|First Time Buyers Guide
Shopping for a trail camera the first time can be overwhelming. This First Time Buyers Guide will simplify the process.
Many cameras excel in one area but under-perform in another.
Knowing the situation in which you will place your camera can play a crucial part in picking your "perfect" camera.
Go to the Trail Camera Selection Guide when you have finished with this page.
Flash range is the distance at which a camera's flash is able to capture a discernible image at night.
Don't be fooled by high megapixel counts. Companies will try to trick you by advertising a camera with a high mpxl, but in reality, they use a low quality lens which reduces the quality of the picture.
View our the sample pictures in our game camera reviews to determine picture quality.
|Good Flash Range (70ft)
||Poor Flash Range (10 ft.)
Flash Range Test
The detection circuit of a trail camera is what detects the animal. Cameras detect based off of a combination of heat and motion. Detection circuits consist of:
- Trigger Time
- Detection Zone
- Recovery Time
Trigger time is the amount of time a camera takes to snap a picture once the object has entered the detection zone.
If you would like to view the trigger times from the different cameras, read the Trigger Speed Showdown.
Every camera trap has a Detection Zone. A Detection Zone is the area in front of the camera that the game camera is "monitoring."
The two factors that determine the detection zone are Detection Width and Detection Range.
Game Cameras have anywhere from a 5 degree beam up to a full 90 degree detection zone. At 30' this varies anywhere from narrow 3' horizontal detection width all the way up to a monstrous 60' wide detection width.
The furthest distance at which a scouting camera is able to detect motion. For comprehensive data on Detection Zones, please review our Detection Zone Test.
Recovery time is the amount of time a camera takes to capture a photo, store that photo to memory and then re-arm itself for the next photo opportunity.
Some cameras will only take a picture every 30 or 60 seconds. These cameras will work on a feeder/bait station, but not on a fast moving game trail. If you want to see everything that is walking down a game trail, you need a camera that recovers quickly. If you want the best recovery time, Reconyx trail cameras recover in under a second.
Cameras with long battery life will save you money over the life of the camera.
We are huge advocates of Nimh Rechargeable batteries. Why?
- They save you bushels of money in the long run (check out this chart for proof).
- They increase your battery life in the cold winter months.
- Less batteries in the landfills = cleaner environment for you and your kids
When you go to retrieve you photos, will your camera still be there?
If your camera is in an area that receives traffic from anyone but you, do yourself a favor and lock your camera up.
View Security Devices for Trail Cameras.
Putting it all together...
A great resource, if you haven't already been there, is our Trail Camera Shootout. The Shootout gives you the raw data for determining which cameras have good detection circuits.
Also, if you would like to see which camera is right for you, complete our Trail Camera Selection Guide.
You may also want to check out the best selling trail cameras.
• New Products
• Best bang for your buck
• Trail Camera Packages
• Popular game cameras
As always, if this is too overwhelming, never hesitate to Contact Us. We are here to answer your questions and get you started on the path to taking photos of your favorite animals!