Capture Every Detail and Record Quality Videos Outdoor with Best Wireless Trail Camera – If you’re one who owns a massive sprawling backyard out in the wilderness, you know it can be hard to keep an eye on every nook and corner of the property. And where there’s a jungle, there’s bound to be plenty of wildlife roaming around as prospective game for the hunting season. You’ve probably even had eyes on an ideal candidate for a while now, tracking it’s every move as close as you can without spooking it, waiting for the hunting season to finally kick in so that you can finally bag the player you’ve gone and even given a nickname to.
Thankfully there’s now a solution to have much more frequent updates on what you wish to track with the aid of a wireless trail camera.
While older iterations used to be characterized by a bright flash and poor image quality, the cameras of today are much sleeker, quieter and capable of operating and sending data wirelessly. And with so many options available for you to choose from, it can get tricky to understand the criteria to make the right selection.
Well here’s a guide on what makes a great trail camera to understand before you go out and buy one.
What to Consider When Buying a Wireless Trail Camera
A trail camera isn’t usually connected to a power source coming from a wall outlet. When stuck out in the wilderness, there’s now a way for you to be able to keep the device consistently powered up apart from using a set of batteries.
Since this is out in a jungle, you don’t want the camera dying out quickly because of being too battery intensive. Replacing batteries can be a pain and is the reason why you want a long battery life
Since you won’t be going out to the trail every day to get the pictures you need, the camera should be able to send them to wirelessly. For this, the camera should be equipped with the appropriate connectivity features, which can be Wi-Fi, cellular data, of a combination of both.
How you wish to configure it is on you, but the option of all can never hurt.
The next thing to look out for may seem obvious but is just as important as every other thing to watch out for. The trail camera should be tough enough to take a hammering from the external environmental factors it’s going to be interacting with daily.
The elements such as rain, wind, dust and a host of others will be consistently interacting with the camera, and its build quality should be able to stand it all.
You’ll be taking quite a few pictures on the camera every time it’s set off by motion. The storage must be large enough to accommodate all the photographs with ease and also feature removable and expandable storage to better help you with the overall experience of handling the camera.
Now that you’re aware of what to look for, it’s the task of finding the right camera you need to get on with. And with so many options, it’s not easy to task to pick and choose. Well, we’ve done the hard work for you and have curated a list of the best wireless trail camera for you to choose from:
Reviews of Best Wireless Trail Camera – Best Camera Mag
Best Camera Mag Ratings: [usr 4.6 text=”true” tooltip=”false”]
First on the list is the GoCam Ghost from Spartan. It’s a 4G/LTE equipped trail camera that works using a sim card on 4G without the need of any WiFi connectivity to send and receive data. It’s equipped with infrared for better photography during the night and is triggered by motion.
It’s powered by Double A batteries and has an app available for iOS and Android for better encryption and security.
It’s also equipped with the option of expanding the internal storage to 16GB for all the data it captures.
Best Camera Mag Ratings: [usr 4.5 text=”true” tooltip=”false”]
This camera has 2 variants that are network specific to AT&T and Verizon. The sensor onboard is 18MP. The camera lets you take both pictures as well as full HD videos.
This camera also is supported by an app that sends the photographs directly to your smartphone.
Connected directly with 4G on a carrier of your choice, the camera can be placed anywhere with good cellular reception.
Best Camera Mag Ratings: [usr 3.6 text=”true” tooltip=”false”]
The next on the list of cameras is good for still images up to 12MP and 720p semi HD videos. Equipped with a built-in infrared flash and a time-lapse mode for long term observation, this camera features a paint job called Mossy Oak to keep itself better hidden out on the trail.
Equipped with 4G for data transfers between the camera and it’s user, it can record videos and capture photographs in storage expandable to 32GB.
Best Camera Mag Ratings: [usr 4.0 text=”true” tooltip=”false”]
This camera boasts a 20MP sensor that can take instant photographs that are quickly made available on whatever your choice between a smartphone, tablet or a PC. This one too also has a 4G network connection on AT&T.
