Choosing a trail camera
When customers contact us we usually begin with the following questions.
Will the camera be used for wildlife, or security (or something else)?
By wildlife we would include things such as fauna surveys (detecting the presence of species) and hunting, but also domestic animals (such as farming), controlled experiments (such as with animal enclosures at a zoo), backyard surveys and similar.
By security we mean things like detecting the presence of people (for example, trespassing, or approaching something like a shed, fuel store or door) or vehicles (for example, going through a gate, accessing a private road or traveling at speed).
By other we include some of the less common but specific requests we have had. These include requiring time lapse photography (for example, to document a construction project over a period of weeks or months), monitoring nests or nest boxes, inspecting burrows or searching for snakes, monitoring in marine environments (such as on oil rigs) and similar. These are all fairly specialist activities (except perhaps the time lapse).
Wildlife: How big is your target species, and how far away will the camera be?
Many people ask "What is the detection range?" (or how far away can the camera be?)
The answer depends on the size of your target species. It is best to think of it this way - imagine taking a photo of an elephant that is 100 metres away. Imagine how large the elephant would appear within the frame of your photo. Now imagine taking a photo of a mouse just 2 metres away. How large would the mouse be in your photo?
Most likely both animals would be roughly the same size within the photo. Therefore if you are targeting mice, you want to get them as close to the camera as possible. If you are targeting elephants, you might have success, even at 100 metres (but it is hard to tell!)
Most cameras will quote detection ranges of approximately 50 to 60 feet (ie 20 metres). Bear in mind the original market for trail cameras was for hunting - so you might reasonably say a deer-sized animal can be detected at 60 feet.
At this point we might discuss different techniques for bringing animals closer to the camera, or the camera closer to animals. Additionally, if you are targeting non-mammal species there are specific techniques you can employ.
Security: Are you targeting people, or vehicles (or both)?
This article is in progress! Come back soon!