6 Best Trail Camera Reviews – Great Image Quality & Weather Resistant

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I may have a different take on trail cameras.  I also have a happy ending story related to them.  We will cover trail cameras and a few of the applications of them outside of game trails.  No time to waste, let us dive right in!

A bit of history

We had some evil-doers stealing high priced equipment, and we have zero methods or support to put together a camera surveillance system.  The main concern with these crooks was, what happens if we catch them?  What if they are not in a good mood when we do catch them?

We needed evidence of the robbers and an ability to monitor the entire area.  With zero wifi ability to cover this much territory and zero cell phone signal to use more advanced security cameras (ARLO is the maker of a cell signal security camera), we had to think and develop a plan.  We had bought a trail camera to hide in a tree, near a convenient cut in the fence, and watched to see who needed to take stuff home more than keep their job.  At the end of that episode, we did not find anyone.  The trail camera went into a drawer, and we forgot about it.

Later, many months later, we discovered that a different bunch of evil-doers had cut the locks on the back gate and were helping themselves to stuff.  When all of a sudden, then high commander out here, remembered the trail camera.  So, I set it up on a post near the gate.  A few weeks later, the robbers came up to the gate, and so politely talked about all the other times they had been here stealing stuff, and looked right into the camera as they did it.

Then they came on property and stole about 100K worth of gear.  The sheriff was pleased to get the SD cards, placed the robbers on the local FB page, and within a week, half the county had reported the exact identity of the duo, and the rest is history.

This event led all of us here to become somewhat experts in trail cameras and what works and what does not, and here is what we found.

PRODUCT

DETAILS

Products

Browning Strikeforce HD Pro

Browning Strikeforce HD Pro

Browning Strikeforce HD Pro

  • Resolution: 20 MP
  • Flash Range:120 ft
  • Battery Type:AA

ECO LLC Hunting Trail Camera

Eco LLC

ECO LLC Hunting Trail Camera

  • Resolution: 16MP
  • Flash Range:65ft
  • Weight: 188g

Blaze Video SL112

Blaze Video SL112

Blaze Video SL112

  • Resolution: 20MP
  • Flash Range: 70ft
  • Weight:12 ounces

Ctronics Hunting Camera

Ctronics

Ctronics Hunting Camera

  • Resolution: 20MP
  • Flash Range:98 ft
  • Weight:1.32 pounds

Covert Scouting Verizon Camera

best game cameras 2019

Covert Scouting Verizon Camera

  • Resolution: 18MP
  • Flash Range: 100 feet
  • Weight: 1 lb

ARLO GO mobile HD

best game cameras 2019

ARLO GO mobile HD

  • Video Capture Resolution:720p
  • Flash Range:30 feet
  • Weight: 2.600 lbs

Generally speaking, on trail cameras

For general camera consideration, you need to see if the camera emits any light in its stand-by mode.  Many IR cameras, also called night vision cameras, will emit a red light glow from the IR bulbs.  My security cameras at the cabin have a red circle of lights when you look at them in the dark, and skittish game animals and predators especially will see this, like a porch light left on.  The game will bolt before they get close to the camera and may avoid the trail or meadow entirely.

Also, battery use is heavy with these systems.  Remember, if it is triggered to take a picture or video, a bush or branch wagging in the wind will set off the camera as well.  Dust and rain are also good at burning up battery power for no critter info.

And how do you get the information off the camera after it is collected?  If you have to return to the area to get the SD card or read the memory, you leave a human scent.  If you return to a camera used for a security purpose, you will leave a trail of footprints leading right to your camera.  The crook will take it with them and throw it in the pile of loot.

1. Browning Strikeforce HD Pro

Browning Strikeforce HD Pro

This is the camera we used to catch the dirtbags or trespassers and thieves if that is less aggressive.

Let me breakdown the features for you.  First off, the Strikeforce HD Pro is expensive for the trail camera world, so make sure you can afford this offering.

The Browning Strikeforce Pro has a serial number placed on the inside of the access panel on a sticker.  It imprints the serial number to match the camera onto the image information, so that image can be proven to belong to that particular camera and its owner.

