Selecting any sort of camera often involves a lot of agonising over choices, features and cost and it's no different when choosing a game or surveillance camera. Here's a quick guide to help you narrow things down a bit. If you want a detailed guide, there's a free paper called "Which camera trap type and how many do I need?” A review of camera features and study designs for a range of wildlife research applications".
A comparative table of game camera specifications is provided. Sample photos and videos are shown in our photo gallery.
A comparison is shown below of the same scene using a ScoutGuard SG560P, Reconyx HC600 and a Moultrie M990 in both day and night conditions.
||Shutter speed range
|Moultrie M990 Day
||1/30 - 1/700 sec
|Moultrie M990 Night
||1/20 - 1/30 sec
|Reconyx HC600 Day
||100 - 250
||1/30 - 1/60 sec
|Reconyx HC600 Night
||50 - 400
||1/30 - 1/720 sec
|ScoutGuard SG560P Day
||200 - 400
||1/150 - 1/550 sec
|ScoutGuard SG560P Night
If you're after more information about using these cameras for monitoring wildlife (or ferals or game), please check out the Monitor page.
If you need a white flash camera so you get colour night time shots, then the Reconyx HC550 and ScoutGuard EcoGlow are the available choices.
All the other cameras use infrared flash and produce no glow or sound during operation, so they remain invisible and silent to wildlife and humans.
Detection and Illumination Range
Most cameras have a Passive Infrared Detector (PIR) range of 15 or 25 m with a corresponding flash range of 10 or 15 m.
The ScoutGuard infrared cameras have an adjustable flash setting, allowing ranges of 14/22 m for the SG560P-8M and 8/15 m for the others. This prevents photos being washed out when the subject is close.
The Reconyx cameras auto adjust infrared flash levels to suit the range of the subject.
Field Viewing of Pictures
All of the cameras except the Reconyx and Moultrie P150 have internal screens for viewing pictures in the field. If you need to do this with a Reconyx or P150 camera, a card viewer is recommended.
Only the Reconyx cameras don't have video capability. However, because of their fast trigger speed (0.2 sec and 0.1 sec for the SM750), Reconyx cameras can record up to 2 frames per second, so motion capture is still possible, if a little jerky. Check out the footage of a Long-nosed Potoroo and young at Nadgee Nature Reserve in NSW, courtesy of NSW Office of Environment and Heritage.
All of the cameras use AA batteries, except the Moultrie P150 which uses C cells. Reconyx do not recommend the use of alkaline batteries in their cameras, but lithium batteries are acceptable.
Reconyx cameras require 12 x AA
ScoutGuard cameras require 8 x AA
Moultrie M990i requires 8 X AA
Moultrie P150 requires 6 X C
Scheduling of Operation
All of the ScoutGuard and the Reconyx SC950 and SM750 are capable of being programmed to operate at certain days and times.
External Power Supply
All of the cameras except the Reconyx come standard with an external power supply socket. The Reconyx SC950 and SM750 can be fitted for external power supply, but this option must be ordered from the factory.
Access to the Reconyx and Moultrie camera settings can be controlled by a password.