Trailcam recommendation?

My ol' mum has developed a bit of a hedgehog obsession - bought a hedgehog house, put hay out for them to use for bedding, out putting food and water out for them every night and has a couple of regular visitors every nights. But rarely sees them.

So I want to buy her a trailcam for her birthday to put near the hog house (which they are visiting). Only problem is, as much as I know about photography, I have no clue when it comes to trail cams, or what's best for what purpose.

So any recommendations for a sub £100 cam for night time hog videos so that I at least have a suitable shortlist to work from? (or even just an idea of features I need or don't need). Doesn't need a huge long range, won't be more than a few feet away. But one with wireless connectivity so she could view from her phone would be ideal.

Cheers.

  • I don't have a specific recommendation, both of the trailcams I have are superseded by the manufacturers (which seems to happen regularly). However, for what it's worth....
    Naturespy.org is worth a visit, they do a variety of cameras - aimed at the more professional market really, but perusal of their range will give you plenty of information on features etc to give you the knowledge to choose wisely. More in the price range you're aiming at will be the plethora available on Amazon. Whilst much less expensive, these can be surprisingly good. I bought a Tosguard 4k one for use in the garden at the start of the year (I use a more expensive Browning for some of the monitoring stuff we are involved in). The Browning batteries last forever (I think I last changed them in March, but might have been earlier!) but you're less likely to get that sort of life from the cheaper models. That doesn't matter so much when it's in the back garden of course, where it's easily accessible. I've never actually used batteries in the Tosguard, like many models it has an external supply socket (some are 12v, the Tosguard's 6v) and I run it through that (I have 12v DC in the garden for lighting, I simply buck-converted it down to 6v to run the camera). Whatever camera you use however, you'll get better life from lithium batteries rather than alkaline. They're expensive, but worth it in the long run if you can't get some sort of external power to the camera.
    Viewing the images over Wifi might not be the simplest, the Wifi on the camera is likely to be quite low powered - it's mainly used to see the camera's view on the phone app when setting it up. Swapping the memory card out and viewing on a PC is probably easier if your Mum has one, otherwise it might need the specific question to be asked of the supplier to make sure it's possible before purchase

    ___

    Find me on Flickr / All about your camera - The Getting off Auto Index

  • Thanks for the reply, really useful. And I hadn't even realised the wifi on those cams was just for close up use in place of a screen, so thanks for pointing that out. And she doesn't have a PC, but does have a phone with a mini-sd slot, so the plan was to use a mini-sd in an adaptor in the cam, then she can take it out and watch the content on her phone. Failing that, get her to use the DVD player she's got but never uses, which has an SD slot :)
  • Many modern DVD players have USB and SD card ports, so that should help a little.

    You may be struggling at a sub £100 trailcam, but there are some very good ones just above, for around £130-£150. You could buy online via the key shopping agents, Ebay and Amazon, or look up your local photographic shops, the later would be able to talk you through what would suit your budget and requirments

    I use two Bushnell trailcams, the Bushnell Huntingcam and Natureview, both if you shop around are within that price bracket.

    My personal experiences, not very technical, in fact, very basic descriptions, but they are two very different, but the same trailcams and set up just as I want them. The Huntingcam is set for nighttime garden visitors while the Trailcam is set for daytime feeder visitors.

    Huntingcam

    Trailcam

    I don't have many daytime examples for the Huntingcam, likewise I don't have many examples of Natureview nighttime video or stills because of how I use them, however, both are clear enough on the periods when I don't use them, so both examples will give you an idea of what to expect with either.

    Good luck with your search and let us know how you get on.

    Mike

    Flickr Peak Rambler

  • In reply to Whistling Joe:

    Whistling Joe said:
    (I use a more expensive Browning for some of the monitoring stuff we are involved in)

    I'm disillusioned now WJ...I had a mental image of you lying prostrate on the ground, disguised as a small bush, or stone with a camera in hand, doing those fabulous Digger Alley videos, with the patience of Job until something piqued your interest!! 

  • In reply to PimperneBloke:

    PimperneBloke said:
    I had a mental image of you lying prostrate on the ground, disguised as a small bush

    Lol! That IS how I get the Digger Alley videos, the trailcam gets badgers, deer, foxes etc. They tend to be around more at night when I'm safely at home in bed (have to avoid turning into a pumpkin!)

    ___

    Find me on Flickr / All about your camera - The Getting off Auto Index

  • Thanks for the replies. Ended up going over budget to get something that will hopefully last, perhaps unlike the endless £70 clones on Amazon, and got a Browning Recon Force Advantage. Just have to teach her how to use it now (or, more accurately, I have to learn how to use it and get it all set up so all she has to do is take out the SD and enjoy the results lol)
  • It looks nice, the spec is pretty standard, though I would be sceptical on the battery life based on the fact it says "upto".

    You'll probably find it will be around 4-6 weeks on stills and with video upto around 3-4 weeks depending on the activity and particularly nighttime activity, which will require more power for the infrared lighting. and that is a fair estimation, not a failing, so please see it as a positive.

    Sometimes from my trail cams, I barely get two weeks out of the batteries, but then I've had a lot of footage or images to download, and we do have a very active garden at nighttime with foxes, hedgehogs and the occasional visiting badger.

    I generally use lithium dry cells, they tend to be more durable for all temperatures (particularly the cold winter temps and hot summer temps) and have a better continuous power delivery than rechargeables or alkaline cells. I did do a cost comparison between alkaline and lithium dry cells, and while lithium are more expensive, penny for penny, they were on an even par, so it depends on where your budget vs environmental thoughts lie.

    I hope your mum has plenty of pleasure and no doubt you will as well.

    Mike

    Flickr Peak Rambler