Garden & Lawn

I’ve Tested The Best Garden Wildlife Trail Cameras – Which is the best?

Last updated on June 28th, 2022

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I’ve been a bit of a wildlife enthusiast for a few years now and first got into using wildlife trail cameras around 3 years ago. Originally, I was filming a local set of badgers as well as foxes passing by with their cubs. When I thought about it, I couldn’t believe how much wildlife I had living on my doorstep and most of the neighbours didn’t even have a clue. So following on from my bird box camera guide, I thought it would be useful to show you why I’ve been so impressed with this UsoGood DL501 Trail Camera I’ve been testing.

This screenshot was taken from a video I did while testing my UsoGood DL501 trail Camera

I was hooked on filming the local badgers, foxes and deer using a small section of garden trail cameras that I had purchased over the last few years including my personal favourite, this UsoGood DL501 Trail Camera, what an amazing piece of kit. I have also started using garden trail cameras to film the bird feeders in the garden and to see how effective my squirrel proof bird feeders really are. However, I came to realise that there was in fact, a big difference in the quality of wildlife cameras, especially the video and picture quality (which was my main concern) but also the actual build quality. Let’s just say, one model only lasted a couple of months before it leaked and was only fit for the bin.

The picture was taken using my UsoGood DL501 which is the best trail camera I have used

Watch my video below during the day, and another video at night further down!

I’ll be honest the video quality at night has been very similar to all the trail camera models I have tested with 16MP to 20MP cameras. However, for any video or photos which were taken in daylight including early morning (great for getting coloured videos of badgers and deer) or evening, which is generally when I have been able to get the best videos, there was a big difference in the quality between different camera models.

Comparing two different trail cameras in garden
Testing the UsoGood DL501 Trail Camera against the Apeman H45 Trail Camera which was my previous best trail camera

For the past 12 months, I have been testing this UsoGood DL501 Trail Camera pictured above (top camera in the picture above and the only camera in the picture below), and what an amazing piece of kit this thing is. It’s full of features and I’ll admit, I don’t actually use most of them, I’m a little stuck on my ways like that. However, I’ve been blown away with the video and picture quality, and the fact that some of the features my other cameras just didn’t have including the WIFI APP (absolutely brilliant idea) and the time-lapse function which is great for recording sunsets, moving clouds and I have had lots of fun doing time lapses of opening flowers in my garden (further down the page a video of this) as well as clouds as shown in my video below.

One of the issues I’ve had with almost all trail cameras, including the well respected Apeman trail camera (I have the H45 model shown above), you can’t really see where it’s actually filming when you position the camera.

Apeman trail camera being tested agaist the UsoGood camera

You can sort of see, but I’m in the frame so it’s difficult to see properly. It’s a little bit of guesswork and fiddling about. What I usually do, and it’s a little tenuous, is, position the camera, turn it on and trigger the camera. I then try and view the picture on the tiny built-in LCD screen on the camera to see where it’s actually filming when triggered.

This is far from ideal and you even end up accidentally moving the camera while trying to select the picture to see what it’s actually filming. Let’s just say, it can be a little frustrating if I am trying to position them in a specific frame.

Smart phone APP that comes with the UsoGood Trail Camera

This is where, for me, the UsoGood DL501 trail camera is an absolute game changer and let’s be honest, ahead of the competition. Because it has WIFI built-in and an APP (which is super easy to use) plus a watch-type strap (picture further down) so you use it to turn the WIFI on the camera on and off without even touching the camera.

I can connect to the TRAIL Camera using the built-in WIFI to the APP on my iPhone as shown in the picture above. Then I can see on my phone screen what the camera is filming. It’s simple but very useful. You can also use the APP to shoot a video or photo on demand as well as view the recorded videos and photos from your phone (and download them) without having to remove the SD card from the camera. It really was well worth purchasing this model just for this feature.

