Infrared Vs Incandescent Game Cameras – What’s better?

For hunters and wildlife aficionados, its watching the animal/prey in its full glory that makes the day. Unfortunately, one can’t be always in the woods lying low for an unsuspecting game to pass by and that is where game cameras come into the picture. They take pictures at regular intervals or using sensors. Wildlife lovers can enjoy these pictures while trail hunters can make use of the data collected by the camera to track their prey. The biggest question for anyone interested in such a camera is what works best? Is it the infrared variety or the incandescent cameras?

Incandescent Cameras

incandescent camera shotThe word incandescent basically means a normal flash bulb camera that flashes a bright light to capture images in full color with stunning clarity and brightness. Naturally, this kind of a camera is easy to spot by both humans and animals so expect a few spooked shots and scared games that never return to the same spot again. On the other hand their full color night shot makes them an ideal choice for naturalists who are only interested in clicking away pictures even when they can’t be physically present nearby. Many wildlife photographers prefer this type of a camera for its stunning full-color visuals.


The pros of an incandescent camera are naturally….

  • Quite inexpensive as they use crude flash and shutter technology to capture night images.
  • Day Time shots are visibly more stunning thanks to its slower shutter speeds and wider apertures.
  • Every night shot is in full contrast, color and vibrant.
  • Provides stunningly high resolution for those who want clarity.

But the cons of an incandescent camera, which make it a futile purchase for hunters are….

  • Less battery life as incandescent flash uses more energy.
  • Cannot record videos at night.
  • Spooks game and deters animals from entering the camera fitted zone.
  • Trigger is much slower and so can capture half shots or unfocused pictures of scared animals trying to skitter away.
  • Draws the attention of pawing thieves.

Infrared Cameras

infared camera shot

The only difference between incandescent cameras and infrared ones is that the latter uses infrared light to take pictures. These flashes are invisible to the naked eye and animals seldom are aware of its existence. Most infrared game cams also allow video recording at night, which is possibly the biggest advantage of such cams. On the flipside, color pictures are available only in day time while night time pictures are monochromatic contrasts. Naturally, this kind of a camera is not something a naturalist or animal lover would want but its definitely what a hunter wants. You do not want to spook animals making forays into your territory if you plan on trailing them.

The pros of infrared cameras obviously are….

  • Faster shutter speeds allow for quick bursts of 2 to 10 pictures in 3 seconds.
  • Longer battery life as infrared LEDs uses less energy than normal flash bulbs.
  • Undetectable to animals and humans at night.
  • Silent operation with great monochromatic clarity.
  • Zero charging time in-between shots or continuous videos.

The cons of infrared cameras that make it unrealistic for naturalists are….

  • Resolution of night time shots is low with only black and white pictures.
  • Day time clarity lacks a bit but thankfully can be taken in color.
  • Night shots are blurry at times.

What’s Better:

Price should always be secondary to functionality and thus it’s the usefulness of a game camera that decides which is better for you. Therefore, if you want a camera to keep you on the trail and track game movement then infrared is a no-brainer but if its exquisite high resolution clicks then incandescent camera is a better option.

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