November 04, 2015
Few products have changed how we hunt, particularly whitetail deer, the way the trail camera has. Trail cameras allow us to scout 24/7, evaluate the age and trophy quality of the animals we are hunting, and help us pattern specific animals.
Our test evaluated the cameras in five key areas: speed, resolution, noise/light signature, ergonomics and features. Since some of a trail camera's most important work happens at night, we tested the units in both daylight and darkness. While we like these tests to be all-inclusive, the simple matter is, there are too many cameras out there to test for one article. So we gathered up the units that offered the widest range of features and got to testing.
NOISE & LIGHT SIGNATURE
A camera that emits an audible or visible signature can spook game, which is a bad thing. You can't photograph game that has run away, and a really smart animal may decide to avoid the area altogether for a few days afterward. We took each unit into a pitch-dark room and activated the motion sensors while looking directly into the camera. We graded each unit based on lack of sound and light signature that was emitted while a photo was being taken.
Each camera was placed int eh same location, and the test subject walked perpendicular to the camera at a distance of 30 feet. A consistent walking pace was used to determine how fast each unit responded to the motion and took a photo. Each camera was set to maximum sensitivity.
The same setup was used to test the resolution at night, in a wooded area with almost no illumination. We wanted to test not only quality of the cameras' optics, but also the effectiveness of the infrared illuminators. This test is what separated the men from the boys.
A facsimile of the USAF 1951 test target was placed at ground level, 10 yards from a mounting point. The testing took place in a shady area to prevent any washing out of the image by direct sunlight. Each camera was set to maximum resolution and placed facing the target. The test results can be seen below.
Kodiak | Series Cameras
Bushnell | Trophy Cam HD Agressor
Wildgame | Buck Commander Nano 20
Minox | DTC 400
Stealth Cam | G42NG
To see the comprehensive results of our test, including which camera nearly got a perfect score, pick up the November issue of Petersen's Hunting.