Best Trail Cameras of 2017 Reviewed
The trail camera (sometimes known as a “hunting camera”, “remote camera” or “game camera”) varies from the travel camera in that it’s used to capture remote images, typically but not always of wildlife, either for personal enjoyment, professional use, security purposes or to surmise whether there is trophy game in a certain area. When used for the latter purpose they can save a hunter mountains of time they otherwise would have to spend in a hunting blind, waiting. If you have a cabin in a remote location they can be used as a way to augment its security profile. And of course nature photographers use them to obtain truly candid shots of wildlife. Remote cameras are also sometimes used by sports photographers to capture images from obscure angles. Trail cameras can be triggered by hand, radio, sound or by using the built-in timer.
Trail cameras are capable of taking photos or video and have flash capabilities that typically far surpass those built into the average hand held camera. There is also many a wireless trail camera capable of sending images directly to your smartphone while others offer no-glow infrared photography. With so many different types of trail camera available it can be difficult to determine which ones are worth the money and which are not. So in these trail camera reviews we’re going to take a close look at what we consider to be the 10 best trail cameras on the market today.
The Best Trail & Game Cameras (Our Picks):
FULLLIGHT TECH 1080P 12 MP Game
Leading off our trail camera reviews is the Fulllight Tech Mini Trail Camera. It is without a doubt one of your best choices if you’re looking for a compact trail camera that will fit (more or less) in the palm of your hand. It’s a wide angle camera that covers a full 120° of the landscape and has an infrared LED flash good out to 50 feet. Because of its relatively compact size and its ability to be motion activated it can be easily hidden which also makes it an excellent security camera.
Obtain high resolution 12MP photos as well as 1080P HD video with the Fulllight Tech Mini Trail Camera. Though it may be the smallest trail camera on our list it boasts a 120° panoramic lens that gives you the best chance of seeing what’s really out there, not just what’s right in front of you. The Fulllight features “low glow” infrared technology that won’t scare off wildlife and the high-quality motion activation technology means you won’t miss an important shot. The Fulllight features a 2.4 inch LCD screen along with 5 capture modes including time lapse which is a great feature for determining wildlife traffic volumes. The Fulllight uses 8 AA batteries which provide it a standby life of up to 6 months. The Fulllight Tech Mini Trail Camera will also record sound although if what you’re after is high-quality birdsong you may want to use a separate device. All in all the Fulllight Tech Trail Camera is an outstanding deal that will help you gather high-quality photos and videos of your desired target regardless of conditions.
Stealth Cam G42 No-Glo
The G42 No-Glo features, as you might imagine from the name, no glow infrared technology that allows you to set up your covert trail cameras and get your shot without spooking the game. With burst mode, delay mode and, perhaps most importantly, time lapse mode you’ll get whatever type of image you need and if what you need is video it will also capture that in 720P HD. For the price you’ll have a hard time finding a better trail cam than the Stealth G42.
Whether you need time lapse images, a rapid sequence of photos or high def video the G42 No-Glo Trail Camera is on the job. This is a feature rich trail camera with a variety of pre-programed shooting modes that let you set up quickly and move on confident that the camera won’t miss anything. Select 2, 4, 8 or 10MP resolution or 480 or 720P video or set the G42 to create a time lapse montage you can use to accurately determine wildlife traffic in a given area. If you like to take charge of things yourself switch to custom mode and have at it. From the high-quality images to the GPS tagging this is a deer camera serious outdoor enthusiasts are going to love.
Moultrie Game Spy A-5
The Moultrie Game Spy A-5 Trail Camera is built to withstand whatever Mother Nature can throw at it. This is a low cost trail camera with decent-to-good detection range, infrared night time capabilities and multiple shooting options. While at 2 lbs it can’t be described as “light weight” it nonetheless puts that bulk to good use providing you with one of the most durable trail cameras on the market.
You won’t be buying the Moultrie Game Spy A-5 Trail Camera for the outstanding quality of its video. While you may be able to glean enough info from the video to suit your purposes it’s also possible you’ll look at it and wonder “What could that blob be?” That said the A-5 does have several things going for it that make it a good trail camera for entry level users including easy setup, multiple trigger delays and the fact that it’s built like a tank. Photos, especially daytime photos, are generally high-quality and each photo is stamped with date, time and the phase of the moon. It will accommodate a 32GB SD card and the low-glow IR won’t spook the game. Like we said, a decent trail camera for those just starting out.
Moultrie A30i Game
Moultrie is known for its affordable trail cameras and the A30i from their popular A Series is one of their better value propositions. It’s a good trail camera with all of the usual suspects when it comes to features including low glow infrared flash, photo stamping, excellent daytime and adequate night time shot quality and more. Like the other trail cameras in their A Series it’s also built like a fortified bunker so if it’s rammed by an angry buck it’s going to emerge unscathed.
