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We compared over 20 trail cameras and have narrowed our top recommended models down to just 5 cameras, we compared build quality, IP Rating (IP65 being the best), ease of use, features and video and photo quality in day and night modes
Nature surrounds us sprinkling its magic in our lives every day. Be it birds, insects or the four seasons, nature has a way of keeping us relaxed and connected. If you want to capture nature’s moments whether, for professional or personal use, you cannot rely on your smartphone or handheld camera. The reason for this is that your movements may scare the animals or insects you are trying to capture their images.
Because relying on smartphones or handheld cameras can prove ineffective, the next option is to seek a garden wildlife camera. These cameras are created specifically for the purpose of capturing images and videos outdoors. They feature various weather-proof mechanisms and features that permit you to take the perfect shot and you don't even need to be there.
Finding the best garden wildlife camera is a straightforward process. Once you understand the basic features available, you have the power to decide how advanced those features can be. You can select top-notch features for a higher price or stick to budgetary features which usually have everything you need for home garden use.
We will show all the information you need to know to make navigating the marketplace simple. There are many brands in the market but only the best wildlife cameras are worth the trouble. Let us see what some of the more notable brands have to offer. Shall we proceed?
From rigorous research and product comparison, we found one model that stands out of the rest, the Apeman Wildlife Trail 20MP Camera. Equipped with adequate features such as 1080p resolution, super-fast 0.2-second trigger action, and with an IP66 weatherproof construction, this one is built for exceptional results and decades of use. Some argue it is expensive but would make a good remote wildlife surveillance tool for beginners and professionals alike.
Our top 6 wildlife garden trial cameras that we reviewed including our top picks
Trail Camera Buyers Guide
Trail cameras can not only be used to capture wildlife but, they also come in handy in areas such as hunting, home security and farm/wildlife monitoring. They usually sport a camouflaged shell so as to blend in with the environment whether in the middle of the woods capturing local deer or in your own back garden setup top watch feeding birds on a bird table. Depending on the layout of the area, you can choose to mount the camera on a wall or strap it to a tree and let the camera do its work.
These type of cameras are designed to monitor things remotely. These cameras allow the users to access images and videos that they are unable to get themselves. Due to the design of the cameras, they are able to take pictures as if in secret, something that can be very difficult to achieve with your own camera in person. It's also ability to take pictures/videos during the day and at night, and some of the images and video caught at night can be spectacular. think owls, foxes, badgers.
Factors to consider before buying a wildlife camera
Quality of the lens
The quality and the type of lens used will affect the quality of the image. A lens with a decent resolution will be able to do the job. However, if you want to capture the best images it means you will have to seek the best wildlife trail camera in terms of features and lens quality, especially if you want to mount the camera in shady areas.
Flash or no flash?
What kind of photographs do you desire to take? Do you desire to capture animals without their knowledge or you just need a bit of colour to work with? There are three categories to the kind of light used to take photos:
White flash exudes a bright light that is able to capture the colour of the subject whether day or night. This flash is effective for clear photographs but it may scare the animals away.
Red glow flash types use infrared mechanisms to flash the subject with a red glow. This captures a brighter picture compared to the no glow types. The flash is not visible to the animals but the human eye can spot it.
With the no glow flash types, the animals are oblivious to the camera’s presence. It produces no light and the images captured appear grainy compared to the rest. Nonetheless, the images can be seen without too much distortion.
When dealing with trail cameras, there are basically two ways to power them. Through a number of batteries which is the most most common or direct from an external power source. You will select the best option according to what you need done.
Selecting quality batteries and within the manufacturer’s recommendation will see to it that the camera works as it should. In many cases, they recommend the use of lithium-ion batteries or alkaline batteries. Lithium-ion batteries have a reputation for lasting longer. We highly recommended used branded batteries and not cheap alternatives as they often don't have adequate power or last very long.
There is a lot of debate about the value of megapixels in creating a clear crisp image. Some say the higher the megapixels the better and some say it doesn’t matter as long as the lens is of quality. The truth is, both of them play a part in creating the perfect image. Just because manufacturers use software to boost the megapixels, it does not mean that the quality is lower. You can select the megapixels you require accompanied by a good lens and at an affordable price. All the models we recommend have good resolution so you don't need to worry about this is you pick one from our lineup as we have already done the research for you.
Excellent option at reasonable price, perfect for home garden use
Simple to operate and pretty affordable, this 14MP camera is a steal if you decide to purchase it and had everything you need for home use. You get a bit more advanced features such as more megapixels and sensitive sensors, compared with many other cameras at the same price. To add the cherry on top, the camera provides a wider field of view, giving your photos/videos more background detail.
