Wildlife trail cameras

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NikNak

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Hi all, looking to get a wildlife trail camera to record to goings on of the hedgehogs in our garden. We've borrowed an 'Apeman H45' from one of our neighbours. Fairly easy to use and setup, but the images are a bit umm lacking(?) certainly not the megapixel or HD clarity that i was expecting from the specs.

Do any of you have a wildlife trail camera.? Care to share your make/model and maybe an odd pics/video or two.?
 

Sideways

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Also interested in replies to this.
I was looking at trail cameras recently after we found a hedgehog in the garden and noticed that even the premium price Browning models have just 3 mega pixel sensors. They use interpolation to invent the extra pixels at all the high resolutions. These may well be the best cameras (according to the advertising, they were used by BBC spring or autumn watch) but it still feels like a con because the adverts headline the high mpix numbers while the real sensor resolution is down in the small print.
There must be an opportunity for a new player to come with a radically better sensor and disrupt the market.
4k video is 8.3 mpixels and there are plenty of 4k CCTV cameras out there....
 

Woodwoodpecka

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Hi,

My wife has a couple of these set up in the garden for that very reason as we have numerous hedgehogs pottering around.


She especially likes this model as it’s a really solid build and weatherproof. It also takes rechargeable batteries and many of them don’t which is a problem as nightcam mode eats battery life quickly and this is when the hogs appear. After a couple of years she still loves seeing what’s visited the garden overnight.

She also uses a SanDisk Ultra 32GB memory card as they struggle with larger memory cards (storage not size 😉)

Cheers, Dave
 

akirk

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Sensor pixel count isn’t always the target you might imagine… with digital sensors esp. taking shots at night the biggest issue is how to get the picture (ramp up microsite sensitivity) without it interfering with neighbour micro sites on the sensor. When shooting images in the dark you up the sensitivity of the sensor (and move the micro sites further apart) and increase the size of each microsite - both of these lead to fewer pixels but far better quality images

having smaller micro sites or having them closer means that they will interfere with each other leading to digital noise

so while 3mb does seem low, it is coming from the pursuit of quality
 

Woodwoodpecka

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No pictures I'm afraid as she only takes videos.

The original ones she sent over were 200Mb (colour - 1min 10 secs) and 61Mb (night mode - 20 secs) which were too large to upload here so I've taken a couple of screenshots from each to get the gist of the quality.

There's also a compressed video attached which she compressed using Microsoft Picture Manager without losing too much of the quality. Not sure what the original file size was but probably around the 60Mb region as the night mode videos record in 20 second bursts when detecting motion.
 

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Sideways

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Sensor pixel count isn’t always the target you might imagine… with digital sensors esp. taking shots at night the biggest issue is how to get the picture (ramp up microsite sensitivity) without it interfering with neighbour micro sites on the sensor. When shooting images in the dark you up the sensitivity of the sensor (and move the micro sites further apart) and increase the size of each microsite - both of these lead to fewer pixels but far better quality images

having smaller micro sites or having them closer means that they will interfere with each other leading to digital noise

so while 3mb does seem low, it is coming from the pursuit of quality
It is entirely reasonable that bigger microsites will collect more light and have less noise than smaller ones, but the pixel count on digital SLR cameras has increased substantially over the last couple of decades and low light performance has kept pace or even improved while the resolution has gone up perhaps four fold.
In the worst case, increasing the sensor size would allow for more microsites of the same size and hence greater resolution with no increase in noise. Perhaps the sensor manufacturers just don't sell enough of these to recoup the cost of developing better devices ?
 

ian33a

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My wife wanted one for Christmas and I bought from these people About Us

I had a long chat with Michelle and she suggested I buy my wife a Browning Recon. I don't remember the model number and, as it's boxed ready for our move, I cannot check. I also bought a decent set of rechargeable batteries and a charger from her as well.

A good one isn't cheap but the pleasure she gets from it is immeasurable.

They have a Facebook group here Wildlife Watching and Trail Cameras UK | Facebook. You may need to request to join but there is masses of footage from a variety of cameras, all uploaded by customers.
 

Suffolkboy

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I just bought 10 of the Apeman cameras to place in areas where they might go walkabout. The images aren't perfect but you do get what you pay for, plus, for us, it's better to lose a £50 camera than a £200

it pays to take some time playing with the settings and experimenting with setup. Try to get your target species walking toward the camera rather than crossing for example, feeding rather than walking etc.