Best Pick

Usogood DL501 Wildlife Trail Camera 24MP 1296P With WIFI & App
If I had to choose just one trail camera, whether it was for filming wildlife in the in the woods or simply fiming birds in my garden (I do both) the UsoGood DL501 Trail Camera would have to be it. So what do I like? Firstly, the build quality is brilliant, I've been using it for over 12 months now and I have never had an issue whatsoever and its IP66 rated. Basically, its fuly weather proof even in storms and thats tested and comfirmed by myself in this years very poor weather. It has a 24MP camera and can record video at 1296P, from my own experence over the last 12 months, the video and photos have been very good quality. Between my different cameras i've tested, this is where I have noticed the biggest differences. I realy do love the APP and WIFI connectitivy, I thought this would be a little gimickery but its actually been very useful. I don't think I would buy another camera without it now. I also love the time lasp feature that I have been using to record opening flowers, its actually amazing to be able to see the flowers open right infront of your eyes, speeded up of course. There are more setting than I can mention in this section so you will have to read the full review below but what I will say is, its flexable as you can choose different video and image setting depending on the quality you need and length of videos. You can also adjust the sensativty between low, medium and high which is useful as wasn't picking up small birds until I adjusted the sensativity to high when recording my bird feeders. If your looking for a decent reliable trail camera, this is well worth considering. For me though, this is the model I always recommemd to friends, family or anyone is basiclly says, what model would you get? Well I would pay a little more and get this Usogood DL501 Wildlife Trail Camera. What an amazing piece of kit.

Runner-up

GardePro A3 Wildlife Camera 24MP 1080P
The GardePro A3 Wildlife Camera 24MP 1080P has some feature choices that make it easy to plan quite a complex wildlife photography and recording program. This is especially true for night time viewing as the camera uses the Sony Starvis Sensor and a starlight lens, along with top-of-the-line infra-red technology to capture images that are sharp and clean. With three levels of IR sensitivity for night time recording, you can set the scene just as you want it. Motion capture has an impressive trigger time of 0.1s, the fastest of the cameras I have tested, my bst pick is very close though. The activation arc is 120 degrees wide and at a distance of up to 25m which is pretty good. Video is produced in MP4 format, a more common format than the usual AVI one that most other trail cameras use. That being said, with most modern laptops, compatability is no longer really an issue like it was a few years back. This is a camera to consider for serious night time wildlife recordings and its a good alturnative to the UsoGood DL501 if you don't mind NOT having the WIFI capability. Personally, I really like having WIFI and an APP options I have, however, persoanlly I did just fine for the first few years with no WIFI on my own trail cameras. For me this is a very close second to my best pick.

My Top 5 Wildlife Garden Trail Cameras

  1. Usogood Wildlife Trail Camera 24MP 1296P With Wi-Fi & APPMY BEST PICK
  2. GardePro A3 Wildlife Camera 24MP 1080PRUNNER-UP
  3. Crenova RD1000 12MP Infrared Night Vision Waterproof Trail Camera
  4. VANBAR Wildlife Camera 20MP
  5. Coolife Wildlife Camera 21MP 1080P HD

Best Garden Wildlife Trail Camera Reviews

1. UsoGood WiFi Wildlife Camera 24MP 1296P with WIFI and App

Best Pick

Buy on Amazon.co.uk

UsoGood WiFi Wildlife Camera attached to my fence using the included mount
UsoGood WiFi Wildlife Camera attached to my fence using the included mount

As you have probably noticed already, I’m a big fan of this UsoGood DL501 Trail Camera. In fact, I think it’s probably one of the best trail cameras you can get, it’s certainly the best camera I have had the pleasure of using. I think it’s even better than my Apeman H45, which I did think was as good as they get, until I invested in this model. I admit I hadn’t really heard of the brand but it looked promising so I thought it was worth giving a shot and boy was I glad I did.

Video footage was filmed at night

Video footage was filmed during the day

Mounted trail camera to tripod to do film some time lapses
Using the UsoGood WiFi Wildlife Camera to get some time lapses of the sky using a tripod

Personally, I have used it for recording videos and taking pictures of badgers, foxes and deer in a local wood just around the corner from my house as well as a few sheep and goats that even passed by (that’s when I was testing it on a small farm I’m friendly with).

Picture taken on UsoGood Trail Camera
Photo of Jackdaw taken on UsoGood DL501Trail Camera

Just recently I have been using it to record videos and take pictures of the birds that visit my bird feeders that the wife insists on feeding, which are eating me out of house and home! Above is a nice photo of a Jackdaw taking seed out of, what is supposed to be, a squirrel and a large bird-proof feeder. As you can see, they have figured out how to hover and eat the bird seed without the little seed doors closing. However, it has worked great with the squirrels though, and I have covered these in more detail in my guide on the best squirrel-proof bird feeders here. As you can see below the images are very clear on the highest setting of 10M.