Overall an excellent camera for the price and very easy to use with no complicated setting to worry about.
Nowadays, many trail cameras come with the ability to record high definition videos. Some cameras in the market will record the video but lack a microphone to record sound. Select a camera that is able to record good quality sound that even when amplified sounds good to the ear. It makes such as difference having found when watching videos back.
How long do you want your videos to be? There are models that offer just a few seconds to models that provide minutes. Depending on the kind of surveillance you need, you can purchase a camera that lets you program in the time you need the video to be.
The time lapse function is an important feature in both photos and videos but it works differently in each. This feature allows you to record images within a certain time frame.
Trigger speed basically refers to the amount taken for a photo to be taken. The faster the trigger speed the more pictures you will be able to take in a minute. Models such as our best pick the Apeman Wildlife Trail Camera Trap has a trigger speed of 0.2 seconds. Which is fast enough if you are dealing with high energy/active animals. Cameras with slower speeds may be effective for stationary animals/ some forms of security surveillance.
This tells you how much time the camera needs to ready itself to take another shot. If the reset time is long there is a chance that you will miss out on some shots. The only time you may need a slower reset time is if what you are capturing is moving slowly. Otherwise, taking pictures of a rarely seen owl may require your camera to reset fast before the bird flies away.
It is recommended to get cameras with sensitive sensors. They may cost a bit more but they are worth it. With extra sensitive sensors, it is easy for the camera to capture images in real time. The direction of the sensors can be angled to provide a better view of the area. In most cases sensors are triggered if an animal is within 65ft of it. There are cameras with longer and wider detection zones but they may cost a bit more.
Best wide angle wildlife camera
This model offers a 120-degree field of view with a fast trigger of 0.2 seconds. If you were to take nice shots of fast-paced animals, this camera would be perfect. Additionally, you find all the operation modes you need on board. Yes, it is a bit pricey but the after sales services make it better.
In most cases, the manufacturer specifies the maximum storage SD cards the camera can house. Some even go as far as stating the class of memory card needed. This is because, they want to leave no chance of you losing your information. Unfit memory cards may be corrupted easily and rendered useless. If the manufacturer has not provided a memory card, source one that is within the given recommendations and we recommend you stick with branded SD cards as there are a-lot of fake SD cards available which state the SD card as a certain size but in reality don't hold as much video or photos as they should.
Purchase models that provide all the mounting items required. Many products such as the APEMAN 12MP 1080P Trail Wildlife Camera Trap come with a wall mounting and a strapping belt which is perfect for trees. If you find your camera is delivered without mounting gear, you can get creative and mount the camera yourself. Mounting should not be a deal breaker if the camera has the features that you need at the time but it saves a lot of fuss later when setting it in position.
If you need to keep people from accessing the camera when you are not there, purchase one that requires a password to access the data. This will keep people from erasing footage or transferring your data. The CamKing E5 16MP Camera is a good example of a password protected model.
Additionally, there are models that are designed to be locked and others not so much. If you feel the need to go the extra mile to secure your camera, pick one that can house a lock.
Warranties are important in ensuring that the products we get are of quality and they act as reassurance. All trail cameras come with warranties. Most come with a 1 year warranty but some also include a money back guarantee which gives you the chance to test it within a certain periods, and if you're not happy you can send it back for a refund.
One such model is the Campark Wildlife Trail 14MP Camera that offer a 45-day money back guarantee.
Best Wildlife Trail Camera
There are plenty of dependable wildlife cameras in the market. However, there are only a handful of brands that really stand out in the market. The best wildlife trail camera may not be the most expensive in the market but if it meets all your needs, then it is perfect!
1. Apeman Wildlife Trail Camera Trap 20MP 1080P with Infrared Night Vision - OUR BEST PICK
The Apeman Wildlife Trail Camera Trap comes with a 20MP camera to capture clean crisp shots and it has the highest mega pixels of any camera on our list. It also possesses a video resolution of 1080p which gives you the opportunity to capture high definition videos so you really do get the best footage possible. It can record audio and video up to a maximum of three minutes which is adequate time to capture some action. The sound recorder could probably be improved as its not the loudest but never the less its better than no audio which is what most models have.
On top of that, the wildlife trail camera is designed to facilitate quick trigger speed of 0.2s which is faster than regular models that take up 1.0s. If there was a dragonfly attending to its business in your garden, you would be able to capture that shot as well as fast moving birds flying in or taking off. This is despite the fast movements that normally could be missed by a normal camera or other lower quality trail cameras.
