When it comes to choosing the best trail camera for your home security, hunting excursion or trap line, it can be challenging with so many different models to choose from. Sure, you've heard of industry leaders, Moultrie but is it worth paying a premium for something universally similar between manufacturers. Today we'll be looking at 5 top rated models available to buy here in New Zealand, to suit every budget and use case.
What is a trail camera?
A trail camera is a type of security camera. It's used to take pictures or record videos at pre-set intervals for surveillance purposes, wildlife conservation, nature studies, motion detection, time-lapse photography and other similar functions. They are ideal accessories for hunting because you can set them up in the woods to see if anyone or anything has walked by.
Most models offer infrared illumination that allows you to use them even when it's dark outside. Below we've provided reviews on the best game cameras out there so you would know which one to purchase depending on your needs and budget limitations.
Best Trail Cameras In NZ
1. Moultrie A300I Game Camera
The Moultrie A-300i Game Camera is a high-performance camera catered towards tracking and taking photos on animals on hunting grounds or trail areas.
This model has a 12MP and a fast trigger speed of 0.9 seconds, in addition to an infrared flash with a scope of 15.2 meters or 50 feet. There is also the option to snap footage in 720p.
The features of infrared flash, motion sensor and night sensor make this camera ideal towards capturing animal or human shots as there is no flash technology.
The settings can be placed where a lone photo can be taken with a press or 3 prints one after the other. This camera comes with 12 LED lights with infrared technology, ideal for night time use.
This camera does not take audio recordings. The display panel shows the temperature, moon cycle period, date and time.
The footage is stored on a 16GB memory card, but the camera can also work in conjunction with a 32GB card. This product runs on 8 AA batteries, which is enough to take 17,000 photos.
Included with a purchase of this model is a 16GB SD memory card and 8 AA batteries. There is a 2-year warranty included as well.
2. Moultrie M8000i
The Moultrie M8000i trail camera is an ideal and portable product for outdoor use due to the camouflaged colour casing. This device has a resolution of 20MP for snapping still images and a resolution of 1080 HD for taking footage.
It has a trigger speed of 0.3 seconds. There are 3 shooting options, namely motion detection delay, multi-shot and burst mode. The viewing angle is at 28.7 degrees.
The multi-shot option allows up to 3 still shots to be taken if motion is detected while the burst setting enables 3 photos to be taken for each activation.
The motion detection delay is designed to save battery life by automatically putting the camera to sleep if no activity is caught.
This is a suitable camera for night time use with 32 IR LED lights, infrared motion sensor, no glow flash and a scope of 24.3 meters or 80 feet.
The camera display presents the moon cycle stage, date, time and temperature. This product is compatible with a 32GB memory card and functions on 8 AA batteries which enables it to take 19,000 photos.
Packaged with this camera is a 32GB memory card and 8 AA batteries, as well as a 2-year warranty.
3. Moultrie Game Spy 2 Plus
The Moultrie Game Spy 2 Plus is a compact trail camera ideal for capturing simple photos. This product has a 9MP resolution and a 50-foot flash field scope in addition to a lens angle of 40 degrees.
This model can also observe animal activity from a 50-foot distance. The camera is also equipped with a trigger speed of 1 second in addition to infrared technology which is essential for dark areas and night time use.
There are also 24 LED lights built-in to survey animals in the dark. Videos can also be taken at a resolution of 480p. All the footage is stored in a 16GB memory card but this camera is also adaptable to a 32GB memory card.
Photos can also set to be taken with the moon phase, date and time displayed. The battery life can last for 14,000 photos with the use of 6 AA batteries.
This product is suitable for starters as it comes with a user guide, 16GB memory card, a mounting strap made out of nylon and 6 AA batteries.
This camera is housed in a weatherproof plastic that is coated in a green color and can be used in a variety of seasons and temperatures.
4. Swann OutbackCam
The Swann OutbackCam is a trail camera, suitable for use in outside environments such as forests or hunting grounds to survey animals. This product can also be placed for security purposes outside of properties.
Photos can be taken at a maximum resolution of 12MP in addition to videos that come at a 1080p quality. Footage recorded also comes with audio sound.
There is a wide viewing angle of 62 degrees. 7 still images can be taken with each trigger with the multiple still image capture mode. In the dark, this camera incorporates the use of an infrared sensory that has a range of 50 feet or 15 meters.
