and surveying these animals is often a challenging task. Trail cameras offer an easy, effective and non-invasive solution in many of these situations, earning their place as an essential kit piece for any ecologist or wildlife enthusiast.

Listed below are a selection of new models and old favourites from each of our trail camera ranges. The primary features we find useful to distinguish between models are:
–  whether the camera has a colour viewing screen for reviewing footage in the field
– whether the camera has low glow LEDs (better flash range and video quality) or no glow LEDs (totally invisible to the human eye)
– trigger speed (how quickly the camera takes a still image once the infrared is triggered
– recovery speed (if known, how quickly the camera takes a second picture)
– video quality and framerate (video footage at 60fps is noticeably smoother)

Browning trail cameras

Browning trail cameras boast a fantastic quality of workmanship, designed and developed in the US they are deservedly popular and very reliable. A key feature of this brand is the ‘Smart IR technology’ which automatically adjusts the IR flash, ensuring crisp quality night photos.

The video below demonstrates the fantastic quality of these cameras.

Browning Command Ops Elite
Perfect entry level camera with a superb image and video quality with audio recording and and time-lapse features

Command Ops Elite

 

* 18MP images
* 1280 x 720p HD videos with audio
* Low glow LEDs
* LCD screen with Black Text
* 24m Flash range
* Good trigger speed of 0.3s

 

 

Strike Force HD Pro X
This compact mid-range camera has a fast trigger speed and an excellent picture/video quality ensuring you capture every moment in fantastic quality.

Strike Force HD Pro X


* 20MP images
* 1600 x 900p HD videos with audio
* Low glow LEDs
* Full-colour 1.5-inch LCD screen
* 37m Flash range
* Fast trigger speed of 0.22s
* Programmable stop/start timer to control when the camera triggers

 

 

Browning Spec Ops Elite HP4
A high-end camera with excellent images and video quality thanks to a framerate of 60fps.

Spec Ops Elite HP4


*22 MP images
* 1920 x 1080p HD videos at 60fps with audio
* 4 powerful long range no-glow LEDs
* Full-colour 2-inch LCD screen
* 27m Flash range
* Adjustable 0.2s – 0.7s trigger speed
* Programmable stop/start timer to control when the camera triggers

 

 

Browning Patriot
This high-end model features unique ‘dual lens technology’ which ensures that all of your captured footage is of the highest quality in the day and at night

Browning Patriot


* 24MP images
* 1920 x 1080p HD videos at 60fps with audio
* No glow LEDs
* Full-colour 2-inch LCD screen
* 34m Flash range
* Programmable stop/start timer to control when the camera triggers
* Adjustable trigger speed and detection range

 

 

Bushnell Cameras

With an extensive history and a range of professional and entry-level models available, Bushnell trail cameras offer a reliable choice for quality and durability.

Bushnell Prime
A fantastic entry-camera with an impressive trigger speed.

 

* 24MP images
* 1280 x 720p HD videos with audio
* Low glow LEDs
* LCD Text display
* 30m Flash range
* Fast trigger speed of 0.3s

 

 

Bushnell CORE DS Low-Glow
This high-end camera has a fantastic trigger speed and recovery speed, as well as an extremely high picture and video quality. It uses two sensors, one for day and one for night conditions, which together ensure footage is always sharp.

Bushnell DS CORE Low-Glow

 

* 30MP images
* 1920×1080p HD video with audio
* Low glow LEDs
* Front-facing Colour display
* 30m Flash range
* Fast trigger speed of 0.2s
* Dual Sensor for day and night recordings
* Also available as a no-glow model

 

SpyPoint Cameras

Renowned for their lightning fast trigger speeds and recovery speeds, SpyPoint cameras ensure you never miss a wildlife moment.

SpyPoint Force-Dark
A robust and compact mid-range camera with a wealth of adjustable settings so you can take the best footage possible.

SpyPoint Force-Dark


* 12MP images
* 1280 x 720p HD videos with audio
* No glow LEDs
* Full-colour 2-inch LCD screen
* 27m Flash range
* Fast trigger speed of 0.07s
* 16GB SD card and card reader included

 

SpyPoint Solar-Dark
Builds on the Force-Dark by adding a solar panel which allows you to gather footage indefinitely when placed in sufficient sunlight.

SpyPoint Solar-Dark

 

* 12MP images
* 1280 x 720p HD videos with audio
* No glow LEDs
* Full-colour 2-inch LCD screen
* 27m Flash range
* Fast trigger speed of 0.07s
* 16GB SD card and card reader included
* Compact solar panel attached to the top

 

Ltl Acorn Cameras

These compact cameras utilise three different motion sensors to ensure footage is taken at the optimum moment. They also feature a cellular module which when used with a SIM card allows you to receive captured images to a mobile or email address.

Ltl Acorn 5310
A great mid-range camera with excellent picture and video quality

Ltl Acorn 5310

 

* 12MP images
* 1920 x 1080p HD videos with audio
* No glow LEDs
* 15m Flash range
* Trigger speed 0.6s
* Colour LCD screen

 

Reconyx Trail Cameras

These high-end trail cameras are a benchmark of high-quality and reliability.

Reconyx UltraFire XR6 Trail Camera
A robust camera with excellent video quality and a number of impressive features.

Reconyx UltraFire XR6 Trail Camera

 

* 8MP images
* 1920 x 1080p HD videos with stereo audio
* No glow LEDs
* Full colour LCD screen
* 25m Flash range
* Compatible with Buckview Advanced Software, to organise and map stored images.

 

Accessories

A number of accessories can be bought to help mount and secure your trail camera your camera in the perfect position.

Python Mini Cable Lock

Python Mini Cable Lock
Compatible with all of our retailed trail cameras. This versatile lock has been designed to be extremely resilient to damage and picking, protecting your camera from any potential theft.

Security Boxes
Many of our trail cameras can be contained within a matching security box which provides maximum protection when in the field. All of our security boxes can be locked using a standard padlock or python cable. Make sure when purchasing a security box that it will fit the intended trail camera.

See our full range of Security Boxes on our website.

Batteries
The batteries you use in your trail camera can influence its performance in the field. Lithium-ion batteries are one of the most popular choices because they produce a high voltage per cell (1.6v) giving a brighter LED flash and a greater flash range. Rechargeable alkaline batteries offer a more economical and environmentally friendly alternative, however, when in use their voltage decreases over time and they produce proportionately darker LED flashes and consequently, photographs/videos are less illuminated. Standard alkaline batteries are also a suitable economic alternative.

SanDisk Class Cards
Ensuring you use a high read-write speed SanDisk Class card is highly advised for all of our trail cameras. Be sure to check the maximum SD or SDXC card capacity for your intended camera as these can vary between models and brands.

Solar panels
Where sufficient sun is available, the addition of a solar panel to your trail camera can extend its recording life indefinitely. Browning, Bushnell, SpyPoint and Ltl Acorn all offer compatible solar panels for their trail cameras.

All of our trail cameras can be purchased as starter bundles which include an SD card and all the batteries you need to power the camera. The complete trail camera range can be found at www.nhbs.com

Can’t decide which camera you need? Why not take a look at our guide on choosing the camera that’s right for you.