Need to do some nocturnal image capturing? No problem. This camera comes with 40pcs black infrared LEDs that are designed to work in low light, at night they are also almost impossible to see which is what you ideally want so not to disturb timid animals. We like that is also able to capture as far as 65ft, the camera is able to capture clear black and white photos which look amazing and very crisp as shown in the picture above.
Because it is a wildlife camera, it has to spend hours on end outdoors. Now the main concern is how these cameras cope in the British wet weather and we can confirm this model has a rating of IP66 which is about as good as you can get, to give you an idea, electric outdoor lights need to be rated at IP66 and they are out in the weather for years. No water will be able to affect the camera or cause misty lenses which is another problem with cheaper models. It is also equipped with adjustable passive infrared detectors (PIR) that detect motion as do all models, these can detect movement at 90 degrees with a good distance of 20 meters at night. These sensors allow you to take real-time photos without missing any shots and is the reason you don't need to be around.
To see the images/videos taken, the camera has a 2-inch LCD display so you can quickly check the photos without having to download them which is handy. The screen is small as you would expect for a compact device, once feature we do really like is being able to display time and date stamps, and temperature settings of the photo.
Among the other features provided is the time-lapse function that can be managed externally. You have the option to set a password that will prevent external people from accessing the camera data, not sure how they will help but i suppose it gives a bit a deterrent from it being stolen.
Finally this model requires 8 Lithium Ion or Alkaline batteries to perform optimally, we recommend a good brand such as Duracel. Its worth noting that the batteries and the class 6 SD card are not provided with the camera so you will need to budget for these and order them at the same time, its also worth noting that the camera can be powered by an external 6v power source but these also needs to be purchased separately.
For the lens installed, we are looking at a focal stop of 2.5, FOV of 55 degrees, and a focal length of 3.8mm. As a result of this, the lens is able to capture a slightly wider angle with the right amount of background information.
Finally it comes with a wall mount in the case you want to position it on a wall. Also, the mounting belt is also provided when you want to tie the camera to a tree which will come in vert handy as you can use this to fasten it to any sort of pole too.
The USB cable facilitates easy movement of data from the camera to a computer but you may find it easier to just remove the SD card and use a cd card reader.
Overall this trail camera is way ahead of the game in terms of quality and features, its a little pricey but if your serous amount capturing wildlife footage its well worth investing a little extra. Its also easy to choose, nothing to technical and the instructions are easy to read. Finally it also includes a 1 year warranty and a money back guarantee. After comparing all models we decided this deserved to be our 'Best Pick'. It has over 100 reviews on Amazon alone with most being very positive which only further confirms our conclusion.
If you're looking for a very similar model but at a much more affordable price then our next pick could be a better option. most of the same great features but 12 MP instead of 20MP and slightly slower trigger speed. The main difference is photo and video quality not being as good as this 20MP model.
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2. APEMAN 12MP 1080P Trail Wildlife Camera Trap with Infrared Night Vision - Camouflage
The APEMAN 12MP 1080P Trail Wildlife Camera produces high-quality images and high-resolution video but it really depends what you compare it to. Working with a 12MP camera, you can expect to capture crisp coloured images during the day and clear black /white images at night, however you may find that the day images are fine but at night they can be a little grainy.
This model features 26pcs 940nm low-glow passive infrared LED's and a fully automatic IR filter, you can capture night images without the light or sound frightening the animal away, again there are better specs on more expensive models which is why they probably het clearer night pictures and film but its certainly good enough for most people.
Apeman cameras have the reputation of possessing a fast trigger of less than a second, it's actually 0.5 seconds which is not as fast as our 'Best Pick' but at half a second it's certainly not slow. If there are animals moving fairly quickly, the fast trigger sees to it that you do not miss a single shot. Whether it is a deer or a butterfly, you will be able to capture a crisp clear image as the trigger shot distance is about 65ft.
To run this camera requires batteries or an external power source like our 'Best pick' so its scores a few extra points here. The camera can be powered by 8 AA batteries, remember you need good quality branded batteries or an external power supply of 6V. Just like our top pick, the camera does not come supplied with the batteries and thus have to have some handy when its comes to testing it. An SD/SDHC memory card of a maximum 32GB is required to save the images and videos captured. This too is not supplied by the manufacturer, therefore, it will need to make sure you order one if you don't already have one. Top tip, if you have an older digital camera if probably has a SD card in it which you could use as most people have swapped there digital cameras for using there smart phones now.
Another great feature of this garden wildlife camera is its ability to survive the outdoors. Designed to be a fully waterproof camera, the camera comes with a rating of IP66 which is as good as it gets.
