Is Photo or Video Mode Better for a New Trail Camera

Trail cameras are an essential tool for any ranch or property owners and serious hunters needing to track game. These motion-activated, rugged outdoor camera units can be easily transported and set up wherever you need some perimeter security or you believe you will see animal activity. They then operate independently for months, photographing or recording any movement to a storage device usually occupying the same weatherproof, camouflaged case.

Chief among the many different functions upon which these camera models can be compared is their ability to record still photos or videos when triggered by motion. Historically, shoppers had to commit to one or the other when they bought their trail camera; nowadays it is much more common for a camera to be able to switch between both as needed. Both types of operation have their adherents and detractors, with pros and cons arguable on each side. So which, overall, performs better? Australia’s trail camera experts, Proschoice, have summarised the strongest points here:

A video is worth a thousand pictures

One of the main motives for buying such a camera is to observe natural wildlife in your area or on your property, studying their behaviour and movements. Whether you’re preparing to hunt these creatures or simple study the viability of their population, being able to see more of them and get a more full idea of their attitudes can only help.

Videos not only let you pick the best stills out of potentially minutes of footage, with the potential to arrive at much better shots, but they sometimes present information about an animal’s habits, movement, and looks which could never be derived from individual photos. For this reason video footage is, in an optimist’s eyes, the best possible choice for your trail cameras. But a number of potential factors can impact its viability.


The harsh realities favour photos

The first and most commonly cited argument for photo mode is the extension it lends to battery life – often over 200%. As an economical and convenience selling point, that’s a telling blow against video mode trail cameras. There is also concern that in models with flashes or other visible lights, having these devices on for an extended period, rather than the brief instant a photo takes, can spook game. You could buy a “No-Glow” camera with night vision, but nighttime video footage is almost invariably of the lowest, grainiest quality.

Of course, Proschoice are getting in new models of trail camera all the time, and functionality in these key areas are constantly improving. In time we may all switch over to video trail cameras, but in the meantime we suggest you consider what your priorities are before making the decision.