Our guide to Wildlife Cameras and Trail Cameras
Wildlife Cameras and Trail Cameras
A Spypoint Wildlife Camera, Bushnell Trophy Camera or Stealth Cam Trail camera is ideal for monitoring wildlife movements but they also have many other applications such as surveilllance, game scouting, and security applications.
A Wildlife Camera trap can give a fascinating insight into the nocturnal wildlife habits of wildlife in your garden or local woods.
Whether you require a basic camera trap to provide information on who or what is lurking around your property, or a wildlife camera to provide 1080P HD Broadcast quality footage for TV wildlife features, this guide will help you choose which Camera Trap or Trail Camera is best for your application.
We have also included a How To guide, to assist you in setting up your existing camera.
Spypoint Digital Trail Cameras and Bushnell Trophy Cam's are a mobile video/photo recording system which is commonly known a wildlife camera, or a camera trap, which can be hidden in various areas such as up a tree, on the wall of a building, or inside bushes and can be used for numerous applications including:
Wildlife Observation: Used for monitoring wildlife in gardens, parks, and forests. Used by numerous wildlife research bodies across the world, and often used to monitor the habits of nocturnal game and predator animals such as foxes, badgers and deer. They can give an invaluable insight into what animals are in the area, and also keep track of particular species of animals and how they are surviving in the wilderness.
The Discovery Channel on Sky have been using this type of camera to capture rare species in the wilds where it is impossible to sit and wait with a traditional stills camera. The quality of the latest trail cameras are so good, that they can be used in publications.
Home or Business Security: Great as a mobile CCTV unit which can take images or video of property should an intruder enter the zone. Used by many industries to monitor activity in sensitive areas at night. We have supplied law enforcement and government agencies with these devices for secure monitoring.
Predator observation: See who or what is lurking around your pheasant pen at night. If pheasants or partridges are being stolen from pens by human or animal predators, a trail camera is an ideal way to catch them in the act.
What is a Digital Surveillance Trail Camera?Essentially a digital surveillance camera trap is a mobile digital camera that can be placed in an area, and has detection capabilities to detect moving objects in front of the device. When a person or animal moves within the sensor zone of the PIR's the camera activates taking a picture or video of the animal within the zone.
During the day, the camera uses ambient light to illuminate the object, but at night the camera relies on its own illumination device.
Illuminating wildlife at night.
Modern trail cameras use two methods of illuminating at night.
Flash: This is visible to the naked eye and will illuminate whatever is in the viewing range of the camera with a visible white flash, much like a normal camera would use. This can be seen by animals and humans and may scare off wildlife, or attract humans to the cameras whereabouts. This may be handy if you wish the person to know his or her photo has just been taken!
Infrared(IR): Infrared is invisible to the naked eye and is great for photographing wildlife. There are two types of Infrared illumination, Standard and Covert. Some infrared systems when they activate glow red, which can be seen if you are looking in the direction of the device. Covert has a minimal red glow, which is best for keeping the location of the camera secret. Spypoint IR-6, IR-8 and PRO X Plus IR cameras feature covert Infrared.
Spypoint cameras use either C cell batteries or AA batteries depending on the type of camera. On the IR-B, IR-C and ProX you can use an optional solar panel recharging kit, or a lithium rechargeable battery pack as an alternative power source. The standard batteries (using decent quality brand) will last approx 30 days of normal use.
Spypoint cameras use PIR detectors to determine when an object enters the detection zone. This range is adjustable from 1.5m to 14m and will capture any object with a heat signature and movement within this zone and activate the camera with a reaction time of less than 1 second (called shutter delay)
This means that any object walking past the camera will be captured. Some cameras only use one single PIR which is slow to detect, Spypoint cameras in our opinion are the fastest and most reliable detection/capture.
The new Spypoint Pro X Plus has an instant trigger time when powered from a 12V battery source, which in effect means whenever movement is detected the camera triggers without delay, capturing the instant the motion was detected. In the field this ensures that you capture footage of the subject and limits the amount of "tail shots" for example a roe deer running past the camera.
Image Quality and Storage:
Spypoint cameras are available with image resolutions from 4 megapixels to 12 megapixels. This MP (megapixel) rating, is a true rating, and does not rely on interpolation (zooming in on pixels to reach a resolution stated) which means the image quality is considerably better than some other manufacturers with similar MP ratings.
Video resolution is 640x480AVI
Photographs taken during the day are in colour, and at night are in black and white using Infrared.
Cameras will show date and time stamps on the image, and the PROX even shows temperature and moon phase as well as date and time.
How do i retrieve what the camera has captured?
Spypoint and Bushnell have adopted the SD memory card data storage method, which allows you to use SD memory cards up to 8Gb to store data the camera captures.
This will allow for hundreds of camera captures to be stored in memory which can be retrieved using the following methods:
- Removing the SD memory card and plugging into a Laptop or card reader to download to your harddrive.