The trigger speed is about 1 second or less. There are 40 infrared LEDs on the product to illuminate spaces in dark places without scaring off animals.
Time stamps can also be programmed with the option to show the moon phase, date and temperature.
This product is compatible with a 32GB memory card. The camera can run on 4 AA batteries for regular use of 8 AA batteries for a longer life. This model comes packaged in a water-resistant exterior, suitable for outdoor settings.
5. Spypoint Force-20 Trail Camera
The Spypoint Force-20 Trail Camera is a model designed to take photos or video footage of humans and animals alike. This camera has a high resolution of 20MP for capturing photos, a 720p video quality and an angle view of 40 degrees.
There is an extensive motion detection range of 21 meters or 70 feet, while the flash range goes up to 24 meters or 80 feet. The trigger speed placed at 0.6 seconds with a burst ability of 5 snapshots per activation.
Motion modes also include time-lapse recordings at several intervals. The screen is an LCD display with a user-friendly format.
There are 48 LED lights and with an infrared sensor, it is suitable for lighting up dark spaces without frightening potential game.
Storage is placed on a 32GB memory card and this camera functions with the use of 8 AA batteries. The camera comes along with an included mounting strap and a regular 1/4 “– 20 tripod mounting bracket.
The casing is made out of a waterproof and weatherproof material, making it suitable for outdoor use in many seasons. This product can be used to track wildlife or for security purposes.
What should I look for when buying a game camera?
The first thing you must do is determine what features you need and want in a trail camera. Once you know that, you can start looking at the specs of different models to see which one matches your requirements. Here are some factors you may want to consider:
- Picture quality: This is probably the most important aspect because you'll want to be able to identify what's in the pictures and videos taken by your camera. Look for cameras that offer high resolution (1080p or better) and good low-light performance.
- Trigger speed: This is the amount of time it takes for the camera to take a picture after it's been triggered. You'll want a model with a short trigger speed so you don't miss any shots.
- Recovery time: This is how long it takes for the camera to be ready to take another picture after it's been triggered. You'll also want a short recovery time so you can take multiple pictures in quick succession. Personally I'd want this to be milliseconds but depends on the purpose of your camera, hunting vs security.
- Storage: How much storage space does the camera have? This will determine how many pictures or videos it can store before needing to be replaced or downloaded. Most trail cameras come with a memory card slot to extend with an SD or MicroSD card.
- Battery life: How long will the battery last on a single charge? This is especially important if you're using the camera in an area where there is no readily available power source. Obviously the longer the better but quality vs quantity remember.
- Operating temperature: Trail cameras can be used in a variety of weather conditions, but some models are better suited for colder or hotter environments than others.
- Size and weight: Some people may prefer smaller and lighter cameras while others may want models that are easier to mount in hard-to-reach places. Whether you're carrying it in a long way, setting a trap line or simply putting it in your backyard will likely cause you to consider portability vs price.
- Detection range: This is the distance from which the camera can detect movement and trigger a picture or video recording. The longer the detection range, the better because this means you'll have more flexibility as to where you can place your camera. Most trail cameras are good up to around 10-20m, but you do need to spend a lot more to get a decent one with a bigger range. Plus night vision is another factor to consider as most cameras either come out awesome at night, or fail miserably.
- Flash type: Trail cameras typically use LED flash, but some higher end models will offer incandescent illumination for even better low-light performance. If you're using your trail camera at night or in dark conditions, make sure it has a bright flash with a good range so it won't blind the person being photographed or recorded.
- Number of pixels: 1080p HD cameras generally produce better quality images than those with a lower pixel count, however be wary of choosing a 4K camera, as they cost a lot more and most people won't notice the difference in picture quality.
- Price: You can spend anywhere from $50-$100 for a budget friendly option, up to around $200-$300 for popular brands such as Moultrie. You definitely do get what you pay for with trail cameras, however there is a few hidden gems in the mix, with high grade components at rock bottom prices.
Where can you find more information trail cameras?
That's a good question, with many different options to choose from.
1 - Just look on our site for "best trail cameras" and you'll find plenty of options from the top manufactures such as Moultrie, Swann and Spypoint.
2 - You can always Google "best trail camera reviews" or "top rated game cameras" etc. It's just about knowing what to look for when you're doing your research before buying one.
3 - Checkout your local game and hunting store, there's many throughout New Zealand, plus they often have online websites with information. Some have videos that tell you more about the trail camera you'll be buying.