Picture of squirrel taken with UsoGood DL501 trail camera
Picture of squirrel taken with UsoGood DL501 trail camera

First I will give you a run down of the specifications, these probably won’t mean much to many people but at least you can compare when looking at the models like I do. The camera itself has a resolution of 24MP for photos and 1296P HD recording of video and it also records audio. These are higher resolutions than on many other trail cameras I have tested and it shows in the image and video quality. It’s worth mentioning you can also choose between different image sizes and video quality to maximise how much footage you can get onto the memory card.

Now as you can see above, I use a 32GB memory card and I’m yet to fill it up, partly because I usually download the videos every couple of days to check the video footage on my laptop. It’s worth mentioning though that it can take up to a 128GB memory card, just make sure it’s a class 10 memory card (which most are).

Photo of coal tit on my bird feeder
Another photo taken in the garden

Now, this is why I love using this camera, the Usogood WiFi Wildlife Camera is the only camera in my review or that I own that lets you interact with it via your smartphone, in my case my iPhone 11 but it does with android too. It’s a real game changer, especially because you can view the footage on your phone without even touching the camera thanks to the APP and wrist remote it comes with.

APP to connect to wildlife trail camera
How the app looks when you first open it up, simply connect the app to the camera using wifi and you are ready to take picture and video on demand, view images and video and also download them to your phone

I simply downloaded the app from the app store and open it as shown above. Once the app is open, all I need to do is press the ON button on the remote device as shown below and it will switch the trail camera wifi on and connect to the app.

Watch strap on off device to control wildlife trail camera
Remote which turns the camera wifi on and off

Then I can view photos and video on my phone as well as take pictures and videos on demand using the app but what I also love is that I can download both videos and images to my phone which is super handy. I then usually send the videos from my iPhone to my MacBook by airdrop.

trail camera APP which can be used to take pictures, view footage and download them to your phone
App connected to trail camera which can take pictures, video, view pictures and vide and even download them

You do need to be within Wi-Fi distance of the camera though to do this but I can connect my phone to the camera in my garden from inside the house and that is about 10-12 metres.

You can also remove the memory card or plug the camera into your laptop directly using the included cable.

Selecting setting for UsoGood garden trail camera choosing different setting
Setting display to choose specific setting

When it comes to modes, you can choose between, video only, photo only or both at the same time. I usually select photo and video. Then there are lots of other options such as image size of 3M, 5M, 8M or 10M, number of pictures 1, 2 or 3, video length in seconds 5 seconds to 180 seconds, and resolution quality WVGA, 720P, 1080P or 1296P which I use. There is also a feature for a monitoring period.

2 Timer settings for wildlife trail camera
2 Timer settings to program the camera to be active between two certain times of the day

This is handy to save battery power and just record at two specific times of the day as shown in the picture above. You can select the time you want to camera to come on such as just 3 hours in the morning between 5am and 8am and then 8pm and 11pm (24 hour clock). When it’s not recording between these times it then automatically switches to standby mode for the rest of the day and night.

UsoGood trail camera with wifi and app

I find this handy for filming badgers or foxes in the early morning or birds in the morning on the feeders when they are most active. Talking of batteries, it takes 8 AA batteries but it may be worth getting rechargeable although I have never done this. Probably spent as much on batteries over the years as I have on trail cameras but one day I will get round to switching to rechargeable.

Night video here

Night time recording is clear and straightforward. The automatic day/night sensor switches the camera to the night-time infra-red flash mode that’s invisible to people and animals. I have found that anything within a range of around 20m at night is captured by the camera, as is anything that moves within that range and within a 120° viewing arc.

Watch strap on off device to control wildlife trail camera
Even more settings to adjust the PIR interval, PIR sensitivity

This Usogood trail camera takes a photo or starts the video within 0.2s after detecting motion. That’s fast.

Using trail camera to film peony as they open

You can also use the time-lapse feature (turned off in the picture above) to record a time-lapse which is super cool. I have personally used this to record opening flowers. I usually just attach it to my tripod as shown above.

Time Lapse I filmed of the poppies opening in my garden

Finally, it comes with everything you need minus a memory card and batteries, you get a nice mounting bracket you can screw to a wall, fence tree etc as shown below. However, you also get a strap which is handy for attaching the trail camera to trees which is what I usually do when recording in the woods, it stays a little more hidden than mounting on a tripod.