- Plugging the camera into your laptop or PC using the supplied data cable
- Using the optional Photo/Video viewer which plugs into the camera and shows the captured data on a small TV screen.
- The Spypoint IR-10, Tiny W and PROX from Spypoint, and the Bushnell 1080P HD Wildlife Cameras have built in screens for viewing captured data.
Black or Camouflage?
Most cameras can be supplied in either black or camoflage, and the reason for this is not as simple as you would think.
Black cameras can be easily seen by members of the public and therefore act as a deterrent to know they are on film or image should they be lurking around an area they shouldn't be in.
Camouflage cameras are easily blended into the surroundings and therefore act covertly, combined with IR illumination they make an ideal CCTV device that will go unnoticed.
As they operate silently humans won't know the camera is there, but more importantly, for wildlife use, animals will not be disturbed from their normal habits by a foreign object in their habitat, particularly one that makes a noise and flashes a bright light.
Click here to view the Bushnell Trophy Cam Wildlife Camera range including:
Bushnell Trophy Cam HD 119467C 1080P HD Wildlife Camera
The Bushnell Trophy Cam HD Wildlife Camera with colour viewer shoots full 1080P HD Video footage day or night, and has changed the face of trail-cam technology with its compact size and astounding 1-year battery life, and an unprecedented set of upgrades allowing you to capture stills and HD video footage of wildlife day and night in complete covert infrared at night.
The 119467C Bushnell Trophy Cam HD has a new colour image display for viewing playback of videos and stills in colour.
As well as the standard motion detection system, a new feature in Bushnell wildlife cameras and trail cameras is Field Scan – the new time-lapse mode that gives you the benefits of glassing your hunting area without having to be there,
There are three sensitivity levels depending on the size of the subject you wish to capture on camera i.e small rodents to large red deer.
Bushnell have added audio record and the Trophy Cam HD invisible black LEDs are an industry-leading development in stealth with no visibile illumination to man or beast making this wildlife camera ideal for security applications around the farm, game estate or in industry.
There’s more, including the potential for a huge 32GB memory capability and enhanced video quality for the most vivid viewing experience possible.
You can also record more images and video than ever thanks to 32GB SD card compatibility allowing a possible capacity of up to 20,000 images.
The built-in colour viewer has a zoom function for instant detail. And to make your camera virtually undetectable in the dark, we’re now offering two models with low-glow black LED nightvision flash.
Other options include enhanced video resolution up to 1080p HD and more.
Click here to view the Spypoint camera range
All Spypoint Cameras Feature:
- Storage upgradeable to 32Gb using SD
- Adjustable detection range 1.5-14m
- Adjustable trigger activation delay
- Low battery indicator
- Fast shutter delay < 1 seconds (PRO X Plus and Tiny offers instant trigger with 12V power source)
- Video output via USB
- Strap USB and Video Cable included
- Colour Images by day, Black and white by night.
- User friendly control panels.
- Low battery indicator
- Additional power supply inputs
- New Compact Size with removable internal camera
- True 6.0MP Picture Quality
- Super sized 48LED Infrared illumination
- LCD Information Screen
- Day and Night Image capture
- New Compact Size with removable internal camera
- True 10 MP Picture Quality
- Super sized 48LED Infrared Covert Illumination
- LCD Information Screen
- Time Lapse Facility
- Optional Lithium Ion Battery Pack and Solar Panel upgrade
- Day and Night Image capture with Variable Infrared
PRO X Plus
- True 12.0 MP Picture quality
- Sound recording
- Variable Infrared output to prevent under or over exposing subject.
- Market Leading Trigger Times
- No Trigger delay when powered by a 12V Power Source
- Large 3" Viewing screen
- Digital menu control
- Accepts AA rechargeable batteries or can be used with an optional 12V power source.
- Can be charged by Solar Panel
- Day and Night Image capture with COVERT IR
- Market leading image quality and detection.
Click here to view the range of Spypoint accessories
- Lithium Battery Pack and Charger
- 12V External Power Supply
- Solar Panel and Lithium Battery Pack
- Photo Video Viewer
- Security lock
Q. What's the difference between the Spypoint cameras?
A. Essentially the resolution is the main difference, with cameras from 4 to 12 Megapixels being available, however cameras like the PRO X and IR-10 feature their own LCD screens, and the IR-10, 6 and Pro X Plus have the ability to be powered from a remote source. The higher resolution models also offer better light sensitivity at night, resulting in better quality images being produced. The PRO X Plus is the only model that records sound as well as video.
The new Pro X Plus wildlife camera features many improvements over the old Pro X. With the introduction of a faster trigger time, you capture more shots of fast moving items such as a roe deer running past the camera. If you power the camera from a 12V battery then the trigger time is instant offering no delay.
Also the variable infrared allows you to capture footage perfectly exposed as the camera looks to see how much light is needed before it emits the infrared.
