Digital Wild Cams

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Digital Wild Cams

Digital wild cams

Nature watching is a wonderful hobby. The joy of watching animals as they go about their lives, being able to see them as they hunt and feed, and watching them build their homes and raise their families. But you can’t watch them all the time, and sometimes it’s just too difficult or dangerous to get close enough to see them clearly, never mind get some photographs of them.

How can you overcome this obstacle?

Wildlife cameras are the answer. You can set up these devices remotely in areas where you know that there is wildlife and let them do all of the hard work for you, letting you capture amazing footage that you probably couldn’t get any other way, and they’re ready to go day or night, every day of the year, no matter what the weather.

You need to find a good location to place the camera if you want unique shots, but that doesn’t mean you need to trek miles into the wild for that perfect spot; a small wood or field is perfectly suitable, and don’t forget that your garden also plays host to a huge amount of wildlife, especially at night when you’re least likely to see it for yourself, so you can find beautiful shots literally on your doorstep.

The exact location you choose will depend on what you’re looking to capture; whether you’re interested in one particular species, following a specific family, or you just want to set it up and see what comes along, there are a few things to remember.

Most cameras come with their own mount and a common place to locate them is on a tree. If you’re hoping to get some footage of birds then mounting the camera higher up could be useful, but remember that you’ll need to get to it to change the batteries, so don’t put it anywhere too awkward.

Most cameras are triggered by heat or motion, place it close to areas where there is a big human presence, or where livestock wander and you could end up with a lot of false triggers wasting your battery life and storage space.When it comes to actually buying the camera there is a massive range to choose from and you can find yourself spoilt for choice

You want something that’s got an attractive price, and there’s no point paying for features you don’t need. You also want something that’s rugged enough to stand up to the rain, snow, heat, cold, dust and everything else nature can throw at it, with this in mind, low budget cameras are often a false economy as they don’t last long when out in the elements. Price can be a good indicator of quality, and buying from a trusted brand is often the best option and will save you money and hassle in the long term.

What do you want to capture with your camera? There are several different types available for specific uses, such as bird box cameras, for filming birds nesting inside, so make sure the camera you buy is up to the intended task.

It’s best to take a look at several different options on offer, work out what you need from your camera and where you’ll be using it, and then decide whether you need all of the features on offer or not.

Here’s a few of the top features to consider.

Firstly, what kind of footage do you want? Like other cameras there is a choice between video footage or still photographs. Some cameras support both modes, so you can choose which you prefer, again it’s also a question of what kind of animals you’re trying to film, as some will pass quickly in and out of frame, so a still is better, but if you’re hoping to film animals grazing then you’ll be able to get some good quality video footage.

This is also why you have to take into consideration the shutter speed. Really you need something with a speed of less than 0.5 seconds so that you don’t keep getting pictures just as the subject disappears out of frame.

As with any kind of camera, you want to get the best pics possible. Choosing a camera that’s got a high MP count will ensure you get good, clear shots, while cameras with wide-angle lenses make sure you can get as much into frame as possible.

There are several different kinds of triggers used to set off the camera and capture footage, usually by heat or motion detectors. When the trigger is activated by an animal, the camera starts shooting. These sensors have different levels of sensitivity and range depending on the camera, so make sure that the camera you buy is be able to pick up signals from where you plan on placing it.

So much of wildlife is about the sounds as well as the sights, the calls and signals that many animals use to communicate with each other, if you want to record audio, you’ll need to buy a camera equipped with a microphone, either built in or separate, to give you a soundtrack to accompany your video.

Many creatures only come out and night, and if you don’t want to miss them, you’ll need to buy a camera with night time capabilities. While some cameras use just a simple white flash this can startle animals, so it’s better to choose an infra-red, or night vision, flash to avoid this, you’ll often get better quality pictures too.

Buying a wireless wildlife camera can be a worthwhile investment, not only do they allow you to view the footage directly from your phone, useful for sharing the footage easily with others on social media, but they can also let you change the camera’s settings remotely, this is especially handy if you have placed the camera in a hard-to-reach area and then want to change something.

Non wireless cameras will usually use an SD card to store images. As always, buying the best quality possible will prove worthwhile, as cheap memory cards can fail unexpectedly, potentially losing weeks’ worth of precious footage.

One of the major things to consider when placing your camera is whether you’ll be able to get to the batteries. Many wildlife cameras are powered by standard AA batteries and these will need replacing eventually. Using rechargeable rather than disposable batteries will save you a small fortune in the long run and stop lots of batteries from ending up in landfill.

With this in mind, buying a solar powered wildlife camera could be a useful investment. These use a rechargeable battery and solar panel to save you the need to replace any batteries and will be a huge boon if you don’t want to disturb your camera.

Some cameras do have the ability to be powered from the mains, but this will be of limited use out in the wild, away from any kind of power source but could be useful if you want to place the camera in your garden.