Multiple functions are featured on this camera. Features such as real-time replay, time lapse, moon phase, timer, temperature, pressure, hybrid mode, and interval recording make the camera easy to interact with with plenty of features while still be easy to use and get setup. There is a 2.4 inch TFT LCD display that facilitates the viewing of images and also allows the user to interact with the other functions provided. Something you can't use it for is setting a viewing angle as you cannot see where it is pointed while the camera is open to view the screen.
Delivered with the camera is an easy to read the manual, a mounting belt, a wall mount and a USB cable. The cable is intended to enable fast and secure transfer of captured images to your laptop/PC. Apeman provides excellent after sales services making it a product that you can get without any hassle.
Overall this is an excellent model for anyone just starting out or on a budget, for this model you swap affordability for slightly lower quality video, specially night footage. That being said is more than adequate and a very well built piece of kit.
If you looking to improve the picture and film quality and have a slightly higher budget, our next model is an improvement while still being more affordable than our best pick and has a better 14MP camera.
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3. Campark Wildlife Trail Camera 14MP 1080P Trap with Infrared Night Vision - RUNNER UP
The Campark Wildlife Trail 14MP Camera is easy to hide among the foliage because of its camouflage surface that comes in two colours, this model is not as good as our 'best pick' but it is a great cheaper alternative with just slightly lower specifications and footage quality. This wildlife camera captures clean images both during the day and at night. Producing high-resolution images and videos, this camera has won the hearts of many of its users.
Whether during the day or at night, this camera features 3 infrared sensors. These sensors are designed to use less battery power while increasing their sensitivity. This, in turn, contributes to a fast trigger. The trigger takes approximately 0.3 seconds to capture an image, thats only 0.01 seconds slower than the more expensive Apeman 20MP model. With such a fast trigger you can be able to capture animals in fast motion without the image becoming blurry like other cameras in the market. The estimated trigger distance is 65ft which should be more than adequate to capture the images you need.
Capturing images at night has been made even easier with the 3 passive infrared sensors mounted on the camera. They are highly sensitive to motion and will be able to detect motion and capture an image without startling the animal. Backed by 42pc infrared LEDs and 850nm infrared technology capturing images of nocturnal animals has never been this simple.
This camera requires 8 1.5V AA batteries to work which is standard for most models or a 6V DC external power supply which we have talked about on previous models. When you purchase this model, do not expect the memory card or batteries to be included, again this is becoming the standard. You will have to source these independently. As for the memory card, the manufacturer recommends a class 10 memory card with a maximum of 32GB space. Use the USB cable to send files from the memory card to your computer.
Do you need wider angles? That is not a problem. This is because the camera possesses a 120-degree lens which is wider than the Apeman models which only cover 90 degrees. You will be able to capture more features available in the background giving your images more depth. To view the images captured and also engage the other functions, the camera houses a 2.4 inch LCD display. All of the buttons are well illustrated to ensure the user knows what they are doing which means its easy to use too.
The environment can be harsh sometimes and that is why wildlife cameras need a layer of protection. This unit comes with a waterproof rating of IP56 which is adequate to keep the camera from getting moisture damage and rain. IP56 is actually one down from the Apeman models but it still should be more than enough, Apeman have just taken it a step further. The unit is compact and durable enough to withstand impact just in case you drop it or animals bump into it so its very well made.
The camera is supplied with all the mounting gear required which is useful. You can choose whether to mount it on a wall or strap the camera to a tree which seems to be the preferred method. This camera comes with a 12-month warranty and 24hrs of after-sales services provided by the manufacturer. Its worth mentioning they also offer 45-day money back guarantee which means you can try it risk free for 45 days.
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4. Crenova RD1000 12MP Infrared Night Vision Waterproof Trail Camera
Spotting elusive animals in your back garden can be thrilling with the Crenova RD1000 12MP Infrared Trail Camera, whether you are trying to capture foxes and badgers at night or rare birds during the day. This camera has the capability of taking both quality pictures and 1080 high definition videos. Sound captured by this camera is of quality and carries on seamlessly thought the recording which is something most models don't do very well. Experience vivid colours during the day and well contrasted black and white images at night thanks to the 5MP CMOS sensor installed. Overall you should find that the night footage is very good compared to cheaper models.
The wide-angle lens provides a field of view of 120 degrees. This is enough to capture more details in the image and give it more depth. Paired together with infrared sensors positioned in the centre and at the side of the camera, you will be able to capture every shot once motion is detected. The central IR sensor is positioned at a 60-degree angle while the side sensor is positioned at a 30-degree angle.
