Honest Garden Wildlife Camera Reviews
Catch more than a glimpse of what’s going on in your garden
The Top 3 Budget Wildlife Cameras
By the team at DIY Gardening
The team here at DIY Gardening has been busy reading up on garden wildlife cameras and testing those with the best online reviews.
We’ve captured foxes, badgers, hedgehogs and plenty of birds visiting our gardens here in the south of the UK.
We’ve shortlisted just three general cameras and one birdbox camera we think are worth the investment.
To make it onto our shortlist, each camera had to meet these criteria:
- Score at least 4 stars on Amazon reviews.
- Be waterproof.
- Have good quality night vision.
- Take HQ still photos.
- Take HD video footage at 1080p or above.
- Have super-fast trigger so we didn’t miss a thing.
We’ve chosen three general purpose devices; one at the upper end of the price range (under £200), one mid-range camera (under £100) and one in the budget range (less than £50).
We think these are the best garden wildlife cameras you can buy and whatever your budget, you’ll capture plenty of high-quality photos and video.
As with all our reviews here at DIY Gardening, we’ll be honest and truthful; if there’something we don’t like about a wildlife camera, we’ll tell you about it in the “gripes” section.
1) Rexing Woodlens H2:
The Rexing Woodlens garden wildlife camera is priced at the upper end of the range but with good reason; it contains a host of features that you won’t find on cheaper models. For those of you that are happy to spend a little extra, we think the cost is well worth it.
What stands out for us is the ability to change the video recording quality and framerate.
For example, the Rexing Woodlens records in 4k at 10 frames per second and that’s great for slow-moving animals like hedgehogs and turtles but not so good for fast movers like birds.
By adjusting the settings, you can lower the quality to 2.7K/20frames or further to 1080p/25frames or still further to 720p/30frames. The last two settings should produce enough frames to capture even the fastest moving animal you’re likely to see in your garden.
You can also set the photo quality to either 20MP/12/8/5/3/.
The night vision works well up to 20 metres from the camera, and the infrared flash is completely silent so it won’t scare off any animal nearby.
The trigger is activated 0.2 seconds after motion is detected, and we couldn’t find a camera with a faster trigger.
How much of the garden a camera can film is also essential; too narrow and you’ll miss animals that are out of view. Too wide and the footage can become distorted and curved. The Rexing Woodlens’ camera angle is 105° which is in the sweet spot between 100° – 120°.
As with any camera at the upper end of the price scale, you also get an LCD screen (2.4 inches) on the back of the device so you can watch playback of your footage without ejecting the SD card. With the downloadable app and wifi connection, you can also watch recordings and images on your phone without disturbing the camera at all.
The Rexing Woodlens wildlife camera also ticks all the usual boxes; it’s waterproof to IP66, houses 8 x AA batteries so you won’t need to change the batteries for well over a year and takes SD cards up to 512GB.
You can also power this camera from the supplied AV cable, and it comes with a strap for mounting to trees and a screw mount for securing to flat surfaces such as walls or fences.
As this camera is also designed for hunting trips, it’s as rugged as can be with all the buttons feeling very well made and sturdy.
You can see some image stills on this YouTube video.
Gripes: The app is buggy and very limited, it’s okay for watching video and images when it works, but we found it temperamental at best. We did get the camera to work with several other independent apps though.
2) Apeman Trail Cam H70
The Apeman Trail H70 is the perfect mid-range garden wildlife camera offering plenty of features without the hefty price tag.
Video can be shot in impressive 4K Ultra HD or 1080p standard HD or even 720p, all with a wide-angle lens so you capture as much of the garden without distortion. The framerate increases with the lower resolutions; this is ideal for recording different animals in the garden, fast-moving animal such birds will look better on video shot with a higher framerate.
The infrared lights used to illuminate animals at night are low-glow variants so they shouldn’t scare off garden visitors while still producing clear nighttime video and images.
Photo resolution can be set from 5mp up to 30mp with the higher density consuming more battery power.
This wildlife camera comes with a strap, mount and USB cable but if you want to power it from the mains, you’ll need to buy the 6volt cable separately. It takes 8 AA batteries which don’t come supplied.
You don’t need to worry about rain or moisture with this camera, it’s rated waterproof to IP66 which is one of the highest standards.
The trigger speed doesn’t get faster than this – 0.2 seconds and we found the video quality to be very good, especially considering the price tag.
A YouTube video of this product can be found here.
Gripes: The H70 only takes memory cards up to 32GB and with 4K footage, that can fill up quickly. The 4K footage is recorded at 10 frames per second which is fine for slow-moving animals but useless for birds etc. Our original purchase came with a defect but the replacement worked fine.
3) Usogood Wildlife Camera:
At the mid-price range is the Usogood Wildlife Camera.
You can expect acceptable 1080p HD video footage from this compact garden wildlife cam and at 20cm x 12cm x 8cm and weighing 500 grams, this device literally fits in the palm of your hand.
With a respectable trigger speed of 0.2 seconds, you’ll catch even the fastest animal blitzing across your garden. The adjustable infrared sensor is a nice touch as it allows you to increase or decrease the sensitivity to prevent false positives.
Photos are shot in an impressive 16 megapixels with the option to lower the quality to save battery life.
The camera comes with a strap and a socket should you wish to buy a tripod and is waterproof to IP66 standard.
Gripes: The picture and video quality isn’t great but is just about acceptable. The infrared lights create a whiteout on the footage when animals that get too close to the camera (within a metre) so it’s not much good for closeup nighttime recordings. The largest SD card this device takes is 32gb which isn’t a lot. While you can power this device from a cable, it doesn’t come supplied with one (standard 6v DC cable), so you’ll need to buy it separately if you don’t want to use batteries.
The Best Camera For Bird Boxes and Hedgehog Houses:
If you want to capture footage of birds or hedgehogs in huts and birdhouses etc then consider a wired camera that guarantees 1080p HD footage that won’t drop out due to WiFi issues.
The Green Feathers 1080p wired cameras is perfect for parts of the garden that are far away from the WiFi router and where a connection could be problematic.
Choose from several different cable lengths, from 20 metres up to 60 metres.
The infrared lights work well at illuminating the birdbox or hedgehog house at night and there’s a microphone too that allows you to listen in.
The camera itself is built solidly and you can watch the wide-angled footage from any Windows PC and any phone.
Gripes: There aren’t any Smart TV apps, so to watch the footage on your TV you’ll need to mirror a pc or tablet. This device doesn’t have a motion sensor or memory card slot; it just sends the footage to your pc, tablet or phone for live viewing.
How long do batteries last in garden wildlife cameras?
The batteries in most wildlife cameras should last several months but could drain in a matter of weeks if you’re recording lots of footage in ultra HD (4K) or taking lots of very high-quality images.
What's the difference between a trail camera and a garden wildlife camera?
Trail cameras can be used in both the garden and out in the wild, they are powered by batteries and have a memory storage card slot. Garden cameras can have all of these features or can be simple cameras creating a live feed for you to watch on your TV or computer.
How can I extend the battery life of a wildlife camera?
You can increase the battery life by reducing the sensitivity of the device so it isn’t triggered by false positives. Also, try placing the device away from items that move in the wind, such as branches, as these trigger the cameras too. You can also lower the resolution in both the video and image settings as high-quality images and footage drain the battery.
Is a 4K Ultra HD Camera any good?
Most wildlife cameras that produce 4K footage do so at a very low framerate, this is to save the battery and could cause issues with fast-moving animals such as birds. 1080p (standard HD) is just fine for both fast and slow-moving animals.
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