The flash is invisible and comes along with a 80-foot detection and range. Videos recorded on this camera are in 1080p Full HD.
The camera uses up to 12AA batteries that give it a long battery life for weeks together.
Best Camera Mag Ratings: [usr 3.9 text=”true” tooltip=”false”]
Probably the smallest cellular trial camera featured on this list, it’s powered by 8AA batteries and boost of dimensions smaller than the average person’s hand. The camera operates on cellular 4G and has an app to help in the configuration of the camera and assist in the exchange of data between the camera and your smartphone.
The sensor in board is 10MP and is accompanied by 4LED’s capable of a range of 80Feet. It also features a 0.5 trigger speed along with infrared for those night time captures.
It can be expanded up to 16GB using an SS card to store all that data.
Best Camera Mag Ratings: [usr 4.1 text=”true” tooltip=”false”]
Another contender from the Spartan Lineup, this camera allows you to capture fast-moving subjects with a 0.6 second trigger reaction time. It features a variety of video modes for you to choose from with additional adjustable settings to tinker with if you wish to.
The LED on board is good for a range of 80 feet and provides you with clear images no matter how dark the surroundings may be. There’s the amount included in the box that can be used to place the camera wherever you wish to.
The storage can be expanded up to 32GB with an SD card.
Best Camera Mag Ratings: [usr 4.1 text=”true” tooltip=”false”]
The last camera on the list also comes from the minds at Spartan. This little camera features an AES 256 encryption to keep all your data secure on the camera and your smartphone. The trigger on board does the job in less than second and provides you with crisp shots and 720p video recording capabilities.
The illumination from the LED on board is good for 70 feet. The onboard sensor is of 8MP and is suitable for night photography as well. You can set up when you wish to have the camera tale photographs according to your needs.
You can hardly go wrong with this list of cameras for you to choose from when you’re planning to get more eyes around your property. Whether you wish to track the game or simply ensure the security of your property that may be miles away from where you live, these wireless trail cameras can help you with whatever needs you may have for them. Feel free to click the links mentioned at the end of each camera to personally view the deal for yourself and make a purchase decision if you wish to.
With so many options available for you to choose from, it boils down to personal preference and what exactly you need the camera to make a decision.
Trail Camera Buying Guide
In the following, we would like to show you which factors you can use to compare and rate trail cameras.
This will make it easier for you to decide whether a certain camera is suitable for you or not.
The following attributes are important:
- Trip time
- Weather resistance
- Flash range
- Image capture angle
- Integrated monitor
- Storage capacity
- Video function
- Battery power
- Menu navigation and settings
- Motion sensor
- Additional functions
The release time describes the speed required to get a first photo of the trail camera after the sensor has been triggered. In principle, the response time of the trail camera should be less than one second.
A wild trail camera, on the other hand, should be faster than 0.6 seconds.
Very fast response time is also recommended for surveillance.
Do you want to photograph a rare animal? Then every snapshot is worth gold and should therefore your camera should have a fast trip time.
Weather resistance (IP protection class)
The “International Protection” or IP protection class provides information on weather resistance. In the case of trail cameras, they range from IP44 to IP68, with the first number describing dust protection and the second number protecting against water.
Since a trail camera is in one place untouched for weeks, it should be protected according to the surroundings.
If the camera is outdoors or close to water, a value of at least IPx4 is recommended. In dusty environments, an IP value of at least IP5x is recommended.
Also, attention should be paid to the temperature spectrum of the camera. Incorrect temperatures can lead to malfunctions or massive reductions in runtime.
The flash range is of central importance in the nightly activity of the wildlife camera since it determines the illumination of the night shots. In general, if the picture is well lit, a clean night shot can be guaranteed even under difficult conditions.
In practice, the flash range is usually between 8 and 25 meters. Flash ranges of over 25m are almost impossible in practice. Some manufacturers advertise with enormous flash ranges, which, however, are negligible.
The manufacturers test their devices under perfect conditions which are simply not available in real situations. The flash range is significantly influenced by the battery status, the exposure time, and the intensity of the moonlight.