The camouflage is Real Tree style, so it should blend with the bark on a dark tree, and the colors hold up OK to sunlight.  After years in direct sunshine, it is a bit lighter than when we first used it.  I am going to assume that is the standard.  All the trail cameras I have used fade away the same; it is Utah desert sunshine.  Even when we hide them in the sagebrush to spy on deer and elk, get faded eventually.  The good part about the fade in the sagebrush, it's the perfect color fit now.  And flat finish paint is very cheap.

The camera will imprint the date, time, temperature, and moon phase onto the images.  This will help you in your scouting and planning for the big hunt.

The Strikeforce Pro is waterproof and does well when looking directly at the setting sun.  After many years of this, it has not burned the sensors in any way.

The camera is anchored to the pole or tree via a canvas strap with a metal clamp.  The camera also has the ¼" x 20 tripod mounting threads, or it can attach to the tree mounts available as a separate accessory or bend a bolt and sharpen it on a grinder.

Browning sells these as single units, not in a package deal.

The camera takes still pictures at 20 megapixels and video at 1080p HD.  The night vision has a maximum range of 80 feet, and the IR lamps are not visible to human eyes.  This camera will also record sound with the video, and it is very clear.

The information is recorded on a standard SD card, up to 512 Gigabytes.  To retrieve the data, replace the SD card, and it can be downloaded to a computer to be saved or sent to whoever needs to see.

The front panel opens to reveal a 1.5 inch LCD video playback screen.

The Browning Strikeforce HD Pro uses 6 AA batteries for power, and it may do you some good to have two sets of rechargeable; it eats them up quickly when running video.  The camera does have an external power port rated at 12 volts for an accessory battery or possibly a solar panel that is not included.  If this is your plan, research it very carefully.

Browning Strikeforce HD Pro

Browning Strikeforce HD Pro

The price of Browning Strikeforce HD Pro varies, so check the latest price at

2. Eco LLC

Eco LLC

Another expensive camera system but worth it, let me tell you why it is worth the money.

The Camouflage pattern is a simple brown, like dirt or a pile of branches and leaves.

The camera will imprint the date, time on the photo information, so make sure you set that correctly when you are at home, or you may do like I did and forget when I had it in the field.  I had deer captured in a snowfield, and the date told me it was June 22, so that did not help much.

This camera is waterproof at the IP66 standard.  Anchor to a tree or post with a strap or the ¼" x20 threads for a spike or tripod.  Eco LLC sells these as individuals.

The images are recorded at 16 megapixels or 1080p for video.  The lower megapixels for the still photos is a benefit, the SD card will not fill as fast, and the batteries will last longer when it is in still picture mode.  The video mode will eat up batteries quickly, as it is working more, taking more power.  In video mode, the camera will record sound with the built-in mic, and they do work pretty good, but deer don't make much noise compared to humans.

The night vision distance has an effective range of 65 feet, and there will be a subtle red light flash from the IR lamps when activated.  The Eco LLC stores information on a 32 gigabyte SD card that is removable, or leave a micro USB cord in the jack, and hook up a tablet and download the info and not disturb your natural hiding spot.  There is an onboard 2.4 inch LCD screen to review in the field behind the front cover.

Now to the power supply, this is awesome!  The camera uses 8 AA batteries, which is not the good part; the good news is this camera is supplied with a solar panel.  The solar panel is the same brown color for camouflaging and hiding away, and the power cord is long enough to place it away from the camera, but not run out of juice in a couple of weeks, and that is like a miracle from the deer hunting gods.  The camera is equipped with an external power jack for a 5volt DC power pack that is a separate accessory.

Eco LLC

ECO LLC Hunting Trail Camera

The price of ECO LLC Hunting Trail Camera varies, so check the latest price at

3. Blaze Video SL112

big game trail cameras

The significant part of the Blaze Video cameras is they sell them in a pack of 5.  The best way to spend money to research game trails or meadows for hunting.  And to record fencelines or buildings for security, you will need more than one.

