How do trail cameras work at night?

How do trail cameras work at night

Trail cameras are among the latest remote and motion-triggered devices for both home security and animal hunting/watching. Trail cameras can function effectively even at low light and night time which improves its importance; capturing moments our eyes would normally not see at night. So how do trail cameras work at night?

There is a Passive Infra-red (PIR) sensor acting as a wake-up call to the trail camera when a movement is spotted. During this fast process, the change in the level of brightness of the surrounding environment is detected and the flashlight is triggered causing a photo or a video to be taken.

Trail cameras have become a very popular means of security in high theft-prone places, scaring off those who are lucky enough to spot it or are aware of its presence. In the research aspect, wildlife gurus have taken it upon themselves to study up nocturnal animals that would normally run off by human presence or sound, making it harder to study them. In the rest part of the article, we would be looking at the in-depth features of trail cameras, their functionality at night, effectiveness at night, and the best Trail Cameras one can find (with reviews) let’s begin!

How do trail cameras work at night?

Cameras as we all know, are our way of capturing moments we would love to always have, for research purposes or the security of our space. The need for remote, discreet, and concealable devices for these needs led to the evolution of trail cameras. They are by far, the best means of capturing moments at low lights and night times, making them the most wanted devices in areas of night explorations. So what exactly makes them so special? Trail cameras are equipped with one of the best motion sensors, the Passive Infra-red (PIR). Trail cameras are designed in such a way they are just

electronically asleep, waiting to detect any movement or heat temperature change caused by a moving body.

An in-depth look at the PIR Sensor

The Passive Infra-red (PIR) sensor houses the infra-red radiation contained in a metallic case set up on the circuit board, they are somewhat ordinary but when the Fresnel lens is added it becomes more sophisticated. The Fresnel lens helps in making the infra-red sensor range larger and giving a broader view of the surrounding environment. Passive Infra-red (PIR) sensor works in such a way that when a person or animal moves in front of the range of the camera the heat of the body of the said object is in most case higher than the surrounding environment causing fast responses from the sensors to the remaining part of the system to take the picture or record the activity.

It also works when a much colder body temperature moves in front of a much hotter background temperature causing a capture of the activity to be recorded. Perhaps a big-bodied animal stands in front of the camera and is motionless, it might not be detected unless there is a faster-moving body in the background. So basically the Passive Infra-red (PIR) sensor works in detecting changes in infrared radiation (movement and temperature), and they work most suitable at right angle movements.

Immediately the Passive Infra-red (PIR) sensor wakes up, the entire system the trail camera captures any and everything in its detection range, this is as a result of its fast trigger speed. Most users’ concerns are often about how fast a trail camera can capture moving objects, especially fast-moving objects.

Trigger speed is determined by how fast it takes for the Passive Infra-red (PIR) sensor to detect and for the camera to take a picture or record a video, this time duration is solely dependent on the type of trail camera, the model, and date of production. The speed at which a trail camera can capture nocturnal animals at night ranges from a millisecond to a second and that is one of the most attractive things when purchasing a trail camera.

The trigger speed affects the whole point of the Passive Infra-red (PIR) sensor working efficiently. Trail cameras trigger speed play the role of visual standby police to prying invaders at night capturing their movements or heat signature even before they become aware, and because of the color of most trail cameras, it blends in perfectly well at night.

Illumination

In the night or low light time, a normal digital camera would not be able to see anything in the dark but with a flashlight factory-installed on your trail camera, you are sure to get a bright glimpse even at dark times. An older trail camera would come with a regular flashlight (white light) that would go off immediately the Passive Infra-red (PIR) sensor detects a change in the background temperature. Most times, the flash of white light by the trail camera would scare off whatever or whoever is meant to be captured more extensively.

As a result of this, over the years, there have been improvements in trail cameras, bringing secrecy and discreetness to its capturing and recording moments. Infra-red lights! This works as LED arrays giving off Infra-red at a wavelength of about 850 nm to 950 nm. The infra-red light doesn’t shine bright as the white flashlight would but it illuminates the picture or recording of the environment enough to get a detailed view of what was captured by the Passive Infra-red sensor. Animals or persons do not notice the capture as there is no flash of light whatsoever. The illumination of the picture all takes place inside of the trail camera making it of greater value at night than the white flash trail camera. However, there still lies a flaw to it.