The A-30i features the same robust construction of the A-5 and also like the A-5 it will accommodate an SD card up to 32GB. Overall navigation is relatively easy although the fact that it’s powered by 8 AA batteries means that it weighs about the same as your hunting boots. That said the LCD screen is of excellent quality and the LED infrared flash and effective motion activation combine to do a good job illuminating and capturing relevant images. If you’re a seasoned hunter or a professional nature photographer you’ll want a more tripped out trail camera but the A-30i will serve the beginner and intermediate user just fine.
Browning Strike Force HD
Browning trail cameras are typically a step or two ahead of the competition so as you might expect the Strike Force HD Trail Camera is a camera we’re pretty high on. It features 10MP resolution, fast triggering capability, runs on fewer batteries than similar cameras and offers an array of shooting modes that will capture the images you need; whether those are of wildlife or wild boys attempting to break into your remote cabin in the woods.
The Strike Force from Browning has set the bar pretty high for compact trail cameras and now it’s up to the competition to catch up. The Strike Force can be programmed to do 6 or 8 shot bursts, be remotely triggered or motion triggered and can capture up to 2 minutes of true HD video at a time. Sound quality on the video is not professional grade but better than other trail cameras. Setup of the Strike Force is straightforward and the camera doesn’t suck the life out of batteries the way some, less efficient cameras can. At the end of the day the variety and quality of images you can capture with the Strike Force make it a market leader for trail cameras.
With its 12MP sensor and compact size the LDesign Trail Camera is designed to give the Browning Strike Force (reviewed above) a run for its money and it does that and more. This is one of the few trail cameras under $200 that generates true 1080P HD video while also offering an array of shooting modes and a fast .4 second triggering mechanism. It has a built-in 2” LCD screen, a 100° wide angle lens, is built like there’s no tomorrow and with its 42LED IR flash it won’t chase game away.
The LDesign 12MP trail camera is a breeze to deploy, easy to program, not so heavy and offers you just about every type of image capturing capability the average hunter or outdoorsman needs. The wide angle feature lets you see who is lurking at the fringes while the time lapse feature provides you actionable intel on wildlife traffic through a given area. The 12MP CMOS sensor generates some of the clearest video of any trail camera and the no glow LED flash does an outstanding job bringing even moving game into clear focus. It’s hard to find fault with the LDesign 12MP trail camera. Just a great wildlife camera.
BoneView Viewer For Apple IPhone & IPad
The BoneView Trail Camera viewer is a horse of a slightly different color. It’s not a trail camera in and of itself but it is maybe the best cellular trail camera add on out there. What it does is it allows you to view what you’ve shot and decide what you want to keep and what you can discard. Just slip the SD card (up to 32GB) from the trail camera into the BoneView and quickly scroll through everything the trail camera has captured since you left. There’s no outside Internet or cell phone services required and the whole thing is powered by the battery on your phone.
There’s not a lot else to say about the BoneView trail camera SD card reader except that it’s likely to become one of your most important pieces of go-to hunting gear in fairly short order. It does what it promises and what it does makes the whole process of determining whether a location is likely to bear fruit must more efficient.
SPYPOINT Force 10
The Spypoint Force 10 Trail Camera allows you to capture detailed photos and HD Video day or night, rain or shine. With 42 intense LED lamps providing the illumination and the camera itself sucking in visual information via the 10MP CMOS sensor you’re going to get the surveillance imagery you always wanted whether the subject is elk or human weasels sizing up your cabin in the woods. With its optional lithium-ion battery, effective flash range up to 80 feet and rock solid construction the Force 10 is a force to be reckoned with.
Where other trail cameras of a similar price may leave you wanting for quality or durability the Spypoint Force 10 trail camera is sure to deliver time and time again. With one of the fastest trigger speeds in the business at .32 seconds your target won’t get away while the camera is deciding whether it’s ready to take the shot or not. The fact that the Force 10 is also capable of being powered by either 6 AA alkaline batteries or the optional lithium-ion battery is an enormous plus. Some say that the plastic body feels a bit cheap but we had no problems with this wireless trail camera. With a 2” LCD screen for easy viewing and the ability to shoot in multiple modes including burst and time lapse this is a great trail camera for the price.
Wildgame Innovations Terra 5 Game
The Wildgame Innovations Terra 5 Trail Camera is the result of more than a decade of refinement on the part of the company. It sports a more refined profile that moves away from the 50s sci-fi look and embraces a more tailored 21st century design ethos. While the 5MP camera isn’t going to get anyone very excited the camera as a whole is reliable, durable, easy to setup and use and features a decent flash range and equally decent trigger speed.