Depending on the application, it is recommended to ensure an adequate flash range.
If the area to be illuminated is extensive, a flash range of approximately 20m is recommended. When shooting objects from a short distance, as is the case, for example, on a wild animal path, a range of 10m is sufficient.
Image capture angle
The image capture angle is the angular range in front of the camera that is finally to be longed for on the picture. Personal preference also plays a role here.
With trail cameras, the image capture angle starts at 52 degrees and can range up to 150 degrees wide angle. A large image capture angle is useful for surveillance and extensive areas and can provide particularly beautiful snapshots.
However, a small angle does not mean bad results. Normally 52 degrees are sufficient.
The maximum resolution can be divided into two areas:
- Photographic resolution
- The image resolution of the films
In the case of trail cameras, the photographic resolution is indicated by the number of megapixels. However, more megapixels do not necessarily mean better quality. Rather, they generally provide more detail.
In the end, more details only increase the blurriness of a blurred image.
The number of megapixels thus provides a guideline for the richness of detail of a picture.
In general, the megapixel number should be five or more.
The image resolution of the films
As with the photographic aspects, the resolution is not the only decisive factor here. High-resolution trail cameras score primarily during the day. Nevertheless, the difference from Full HD to HD blurs very easily when shooting at night.
If you want good video quality, you should also pay attention to a solid fps rate (frames per second) in addition to various formats.
20 frames per second and more result in a pleasant flow of images.
A display makes it easier to operate the camera. Additional functions can be clearly defined. Recordings can be viewed directly on a display, so it can be decided on-site whether relevant recordings are on the device.
It is therefore not necessary to remove the memory card.
As a result, devices with an integrated monitor offer a lot of convenience for a wide variety of user groups. It gives people with less technical affinity a clear overview, while people with a high level of technical knowledge have the opportunity to make precise decisions.
The storage capacity of the wild trail cameras also differs. With some models, a memory card comes with the product, with others it has to be purchased separately.
Normally, cameras have an SD memory card interface. SD memory cards come in different capacity sizes.
For trail cameras, 8 gigabytes, 16 gigabytes, and 32 gigabytes of storage are most common.
Full HD videos, time-lapse recordings, or even serial recordings can require large storage. This is particularly worrying with sensitive data, such as research data.
For this reason, it makes sense to always use a large memory card (e.g. 32 GB), especially when using the video function.
With a wildlife camera, there is not only the possibility to take either photos or videos, but also both together. When it comes to object surveillance, it is more worthwhile to buy the model with image and video recording.
The main goal of the video function is that the trail camera records precisely when something unexpected happens suddenly. The trail camera starts to document when the sensor detects any motion and records it for as long as you have previously specified.
It is recommended to set parameters that offer a combination of seven photos and a 10-15 second video when it comes to surveillance. It is more effective to record frequent and shorter videos than longer videos. This saves you a lot of battery life and storage space.
One second of HD video a day needs about 2-3 MB of memory and more than 1 MB when it is dark.
A 10-second video requires approx. 20 MB memory during the day, which means that approx. 200 videos can fit on a 4 GB memory card.
The battery life is the average runtime of the ready-to-use trail camera. Battery performance depends on several factors.
- The ratio of daytime to night-time shots
- Power consumption
However, it is not possible to say exactly how long your trail camera remains operational until the battery is “empty”.
Menu navigation and settings
The menu and options are not particularly different for all trail cameras.
A motion sensor enables, for example, nocturnal animals to be captured without scaring them since the wildlife camera is sensitive to motion and films during movement.
Another possibility for motion detection is a physical motion detector with infrared rays, which reacts to the movements.
Here, however, it is important to find a golden mean so that a “false alarm” is not triggered because of every small movement.
Size is an important factor to consider before buying the trail camera. Small cameras are far easier to place inconspicuously than the larger models. This advantage is particularly interesting when it comes to monitoring.
Most trail cameras are approximately 14 cm high, 12 cm wide and 10 cm deep.