There are two types of infra-red lights that can be used by a trail camera, a “low glow” infra-red and a “no glow” infrared light, because of the faint glow of red light on the body of a low glow infra-red trail camera, the red glow of light becomes visible to the human and animal eyes. This brought about the innovation of the no glow infrared lights on a trail camera, the red glow of light is not visible to the human eyes unless it is being stared directly at, this makes recording and photo capture at night more discreet and your trail camera to be less theft-prone.

Trail Cameras Picture/Video Quality At Night

The picture quality of the trail camera varies with the number of megapixels it has. A trail camera picture or video recording quality at night would look more like a black and white than the normal colored picture in daylight, this is because of the infra-red light that is being put to use. The white flash used at night would give you a more colorful picture quality but it is sure to scare off what you want to photograph or video. When the Passive Infra-red (PIR) sensor detects motion and a temperature change and wakes the system up for a fast trigger speed shot, the picture is quickly illuminated by the infra-red rays before being saved. The different megapixels of trail cameras would definitely vary in picture size (the greater the megapixel, the higher the picture or video size).

After every picture captured or video recorded of an object, there is always a time-lapse for its recovery time and that is just as important as its trigger speed especially when trying to capture fast-moving animals or persons at night. This timeframe is mainly for saving previously take shots and reset of the camera in preparing for other shots. This however varies between trail cameras because of dissimilar models and types.

Night captures or recordings by the trail camera are done more effectively when the recovering time of the trail camera is fast. You wouldn’t want a slow recovery time should a herd of animals or random passer-by get into the range of your camera and it fails to capture the actual movement you want it to because of slow recovery time. The best position for your trail cameras especially at night time would be at high altitude to get a wider view of the surrounding environment. This is because the Passive Infra-red (PIR) sensors would have less obstruction in its range of use.

Power Supply

Often, trail cameras are powered by AA type batteries which can serve you for a long period of time (overnight). There also exist rechargeable high capacity batteries (12V lead-acid or lithium). However, there are better options for the longevity of the camera usage which can be provided by an external power supply. It could be in the form of solar panels or a DC from a transformer main supply. These external forms of supply of power help the trail camera perform best especially at night time, the use of the flashlight at night would require much more power usage, and for the efficiency of your trail camera for night work an external power supply might be best.

Trail cameras used at night time would require a larger storage size for the sake of night explorations as there could be a lot of movements and temperature changes, which would mean more recording time, hence more storage space. The average storage capacity for your trail camera night usage should be about 32GB.

The world of security management and wildlife studies using cameras has evolved. Manufacturers are constantly churning out newer models with additional features and improved capabilities. Below, the best quality and efficient night trail cameras would be talked about, in no particular order.

Best Night Vision Trial Cameras

Wildlife surveillance could be quite difficult when trying to catch fast scrawling or flying animals. Security Management could become harder when there are no cameras to watch over you and your properties in your absence. This is why this part of the article brings the best of the available range(s) of night trail cameras out there.

Bushnell Core DS No Glow

The Bushnell brand strikes again! Producing a power-packed trail camera device, featuring two image sensors; of which one gives detailed and clear picture quality during the day and an amazing LED infra-red light for night time. It is built to withstand cold and hot weather conditions, you’re sure to not be disappointed by this one.

Photo Resolution Megapixels: 30 MP

Video Resolution Megapixels: 1080p at 60fps

Video Length: as high as 60 seconds

Trigger Speed: 0.2 seconds

Flash Range: 100ft

PIR Range: 100ft

Data Storage: SDHC or SD card, up to 32 GB

Night Vision Camera: Yes (up to 80ft)

Audio Recording: Yes

Power Supply: 8x AA battery

This amazing fit of design from Bushnell gives you a run for your money, with its No Glow feature, it is nearly invisible to human and animal eyes at night, allowing you capture the night moments you wish to see. However, aside from this great work of design, its battery life isn’t quite the best but it gives a great photo/video recording experience.