This trail camera is not going to set the world on fire but it’s a good entry level trail camera that will allow you to test out the medium and improve the quality of your hunt in the process. It would also serve you well as a home surveillance device or as a way to keep an eye on your camp while you’re out tracking elk in the high country. The video is not great but can be useful in a general way while the still images are of reasonably high-quality. That said we’d have no hesitation using the Terra 5 trail camera as a stocking stuffer for a budding outdoor enthusiast because for the price you really can’t go wrong.
Stealth Cam Megapixel Digital Scouting
Our final trail camera is the Stealth Cam 6MP Digital Scouting Camera. This is another reasonably priced trail camera with some practical features that allow you to effectively capture all the high-quality images you need to determine if a location is likely to bear fruit. While the 6MP sensor isn’t the largest around the camera makes the most of it with the high performance LED IR emitter, burst mode capable of firing off 6 images in quick succession and easy setup. It’s a modest step up from some of the 5MP trail cameras reviewed above.
The Stealth Cam 6MP Digital Scouting Camera boasts a few upgrades over the previous model but it’s limited to a degree by the relatively skimpy sensor, the fact that it can only accommodate a 16GB SD card and the fact that the videos aren’t much better than they were before. That said, it does get enough things right to warrant recommendation as an entry level trail camera; maybe even one of the best entry level trail cameras. It’s reliable, produces great looking photos in daylight (even the videos look pretty good in daylight), is easy to program and has the ability to download photos and videos via its USB connection. All that for less than 100 bucks. A pretty good trail camera all around.
Trail Camera Buying Guide
Below we address some of the most common questions people have about trail cameras.
What is a Trail Camera? – As stated at the beginning of this review guide a trail camera is a specially designed camera intended to be set up outdoors that is primarily used to photograph wildlife either for professional purposes or to facilitate the hunt. We say “primarily” because some people use trail cameras to augment their home security while others will set them up near a campsite to keep watch over their belongings while they’re off pursuing game. Trail cameras are waterproof and typically very tough in order to stand up to whatever Mother Nature doles out and they’re not meant to be held in your hand.
What is the Best Trail Camera for Under 100? – We hate to come down on the side of any one trail camera as being “the best” simply because a great product this year can often produce a hideous rethinking the following year. So keeping that in mind, along with the fact that “best” will be largely a matter of opinion we’d go with Wildgame Innovations Terra 5 if we absolutely had to pick one. It’s not perfect but it is an effective, reliable entry level trail camera that captures high-quality still images, decent 720P video images, has an effective range of 50 feet and won’t fall apart on you a month after you unbox it.
How Far do Trail Cameras Work? – Most trail cameras have an effective range of about 50 feet although higher quality, more expensive models will extend that effective range to 100 feet or even slightly more. To determine effective range ideal conditions are assumed. However, in the real world that effective range for trail cams is dependent on a lot of factors including some that will be out of your control like the thickness of the underbrush and the presence of fog or smoke.
How Does the Best Game Camera Work? – Typically the trail camera is lashed to a tree and programmed to perform image gathering duties in line with what the person wishes. It can be triggered either manually by someone waiting nearby or automatically when game wanders into the field of the motion detector. What kind of images are gathered depends on the needs of the person setting up the camera. They may want time lapsed images to judge traffic through an area or may want video at a certain time, or want a burst of images each time the motion detector is tripped. With a Wifi trail camera images can be sent directly to other devices.
Where to Set up a Trail Camera? – Popular setup points for a trail camera include areas in the wild that you suspect game may frequent, areas that you think will yield interesting photographs, areas being monitored for scientific purposes or outside a home or woodland cabin to act as a surveillance camera. When it comes to hunting you’ll need to adjust your camera placement to accommodate changes in cover as well as various foodstuffs that become available at different times of year in different locations. Keep in mind too when setting up your hunting camera that big bucks often move at night and that the rutting season can vastly affect the behavior of bucks who sometimes seem to abandon both habit and their senses as they seek out compatible does to mate with.
Trail cameras offer hunters a way to more effectively track game, nature photographers the ability to capture shots that would have been impossible if they were standing in the woods holding a camera themselves and people from all walks of life the ability to up the security profile of their home; whether it’s in an urban area or the backwoods. If you’re considering the purchase of a trail camera or wildlife camera for hunting, photographic or security purposes any of the above items will be a great choice.
We hope you find the above trail camera reviews helpful when it comes to determining the best trail camera for you and be sure to stop back on a regular basis for more product reviews from gearhungry.com.
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