Also, there are models particularly small or have special shapes.
Trail cameras in the higher price range in particular offer a wide range of additional functions. For example, recordings can be sent directly to your smartphone using GSM, GPRS, or WiFi.
So you will be informed at the moment of the happening. This can be a decisive advantage, especially when it comes to monitoring.
Functions such as panorama shots, time-lapse shots, or fast photo series also offer value. The function of the timer is particularly interesting, which means that the activity can be restricted to the relevant times.
In addition to the standard recordings of date, time, and temperature, some models also offer the exact GPS data during the recording. Finally, such special additional functions can also influence the purchase decision.
Trail cameras allow you to effectively monitor areas without direct power. It does not matter whether the camera is used for object protection, for data collection, or for having brilliant shots.
A basic distinction is made between a black LED infrared flash game camera and a white LED flash game camera. Both types are available in numerous variants and with different specifications.
White LED flash game cameras are well suited to deliver particularly clear pictures at night. Black LED infrared flash game cameras to work without a visible flash, which makes them particularly suitable in environments where they should not be discovered.
How does a trail camera work?
The decisive functional unit of the trail camera is its motion detector. As a rule, this is equipped with infrared sensors (PIR), which react to heat. If body heat triggers the infrared sensor of the trail camera, it wakes up from its standby mode and takes the picture.
To guarantee a good picture even at night, the camera uses an invisible or almost invisible flash, which illuminates the desired area. If the motion detector shows no further activity, the trail camera returns to standby mode.
Then it waits for the next activation. This way of working is extremely energy-saving, which means that the camera unit can remain in use for weeks or even months.
what are their areas of application for trail cameras?
A wildlife camera is suitable for a wide range of purposes: from hunters and researchers to photographers and private individuals.
The areas of application can be divided into four categories as follows:
Control of feeding places, monitoring illegal hunting, monitoring wild animals and birds, and control in the forest. Trail cameras are also useful in monitoring wildlife populations.
Illegal waste disposal, vandalism, wood, metal, construction theft, and industrial surveillance. You can also use them as a safety camera in the forest cabin or hut.
The main purpose of trail cameras in research is for data acquisition.
For animal photography
A good example of the use of the trail camera with added value is shown in the following video.
Such videos are not only used for advertising purposes for nature reserves but also helps to determine the diversity of animals.
What is the best way to camouflage the trail camera?
Depending on where you want to use your trail camera, there are several things to consider. First of all, you have to determine your goal and choose a suitable place where you can position your camera safely.
The camera should not be positioned at eye level, as this makes it easier to notice. It is best to try to hide the camera close to the ground or far above head height.
In both positions, you should select the correct camera angle, which depends on what you want to use the camera for. Aim the camera directly at your target. A laptop, smartphone, or tablet (connect using a USB cable) can be very helpful in this case, as this will help you assess the view better.
In addition to the height, the background also plays an important role. A green wildlife camera on a white background is easy to spot. If you want to hide your camera, choose your background carefully, be it a hedge, a crowded shelf, tree branches, and much more.
The camera must camouflage with the surroundings, but be careful not to cover the lens. If possible, connect the trail camera to the electricity. In this way, the battery always remains full.
I will recommend camouflaging several cameras at the same time because if they are damaged or if someone finds them, you will not lose all the material. It is particularly ideal if two trail cameras are camouflaged since the two can monitor each other and provide reliable evidence. For security, we recommend that you keep the location of the trail cameras secret.
Particularly good places where you can hide your camera are:
- Cardboard boxes
- Full shelves
- A cut book (for the lens)
- DVD cases
- Own hiding places (your creativity is required here)
Suitable camouflage locations for outdoors:
Cambush camouflage (fiber camouflage): This is about artificial fur in the surrounding colors. If you hide the camera in this fur, it loses its symmetrical shape and is difficult to see. The sides of the camera and the front must be well covered. The rear side is already well hidden when it is attached.
Natural camouflage: Natural camouflage is another way to camouflage the camera by using double-sided tape. This allows you to disguise the shape and adapt it to the environment.