We use these going on four years solid, with no problems at all.  Well, to tell the truth, once the humans quit trying to improve a camera that did not need it, they work even better.  What we tried to do is supply the camera directly with solar panels that are not made by Blaze Video.  The solar panels are available on Amazon, like everything else in the world.  Once we stopped burning them up by putting unregulated power to the circuit board and just used it to keep the batteries charged, zero issues.

That is the only reason this camera does not rank higher; they do not have a way to order a solar panel from the manufacturer and get to work.

The pictures are date, time, temperature, and moon phase stamped, along with the camera serial number for later identification of source if needed.  The still images are punching in at 16 megapixels, and the video is shot at 1080p HD.  One hang-up with this camera, the night vision range is only 20 feet.

big game trail camera

The camera is waterproof at a ranking of IP66, and the camouflage attempt is a brown/grey color that works great against a pole or maybe a tree, but if you look hard enough, you can spot them in the daytime.  The IR lamps are zero light-emitting.  In the dark, we can't see the IR as we walk up to them and know where they are hidden.

The information is recorded on a 32 gigabyte SD card.  Inside the front cover is 2.4 inches for in place review of the SD card.  The camera runs on 8 AA batteries.  Located on the bottom of the casing is a DC input jack, and no external power adapter is included or offered from the manufacturer.

Blaze Video SL112

Blaze Video SL112

The price of Blaze Video SL112 varies, so check the latest price at

4. Ctronics

best trail camera to buy

This camera is expensive and sold as individual units.  However, look at all it brings to the trail camera game; it is worth the money.

The camouflage is a Real Skins Woodland style, but the face of the camera does have a lot of shiny surfaces, so be careful when you place it so the sun does not reflect and scare off the critters, or tip off the bad guys, if that is what you are using it for.

The information is stamped with time, date, and temperature information.  It is rated as waterproof at IP66, attached with a strap or with the ¼" x 20 stud receiver for tripods or spikes.

The still pictures are 20 megapixels, and the video records in 4K!  The night vision distance is 65 feet.  The IR lamps will give a subtle flash when triggered by motion.  The pictures and video record on a micro SD card that has a top rating of 512 gigabytes.

trail camera buying guide

To retrieve the information, you can remove the Micro SD card, of course, or use the built-in WIFI and take the data, set the camera timers, or format the SD card and start over, and never walk to the camera.  The WIFI is limited to 98 feet for distance.  A short distance to use this camera as a security feed.  However, no one will see you review the info, and you will not take human scent right to the trail, putting stress and pressure on the game animals you are collecting information on.

Inside the front cover, a 2.4-inch screen can be used to review information, a great backup if the WIFI has an issue.  The camera runs on 8 AA batteries, there is a 6-volt external power jack, and Ctronics does offer a separate solar panel for this camera system.

Ctronics

Ctronics Hunting Camera

The price of Ctronics Hunting Camera varies, so check the latest price at

5. Covert Scouting Verizon Camera

best game cameras 2019

The Covert Verizon based "CellPhone" camera is the only cell service trail camera we will discuss in this article.  We tried a few different cell service offerings, and where we place them, the signal is so low they did not work.  When I took them home and set them on the picnic table in the yard, they worked pretty well, so you will need to recon your area for cell coverage where you will place the camera.  If you are going to set the camera under a rock ledge or something like that, put your phone there, and let it sit for ten minutes, then look at the signal strength, and you will know if this style of a camera will do what you need it to do.

As you can guess, this camera is expensive to buy, and then you have the service plan to contend with monthly, that is up to you to discover, and the manufacturer webpage tells you all about it.

They are coated in Real Tree Woodland style camouflage.  The information is imprinted with time, date, temperature, and moon phase.  The manufacturer does not state that this camera is waterproof.  All of the trail cameras we have looked at are weather-resistant, so this one maybe should not get located too close to a body of water, just in case the wind is stronger than the anchoring strap.

The still pictures are recorded at 18 megapixels, and the video is 1080p HD.  This is a trail camera, not a security camera, so streaming is not going to be available.  We will talk about an option for that in a few minutes.