Browning and Bushnell are good mid-range cameras.

If you are feeling really flush have a look at Reconyx cameras.

Wildview cameras are really helpful and stock a good range of better quality cameras and the accesories to go with them, maybe give them a ring and have a chat.
 

OldGreyDog

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We have one in the back garden to watch the foxes. Aside from different brands they seem to be divided into two types, ‘low glow’ and ‘no glow’. Low glow ones will show bc a visible IR red glowing light.
Apparently the light on the low glow type can alarm some wildlife, including foxes.
We bought a Browning Patriot camera, not the cheapest by a long shot, but it works well and only very occasionally suffers condensation on the lens due to moisture/temperature.
Browning advise against rechargeable batteries but I use Eneloop Pro in ours and they work perfectly and last several months between recharges.
 

pgrbff

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I bought this in March 2018. Still going strong. It was probably half the price back then.

Good video day and night but I'm not at home so I cant post any.
 

imageel

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If you don't mind tinkering with hardware you can get some quite capable cameras that work well in low light or darkness such as those based upon the Sony IMX291 chipset. These can be obtained with various interfaces including USB or Ethernet so you can quite easily collect large amounts of data either on a PC/laptop or e.g. Raspberry Pi, pre the current chip shortages these could be obtained from AliExpress for around £25-30 including an f4 lens.
These cameras have a good dynamic range and fairly low noise and are the recommended one used by a group of amateur meteor observers - Google 'global meteor network'.
I have a couple of these in a waterproof enclosure in my garden and on a clear night get 19-20 captures per night - here is an example from last November
 

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Scruples

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Hi all, looking to get a wildlife trail camera to record to goings on of the hedgehogs in our garden. We've borrowed an 'Apeman H45' from one of our neighbours. Fairly easy to use and setup, but the images are a bit umm lacking(?) certainly not the megapixel or HD clarity that i was expecting from the specs.

Do any of you have a wildlife trail camera.? Care to share your make/model and maybe an odd pics/video or two.?
Hi mate,

I have 2 cameras for just that purpose. My first was a cheap one from Aldi many years ago but still going strong. The only downside being the hinges on the front to access the workings; they are a bit fragile. That is a Maginon camera and is OK for night shots and videos with PIR triggering and time switch control. 1080P is the higherst resolution. All the usual features.

The newer camera is a Toguard and is a higher resolution at 3840 x 2100p from Amazon at £58. The download from the camera to the PC is very quick too. You'll need a 32GB (min) sd card for it. I use a 128GB and a high speed rated card (U3). The picture quality is, obviously, better than the older camera and it works well. The only downside is low volume when recording; can't get any higher. and it's disappointing that I can't hear the hedgehogs fighting for supremacy this time of year as clearly as I want to. They are quite vicious at times and can bite and roll their enemy all around the garden.

I have made 6V powersupplies for these cameras using 6V rechargeable motorcycle batteries in waterproof containers and using the 6V external power sockets on the cameras.. A charge will last several all night sessions. I'd hate to think what using ordinary (AA x 8) batteries would cost me over a year.

I think they are all pretty good at around the £50 upwards price range.
I did a search for 'best budget trail cameras' on Google, then checked prices and spec on Amazon. I don't think you'll go far wrong doing that.

Hope that helps.

 

NikNak

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@Woodpeker... compared to the so called 12mp & 1080p of the Apeman your (wifes) video and pictures are A-MAY-ZINGGG..!!!

Does anyone else care to share some examples.?

I'll try and upload some of the Apeman pictures and video
 

Sideways

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If you don't mind tinkering with hardware you can get some quite capable cameras that work well in low light or darkness such as those based upon the Sony IMX291 chipset.
Many thanks for this. It led me to discover that the IMX291 is the sensor used in Browning's older Recon Force Advantage trailcam, and then took me to Sony's sensor development plans.
Their recent announcements include the Starvis IMX515 sensor - a low light and Near Infra Red 4k device with good signal to noise. The state of the art in sensors has absolutely been moving ahead. Now to find out what cameras make use of this.
 

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NikNak

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Here's a couple of photo images and 2 shortened video clips from last night.... supposedly 12mp images and 1080p video. Doesn't seem to matter what i change in the settings menu this is how they all come out. And yes i've even turned down the 'brightness/exposure' setting too. Camera is about 8ft away from the up turned washing up bowl food station.
 

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