Q. Can you see the "flash" from the camera when it takes a picture at night?
A. The IR 6 and IR 10 as well as PRO X all use Infrared to take photographs and video at night, and this is undetectable to the naked eye. If you look directly into the camera at close range just as it activates you may see a slight red glow on some non covert models but this is invisible to the animal or human that is having its photograph taken.
Q. Do these cameras make a noise?
A. Spypoint Cameras offer silent running, and there is no audible shutter noise from the unit that would be detectable unless you had your ear pressed against the box.
Q. How long will the camera operate for before i need to attend to it?
A. This really depends on how often the camera activates, as in a forest it will only activate when an animal passes by, but on a busy industrial site, it could activate every few minutes. On average we suggest that the camera standard power supply should last for up to 30days. Bear in mind we can supply an external power supply such as a 12V kit or a Solar Panel recharging kit. We recommend using a decent quality SANDISK 8Gb SD card in these devices and you can buy these cheaply from www.play.com
Q. What batteries do i need to use?
A. The IR 6 and IR 10, and the new PRO X Plus uses AA batteries. We recommend buying a good quality brand such as Energizer, and if possible to use the Lithium alternative, which are more expensive but last approx 3 times longer. Alternatively you can power your camera from a 12V external power supply or an internal rechargeable lithium battery pack.
Q. My camera does not appear to be taking images of objects i test it with such as rolling a ball in front of the camera.
A. Bear in mind Spypoint Cameras rely on a heat signature and a detection of motion to trigger the camera. If you roll an object like a football in front of the camera it probably won't activate as there is no heat detected. The reason for this is to reduce the chances of foreign objects like branches of a tree, leaves etc triggering the camera.
Q. How many photographs can my camera take before i need to download the footage.
A. We have created this table to give you an idea how many shots fit on different cards depending on their capacity.
Q. The shots taken appear to be "whiteing out" what can i do to stop this.
A. This is called over exposing and is common when an object is photographed at night whether it is by CCTV, video camera, or digital SLR.
The camera tries to expose for all light levels seen, from the dark skies to the reflections from an object bouncing back the Infrared.
This is particularly bad when it has been snowing. Most modern cameras compensate for this by adjusting the exposure internally, however it can still occur on occasion if an object is very close to the camera when the IR is fired.
The new Spypoint Pro X Plus wildlife camera now features a variable infrared function, which looks at how much light is needed and fires out the correct amount of infrared to illuminate the subject without under or over exposing the subject.
Q. Why do I need to/How do I update the Firmware/Software on my camera?
A. Manufacturers often publish software updates with improved features such as faster trigger time, better detection, and also to correct software bugs such as time and date issues, or failures. Visit our website to find out more about Updating your Wildlife Camera with the Latest Firmware.
The new Wireless cameras from Spypoint
If you have a wildlife camera in a remote location, or in an area where disturbance to surroundings has to be kept to a minimum then having a camera you dont have to keep physically accessing is often a requirement that has until now been out of reach.
New innovations in trail camera techology have seen the introduction of wireless trail cameras from Spypoint such as the Tiny W and the Spypoint Live.
The new Spypoint TINY W is a wireless trail camera that allows you to stream pictures and video to a bin reciever which can be securely hidden or stored where you can access the footage more easily without disturbing surroundings or wildlife such as raptor sites.
Ideal as a wireless camera for wildlife research where disturbance of nesting sites has to be kept to a minimum. Simply position the camera using the slide attach mount in the required location, and you can access recorded footage without returning to the camera. Footage is sent up to 50ft away to the wireless reciever which stores the footage on its internal memory allowing you to access and download at any time.
The Spypoint TINY wireless camera system sends images and video wirelessly to the storage bin and using 38 IR LED's it will take still images or video in complete darkness using infrared which is invisible to wildlife. Should your camera be stolen your footage is safe and you will have captured images of the person stealing your camera.
The Spypoint LIVE is an infrared camera which records footage to the Spypoint Live website allowing you to view capture video or images from your home or office.
Simply set up the Spypoint LIVE camera on the trail and it will record colour by day and black and white at night, in either still or video format.
Ideal for monitoring game movements, or for wildlife research, the Spypoint LIVE works like no other trail camera by transmitting wirelessly data to the internet in turn allowing you to download captured footage from your home or office.
Normally to retrieve footage from your camera you are required to visit the camera site and remove the SD card to extract captured footage, with Spypoint LIVE you simply log into the Spypoint Live website and check your footage!
You can also control the camera remotely from your location, turning it on or off, or selecting program modes.
Please note: There is an annual contract fee required for Spypoint Live online usage.
Visit our website for more information on the Wireless Spypoint Wildlife Cameras.
An example of the video taken by a SpyPoint IR Camera.
An introduction to the trail cam technology employed in Spy Point cameras.
- View our How to Guide for assistance in setting up your Spypoint Camera.
- Visit our site for more info on buying one of the Spypoint Trail Cameras.