Close up of screw attachment included so you can screw the bracket to a fence or wall

Pros

  • Waterproof (IP66 rating) wildlife camera with camouflage cover.
  • Built-in WiFi function to connect the camera and your smartphone (Android or iOS).
  • Set up the camera via the phone app.
  • View the photos and videos on your phone as well as download them.
  • Night vision through invisible IR LEDs.
  • Night vision range, trigger and motion detection is 20m.
  • Image resolution is 24MP with 1298P HD audio-video recording.
  • Automatic day/night sensor.
  • The LCD screen is 5cm on its longest side.
  • The SD card can be up to 128GB. (not included to have one ready)
  • Time-lapse feature.
  • The detection trigger catches wildlife in action within 0.2s.
  • The detection angle is ultra-wide at 120° using three PIR sensors.
  • Features include a timer, time delay, password setting and live replay.

Cons

  • SD card not included.
  • Batteries (8 AA) are not included.

Our recommendation

The Usogood WiFi Wildlife Camera 24MP 1296P with Wi-Fi and App is my Best Pick in this review. I have had lots of fun using it and I’ve been really impressed with the quality, but more so the features and APP. It just makes it much more convenient to use but the video footage is amazing too. If I was to recommend just one wildlife trail camera, this would have to be it. You know, it’s hard to see the differences between most cameras, the footage and images are great on most models but this takes it to another level and that APP, it really does take it up another level.


2. GardePro A3 Wildlife Camera 24MP 1080P

Runner-up

Buy on Amazon.co.uk

GardePro A3 Wildlife Camera 24MP 1080P
GardePro A3 Wildlife Camera 24MP 1080P

The GardePro A3 Wildlife Camera has some features not found in other trail cameras which is why I think it’s a close second to my Best Pick, it’s just missing the wifi. This makes it a great choice for those who like to carefully plan their photography sessions, especially at night time which is where I think this model excels.

The resolution for this camera is 24MP for still photos and 1080P for full HD audio and video which is on par with the UsoGood DL501 trail camera. However, as well as the standard choice of photo or video recording, you can set up a sequence that mixes photos in with video, again just like I do with my Best Pick. This lets you record the scene and focus in when something occurs. The motion detection distance is 25m (further than usual) and slightly further than the UsoGood DL501 and the activation arc zone is the standard 120 degrees.

Gardepro A3 Trail camera

Night time photography is where this GardePro A3 camera really comes into its own. It has super low light sensitivity by using the Sony Starvis image sensor and a large aperture premium lens. This lets it work in conditions of very low light. In addition, the unique auto exposure mechanism and the algorithm that reduces blur produce colour images in low day light and clear images in almost total darkness. For night time recording, the sensitivity of the infra-red flash LEDs is adjustable between low, medium and high.

The trigger speed – the interval between detecting motion and recording – is an impressively short 0.1s so slightly fastest than my best pick but only just. The camera recovers and is ready to take the next frame in 0.5s. You shouldn’t miss much of what happens with the wildlife in your garden using this camera.

Using memory card from trail camera to tranfer them to my computer

You can use an SD memory card (not included) of up to 128Gb which holds a lot of images, again just like my best pick. I like that you can download the images via a USB cable (included) to your computer or simply remove the Memory card like I have above. In addition, the videos are in MP4 format, a more widely used format than the usual AVI format that most other trail cameras use.

Pros

  • Wildlife trail camera in a camouflage pattern.
  • Takes SD card up to 128GB.
  • LCD screen is a 5.8cm long rectangle.
  • Night vision feature uses Sony Starvis Sensor, a premium starlight lens and no-glow IR technology.
  • Night vision range up to 30m.
  • Three levels of sensitivity for night time photography.
  • Resolution is 24MP for photos and 1080P full HD video.
  • Uses a high compression algorithm to save space.
  • Trigger time for capturing motion is 0.1s.
  • Has 120? activation zone with the centre 60? as the trigger zone.
  • Motion detection distance is 25m.
  • Video is in MP4 format.
  • Operation buttons are in the style of a TV remote for ease of use.
  • Three capture modes are photo; video; and photo + video.
  • Features include time stamp; long standby time (up to eight month); waterproof to IP66 rating; and time lapse.
  • 12V jack on bottom of camera for connecting to external power source.
  • Tripod mount screw in base.
  • Download images via USB cable (provided).

