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Best wildlife camera 2024: Top trail cameras for the outdoors

Capture photos and videos of wild animals with our favourite wildlife cameras

The best wildlife camera brings the animals all around us to life by letting us get up close and personal.

Also called trail cameras, these cameras are small devices designed to allow you to observe what goes on in your garden when you’re not around. They detect motion and, once triggered, automatically begin filming or photographing. Most even feature infrared lamps, allowing them to work at night and are a must-have for nature enthusiasts or simply seeing what your pet gets up to when your back is turned.

If you’re new to trail cameras, you will find our handy buying guide below replete with expert opinion from those who professionally shoot wildlife in the great outdoors. It demystifies some of the specifications and highlights key features to look out for, but you can also jump straight into our top picks directly below.

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Our expert picks

The best wireless wildlife camera

BlazeVideo Wireless Trail Camera

Price: ~£73

“We love the wire-free experience of this BlazeVideo camera. It offers a huge 24 megapixels of resolution, a no-glow flash and Wi-Fi connectivity to save you from going in the wet outdoors too often.” | Read more

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The best budget wildlife camera

TCNEWCL Trail Camera

Price: ~£33

“Hardy and easy-to-use, this low-cost trail camera has a low-light flash and 20 megapixel lens to capture animals crisply without disturbing them.” | Read more

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The best wildlife camera for bird watchers

Netvue Birdfy Feeder

Price: ~ £200

“This Netvue camera lets you feed the flying feathered friends that frequent your garden and easily film them in the process. In our view, the ability to get notified on your phone when birds sit on the feeder is a big benefit.” | Read more

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The best wildlife cameras you can buy in 2024

1. GardePro A3S Wildlife Camera: Best value wildlife camera

Price when reviewed: £100 | Check price at Amazon

Product image of the GardePro A3S Wildlife Camera

Solidly built, easy to use and capable of producing excellent results, the GardePro A3S is our favourite all-round wildlife camera often found for less than its £100 RRP.

We think the A3S stands out from the competition due to its low-light optimised Sony Starvis sensor. Usually found in security systems and high-end webcams, this sensor, paired with a bright f/1.6 aperture lens, enables the A3S to capture quality images day and night. Still images are captured at up to 32mp and videos can be recorded at up to 1296p resolution. We also like that there is a microphone onboard for audio capture, too.

Set up is straightforward thanks to its internal display and intuitive menu system. Impressively for the price, the A3S packs a 940nm no-glow flash. Completely invisible to the naked eye, this flash allows the camera to capture photos and videos in pitch darkness, without disturbing any nearby wildlife.

The A3S can be powered by eight AA batteries or via a 12V input and records straight to standard-sized SD cards.

Key specs – Max video resolution: 1,296p; Max stills resolution: 32 megapixels; Detection range: 30m; Response time: 0.1s; Recovery time: 0.5s; Flash: 940nm no glow; Flash range: 30m

2. TCNEWCL Trail Camera: Best budget wildlife camera

Price when reviewed: £33 | Check price at Amazon

Product image of the TCNEWCL Trail Camera

While its name might not exactly roll off the tongue, the TCNEWCL Trail Camera offers the complete wildlife camera package at a budget price in our opinion.

It’s well built, IP66 weather-resistant and thanks to its internal display, straightforward to use. Stills are saved at up to 20mp, and videos are recorded at 1080p. While there’s certainly some digital upscaling going on, the files deliver clear levels of detail, day and night.

Low-light illumination comes courtesy of an 850nm low-glow LED flash. Although not completely invisible to the naked eye, the flash won’t cause disturbance to most wildlife. What’s more, its illumination range of up to 25 metres really impresses us, as this makes it ideal for larger gardens.

Photos and videos are recorded to a microSD card and you can plug the camera into your computer directly via USB. The camera can be powered by a set of eight AA batteries or via an external power input.

Key specs – Max video resolution: 1080p; Max stills resolution: 20 megapixels; Detection range: 25m; Response time: 0.3s; Flash: 850nm low glow; Flash range: 25m

3. BlazeVideo Wireless Trail Camera: Best wireless wildlife camera

Price when reviewed: £73 | Check price at Amazon

Product image of the BlazeVideo Wireless Trail Camera

If the idea of having to venture outside to check on your camera doesn’t appeal, BlazeVideo’s Wireless Trail Camera could be your ideal pick. The camera offers high-resolution video recording, packs an invisible no-glow flash and can produce photographs at up to 24mp. Quality-wise, we think the BlazeVideo camera is up there with some of the best but what truly sets it apart is its wireless connection capabilities.

Using the TrailCam app, you can connect to the camera over Wi-Fi, allowing you to playback photos and videos or adjust the device’s settings from your phone. We also like that you can watch through the camera live but don’t expect the best quality.

Its wireless range is limited, so you won’t be able to connect to it from a great distance. It is, however, still a handy feature to have, as it saves you from having to bring the memory card or whole camera indoors when you want to download your photos and videos.

