Getting up close and personal with wildlife is something of an honour. But more often than not, humans scare animals so it’s incredibly difficult to capture any images or film. However, a wildlife trail camera is a great solution to this problem as you don’t have to be in the vicinity and the camera will capture the local wildlife in its natural state.
Of course, technology like this can get expensive but there are some excellent affordable options for wildlife trail cameras under £50. If you want something reliable that won’t put you out of pocket, our top picks will certainly catch your eye.
How Does A Wildlife Trail Camera Work?
If you want to capture the best images and film of local wildlife then you’re probably wondering how this is possible without even being on the scene.
Well that’s where a wildlife trail camera will become your new best friend. You simply need to place the camera in your chosen spot and let the tech do the rest.
These cameras have sensors that detect motion and heat. This means that when an animal comes near, the camera is triggered. You can choose whether the camera takes a photo or records video when these sensors are activated.
What Is The Best Wildlife Trail Camera Under £50?
Not looking to spend a small fortune on a wildlife trail cam? We hear you! With the cost of everything rising at the moment, it’s important to save where you can. But that doesn’t mean that you have to settle for second best. Far from it and just to prove that, here are our top five favourite wildlife trail cameras for under £50!
OUR TOP PICK
The reviews on this camera in terms of how well it performs in the dark were so good that we simply had to check it out; we weren’t disappointed. If you’re looking for an affordable trail camera to capture bats, foxes, badgers or even for spying on critters in the loft or cellar, this is a great choice.
Even in the dark, this 20MP camera captures impressively clear images. This is a low glow camera so it isn’t going to upset wildlife and results in crisp black and white photos, many of which will be keepers. What’s more, the trigger and recovery times are super fast.
What we also love about the CEYOMUR is how durable and resistant it is. For such an affordable bit of kit, you might not expect miracles but with waterproofing and dust resistance, you can leave it outdoors without worrying.
Crisp and clear night images
Doesn’t come with batteries or an SD card
Durable and resistant
Easy to use
Fast response times
Sometimes you want to capture videos with sound and this is a camera that allows you to do that with ease. What’s more, the image quality is very impressive with its 2.7K video. Now that might not be as high quality as some types of camera but wildlife cameras generally have a lower resolution so we were happy with this.
The 36MP images are crisp and clear and there’s a decent sized LCD screen for viewing before you upload the images to your computer. Even when animals are far away, you’ll still get a great shot since this thing has a maximum daytime range of 80 feet!
We really love that this is a no glow camera. In a lot of cases, you’ll have to pay a little more for this feature which ensures no light disturbs the animals at all. So we were really happy to see this on such an affordable piece of equipment.
Choose to power this camera with batteries of a 12v power jack. Having options like this really does put the camera above its competitors. However, to get started with this one, it’s not quite as simple as it’s a bit tricky to set up and the instructions aren’t what you’d call helpful.
Choice of power options
Not as user friendly as other cameras
Comes with SD card
Wide angle (120º)
If you want something that’s going to capture as much of the surroundings as possible then this 130º wide angle lens is perfect. Not only that but the images you get are beautifully clear. This is a 20MP camera so not quite as high quality as the previous one we looked at but by no means a disappointment.
Even better, the Hahoco takes excellent night time shots. Its low glow ensures that almost invisible light brightens the image without upsetting the animals. You won’t miss a trick with this camera either since it has a reaction time of just 0.4 seconds.
If you are new to using this type of equipment, we’d recommend this camera purely based on how easy it is to use. There’s no need to mess about when getting set up and everything is really clear and simple.
However, there was one thing that we felt really let it down and that’s the very low night time range. At just 30 feet, this is pretty disappointing when you consider the wide angle.
Waterproof and durable
Low night time range
130º wide angle lens
Crisp images even at night
Low glow flash
Easy to use
BEST FOR GARDENS
You might not be looking to photograph animals away from home. In fact, a lot of people use these cameras to monitor animals in the garden and this mini camera is perfect for that.
Let us start by saying that you can’t expect miracles when it comes to image quality with this camera as it’s only 12MP. However, as an entry level camera, you’ll get pictures that are more than sufficient. Plus, for the price, it’s not to be sniffed at.
The one thing that really sets this one apart is its durability and suitability for outdoor use. It’s got a waterproof rating of IP66 and is a really well made piece of equipment that will work at low temperatures. What’s more, the camo colours mean it’ll blend right into the surroundings.