Cons

  • Mixes still photos and video in the same folder (best pick has separate folders which is much better).
  • Doesn’t focus well up close.

Our recommendation

The GardePro A3 Wildlife Camera 24MP 1080P is a worthy alternative to our Best Pick and earns my Runner-up, it’s also usually a little more affordable. It’s a great choice if you don’t care much for the WIFI and APP but I’d certainly think twice. With its large LCD screen, high capacity SD memory card, night time recording sensitivities and MP4 format, this camera is for those who want to move beyond basic photos of the wildlife in their garden, especially at night time. Overall it is a great trail camera well worth considering.


3. Crenova RD1000 12MP Infrared Night Vision Waterproof Trail Camera

Buy on Amazon

Crenova Trail Camera 4K Wildlife Camera Include 32GB SD Card 47 pcs 940nm IR LEDs and IP66 Waterproof Game Camera Motion Activated Night Vision Perfect for Wildlife Observation

The Crenova RD1000 12MP Infrared Night Vision Waterproof Trail Camera is one of a few models that come with an SD memory card (32GB) but I wouldn’t necessarily say thats a good reason to choose this model as memory cards are affordable these days anyway. That being said, you won’t have to worry about purchasing the right card for the camera. However, you’re still on your own about buying the eight 1.5V AA batteries needed to run this unit. That out the way, lets compare specs.

The RD1000 has resolutions for still pictures of 12MP and the standard 1080P for HD audio and video. Even though other models in this review have a higher photo resolution, the 12MP isn’t a deal breaker. Combined with the 42 infra-red LEDs for night time shooting, this camera produces clear and crisp images and video too.

Experiment with the timer, interval recording and time lapse features to capture just the moments when the wildlife arrive and play in your garden. Anything within a 120 degrees arc of the camera and within 20m is captured which is pretty standard. Within 0.2s of detecting motion in this area, recording starts. This is usually enough time before the wildlife leaves again. And you can watch what you captured on the generous 6cm LCD screen.

I should explain the IP rating of this wildlife trail camera. It’s IP56. This means that’s is as waterproof as the cameras with an IP66 rating, but it’s a little more susceptible to dust, the 5 instead of the 6 in the rating shows this.

If you plan to set up your garden wildlife camera near an outdoor power outlet, you can plug it in instead of using battery power which is a nice touch too. You can actually do this with my Best Pick which I forget to mention earlier. There’s a connection for an external power source at the base of the camera but you need to invest in a DC 6v plug.

Pros

  • Camouflage trail camera with colour LCD screen.
  • Provides crystal clear 12MP images and 1080 HD videos.
  • Includes a 32GB SD card.
  • Features multi-recording modes such as: interval recording, time-lapse, timer, password protection and time stamp.
  • Low battery alarm so you don’t run out of power halfway through recording.
  • Offers a 120-degree field of view.
  • Super fast trigger speed of 0.2 seconds.
  • Detection range is 20m.
  • Features 42pc 940nm infrared LEDs to capture shots without producing a bright flash.
  • The camera has a waterproof rating of IP56.
  • Connection for an external power supply is built in.
  • Comes with a 12-month warranty for full peace of mind.

Cons

  • Lens fogs up over time.
  • Batteries aren’t included.

Our recommendation

The Crenova RD1000 12MP Infrared Night Vision Waterproof Trail Camera is a sturdy garden wildlife camera. Its still picture resolution, at 12MP, isn’t as high as that of other cameras I looked at but it still gives clear images. The detection range and viewing arc are standard but the 0.2 trigger speed is fast. This is a good camera for beginners.

No products found.


4. VANBAR Wildlife Camera 20MP

Buy on Amazon.co.uk

VANBAR Wildlife Camera 20MP Night Vision Motion Activated with IP66 Waterproof Design 1080P Trail Camera for Outdoor and Home Security

The VANBAR Wildlife Camera 20MP has all the features found as standard in the best garden wildlife trail cameras. As with most trail cameras, neither the batteries (eight AA ones) nor the SD card (up to 32GB) are included with this unit.

This trail camera has resolutions of 20MP for photographs and 1080P for HD video. This is fairly standard and produces clear images, both in the daytime and the night time. Images are recorded from within the 120? viewing are and the 20m trigger distance. When motion is detected, the first image is taken within 0.2s later. You’ll catch the image of most animals that wander into the trigger zone.

