Infrared trail cameras are essentially mobile digital cameras which have a motion detection system that detects a human or animal intruder into an area, and triggers a camera which takes either a series of still images, or video footage.
Primarily designed for hunters to scout deer patterns in a hunting zone, these cameras are now more and more used for wildlife observation.
BBC Countryfile recently featured their Stealth Cam Prowler HD infra red scouting camera, showing how they can be used to great effect to capture footage of elusive animals such as river otters and badgers.
The RHS Chelsea Flower Show coverage on BBC also recommends the use of these infra red cameras for people looking to see who or what is lurking around their garden at night, and suggested they are particularly useful for capturing footage of the nocturnal movements of the badger.
Some trail cameras are equipped with an incandescent flash which works similar to a home compact camera. This flash although powerful, should not be used when capturing footage of nocturnal animals as a bright flash can often scare and disorientate the animal causing injury, and also attract unwanted attention from humans who may steal the camera.
The Spypoint infrared cameras and Stealth Cam Prowler HD trail cameras feature a Stealth IR system which uses a series of high power infra red LED emitters to illuminate the subject some distance in front of the camera.
These infrared cameras are invisible to the human and animal eye, and will take either still or video footage in complete darkness without alerting the subject to the fact it is on camera.
There are so many wildlife cameras on the market today, it’s often difficult to decide which is the best for you.
It really depends on a few different factors, but we have listed the most popular with their essential differences.
Most modern trail cameras utilise the SD memory card format and have their own built in, limited, storage capacity.
We recommend the SanDisk memory cards, and a capacity of 4Gb or more.
These memory cards can be swapped over on location, and the footage downloaded to your laptop when you get home for review.
Some cameras feature a LCD screen to review captured footage and this is ideal for on location checking of what the camera has captured.
This camera is the ultimate High Definition video camera, and is the perfect choice for obtaining high quality video footage in 1080P High Definition and also captures sound, so you can hear conversation and/or movement through foliage.
It uses a stealth infra red combined with an 8MP camera to capture high quality still footage.
The Prowler HD is the most popular trail camera for wildlife trusts as they often like to play back footage in visitor centres, or at meetings.
The Pro X from Spypoint is the ultimate still image camera, and features a 12MP CCD to capture ultra high quality still shots. It also captures video with sound but although not HD, we think it is fantastic quality, with rich colours, depth of field and detail.
PRO X also has a built in LCD screen for watching captured footage and is ideal for on location reviewing of what the camera trap has captured.
It also operates with a High Power Infrared emitter but has the most sensitive detection of any trail camera we have experienced.
The Stealth Cam Prowler uses a PIR detector to capture movement, but the PRO X goes a step further with a motion detector and a heat signature detector. This not only makes the Pro X ultra sensitive, but it means less false alarms as the unit will only trigger when it detects a real target, and means less false alarms with branches of trees moving near the sensor etc.
The Pro X as with all the IR/B and IR/C, can be powered by a 12V or Lithium battery pack for when you may need to leave your camera unattended for extended periods.
We think the Spypoint IR/B is the best allround trail camera for wildlife monitoring. It provides high quality still shots from the high resolution CCD camera, and also provides video footage in black and white at night, and colour during the day.
Using an Infra Red IR emitter, the subject never knows its photo has been taken.