The night distance is fantastic at 100 feet, and the IR lamps are not visible.  The information is recorded on a 32 gigabyte SD Card, and the Covert does not have an onboard LCD to view locally.  The information must be removed on the SD card or retrieved via a cell source.  The camera maker does have an app for either phone system, and the service runs on Verizon LTE.

Covert did not tell me how long the stand by time is on battery life, but it does hold 12 AA batteries, and as you can imagine powering the cell signal and video, all that power need will drain the batteries quickly.  On the camera app, you can set times for recording and "sleep mode" to save battery life.  What the camera will do is send a signal that it has captured information, then you access that over the app, pretty cool.

Covert Scouting Verizon Camera

Covert Scouting Verizon Camera

The price of Covert Scouting Verizon Camera varies, so check the latest price at

6. ARLO GO mobile HD

best hunting camera for the money

A bit weird for a trail camera article, but if you are looking to capture information on your favorite hunting area, looking to identify poachers or people doing bad things in ATV machines (making the rest of us look bad).  Maybe you want to watch a sunset from the middle of the city when you are ready to get loud at work.  This option is a winner.

Again, this runs on cell service and will require a data plan, and it will cost you, but we are talking about the best ideas here, and this is one of them.

ARLO is an industry leader in home security cameras, we have them at my house, and they are excellent cameras, but eat batteries like they are free.  Then, a bit of looking and ARLO offers a matched solar panel charger for the cameras, and they are a bit pricy – but the camera will always work.

The cameras at my house are wifi cameras and no cell service.  The camera is the same; just the transmission method is different.  And again, cell service areas vary, and you need to make sure it will work where you want to place it or them.

The camera is waterproof rated to IP66, stamps the time and date information on the recorded video.  This camera as a home security camera WILL stream live video feed, and if you have the cloud storage options, you can capture and share the information from your cell phone anywhere in the world.

The camouflage style is bright and shiny white with a black face.  A bit of flat dark earth or green spray paint is needed.  However, the camera is smaller than a tennis ball.  The solar panel is black and shiny, placed higher to get the sun.

If you would like to try an idea of how fantastic a live feed nature camera, look at this one from the Yellowstone Old Faithful Lodge, and see the geysers erupt, from anywhere, pretty nice.

I can say that I watch the sunrise from my cabin just to see it, it makes me happy, and I can breathe easier that no one has decided to remove my stuff or damage anything that I need to stay in good repair.

ARLO GO mobile HD

The price of ARLO GO mobile HD varies, so check the latest price at

Last Looks

Placement is the most critical thing after making your choice for the trail camera system you are most comfortable with and excited to use.  Ensure your camera can see what you want to see, look at the camera LCD screen and make sure it is pointed the right way.  Take into consideration plant growth and snow depths if you plan to place it low.

In the dark, all the weeds and branches you look past during the day will take up half the picture, so make sure this is cleared out.  The IR lamps will reflect on things you did not know were even in the "shot."  Dust, rain, and snow make a night vision camera or video into a full SD card of blurry nothing.

One last thing, short of using the cuss words I usually apply to bugs in the camera, you will use more for bugs at night burning up night video.  And then there are the freaking spiders and the damn webs they leave behind.  I will watch my language again, keep myself out of trouble, and just say check and maintain the lens clear from the creepy crawlies.

Consider the money you will spend and how many days you will leave this purchase, all alone in the field, make sure you do not go deep in debt for the latest super awesome, and get what you need and can comfortably afford, cause it may come up missing.

One Last, Last Thing

If you use this for security, ensure that your time and date are exact and on the money.  If this becomes evidence, the information must be accurate.  It would not hurt to place a handwritten note in the camera while recording to mark its accuracy.  Also, when you retrieve the information, please make a copy and keep it safe.  And, tell the authorities that you have that info as a copy, don't make it a discovery, be upfront and honest.  You are the good guy, after all.

Please leave a comment on your purchase or your plans to purchase, so we can see where the most focus ends up and let everyone else know how all this works for everyone.

Good Luck

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