As your bait draws in attention, you can sit in the comfort of your lodge or cabin, watching intently the game close in without alerting it. A game camera lets you do this and much more. Today, these automated cameras are so advanced that they record moon phase, time of the day and take clear snaps of animals that stray across its path.
More than just pertinent information, they provide details that can help you track the trail of rare species, be it for hunting or for recreational photography purposes. So, how do you select the appropriate game camera in the first place? Read on and find out how.
Date And Time Stamp
A hunter requires critical time information of a shot, when it was taken along with the date. Make sure your camera has this feature as a picture of a bear is nice but without any time or date stamp it is useless in the hands of a hunter. A few cameras even record extra information such as the barometric pressure, temperature, moon phase and even camera name in a shot. Advanced cameras are GPS tagged but all such additional features are unnecessary for the average game hunter.
Resolution talks of the size and quality of a digital picture. This is expressed as megapixels and its the defining characteristic of a digital camera. Higher resolution cameras often provide an option to select the appropriate resolution, which is critical if you wish to increase battery life. Although, megapixel alone does not make a camera stand out in its clarity, one can say that higher the megapixels larger the image size.
Basically, you can stretch an image farther than its actual size without bloating details. For people who only want a camera to track and not print quality photographs, this is a lesser required consideration in a game camera. However, those who only wish to take pictures of animals in their natural environment should opt for 8 megapixel or more. Do remember that more the megapixels higher is the camera cost.
Passive Infrared Width And Range
The camera sensing mechanism is usually called the PIR or Passive Infrared Range. Usually inexpensive cameras have a narrow scope of about 10 degrees so the animal must be centered for a perfect shot or the camera to even trigger. Wider scope PIR cameras cost a lot but can snap pictures within a scope of 180 degrees! For fast moving animals, its best to go for expensive wide PIR cameras. Also, remember to count the range. Typically the range varies between 30 to 100 feet.
Trigger Response Time
How long a camera takes to snap a picture is crucial between a blurry shot and a perfect centered photo. The trigger response time can vary in fraction of a second and in some cameras can extend as long as 6 seconds. By convention, costlier the camera less is the trigger time.
Today, the norm is SD memory cards that have high storage capacity. However, prefer to purchase a camera that comes bundled with a SD card as they are expensive on their own. High capacity cards like 32 to 64GB usually cost a lot but if your camera can accept such high density cards then you can leave it out in the wild for longer as well as take high resolution shots frequently.
Usually game cameras use IR flashes to provide illumination in low light conditions and at night. Although incandescent flash gives colour and vivid images, they also scare away the game. Furthermore, incandescent game cameras tend to use a lot more battery power.
Some high end game cameras come with dual IR and Incandescent flash option allowing the user to switch between the two. Also keep tab on the range of the flash. Usually game cameras come with a range of 10 to 50 feet or even more depending on the cost.
Extra Features To Consider
Other than the above considerations there are plenty of additional features gracing game cameras nowadays. External LCD screens, Aiming Aids, TV Jacks, Video, Event Counter, Burst Mode, Time-lapse Mode, Zoom feature, Extended Battery life and even Wi-Fi connectivity for real time streaming of pictures and videos. Consider such options wisely as they add to the price but give limited return in terms of pure performance. Purchase a game camera based on its basic features and not on its additional features.