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Trail camera shopping for the best trail camera available may seem rather easy, but upon closer inspection you'll start to see how similar these trail cameras are on paper, thus confusing the novice buyer. Even the product category isn't clear, as some call them a trail camera, and others a game camera or wild game camera, and it even goes deeper to include Deer Cameras and other wild game animals. Despite the various camera names, the most widely used term is trail camera.

So, given the close similarity on paper, how does one choose the right trail camera for their needs?  The first aspect is to compare the paper data on each trail camera to see which cameras have the best features and aspects to fit your needs.  You may not know what your needs really are, but I'm sure image and video quality are you main concern. 

Trail Camera Image Quality (Megapixel)This is where it may get confusing.  Not only in trail cameras, but encompassing the entire camera industry is a misconception of the word megapixel, with more meaning a better image, or does it?  This seems to be embedded in most minds today, but in reality it's a bit too hyped.  In general, printing a 14x11 picture with crisp quality will need 5 megapixels, an 8x10 will need 3, a 4x6 will need 2, and just viewing your trail camera images on a computer will look very crisp at 1.  I've tested 12, 8, and 5 cameras printed on a 12x17 poster with the same dpi and they were all identical from the human eye. I've printed a 30 inch wide poster from a 6MP camera and it looked as if it were shot from a $6000 camera!  Despite the math behind it, the end results were the same.   Megapixels are a general guide to the size of the photo as pixels within, and is best used to determine how large the photo can be printed and maintain quality.  In short, the higher the number the larger the print, but it doesn't truly tell you anything about the quality of the camera's lens and sensor, or file compression that can drastically lower the image quality.  A 5MP camera with a high quality lens can easily outperform a much higher 8-10MP camera with an average or sub-par lens. 

Interpolated.  Say what?  I've seen specs on some of these trail cameras that use this wording, which simply means it's an estimation!

Trail Camera Video Quality:   Naturally, some people think that their 8MP trail camera is going to be an 8MP video cameras as well, but this is certainly not the case.  Still images and video are two separate animals.   The factors that ensure good quality video are the lens, and the size and number of the CCD's.  Quality relates to having bigger CCD's and a good lens, which produces better color and image as the size and quality increases. Half (1/2) inch CCD's were the norm a few years back, then they went to 1/3, and now 1/4 seems to be the most common used, which enables the use of a smaller and cheaper lens, thus cheaper to produce.   However, to offset this loss in quality, a micro-lens is applied to each pixel, thus making a 1/4 lens comparable to a 1/3 lens.  Lastly. to capture true 1080P HD video you'll need only 2MP,  and for 720P, you'll need 1MP.  A VGA resolution is 640x480, which is not a MP camera.  A frame rate of 30 (fps) is ideal to ensure smooth video.  

 

Reviews coming soon...

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