View the images and video that the camera takes on the rectangular 5.0cm LCD screen. The video format is AVI that most other trail cameras also use.

Of special interest is the standby time of 10 months. This means that you can place the camera and the battery lasts for up to 10 months, waiting for something to come into view. Of course, you should put new batteries in before you attempt this.

Night time recording is carried out using the usual infra-red flash LEDs. You may want to take advantage of the time lapse feature here or of loop recording. Some online reviewers report that the screen is in an awkward position to set up the exact camera angle that you desire.

The VANBAR camera is the only one we look at that specifies a warranty period – two years. It also offers a 30-day refund if the camera turns out not to be what you expected.

Pros

  • Camouflage patterned trail camera with IP65 waterproof and dust-proof rating.
  • Resolution of photos is 20MP and of videos is 1080P.
  • Trigger speed is 0.2s and the trigger distance is 20m.
  • Three PIRs work together for motion capture.
  • A 120? detection angle gives you a wide view.
  • Night vision use produces black and white images and videos.
  • Features include: time lapse photography; loop recording; and date/time information.
  • Standby time is up to 10 months.
  • Automatic sensor distinguishes between day and night shooting.
  • LCD screen is 5.0cm long rectangle.
  • Video format is AVI.
  • Comes with tree mount, a UBS cable and a belt.
  • Two-year warranty and 30-day refund.

Cons

  • Requires eight 1.5V AA batteries which aren’t included.
  • SD card (up to 32GB) also not included.
  • Screen in difficult place to set camera angle accurately.

Our recommendation

The VANBAR Wildlife Camera 20MP offers all the features of a best wildlife camera. The resolution of 20MP for still images ensures clear and crisp photos. Night time vision is ensured with the IR LEDs and the trigger speed of 0.2s means you obtain images very soon after motion is detected.

This is a good camera for starting out with.


5. Coolife Wildlife Camera 21MP 1080P HD

Buy on Amazon.co.uk

Coolife Wildlife Camera 21MP 1080P HD Trail Camera with 125° Wide Angle Night Vision up to 82ft/25m Hunting Game Camera with 3 Zone Infrared Sensor IP67 Waterproof Trail Surveillance with 32G SD Card

The Coolife Wildlife Camera 21MP 1080P HD is a trail camera with some features not found in other models. This leads to more options for you to design your wildlife photography programme.

The resolution for still pictures is a generous 21MP with the usual 1080P resolution for full HD video. Images are full and clear. The field of view is at 125 degrees, giving you an extra 5V arc of monitoring space over the other cameras I review. If I’m honest, this doesn’t really make much difference. The camera monitors a distance of up to 25m in the day time and 20m in the night time. Be aware of this difference so you won’t be surprised when your night time recordings don’t contain things in the distance that you see in daytime photos.

The IP rating is an impressive IP67. This means that this Coolife camera is slightly more waterproof than the others in this review but again, an IP rating of IP66 is more than good enough. It comes with a fastening strap to fix it to a tree out of the way. There’s also a metal tripod to site the camera close to ground level to record smaller, ground-based wildlife and this is something most trail cameras don’t come with so it’s a nice extra to have. Great for filming wildlife like hedgehogs.

Motion capture has a 0.2s start time after something is detected in the viewing field. This is quite fast. You can factor this into your recording plan, along with time lag, time lapse, endless capture, and temperature detection and compensation. The camera automatically shuts down after one minute of inactivity in the viewing field so it’s not wasting battery power.

One blip in the list of great features of this camera, according to online reviewers, is that the ON/OFF and USB port are inside the unit. While this protects them from dust and water, it does make it awkward to control the camera and download the recordings.

And the time stamp doesn’t include seconds. This becomes a problem if you’ve set the camera to take a sequence of photos within one minute. The related photos may be stored out of sequence.

Pros

  • Wildlife camera with a camouflage pattern.
  • Resolution is 21MP for photos and 1080P for video.
  • Angle of field is 125? for an extra-wide view.
  • Motion capture is through three-zone IR sensors with a 0.2s response time.
  • Night vision is up to 20m and day vision up to 25m.
  • LCD screen is 6cm on its longest side.
  • Water- and dust-proof to the IP67 rating.
  • Features include: shot lag; time lapse; audio recording: endless capture; temperature detection and compensation; and password protection.
  • Automatic shutdown after one minute.
  • Standby period is 16 months.
  • Comes with fastening strap, USB cable, a metal tripod and a 32GB memory card.