Bird nest: A bird feeder can also serve as a good hiding place for the wildlife camera as it has enough space for a camera.
Paint the camera surface: This method is useful if, for example, you want to mount a green camera on a white background. To match the colors, it is better to paint them carefully with lacquer spray, adhesive tape, or acrylic paint and then fix them in place. So with a little time and about 10 dollars material costs you can position and hide your camera correctly. This effort is particularly worthwhile if the camera is to remain at your destination for a long period.
How long does the power of a trail camera last?
Trail cameras battery can last for several weeks without recharging. The actual battery life depends on various factors. Decisive factors are software settings, number of batteries, and traffic in front of the lens.
Here you can see a camouflaged trail camera.
(Photo: LubosHouska / pixabay.com)
Trail cameras generally have a lot of space for batteries. For example, cameras can work fine with just 4 batteries but can have a slot for up to 12 batteries.
This leads to a significantly longer runtime. Software settings such as active video functions, panorama photos, or continuous pictures can be bad in energy saving.
If the camera is in an area with constant movement in front of the lens, its battery life also reduces.
To be able to operate a trail camera for long, it is possible to connect it directly to the electricity. Another clever solution is to install a solar panel.
Which memory card do I need for my wildlife camera?
There are numerous variants of memory cards, such as SD, SDHC, SDXC, and many more, which differ from each other.
- SD: The memory limit of this card is up to two GB (gigabytes)
- SDHC: Such “high capacity” cards have a capacity of more than 32 GB
- SDXC: “Extended Capacity” memory cards offer up to 256 GB of memory
SDXC cards cost a lot of money. For example, one of them is usually more expensive than two SDHC cards. Also, the SDXC cards do not fit every camera. In contrast, they are SDHC cards and you can use them on almost all modern cameras.
Depending on what kind of camera you have, the maximum storage space is limited. You can find more detailed instructions on which card your camera works with on the product details of the product.
Does the camera overwrite the existing pictures or videos on the SD card if there is no more space?
Yes, it depends on the settings. If you activate the “Overwrite” function in the menu, your camera will continue to work by overwriting the older recordings.
If you switch off the function, no new recordings will be clicked if the capacity is full.
How much memory is enough for Trail cameras?
32 GB is more than enough, as it is enough for a large number of pictures. For example, 32 GB is sufficient for approx. 3600 videos with a duration of 15 seconds each.
Are there WiFi trail cameras?
Most trail cameras that are currently available on the market do not have integrated WLAN modules. For this, you need a WLAN-compatible SD card.
Companies such as Toshiba have such SD cards that you can buy on Amazon. A WLAN module is built into the memory card housing of these SD cards, which enables direct recording transmission.
How can you check whether your trail camera has WiFi?
For this, you need to activate the camera where you have placed the Wifi SD card.
Next, you need to open the corresponding APP and search for the APP or the program within the network for the relevant end devices.
What are trail cameras with SIM cards and app functions?
Image or video material recorded with a wildlife camera is stored on an SD card, but not everyone has the option to check it out regularly.
Some trail cameras are used for recording over a longer period.
What if you want to check your recording?
Some models come with a SIM card. This is very useful if you are using then as a surveillance camera. This has a great advantage because of (almost) real-time surveillance.
As an alternative to the trail camera with a SIM card, there are some with an app function. A SIM card is also used here, but it is then inserted into the trail camera.
The corresponding app is loaded onto the smartphone. Now that the app has been set up, the images from the trail camera are displayed on the smartphone via the mobile network, where the app account was also set up.
What are the advantages of a trail camera compared to a surveillance camera?
A surveillance camera has a very complex surveillance method. Because of its live broadcast, they usually need a control person. Also, the recording is only stored for a short time and they need a permanent connection to power.
The surveillance camera is sometimes not clear, especially in strong weather. Trail cameras, on the other hand, are developed precisely for these harsh external influences. Not only do they offer high weather resistance, but they also have another decisive advantage due to their mobility. Besides, a wildlife camera is easy to hide because of its camouflage skin. With them, precise night shots are the standard.