The camera is powered by AA batteries, This could be a blessing or a curse. It means that you won’t need to worry about taking the camera down to recharge the batteries but there is the issue of spending more on batteries in the long run.
Not as high quality as some competitors
Great for beginners
Small enough for garden use
0.2 seconds response time
Lasts up to 6 months on standby
BEST APP CONTROLLED CAMERA
If you love a bit of smart tech then you’ll love the Hongc camera as it can be controlled from the palm of your hand with the smartphone app. If you’re leaving the camera in a remote spot, this is ideal as it means that you won’t need to keep heading back out to see what it’s captured. That said, a lot of users have reported that finding the compatible app is something of a nightmare.
The camera is kitted out with 38 no glow LEDs to ensure that night time images are as clear as if they had been taken in the day. All without disturbing nature. What’s more, this camera has the best video quality of any on this list so it’s great if you want to capture short films.
For long term outdoor use, you won’t find a more rugged piece of equipment. The Hongc camera is incredibly well made and durable. What’s more, it’s waterproof and can be used in all weather so you can install it and never have to worry.
Very clear images
App is difficult to find on Android and iOS
Great night vision
No glow LEDs
Durable and weatherproof
Excellent video quality
Things To Look For When Buying A Wildlife Trail Camera
In the price range that we are looking at, there isn’t too much difference between cameras. That said, some are slightly better (or worse) than others. For this reason, it’s worth checking out certain features to make sure the camera lives up to your expectations. Here’s our quick guide on what to look for when buying a wildlife trail camera.
One of the most essential things to look at when choosing your camera is its detection range. This tells you how far out the camera’s sensors can detect motion or heat. This is important as it will play a significant role in where you can place the camera.
It’s particularly important to consider the size of the animals you are hoping to capture. If you’re looking to snap shots of smaller creatures then you’ll naturally want them to be closer to the camera.
Moreover, it’s worth thinking about the time of day. If you’re hoping to capture images of night animals then you’ll need to rely on the flash. However, this needs to extend to the maximum detection range otherwise you won’t get the animal in shot.
As we have just mentioned, your wildlife trail camera will likely have a flash (if it doesn’t then we’d suggest looking elsewhere.) However, you don’t want a flash that’s going to startle the animal you’re trying to photograph as this will send it running in the opposite direction.
A lot of these types of cameras have an infrared flash which won’t upset or disturb the wildlife. Some have a low glow which emits very little light and is almost impossible to see with the naked eye. On the other hand, there are some no glow wildlife cameras whose light wavelength is so low that it’s totally invisible. That said, for this type of technology, you have to expect to pay a little more.
You’re going to want to leave your wildlife trail cam in place for as long as possible but this won’t be easy if the battery is constantly dying. Make sure that you look for a camera whose battery life is generous. That way, you won’t need to keep heading back out and potentially disturbing nature which is the very thing you’re trying to capture.
A lot of these cameras take AA or AAA batteries although there are some rechargeable options out there. Some can be charged using solar power which is very handy if you’re looking to leave the camera in place for an extended period.
Response And Recovery Times
You’ll notice that, with all wildlife cameras, there are details about the trigger response time. This tells you how much time elapses between the camera being triggered and it actually taking the snap.
It goes without saying that a shorter trigger response time is preferable as there is less chance of the animal going away before the camera has had the time to capture it. Generally speaking, you’ll want to look for something that has a response time of less than half a second.
As well as how quickly the camera responds, you also want to consider how quickly it recovers. This time refers to how long the camera needs to process the image it has just taken before it can take another. Again, something shorter means that you’ll be able to get more shots in a smaller period of time.
A lot of people wonder whether they need a 4K or high megapixel camera. You’ll notice that a lot of products are sold as being high resolution but that doesn’t always mean that the images will be the best quality.
In fact, a lot of these 4K cameras capture the images in a much lower resolution. It’s only after the images have been upscaled for playback that the quality will improve. But even then, you might not get the high res you were hoping for.
With our fast paced, urban lives it’s not always easy to get back to nature. But even when you can’t be around to see it, you can always use a wildlife trail camera to keep an eye on what the local animals are getting up to.
What’s more, these cameras allow you to get great shots without actually disturbing the animals in their natural habitat, so it’s a win-win for everyone.
While there are some high end cameras that come with hefty price tags, you don’t have to part with your hard earned cash to get a good quality wildlife camera. In fact, there are several brilliant pieces of equipment for under £50 and we’ve featured some of our favourites in this guide.
Make sure you check the specs and features before buying to ensure that the camera is going to deliver everything you expect.