Camera Trap Recommendations

eMammal is a tool used by researchers to manage their camera trap data, and each project is responsible for providing and managing their own camera traps. Some of these projects have cameras traps to loan out to volunteers within their study area. 

There are a huge variety of camera traps available.  We recommend a few camera trap models based on their reliability and strong performance in trigger tests (the time between when an animal walks in front and the camera takes a picture, a similar recommendation was published here).  Both the Reconyx and Bushnell cameras have short trigger times (<1s) and very sensitive motion sensors, resulting in similar detection data from a given place. We have not examined all models but cameras with longer trigger times will create more empty frames as fast moving animals will pass all the way through the frame of view before the image is captured. We keep an eye on the tests of equipment run by trailcampro.com. Lure can be used to slow down the movement of animals to facilitate use of these slower models but care must be taken depending on study aims.

In terms of camera settings, we like to set the cameras to take multiple pictures per trigger (e.g. burst mode) with no delay between triggers.  Our software automatically combines these together into a 'sequence' or pseudo video of the animals moving in front of the camera.  We prefer cameras with infrared (IR) flashes to reduce the impact on the animals, but don't have strong preferences for 'no glow' cameras.  We usually use 'high' or 'very high' sensitivity settings for the motion sensor, reducing this only if blowing vegetation is a problem.

Preferred features and settings for camera traps used with eMammal

Feature

eMammal Preferences

Trigger time

<0.5s, the faster the better

File type

.jpg, no video (yet)

Flash

IR (black and white photos at night) is preferred to reduce impact on animals.  White flashes are also acceptable.

Pictures per trigger

Burst of multiple (3-5) shots is preferred. Single shots are also acceptable.

Delay between trigger

No delay is strongly preferred. 

Trigger sensitivity

Very high or high