In contrast, a surveillance camera needs well-lit regions, which is particularly difficult to achieve without proper power supply.
The trail camera achieves the long runtimes through a constant standby mode. They usually record when their motion sensor is triggered.
Thus, these only records when something is moving in the field of view of the camera. These cameras also note the time, date, and temperature.
How much trail cameras cost?
These cameras are available in different price ranges. Affordable entry-level device starting from 80 dollars, which does not have additional functions. There are also multi-function devices in the upper price range.
In a large price study, we examined a total of 100 products from the trail camera category to give you an overview.
The first price range starts at 80 to 120 dollars. These are mostly white LED trail cameras or on discount price. These are perfect if you do not need any additional functions such as transferring pictures directly.
In the price range of 120 to 250 dollars, you will find a very wide range of excellent products. These cameras offer added value for advanced users.
The top class of trail cameras starts at 250 dollars. Here you can find the professional products with large image capture angle up to panorama pictures. If you value a large image section with a razor-sharp resolution, you will be happy with these models.
The choice of the most suitable camera depends on your priorities.
What are the alternatives to the trail camera?
An alternative to the trail camera is the surveillance camera. You can read in the above section, the differences between the camera and a surveillance camera.
Where and how do I attach a trail camera?
When aligning, you should make sure that the camera does not point towards the sun or that it can be triggered by other changing heat sources.
Frequently visited places such as roads or forest paths should be avoided, otherwise, a large number of undesirable material will accumulate.
Since a camera can be stolen or damaged, it is advisable to invest in theft protection. Alternatively, the trail camera can also be camouflaged extremely well or placed inaccessibly to humans.
Tip: It is advisable to take a few test recordings to ensure that a recording is made and the motion sensor works with the correct sensitivity.
Types of trail cameras and which is the right one for you?
A distinction can be made between two types of hunting cameras:
- White LED flash trail camera
- Black LED flash trail camera
The two types differ fundamentally in the type of image illumination, which has individual advantages and disadvantages.
Which type of camera is best for you depend on the purpose of the camera.
How do a white LED trail camera work and its advantages and disadvantages
The decisive advantage of a camera with a white LED flash is the optimal image illumination. With an average low power consumption, this leads to a very good image and video quality.
Regular white LEDs work in a light spectrum in areas around 850 nanometers. This leads to a long-distance and enables high-quality black and white night shots.
Due to this type of LED, this type requires significantly fewer LEDs than a Black LED flash camera to achieve an almost equivalent image illumination.
This can therefore also be reflected in power consumption. However, a minimal red glow can be seen when triggering, which can draw attention to the camera, especially at night.
- High-quality recording at night
- Low energy consumption
- Favorable price ranges
- Red night lights
- Loss of detail during the day
White LED trail cameras are suitable for area surveillance, where the visibility of trail cameras is of secondary importance.
Also, these cameras are cheaper in comparison and suitable for beginners.
White LED field cameras attract attention, which means that they can be avoided or become victims of theft and vandalism.
How does a Black LED flash trail camera work and its advantages and disadvantages
The Black LED wildlife cameras have an invisible infrared flash, so the camera can work unnoticed. This also makes it usable as a surveillance camera.
If you are looking for a camera with many purposes and excellent performance, a black LED flash trail camera is more suitable.
Regular black LEDs work in the light spectrum in the range around 950 nanometers. This means that the infrared flash is invisible to humans but has a shorter distance.
This type of LED, therefore, requires more LEDs for similar illumination at night. Some manufacturers combat this problem by increasing the exposure time. However, this can lead to motion blur.
- Invisible infrared flash
- Low risk of detection
- Rarely victim of vandalism and theft
- Suitable for sensitive groups of animals
- Higher price range
- Shorter distance (~ 8m to 20m)
This type of camera is suitable for surveillance, hobby photographers, or the detection of theft and vandalism. Black LED trail cameras are in a higher price range than their opponent, but they justify this with a variety of possible applications.