Trail Camera Basics

Posted by: PJ Reilly on Sep 9, 2012
Page 2 of 3

The size of the photo files a camera captures is one factor that dictates its price. Typically, the higher the resolution is…..the higher the price. A camera’s resolution is declared in megapixels.
So, what makes an 8 megapixel photo better than a 4 megapixel? It’s easier to see fine detail in the higher resolution photo. Also, you can enlarge a photo with higher megapixels in order to do things like inspect a buck’s antlers closely, or identify a somewhat obscured object that’s in the photo’s background. Comparatively, the lower resolution image will get blurry the more you enlarge it.
Just for a point of reference, most point-and-shoot digital cameras sold today at your local big-box stores are 10 megapixels or more. For viewing photos on a computer screen, image resolution is less important than if you plan to make prints. You can blow up a 2 megapixel photo fairly big on your computer and still see fine detail. 

Most cameras today accept SD cards, or similar, removable memory devices, for storing photos and video clips. Some also have internal memory, but the memory cards are the simplest way to go. You can pull one card to check your photos, replace it with another and let the camera keep on running.
If you have a camera capable of shooting video clips and you set it to record those, rather than photos, understand you will need a card with a ton of memory space. Videos gobble up memory much faster than photos. Video buffs should opt for the largest memory card the camera will accept, which might be 32 gigabytes (GB).
Those of you interested in photos don’t need that much memory. Go for a 4 or 8 GB card. They’re not terribly expensive, and they’ll allow your camera to capture thousands of images before the card is full. You’ll be surprised how many photos a camera can capture in a week’s time, especially if it’s posted in an area frequented by raccoons and birds. I once left a camera out for two days, during which time it took over 700 photos of a flock of crows that decided to frolic in the area.


The trend today is for smaller cameras that provide bigger features. Don't let the minature status of some cameras lead you to believe that they are lacking in certain areas of performance.

Several companies offer hand-held card readers so you can view your photos in the field. This will appeal to those of you who want instant gratification. Otherwise, you can take your camera cards home and view the photos on your computer, or take them to one of those self-serve instant photo machines – most of which accept all kinds of memory cards.

There are cameras on the market today that run on everything from simple AA batteries to solar power. I’ve even seen some that can be hooked to car batteries. Obviously, those that use regular batteries are the easiest to work with.
There was a time when most cameras operated on D-cell batteries, and there are some on the market that still do. Those cameras tend to be pretty big. The new trend is to have smaller cameras that are less visible to would-be thieves and to woodland critters alike. Those cameras generally are powered by 12 AA batteries.
Manufacturers will make all sorts of claims about how long a camera can run on a fresh set of batteries. Count on those claims being a bit overstated. And when the mercury drops, so too will the life of your batteries. The colder it is, the shorter your batteries will last.

The faster your camera detects motion and then snaps a photo, or starts a video clip, the more activity you will capture. If you get a lot of photos of deer butts, that’s usually an indication the trigger speed is slow enough that the deer was able to step most of the way out of the camera’s frame after tripping the motion sensor before the photo snapped.
Less expensive cameras tend to have the slower trigger speeds. And a slow trigger speed doesn’t have to be a deal breaker. You just have to know the camera’s limitations, and account for them through proper camera placement.


Positioning the camera so deer approach it keeps you from getting photos of partial deer. Also, notice the buck to the right that might have been missed if the camera were positioned differently.

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2 Comments on "Trail Camera Basics"

Re: Trail Camera Basics #
I have both high end and low end cameras. I would defiantly spend the money for a "good" camera, u will be shocked of the amount of deer your low end cameras miss.
Posted by bowe bushey on 9/12/2012 2:26:09 PM
Re: Trail Camera Basics #
Wow, what nice deer hunting blog have you, nice posting, Thanks!
Posted by umesh on 11/15/2012 12:13:40 AM

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