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Simple Things That Might Help your Camera Work Better?

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Simple Things That Might Help your Camera Work Better?

Old 07-03-2012, 12:12 PM
Nontypical Buck
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Location: Chicago, IL
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Default Simple Things That Might Help your Camera Work Better?

As what seems to be a yearly thing now, I am again looking for a few more trail cameras. While Reading all the reviews on the various websites I wonder if these people really had bad cameras or they just didn't know how to operate them correctly or use substandard accessories with them.

I was just curious if anybody has any little tips that might make anyones trail camera, no matter what the brand, work better. Sometimes these little tips might make the difference between a camera working good or spending hours trying to replace it. Here are two that I try and always do:

After trial and error with some of my cameras there are things that I have learned that will always help a camera. When I look for a new camera and read reviews I always wonder if the people leaving the reviews tried to go the cheap way and buy a good camera but try and spend as little as they can on the other components. The two things I always do:

1) Use high quality Lithium Batteries. Sure you can buy a 24 pack of cheap AA batteries for $6.99 at most stores but remember, batteries are what give the sensor, trigger and flash its energy. I believe the better the batteries, the better the photos. High quality batteries can make the difference in catching that big buck on camera or just getting a pic of a blurred out hind quarters

2) A good SD card. I now only use Sandisk in my cameras. They work great and they are some of the best quality around. They do have the "lock" slide on them which I feel does more bad than good, but does have some useful purposes. They also hold up well in my pack and pockets. I've yet to have one break on me and some have even been submerged in water. I started off using the cheap cards and have seen the difference in pics and will never go back.

Anyone else have any hints that make other people say, "Why didn't I think of that?!"
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Old 07-03-2012, 01:44 PM
Fork Horn
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Middelway, WV
Posts: 435

Align the camera so that it does not get hit by sunrise or sunset.

Position it so that there is no plant material waving in front of it.

Keep the warranty/bill of sale on any camera you buy. You might need it.

I like to have the camera take 2 pictures per click....better chance of catching one good pic.
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Old 07-03-2012, 01:49 PM
Nontypical Buck
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 1,592

I agree with you on the use of Lithium batteries, especially in cold weather. The reason they last longer is they test 1.79 to 1.83 volt using a digital meter. Other batteries test 1.5 with Copper Top Durecell coming in at 1.55 to 1.6 volt. This is the difference. The Lithium are a higher voltage battery to start with.
For SD cards I recommend: SanDisk, Lexar, Adapta and Verbatim. Kodak will work but not as good.
Another couple of suggestions is: 1) camera placement: not facing east or west into the rising or setting sun as this will cause redness or white outs due to over exposure. 2)Trimming nearby vegetation will prevent pictures or videos of just that. 3)Random checking the battteries as any battery even new if it gets around 1.0 to 1.2 volt, the camera will not function properly, or not at all. 4)Format the SD card in the computer, then it is good for any trail camera providing it is not too large for that camera. Bushnell allows formatting in their camera. Viewing an SD card in a Digital camera, the card must be formatted or it may not work in the camera, due to format or file changes.
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Old 07-04-2012, 02:56 AM
Nontypical Buck
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Location: Indiana
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These are all very good suggestions but the fact of the matter is if you spend less than $100 on a trailcam, you are taking a very big chance. Not that any trailcam in any price range might not fail, it's just that the chances of failure in a cheap cam is much higher. You might get lucky with a cheap cam or you might not. I say spend at least $150 or so to increase your odds of getting something decent.

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Old 07-04-2012, 05:24 AM
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Location: Maine
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I agree with what PastorJim08 has added to this. I have a cheap one that is only a hit or miss type of trailcam. It will work sometimes and that just about covers it..
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Old 07-04-2012, 06:04 AM
Fork Horn
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: northern USA
Posts: 274

One of the first lessons I needed to learn was the height placement of the camera. Too high (probably the most common mistake) and it won't trigger (or it will be taking pictures above the animal) because it will be aiming above the deer you are after.
Also aiming down an animal trail will help instead of aiming it so it is perpendicular (even with a fast triggering camera).
I agree with the tips mentioned above regarding the direction the camera faces as well as the trimming of vegetation in front of the camera. I've actually had very good luck with one of the cheaper cameras (the tasco brand) They are not great "trail" cameras, but rather they work well over a bait source or scrape. I have only owned two however, one was destroyed by a bear and the other I've been using for three years and have captured probably over 10,000 pictures with it. My higher quality cameras have better trigger speed and battery life and I do trust them more for an extended stay in the woods.
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Old 07-04-2012, 06:47 AM
Nontypical Buck
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Southeast Missouri
Posts: 2,178

Buy an extra SD card for Your trail cameras so You can swap out the card that's in the camera out in the field,always pack an extra set of batteries in case you need to swap them out also.When I get a large amount of pictures built up on a card I delete the ones with poor pic quality or of Animals I don't care to save then I usually have the rest of them put to a CD/DVD disc for viewing references later on.

Try keeping the same SD cards with the same type/brand of trail camera.Im up to around 6-7 different trail cameras....it can get confusing sometimes?
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Old 07-04-2012, 09:44 AM
Fork Horn
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Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Mequon, WI
Posts: 228

Love it! Lots of good info.... I'll try not to repeat any. I'm a card swapper and currently only 4 working cameras. About 7 that are pushing daisies.

Physically number your cards and cams. Helps sort out problems.
A folder system in computer (by year, month, cam location) to organize the pix
Make sure the date is right. (I hate myself when i look at old ones and see Jan 3rd and have to figure out when it really was)
Have a foolproof way to make sure there is a card in cam and cam in ON
If there isnt a tree where you want the cam should be, hammer a stick in the ground
New lithiums every spring
Buy one new cam a year (Seems to keep me around 4 or 5 working) (It's now a standing item on my Christmas list, my mother-in-law is awesome)
My preferred direction to face is North then south (like Sniggle said)
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Old 07-07-2012, 11:49 AM
Fork Horn
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Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 216

Using my Garmin, I Geo-tag each camera set up - not so I can find it again (although that's an added benefit), but so that I can plot them on the map - which allows me to better visualize movement patters.
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Old 07-07-2012, 06:06 PM
Fork Horn
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: northern USA
Posts: 274

Piggybacking on on what Vulture6 wrote, thereis a website out there (biggamelogic.com) where you can enter your trail camera pictures into a "hunting camp" that you draw the boundaries for. You can place your trail cameras location on the map of your hunting camp (by gps or manually) and it will automatically put int he weather conditions/date/time/ etc. for you and you can tag certain bucks and start tracking their movement...I think it's pretty cool. Right now they don't have a whole lot of people that use it, but it's pretty neat.
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