January 25, 2012

SHOT Show: Scout Cameras Are Shrinking

Near home, mule deer slip through the woods in the early hours of January16th.
I looked at some of the new scout cameras (trail cameras, game cameras) on display at SHOT Show and noticed one overall trend: They are shrinking. No more big cases holding eight D-cells — or even four C-cells, like most of mine. Now it is AA cells that you want.

As with many other electronic devices, they do more with less juice. You can find better video, time-lapse features, and so on.

Palm-size Simmons camera.
Infrared capabilities are increasing. Some manufacturers are claiming that their products now take IR photos without the tell-tale red glow when the IR flash fires, although I did not see a demonstration.

Actually, that feature makes such cameras more desirable to people wanting to use them for home security, as the guy in the booth readily admitted. Scout cameras have already nailed a few burglars, particularly in rural areas.

You will also be told that smaller cameras are less likely to be stolen if placed on public lands.


I have been experimenting with camouflage. Most cameras, like the Simmons pictured, come with a black strap. (Simmons is Bushnell's low-end brand.)

Sneaking up on my own camera sets, I notice that the line of black webbing catches my eye before the shape of the camera itself. Yet most trail cameras ship with a black strap.

Choosing a more tree-matching color helps a lot. So does finding a different way to mount the camera, such as propping it up with small stones on a convenient ledge.

I have taken olive-drab cameras like the one pictured and spray-painted them in my own ponderosa pine camouflage scheme. Thought about gluing bark on the cases, but would it hold up to opening and closing? You can spray-paint the strap with a disruptive color scheme too.

The flash, infrared sensor, and lens still must be exposed though. Camouflage is not perfect — all it can do is make the camera less obvious to an inattentive passerby.


Camera Trap Codger said...

Would love to have been there. Try spray painting the nylon strap with camo paint -- that'll help a little. You can also use Velcro tabs to attach lichen and bark to the camera case. It works well to disguise the camera, but bark and lichen soon deteriorate and invite spiders which give webby pictures.

Chas S. Clifton said...

Vecro—now there is a thought. A velco-d pine-bark "mask" for the camera? Might work for a little while. I am there with painting the straps, although even a tan strap is a big improvement over black in our woods.