Check out this product on Amazon

Bushnell Trophy Camera Low Glow

Low Glow but a good go. Bushnell brings another featured filled trail camera but this time around, this one comes with the Low Glow LED infra-red option.

Photo Resolution Megapixels: 24 MP

Video Resolution Megapixels: 1080p at 60fps

Video Length: as high as 60 seconds

Trigger Speed: 0.2 seconds

Flash Range: 100ft

PIR Range: 100ft

Data Storage: SDHC or SD card, up to 32 GB

Night Vision Camera: Yes (up to 80ft)

Audio Recording: Yes

Power Supply: 8x AA battery

The product offers amazing specification for its price range. It catches all the fun wildlife activities at a go with its 8x AA batteries, however, due to the Low Glow infra-red light, it would be visible to animals and humans at night, scaring them off but aside from that it is a great buy. Quality for your money.

Check out this product on Amazon

Bushnell Trophy Camera Essential E3

Want a sound and budget-friendly trail camera, the Bushnell Trophy Camera Essential E3 is here for you, it can capture as much as three images when triggered at a go

Photo Resolution Megapixels: 16 MP

Video Resolution Megapixels: 1280×720 pixels

Video Length: as high as 60 seconds

Trigger Speed: 0.3 seconds

Flash Range: 80ft

PIR Range: 100ft

Data Storage: SDHC or SD card, up to 32 GB

Night Vision Camera: Yes, spotting night vision flash

Audio Recording: Yes

Power Supply: 8x AA battery

If you’re new to the trail camera world and you are not sure about why you should get one, the Bushnell Trophy Cam Essential E3 is for you, very affordable, and a master in its class. However, it is not in the same category as the big boys as it spots only an 18MP camera. It’s still an amazing buy considering the price range.

Check out this product on Amazon

Stealth Cam DS4K

The first 4K trail camera ever designed. It is the pinnacle of trail camera photo and video quality. It is a crazy work of production, mind-blowing in its video capturing capabilities. Able to capture up to nine pictures at a go, this device proves to be second to none.

Photo Resolution Megapixels: 30 MP

Video Resolution Megapixels: 4K, 3840×2160 pixels

Video Length: as high as 180 seconds

Trigger Speed: 0.4 seconds

Flash Range: up to 100ft

PIR Range: 100ft

Data Storage: SDHC or SD card, up to 512 GB

Night Vision Camera: Yes, infra-red light

Audio Recording: Yes

Power Supply: 12x AA battery

If you are a fan of a detailed image capturing, the Stealth Cam DS4K is here for you. Its audio recordings are clear and audible. It can record still images and video in a wide 16:9 image ratio. The fault to this is its heavyweight and bulk size, aside from that, it’s a great buy.

Check out this product on Amazon

Spypoint Solar Dark

With this one, you don’t have to worry about getting new batteries for your trail camera, it feeds off the sun. However, it also can be powered by an AA battery for a secondary power supply. You can be sure never to run out of power.

Photo Resolution Megapixels: 12 MP

Video Resolution Megapixels: 1080 pixels

Video Length: as high as 60 seconds

Trigger Speed: 0.07 seconds

Flash Range: up to 90ft

PIR Range: up to 110ft

Data Storage: SDHC or SD card, up to 32 GB

Night Vision Camera: Yes, via night flash and infra-red light

Audio Recording: Yes

Power Supply: Solar, 8x AA battery

This smart device from Spypoint makes a name for itself as it is a self-sufficient device, able to charge up when low with its solar panel. The Spypoint Solar Dark additionally, comes with a battery option. It is a great buy, although it might have a few hiccups in the product over time, aside from that it’s worth the buy.

Check out this product on Amazon

 

Bill Toro

Written by Bill Toro

I’m Bill Toro. I have been invited by my best friends to go camping with them when I was bored with my life. That all It’s a game-changer for my entire life. This site is all about things I found interested useful while camping. It’s will be something that helps you have better camper moments.

How do I set up my trail camera for security

How do I set up my trail camera for security?

Best Trail Cameras for Deer Hunting

Best Trail Cameras for Deer Hunting