Trigger speed matters when you are trying to get a shot while the animal is in motion. The central sensor works at about 0.6 seconds trigger speed while the side sensor reduces the time to 0.2 seconds so you don't miss a shot. The camera is able to capture 3 shots per detection allowing you to capture every precious second of the sighting so overall its very reliable and accurate. There is ample room to get a great shot as the trigger distance is approximately 20 meters which is also very good.
When night time falls, animals will go about their business without noticing the camera working although some people have commented on badgers noticing the camera but not effecting them which is good. This model is installed 42pcs 940nm IR LEDs that are able to take well-lit images without producing a flash that might scare the animal in question away which is obviously essential.
This camera comes with most of the basic functions that you need. The 2.4-inch colour TFT LCD screen will provide you access to all these functions. This includes time lapse, time stamp, a security password, interval recording, timer and an alarm that tells you when the battery is low. All these functions are protected under an IP56 waterproof rated design that permits the camera to survive both hot and cold conditions even in heavy periods of rain.
Unlike most other models, this camera does actually include a SD cart but you still need to purchase 8* 1.5V AA batteries but the camera can work with four so a good setup would be 4 recharge batteries which you charge every time you download the pictures and 4 good quality batteries as backup.
Items that will be delivered with the camera include a mounting strap, one wall mount and its screws, a manual and finally a USB cable for data transfer but you can just remove the SD card and insert this into your computer is you have a SD card reader. All this is covered by a 12-month limited warranty. They also offer excellent 24 hour after sales service which could come in useful.
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5. CamKing E5 16MP 1080P HD Trail Camera with Infrared Night Vision
Introducing the CamKing E5 16MP Camera that you can use to capture images and videos for different purposes. Whether recording wildlife as a hobby or trying to understand what has been killing your chicken, this camouflaged model is irreplaceable. Working with a 5MP CMOS sensor positioned at 90 degrees, the camera can be mounted on strapped to a pole to capture the action.
Offering vividly coloured images in the daytime and 1080 HD videos, this camera takes up to 9 shots per detection. With such a fast pace and 55-degree FOV, it is hard for you to miss a clear shot even when the target is running away. The trigger speed on this camera is impressive as it only takes about 0.6 seconds. The maximum trigger distance provided is 15m which is ample distance to work with.
To take quality pictures even in complete darkness, the camera is equipped with 40pc 940nm infrared LEDs. These are able to take a clear shot of the surroundings within 20m without harming the eyes of the animals or startling them. The camera is also able to record quality sound to go along with the HD videos. If you choose to edit the videos you will end up with a good consistent compilation. You will program how long you want your videos to be. The minimum time offered is 10 seconds but you can go as high as 3 minutes in length.
To protect the camera from weather-related damage, the camera is designed to be waterproof. With a rating of IP54, which is inline with most models with the exception of Apeman cameras that are rated to IP66. The unit is also dustproof, rustproof, and shockproof permitting it to operate in temperatures between -30 which i hope we don't have to experience in the UK and 60 degrees Celsius. The humidity level has to be between 20-85% for the camera to function with no hitches.
The camera is powered by 8AA batteries or an external power source of 6V DC, all of which are not provided, no surprise here then. Once you purchase the batteries you can expect them to run for 4 months but before needing replacement but this obviously depends on how often its triggered as with all cameras. Another item that you need to buy is a memory card which should offer you a maximum space of 32GB. All these can be purchased at an affordable price on Amazon or eBay we found during our own research.
Other modes provided other than video and photos include the timer, time lapse and hybrid function. The hybrid function permits the user to employ both photo and video functions together which is a nice little feature. The 2-inch colour TFT LCD display is a little smaller than most models but should still be adequate. As with all models it also includes the USB cable for data transfer.
Set your password to avoid unwanted hands getting the data collected. You can add an anti-theft lock feature but this is not included and does come at additional cost, not sure how good this anti-theft feature is but it sounds interesting. You can basically choose a lock from a brand that you trust. This CE/FCC certified camera is one that you can fetch at an affordable rate and enjoy capturing the wildlife in your property and is one of the more affordable models.
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Our Final Conclusion
Did you spot the best garden wildlife camera from this list? As you can see most models have very similar features but it really comes down to how clear the footage is and how fast they can capture those images. We feel our 'Best Pick' by Apeman offer a good mix of build quality, video and photo quality and affordability, there are much cheaper models, however, they often lack the ability to capture clear night time footage which is what lets a lot of model down.
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Last updated on March 23rd, 2021