Trail cameras have revolutionized wildlife monitoring and outdoor photography by capturing images and videos of animals without human intervention. Two common types of trail cameras include those with a red glow infrared flash and those with no glow technology. Understanding the differences between these two types of trail cameras can help you make an informed choice based on your specific needs and preferences.
Red Glow Infrared Flash Trail Cameras
Visible Flash: Red glow trail cameras use a 850 nanometer infrared flash and emit a subtle red glow when taking photos or videos at night. This appears as a group of red dots if looking directly at the camera, but does not project red light on the surrounding area. While this light is faint and often goes unnoticed by animals, it is still visible to the human eye, making these cameras less discreet.
Image Quality: These cameras produce high-quality, color images during the day and black & white images at night. Red glow flash cameras typically produce brighter night images and reach out farther than cameras with an invisible flash. Additionally, images from red glow trail cameras are generally sharper and show more detail. Red Glow infrared flash cameras excel in large open areas where discretion isn't an issue.
Drawbacks: The main drawback of red glow infrared flash trail cameras is their potential to alert or spook wildlife and intruders. Some game animals may become wary of the red glow, reducing their natural behavior in the vicinity of the camera.
No Glow Trail Cameras
Invisible Flash: No glow trail cameras, as the name suggests, have an infrared flash in the 930 nanometer spectrum that is invisible to most animals and humans. We say "most" because genetics within species vary and this is certainly true regarding infrared light identification. However, for the vast majority, cameras we list as "No Glow" are invisible and ideal for covert surveillance.
Image Quality: No glow cameras capture the same quality color day images as their Red Glow counterparts, but their image quality in low light may not be as vibrant or detailed as that of red glow cameras. Having said that, a true No Glow camera has won our Flash Range Shootout two years in a row.
Advantages: The primary advantage of no glow trail cameras is their ability to capture wildlife behavior without alarming the subjects. These cameras are less likely to affect animal behavior, making them great for research or capturing candid moments. They are also excellent for security applications.
Choosing the Right Trail CameraWhen choosing between red glow infrared flash and no glow trail cameras, consider the following factors:
Purpose: Determine the primary purpose of your trail camera. If you need high-quality, detailed images and don't mind the slight visibility, red glow cameras are suitable. If stealth and discretion are essential, opt for no glow cameras.
Wildlife Species: Different wildlife species react differently to red glow flash. If you're monitoring particularly sensitive animals, a no glow camera may be the better choice.
Location: Where you plan to set up your trail camera matters. In public or high-traffic areas, a no glow camera can avoid unwanted attention. In less frequented spots, a red glow camera may suffice.
Budget: Red glow cameras are often more affordable than their no glow counterparts, so your budget should also play a role in your decision.