Cons

  • ON/OFF switch and USB port are inside the unit.
  • Time stamp doesn’t include seconds.

Our recommendation

The Coolife Wildlife Camera 21MP 1080P HD has a few extra features that make it easier to design a more complex garden wildlife recording program. The extra viewing angles, the additional waterproofness rating and the temperature detection and compensation all work together to give you the best wildlife recordings the camera is able to.

This is a good camera to consider if you have a lot of wildlife doing interesting things in your garden.


Buyer’s Guide for Garden Wildlife Trail Cameras

Wildlife trail cameras are not only used to capture wildlife but they also come in handy for hunting ( I’m not a hunter personly), home security and farm/wildlife monitoring. This Buyer’s Guide goes into some detail about the features and factors to look for in your purchase of this camera.

Where to put the camera

Garden wildlife trail cameras usually sport a camouflaged shell so as to blend in with the environment, whether in the middle of the woods capturing your local deer or in your own back garden where you have it set up to watch feeding birds on a bird table. Depending on the layout of the area, you can choose to mount the camera on a wall, just above ground level, or strap it to a tree and let the camera do its job.

Quality of the lens

Quality lenses are essential for good quality images and video

The quality and the type of lens affects 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, seek the best wildlife trail camera in terms of features and lens quality, especially if you want to mount the camera in shady areas. I generally look for a 20MP+ for photos and 1296P HD recording of video.

Flash or no flash?

What kind of photographs do you wish to take? Do you want to capture images of animals without their knowledge or do you just need a bit of colour to work with? Three kinds of flash light are used to take photos:

LED for better night vision

White flash exudes a bright light that is able to capture the colour of the subject whether it is day or night. This flash is effective for taking clear photographs but it may scare the animals away.

Red glow flash types use infrared (IR) 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. All the models we review have this type of flash for night time photography.

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.

Power options

When dealing with trail cameras, there are basically two ways to power them. Either through a number of batteries – usually eight 1.5V AA ones – or directly from an external power source. Of course, if you plan to place your camera in the middle of the woods, batteries are the only way to go but if you use it in your garden you may be able to use a power cord but there usually sold separately.

Most trail cameras are powered by 8 AA batteries

Make sure to invest in quality batteries and according to the manufacturer’s recommendation, basically I always use Duracell. In many cases, they recommend the use of lithium-ion batteries or alkaline batteries. Lithium-ion batteries have a reputation for lasting longer. I highly recommended used branded batteries and not cheap alternatives as they often don’t have adequate power or last very long. And be aware that in order to use the camera in the night time, the batteries need to be fully charged.

Megapixels requirements

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 high quality. The truth is, both of them play a part in creating the perfect image and it’s more about what you’re going to watch the video footage on.

Photo taken with UsoGood dl501 Trail camera - cropped
Photo taken with UsoGood dl501 Trail camera – BEST PICK – cropped to fit page

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 at an affordable price. All the models I recommend have a good resolution so you don’t need to worry about this if you pick one from our lineup as we have already done the research for you.

Video requirements

Nowadays, most trail cameras come with the ability to record high-definition videos (HD). (All the models in this review have video capability.) Some cameras on the market will record the video but lack a microphone to record sound, this is a mistake I think. Select a camera that is able to record sound quality that even when amplified sounds good to the ear. It makes such as difference, as I myself have found when watching videos back.

Choosing video mode and specifications such as length of video

How long do you want your videos to be? There are models that offer just a few seconds to models that provide a couple of minutes. Depending on the kind of wildlife surveillance you need, you can purchase a camera that lets you program in the length of time you require the video to be. I always film for 2 minutes once its activated.

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. I usually insert those images into imovie on my MacBook pro and create the time lapse. Literally takes a couple of minutes.

Trigger speed

Trigger speed basically refers to the speed used for a photo to be taken. The faster the trigger speed the more pictures you will be able to take in a minute. The best models have a trigger speed of 0.2 seconds, and even 0.1s. This is fast enough if you are dealing with high-energy and active animals. Cameras with slower speeds may be better suited for stationary animals as well as some forms of security surveillance.

Reset time

This tells you how much time the camera needs to ready itself to take another shot. If the reset time is lengthy there is a chance that you will miss out on some shots. The only time you may need a slower reset time is if the animal whose image you are capturing is moving slowly. Otherwise, taking pictures of a rarely seen owl may require your camera to reset quickly before the bird flies away.