Key specs – Max video resolution: 1,296p; Max stills resolution: 24 megapixels; Detection range: 23m; Response time: 0.5s; Flash: 940nm low glow; Flash range: 20m

4. Netvue Birdfy Smart Bird Feeder: Best wildlife camera for bird watchers

Price when reviewed: £200 | Check price at Amazon

Product image of the Netvue Birdfy Smart Bird Feeder

The Birdfy Smart Bird Feeder is perfect for backyard bird watchers. With a built-in high-definition camera, it enables you to conveniently observe the birds at the feeder straight from your smartphone.

It operates much like a smart video doorbell, which we love. When birds approach, the in-built motion detector triggers and the camera starts recording. The recordings are accessible via Netvue’s smartphone app and if you turn notifications on, you can know when to watch birds through the camera live as and when they appear.

The Netvue app offers up to 30 days of cloud storage for recorded videos, allowing anyone to scroll back through the previous month’s visitors. You also have the option of saving the recordings to an internal microSD card, which worked easily enough.

The camera connects to your home Wi-Fi network and features a rechargeable battery that should offer around one month of use between charges. Alternatively, Netvue also offers a solar-powered version for minimal maintenance.

Key specs – Max video resolution: 1,920 x 1,080; Bird food capacity: 1.5l; Waterproof rating: IP65

5. Bushnell Core DS-4K No Glow: Best premium wildlife camera

Price when reviewed: £269 | Check price at Park Cameras

Product image of the Bushnell Core DS-4K No Glow

It’s pricey but if you want to capture high-quality images day and night, Bushnell’s Core DS-4K is our favourite premium option.

Unlike the vast majority of wildlife cameras, the Core DS-4K features a dual-sensor configuration. This means that, rather than relying on a single lens for both colour daylight and monochrome nighttime shots, the Core DS uses two independent sensors. With cameras optimised to different lighting conditions, it’s able to capture richer images both day and night.

As the name suggests, the Core DS-4K can record video footage in 4K at 30fps or full HD video at a smooth 60fps. Still images are captured at up to 32mp and it can snap up to six images in a single burst, helping ensure you get that perfect shot. The DS-4K’s powerful 940nm no glow flash allows it to record subjects up to 33m away in pitch darkness.

We also like that this camera can run for up to 12 months off of a single set of AA batteries. It’s also compatible with Bushnell’s solar panel system, if that’s something you’re also considering.

Key specs – Max video resolution: 4K; Max stills resolution: 32 megapixels; Detection range: 33m; Response time: 0.2s; Recovery time: 0.6s; Flash: 940nm no glow; Flash range: 33m

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6. Nexcam Wildlife Camera: Best mini wildlife camera

Price when reviewed: £45 | Check price at Amazon

Product shot of the Nexcam Wildlife Camera

Affordable, easy to set up and little larger than the palm of your hand, Nexcam’s mini Wildlife Camera is ideal for more discreet placements. It features a standard 1/4in tripod thread, giving you a wide range of mounting options and we like that it also ships with a belt, for wrapping it around tree branches and fence posts.

Videos can be recorded at up to 1080p resolution and still images can be saved at up to 20mp. While its daylight colour clips aren’t the cleanest, its black-and-white nighttime shots are impressively clear for the price and, thanks to its infrared lamp, nicely illuminated. The 850nm LED lamp, although not truly invisible to the naked eye, offers limited disturbance to most garden visitors.

The Nexcam Wildlife Camera records directly to readily available SD cards too and is powered by four AA batteries.

Key specs – Max video resolution: 1080p; Max stills resolution: 20 megapixels; Detection range: 22m; Response time: 0.5s; Flash: 850nm low glow; Flash range: 20m

7. Green Feathers Wildlife Kit 700TVL: Best wildlife camera for bird boxes

Price when reviewed: £97 | Check price at Amazon

Product shot of the Green Feathers Wildlife Kit 700TVL

If you prefer to think a little more inside the box, the Green Feathers Wildlife Kit lets you get truly close and personal with local birdlife. Rather than being a standalone camera, the Green 700TVL is built inside a bird box.

It features a small no-glow lamp, allowing you to peek inside the box day and night, and connects directly to your television via a 20 metre cable. It uses a standard RCA cable and an HDMI adapter is included to upscale the footage. However, raw image quality is limited to standard definition.

One other negative to consider is that there’s a little DIY involved in getting the box and cabling installed. However, the camera itself is essentially plug-and-play and once you’re hooked up, you can access your own live bird box video feed.

If you need something a little higher-resolution, a 1080p bird box kit is also available.

Key specs – Max video resolution: 628 x 582; Cable length: 20m; Flash: 940nm no glow

How to choose the best wildlife camera for you

What should I look for in a trail camera?

