Advancement in technology has greatly boosted hunting cameras, especially in functions and settings. Usually, a trail camera can meet the requirements of most field photographers and hunting enthusiasts. This blog will focus on the common settings and options of trail cameras and introduce different setting methods under different environmental conditions to obtain better images and videos.
Trail Camera Imaging Principle
What follows is a breakdown of the sequence of operations that occur with a common trail camera when taking a photo:
- When the animal moves to the monitoring range, the infrared rays detected by the PIR sensor will be unbalanced.
- The light meter will read the light information of the surrounding area and send it to the exposure meter.
- After the exposure meter obtains the light information, adjust the shutter speed and ISO strength of the hunting camera (if the hunting camera detects that there is not enough light available, the internal exposure station will send a relay back to the camera, and the splicing will fall in front of the camera lens IR filter and activate flash mode)
- The shutter opens and closes to allow light and images to enter the image processor.
- The image processor receives the picture and sends the picture through the computer program for interpolation operation
- Image is saved and uploaded to an SD card or other storage space.
Common Trail Camera Settings
Photo Mode: Photo mode captures still images of animals day and night when motion is detected and triggered within the hunting camera's monitoring range.
Video Mode: The video mode will capture video of the animals day and night when the hunting camera detects movement and triggers the capture. You can set the video length according to your needs, such as 10 seconds, 30 seconds, etc.
PIR Shooting: The trigger interval of PIR auto-sensing refers to the time from the end of the last trigger to take pictures to the next trigger. You can set the PIR delay shooting according to your needs, and the delay range is 5S~60min. Different delay times will produce different wonderful pictures.
Trigger Speed: The trigger speed refers to the time when the hunting camera detects the movement of wild animals within the monitoring range and takes pictures. A hunting camera with a fast trigger time can capture a series of shots without missing a single detail.
Timing Shooting: Timing shooting is to let the hunting camera work at a fixed time interval, not limited by the PIR trigger. It will work within a fixed time regardless of whether the PIR is triggered or not.
Image Resolution: You can set the appropriate image resolution in the camera according to your personal needs and storage space.
Continuous Shooting Mode: The continuous shooting mode means that the hunting camera can take multiple photos continuously, providing ample options for selecting high-quality photos.
SD Card Management: Most hunting cameras support SD card management. When the SD card storage space is full, the camera will overwrite the oldest photos or videos with newer images or videos so that your SD card always has the latest images and videos. If you do not enable this setting, once the SD card storage is full, the hunting camera will no longer capture images and videos.
Different Settings Are Used in Different Environments
High Activity Areas
When the trail camera monitoring range is in a high activity area, that is, when animals frequently appear in the monitoring range, you can set the PIR interval to a shorter time; generally, 5 seconds to 10 seconds is more appropriate. At the same time, you can also set the trigger time of the camera to 0.1 seconds to 0.5 seconds. The shorter PIR interval and faster trigger speed allow the hunting camera to capture more exciting animal details.
At the same time, you can also turn on the continuous shooting mode of the camera to capture every movement of the animal without missing any animal details.
Low Activity Areas
When the monitoring range of the trail camera is in the low activity area, that is, when the frequency of animals appearing in the monitoring range is low, you can set a longer PIR interval and a slower trigger speed, which can save the power and storage capacity of the hunting camera, PIR interval Generally, it is more appropriate within 30 seconds to 1 minute, and the trigger speed is generally more appropriate within 1 second to 3 seconds.
When shooting monitoring in low-activity areas, if you only need to capture a certain key moment, you can set the camera to single-frame shooting mode, which can save storage space and extend battery life.
Monitor Target Characteristics
When the target detected by the hunting camera is a fast animal, the shorter the PIR interval and the faster the trigger speed can ensure to capture of their fast movements without missing an important detail.
When some monitoring animals have continuous actions and fast action sequences, you can set the camera to a higher burst mode to capture these quick actions.
When the hunting camera works in an extremely cold or extremely hot environment, the trigger speed may be slowed down. You need to set the hunting camera to a faster trigger speed to ensure that the hunting camera can capture animal movements in time and accurately.
In different seasons and weather conditions, the behavior of animals in each place is different. You need to adjust the time interval of hunting camera timing shooting according to animal behavior habits and hunting skills.
When the hunting camera is shooting in the daytime with sufficient light, setting a shorter time interval can capture more details. When the camera is in dark conditions, such as dusk or dawn, it needs to be set to a longer time interval so that the camera can use a longer exposure time to obtain a clearer image.
Placement of Trail Camera
To better shoot the monitoring target and capture more wonderful details, when placing and installing the trail camera, you need to pay attention to the following aspects:
Choosing a suitable installation location is very important for hunting cameras. Proper placement keeps the camera from being tipped or dropped. It is recommended that the hunting camera aims at an area 25~35 inches in front. To ensure that the angle of the tree or other things does not cause the hunting camera to face the ground or point too far up, install the hunting camera as horizontally as possible.
When choosing the height of the hunting camera, the main consideration is which animals are to be photographed and monitored. In general, hunting cameras should be mounted at the same height as the subject's chest to capture the entire head and most or all of the body. When monitoring taller animals such as deer and brown bears, it is recommended to mount the hunting camera about 3 feet above the ground.
Sun Conditions for Monitoring Range
When a hunting camera monitors animals, it is necessary to focus on the environmental light problem. To avoid glare in the photos, mistaking due to light movement, etc., it is best to install the camera in an area that can prevent direct sunlight.
When there is any inclination or slope in the monitoring area, it is recommended to adjust the camera to the correct position.
Focal Length Range
Most hunting cameras are equipped with a fixed focal length and aperture. This requires the user to manually change the focal length range of the hunting camera so that the observed wild animals can be within the focal length range of the camera.
- When you have selected an area for monitoring, it is recommended to remove any debris in front of the camera, such as branches or bushes, because these things will affect the effect of the camera.
- If you feel the need to mount the camera higher, make sure to point the camera where the subject is expected to be. When you want to take a clearer image with a camera installed at a higher position, you can only wait for the wild animals to enter the closer monitoring range.
Three Golden Rules
Common camera installation methods can be summarized in the following three points.
Waist Height : Mounting the camera at waist height provides the best results.
Level Target: Level ground will provide the easiest installation experience and eliminates the guesswork of installing a tracking camera on uneven ground.
Clearing of Brush: A clear field of view will provide the best performance for your off-road camera.