Using Trail Cameras For Wildlife Video, Part I

I “hunt” with cameras so for me a trail camera is just an extension of wildlife photography. I can hunt anything at any time and can even “shoot” the same animals over and over. I was introduced to deer hunting with a rifle at a young age and at some point I realized that it was the wildlife and the outdoor experience that I enjoyed and my focus on bagging animals fell by the wayside. Besides, I’m not a big fan of hanging animal parts on the wall when photo prints are so handy and represent my trophies just as well.

The three camera brands I’m currently using are the Stealth Cam Unit X Ops, the Primos Proof Cam 03 and the Adventuridge in the order in which I bought them.

This is a subjective comparison based on my personal preferences. You may have different uses for trail cameras and have different preferences that aren’t mentioned here.

(Not to scale) 

Some general comments: I use all three with external 12v batteries. I use external batteries because I now use trail cameras exclusively for video which puts more demands on power. With the expense of changing the eight double “A” batteries I justified small sealed lead-acid batteries. I often position them in very remote areas and leave them unattended for quite awhile. More about that in the next post. The specs. for each camera are listed at the end of this post. All three of the following cameras have the SD card poorly located. The area is too small for fingers. Take a tool along or push and let go quickly to let it pop out and try to catch it… or try to find it on the ground!


The Stealth Cam Unit X Ops, Model #: STC-U838NG
.

Pros:
It still works after four years.
Response is just okay for a single IR detector unit.

Cons:
The ¼-20 thread for alternate mounting is frail. If it’s tight enough to hold securely, it will fail.
The two latches are difficult to open in the field without a tool. I usually pull a comb out of my pocket to pry them loose. With gloves it’s impossible. I shoot a lot in the winter.
Not in camo but on a dark tree trunk it’s probably not a big deal.
The audio often includes an annoying warble, or buzz.
IR detection is not as good as some other cameras. For example, a fox moving away from the camera but within a couple of feet was not recorded.
Can be confusing to program.


The Primos Proof Cam 03, Model #63056

Pros:
Has only one large latch that can be opened easily.
Has only one ¼-20 thread attachment on the bottom but it is reinforced.
Compact and has a camo pattern.

Much easier to program. I prefer its switches to the long menu on the Stealth Cam.

Cons:
It has an obnoxious advertisement on the bottom of the video recording that overlaps from the info strip and into the view. When editing video I often crop the view to eliminate it.  (This alone might cause me to recommend against it.)

 


Adventuridge, Model #WK 4 HD

Pros:
Two latches that are easy to open.
Easy to program.
The build is the most solid of the three.
Three IR sensors, left, right and center.
Response to IR detection is very good. 
Particularly with a moving target. (Keep in mind that false alarms are not necessarily a bad thing. It usually means that your detection is wider than your field of view.)
Has a color internal monitor for viewing stills and video in the field.
Two well reinforced ¼-20 thread mounts. One on the bottom and one on the back.
It came with a ¼-20 mounting device that works as a universal joint with two adjustable points. (very handy)

Misc:
Oddly it comes with two different camo shades of green.
Since I have two of these it may be apparent by now that it’s my favorite. The most bang for the buck. (No pun intended)

Cons:
Watch the price. It varies wildly among dealers. I’ve heard it going for over $100 but I paid $70 on “sale” at Aldi. A friend found one for me for $40 at a different Aldi, out of state. I have 
now have two.
For such a solid product the customer service experience was not good. There are errors in the manual you should be aware of. I pointed them out to customer service in my email to “After sales support info@supra-electronics.com. I mentioned that I would be using it with an external battery and the manual instructed the user to use a 6v battery and a 4.0 mm x 1.7 mm DC plug. Both are incorrect. (Should be a 12v battery and to adapt to “my standard” DYI power cord, I needed my DC 5.5×2.1mm female to the camera’s 3.5×1.35mm Plug) The specified DC plug size I bought didn’t fit. If you make your own power cord from an external battery, you might not want to wire it to the proper plug without adapting to a more common size. I’ll show you my power cords next time. I asked support what size to use and they replied by saying that they don’t sell batteries… (Huh?)

The next post will include ways to customize your setup, including videos and sources for the components I use.

Specifications

Stealth Cam Unit X Ops
8.0 Megapixel still images
640 x 480 digital video NOTE: When I check file properties it indicates 1280×720 It must be interpolated.
2x/4x digital zoom
38 IR emitters for 50 foot range Infrared range control
Compact housing 6″ x 4″ x 3″
Accepts up to 16GB SD card
BurstMode shoots up to 9 images per triggering
Time/date/moon stamp on video files and still images
Operates on 8 “AA” cell batteries or 12V auxiliary power jack

Primos Proof Cam 03

12 mpxl interpolated photos
No glow infrared flash
12 Volt External Battery Jack
1280 x 720 HD Video w/ audio
1-5 multi-shot
5 s – 60 s. video clips
Time Lapse: 1, 2, 5, 10, 30 or 60 m. intervals
Daylight Hours
Photo Stamp: Time, date, temperature and moon phase
Requires 8 AA batteries
Accepts up to 32 gig SD card
Photo, Video and Time-Lapse mode
Easy toggle switch setting changes
1/4″ x 20 threaded insert on the bottom of camera for Slate River Mount
Accepts python lock through bracket on the back of camera

Adventuridge
2.36″ color LCD screen
Waterproof
6-month standby
12 MP images
Records time lapse sequence and expands camera coverage
1080p full HD video
Infrared 42 LED night vision flash for covert scouting
0.5 second trigger speed
Date, time and temperature stamp on every image
Includes SD card, SD card adaptor, adjustable mounting belt and wall mount
Day/night auto sensor for 24-hour operation

 

 

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