Expert Reviews has spoken to a few adventurous travel and nature photographers to get the low-down on what features are most important to capturing wildlife in their natural habitats.

Image resolution

Jackson Groves is a professional adventure photographer previously featured on National Geographic Adventure, Insider, Lonely Planet and other outlets.

Image resolution is one of two key considerations from his experience. He told us: “You’ll want a camera with plenty of megapixels to get ultra-detailed shots that allow cropping and enlarging.”

Sarah Murphy, a professional travel photographer and experienced trail camera user, agrees, though notes that you don’t need to outstretch your budget just for more megapixels: “Personally, I feel comfortable with 8 megapixels as a minimum. Higher resolutions can generate larger file sizes that fill up memory cards quickly.”

Response and recovery time

The other key component for Groves is a camera’s trigger response time or shutter speed, meaning the delay between an animal appearing and the camera responding by taking a picture. “Quick continuous shooting capability helps freeze the action when in view,” he says. “A fast shutter is crucial for tack-sharp images of moving animals.”

Murphy, agrees, saying that she aims for a trigger speed of half a second or faster or finds the animal has already left the frame before the shot was taken: “Trigger speed is extremely important for clear shots of camera-shy creatures that might bolt at the slightest sound”.

A related factor to response time is recovery time; that’s how long the camera takes to process an image before it’s ready to take another shot. A shorter recovery time allows the camera to fire off more shots over a shorter period, increasing the likelihood of capturing a keeper.

Other factors to consider

While resolution and response/recovery time are all important, there are other things to think about depending on your individual wants and needs. For instance, Murphy points out that “you need to think about factors like battery life if placing cameras in remote areas” as well as “weatherproofing, field of view and additional modes like time-lapse.” Here’s a few of them, and a couple more, in detail so you know exactly what we’re talking about here.

Battery life: Trail cameras tend to have much more impressive batteries than regular DSLR cameras, with most managing anywhere between 5,000 and 20,000 photos per charge across a time frame of three to 12 months.

Waterproofing: Most trail cameras are already well-weatherproofed for any kind of weather, however it’s always worth checking the specifications of the camera you are looking to purchase to see if it matches with your desired use. Our list features some good weatherproof options for all-year-round shooting.

Field of view: This refers to the degree of range that a wildlife trail camera can capture, where the larger the number, the more the scene you can capture in one go. This number tends to be between 35 and 70 degrees, though there are cameras which go well beyond this, including some options on this page.

Detection range: Similarly, the detection range tells you the maximum distance at which the camera’s motion detector can be triggered. The right detection range for your needs will depend on where you plan to position the camera and the size of animals you’re hoping to observe. For nighttime photography, we recommend taking into account the camera’s flash range, as this can sometimes be different and indicates how far the camera can see in the dark.

Flash type: If you want to see animals that come out after the sun goes down, a flash is a must. Rather than producing the bright shock of light typical of a conventional flash, most wildlife cameras employ an infrared lamp. This allows it to capture black-and-white videos and images without disturbing any animals. There are two types of infrared flash: low-glow and no-glow.

  • Flashes that emit at 850nm wavelength light.
  • Flashes that emit 940nm wavelength light.
  • Almost invisible to the naked eye but can still cause the lamp to glow a dim red, potentially disturbing highly sensitive animals.
  • No glow flashes are more discreet since they’re often not as bright and mean you’re less likely to disturb sensitive animals.
  • Longer flash range than no-glow.
  • Shorter effective flash range by comparison.
  • Usually the cheaper option of the two flash types.
  • Almost always more expensive than the low-glow equivalent.

Additional features: Depending on how you plan to use your wildlife camera, you may want to check what power options are available. Many wildlife cameras take standard AA or AAA batteries but some also support mains or solar power for reduced maintenance.

The inclusion of a digital viewfinder is also a nice extra in our opinion, as it allows you to be more precise while framing your shot. And, if you want to capture audio alongside your video clips, we recommend checking that the camera you’re considering includes a microphone.

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How do I set up a wildlife camera?

The vast majority of wildlife cameras come with a nylon strap, with which you can use to quickly and easily secure them to tree trunks, fence posts, drain pipes or just about anything you can fit the strap around. We tended to use tree trunks or garden posts for the most part but anywhere stable should do the job. Many also have 1/4in threads built into the base for attaching to standard-sized tripods, mounts and brackets.

How to capture wildlife effectively?

For both Groves and Murphy, while the above tips work well for literally setting up your camera, strategic placement is key to capturing a good shot. Groves says: “I’ve gotten my best results positioning cameras along game trails and adjusting the sensor sensitivity to match the wildlife I’ve targeting.” Sarah agrees, suggesting that “placing your trail camera along established animal trails, near resources like watering holes, gives you the best chance of success”.

She adds: “I always take care to camouflage my cameras and position them at a slight downward angle to avoid unwanted elements in the frame. Testing cameras before extended deployments also ensures they’re functioning properly.”

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