How does a wildlife camera work?

We know... the language of the wildlife camera with its technical names that are hardly used anywhere else... it is also difficult, we thought too! Fortunately, we have been ahead of you and have included all relevant concepts and explanations about how the system works below  wildlife camera elaborated. If you have never worked with a wildlife camera before, we recommend that you read this page carefully.

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How does a wildlife camera work?

A basic description of how wildlife cameras work provides useful context for understanding their various features. Wildlife cameras are designed to be used in a state of almost complete electronic sleep, much like a TV on standby. The part that is always active and 'on' is the motion sensor. On most wildlife cameras this is a Passive Infra-Red (PIR) sensor, essentially the same as those used in burglar alarms. When the PIR detects motion, the rest of the camera "wakes up" and activates many different functions on the camera (so you get the most beautiful photos and videos).

Example of post-detection operation: light levels are detected and the flash turns on; the camera starts focusing; exposure is determined; one or more photos or videos are taken by the image sensor(s); photos/videos are stored on an SD card; the wildlife camera sends a signal (SMS/email/notification) to your mobile device, etc. After this series of actions, the wildlife camera automatically returns to sleep mode, which limits battery consumption. Automatically sharing images to mobile devices is only possible with one wildlife camera with WiFi.

How much the camera can detect/see (field of view) and what it can photograph is largely determined by a combination of the lens, the type of image sensor receiving light from the lens, the level of illumination (sunlight or flash), and the trigger time (time between motion detection and taking a photo). Importantly, most wildlife cameras nowadays take colored images/videos during the day and black/white at night by using an infrared (IR) flash. - unlike the white light flash of a normal camera. The parameters required to operate the camera, listed in the features below, are pre-programmed by the user via a screen and user interface on the game camera itself and can be changed as needed.

PIR sensor

Is the abbreviation of Passive Infrared Sensor, this sensor can measure temperature differences. When an animal or human moves in front of the wildlife camera, the PIR sensor will measure these differences (movement of a heat source) so that the wildlife camera makes an image or video. The sensors can also measure cold-blooded animals. The kw

wild camera-operation-PIR sensors-infrared

The nature of this sensor also determines the distance at which images can be taken. Cheaper cameras sometimes only have a range of 4 to 5 meters, which of course reduces the chance of good footage. Many of the wildcameraXL cameras are not equipped with one, but rather multiple PIR sensors. An example of this is the EZ60 , this camera has 3 PIR sensors in 3 directions, so that the smallest movements are detected.

Detection zone (number of degrees of PIR sensors)

The "detection zone" of a trail camera is an invisible area that starts at the front of the camera and extends outward in a V-shape; it increases as the distance increases. This "zone" is where the camera detects motion. Once motion is detected, the camera activates and records an image or starts recording video. The higher the detection range, the more chance there is to capture a passing animal. For most wildlife cameras, you can set how sensitive the PIR sensors should operate (low-medium-high), with 'high' consuming the most power.


During the day, a wildlife camera can take images without the support of a flash, and at night a wildlife camera is supported by infrared lights. IR is the abbreviation for infrared. These IR lights are available in Low-Glow or No-Glow. The wavelength of the IR lights determines whether lights are visible or not. IR lights up to 850Nm are visible (Lo-Glow) to the human eye, which means that you have to look directly into the lights to see them. Everything above 850Nm is invisible to the human eye and is therefore called No-Glow. The number of IR lights is important for the image quality, the more lights the better the quality of the image material.

Low Glow or No Glow

A No Glow camera works with invisible light, Low glow wildlife cameras use visible light. If you are looking for a camera that is 0% visible to animals or humans, it is recommended to choose a camera with no-glow. Most wild animals are not bothered by the low-glow and simply continue to do 'their thing' after detection by the camera. Low Glow gives a light glow and No Glow is completely invisible.

Trigger speed

This indicates how quickly the camera takes an image with movement or temperature differences. Is this speed above one second? Then there is a good chance that the animal has already passed the wildlife camera when the image is taken, for example you only have an image of the hind legs of an animal. The faster the trigger speed, the greater the chance of a successful image or video.

Wildlife camera with SIM card

The 4G models, 3G models and WIFI models make it possible to send live images + notifications to your mobile or laptop by using a SIM card in the wildlife camera. Many of the models use an APP, in which you can watch live images that your wildlife camera is currently shooting. The wildlife cameras with internet are extremely popular and can be perfectly used for (object) security or security around your home/storage/site. It is also a perfect way to do research on certain animals in a warm and dry environment without disturbing them.

Multi shot:

Instead of taking one image when the camera triggers, "Burst Mode" will allow the camera to take a predetermined number of images before stopping. For example, a deer walks by and the camera takes, say, 3 images (one after the other) before stopping to reset. This is great for cameras set up along a hot doe trail where you want to get as much footage as possible of that passing deer. However, you'll fill up an SD card quite quickly if burst mode is enabled while the camera is monitoring a food plot or bait pile.

Time Lapse:

With a time-lapse function, the wildlife camera takes photos or videos at a fixed interval that you set. Consider, for example, visualizing the process of a building construction or monitoring breeding water birds or monitoring the growth of a specific plant or fruit.

Test function

Game cameras with a test function have a light that only burns during the test function, so you can determine whether you have mounted the game camera correctly. For example, you hang the camera in the desired location, then activate the test function. When you now make movements in front of the camera, the light will light up, so you can see exactly what the range of the camera is. This significantly increases the chance of good images.

Recovery time

This indicates how quickly the camera is able to create a new image after an image or video has been captured. This can vary from a few seconds to a few minutes. If you want to be able to take images one after the other quickly, a better quality wildlife camera is often the best choice because of the faster recovery time.

Now that you know more about how the wildlife camera works, it is easier to make the right choice. If you have more questions, you can always schedule a free consultation or submit your specific question. This can be done via both Contact Form

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