Sensor detection

I recommend that you buy a camera 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 16m to 20m of it. There are cameras with longer and wider detection zones but they may cost a bit more.

SD/Memory card

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.

SD Cards to use in garden trail camera

If the manufacturer has not provided a memory card, source one that is within the given recommendations. Stick with branded SD cards as there are a lot of fake SD cards available. These state the SD card as a certain size but in reality don’t hold as much video or photos as they should.

Mounting options

Purchase models that provide all the mounting items required. Many models come with a wall mounting and a strapping belt that is perfect for use on trees.

Security measures

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. Several of the models in this review have a password protection feature. Personally, I don’t use this feature.

Warranty/money-back guarantee

Warranties are important in ensuring that the products you buy are of quality and they act as reassurance. All trail cameras come with warranties. Most come with a one-year warranty but some also include a money-back guarantee. This gives you the chance to test the camera within a certain period; if you aren’t happy, you can send it back for a refund.

FAQs

Are trail cameras good for home security?

The same features designed into trail cameras for taking wildlife photos and videos also make them useful for home security. The cameras are secured in one place (usually on a tree) and take photos or videos when they detect motion. Most of them have a 120? arc of view. The design of these cameras is such that they record quickly whatever is in that arc to capture the image before the animal leaves.

The photos and video are time and date stamped. With some models of camera, that is, those with Wi-Fi, you can arrange to view the recordings through your smartphone.

In addition, the night time use of these cameras is through infrared flash. This doesn’t emit any glow so animals (and people) are unaware that they’re being photographed.

Taken together, all these features are perfect for using a wildlife trail camera for home security. The only downside is that you can’t really get the footage without getting the SD out of the camera and even if you get one with wifi as I have, you still need to be able to reach teh camera to switch it to wifi mode.

How do I change the photos and videos from colour to black and white in my wildlife trail camera?SD Cards to use in garden trail camera

You don’t. The photos and videos this camera takes during the day are in colour; the photos and videos taken at night using infrared flash are in black and white. You don’t have to worry about switching from one mode to the other as the cameras have a built-in sensor that does it automatically for you.

Why doesn’t my SD card work in my wildlife trail camera?

First of all, is your SD memory card from a respected brand name manufacturer? Knock-off cards can cause all kinds of problems. And then, check the exact size and class of SD card that the manufacturer states that you need. Maybe you have the wrong class; maybe your card holds too much memory for the camera to handle. While it would be nice to keep as many photos as possible on one card, if your camera can only deal with a 32GB card, don’t try putting a 64GB one in it.

And did you format the SD memory card before you first used it? Again, the instructions that come with the camera should tell you how to do this and whether you can do it in the camera or need to do it on a computer, or both. The class type of the card is important as different classes have different file formatting systems. And the camera is expecting a memory card with a particular system.

Not all wildlife trail cameras come with SD cards, so very carefully read and follow the instructions about which one to buy.

Final Conclusion

Do you actually know what wildlife comes into your garden in the day time or night time? Having a garden wildlife trail camera opens up a whole new world of wildlife spotting. Capture photos and video of birds and animals going about their everyday business in your garden. Or use the camera for home safety and security measures. The trail cameras in this review give you the features to do all of this.

My Best Pick is the Usogood WiFi Wildlife Camera 24MP 1296P with WIFI and App. This is a well-reviewed camera that you can operate from your phone.

My Runner-up is the GardePro A3 Wildlife Camera 24MP 1080P. This camera has features that improve might time wildlife recording in your garden.

If your wildlife focus is on birds, and they nest in your garden, check out my Top 4 best bird box cameras for getting a unique look into the life of wild birds in your own garden.

And encourage birds into your garden with one of the Top 8 Best Bird Baths with some of our favourite picks.


Last update on 2022-03-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Welcome to my site, my name is John and I have been lucky enough to work in horticultural nurseries for over 15 years in the UK. As the founder and editor as well as researcher, I have a City & Guilds Horticultural Qualifications which I proudly display on our About us page. I now work full time on this website where I review the very best gardening products and tools and write reliable gardening guides. Behind this site is an actual real person who has worked and has experience with the types of products we review as well as years of knowledge on the topics we cover from actual experience. You can reach out to me at john@pyracantha.co.uk

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