Wildlife such as birds, hedgehogs, foxes and deer are naturally quite cautious and unlikely to let you get too close. However, because most wildlife cameras are triggered by movement or heat, they don’t require you to be there in person and are a brilliant way to see animals that would usually be too timid.
The best wildlife cameras can take photos in daylight, low light and during the night, giving you the chance to see nocturnal animals, and come with a rugged case that allows you to capture imagery in the coldest and wettest of weather.
All of the best garden wildlife cameras come with these basic features but if you’re not a seasoned wildlife photographer, there are a few extra considerations to bear in mind when choosing a camera.
Firstly, budget. While we’ve done our best to highlight some of the best, affordable wildlife cameras, some of the premium models can easily cost upwards of £200. It’s therefore worth weighing up how often the camera will be used against what you’re comfortable spending.
The speed at which the camera captures an image should also be considered as well as its recovery time (the time it takes before it’s ready to take another photo). Most trail cameras will also capture video but this is worth checking, along with a camera’s battery life and memory space.
To help make choosing a wildlife camera as simple as possible, we’ve selected 10 recommended models, along with a more extensive explanation of the types of cameras available and how to choose the best cameras for wildlife photography.
To look after the birds in your garden, browse our pick of the best bird feeders, bird baths, and bird tables. Or encourage more wildlife to visit with products from our best hedgehog houses and bat boxes guides.
- How to choose the best cameras for wildlife photography
- Types of wildlife cameras
- Best wildlife cameras to buy
When choosing a wildlife trail camera there are a few features to assess before you can start capturing your favourite wildlife. If you’re using the camera primarily to take photos, pay attention to the camera’s resolution. The more megapixels a camera has should mean an improved picture quality. Many of the premium models will offer upwards of 20MP, which is more than enough to capture sharp, bright images.
A good picture quality should be combined with a fast trigger speed. The best camera for wildlife photography is one that is triggered quickly by any movement or heat from an animal and captures an image in less than a second.
The next assessments should be of battery life and memory. Many of the best wildlife cameras now offer SD card slots to expand the amount of photos that can be stored on the camera before they need exporting.
Additional features such as accompanying apps, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi also enable you to transfer imagery from the camera without having to physically visit the camera. A good battery life will extend how long you can wait before having to return to the camera, which avoids disrupting visiting wildlife and is more convenient for the user.
Once you’ve found a trail camera that suits your needs, watch our video for a guide on how to set up a mammal trap camera.
While most of the best garden wildlife cameras are in the style of trail cameras, specialist time-lapse models and bullet cameras are also commonly found on the market.
Trail cameras are typically mounted to a tree or left in the undergrowth to capture photographs or footage of animals too skittish to approach if a person was present. The best wildlife trail cameras are triggered by the movement or heat of an animal and can capture an image in 0.5 seconds or less.
Trail cameras are also the most rugged style of wildlife camera and come with a waterproof casing. This case, which is usually green or brown for camouflage,allows the camera to be left out on a trail or at the bottom of your garden to capture images, whatever the weather.
Bullet cameras are designed to be mounted onto the side of a house, building or fencing. Unlike trail cameras, which are typically powered by batteries, bullet cameras come with cables and are powered from the mains.
Because the cameras are designed to be mounted, they’re a good option for capturing imagery of birds and other flying wildlife.
The best camera for wildlife photography will depend on what style of imagery you’re looking to capture and there are specific wildlife cameras designed to encapsulate months of footage into minutes.
They work by capturing frames at regular intervals so they can be turned into time-lapse videos. If you would like to trial this feature without buying a specialist camera, some of the best trail cameras also have a time-lapse mode.
From the best camera for nature photography to specialist night vision models, here’s our selection of the best wildlife cameras.
Gardenature Garden Camera
This bullet-style camera offers coverage of up to 9 metres (30 feet) and 24 hour viewing by switching on an infrared illumination when light levels drop too low. Powered by the mains, it has a 1080p resolution and is weatherproofed.
RSPB Nature Camera
The RSPB Nature camera comes in a waterproof case and can be mounted on a tripod, fixed to a tree or simply placed on the ground. Features include a time-lapse mode, day and night photography and 1080p HD colour video.
RSPB Nest Box Camera System
This camera from the RSPB comes with a built-in microphone, 30 metres of cable and a bird box made from FSC timber. The bird box camera can capture images 24/7 and the nest box is suitable for a range of birds including blue tits and sparrows.
LTL Acorn Scouting Wildlife Camera
This camera detects movement with a Passive Infra-Red (PIR) sensor which then triggers it to captur photos or videos of visiting animals. The battery life lasts six months in standby mode when powered by eight AA batteries and performs in temperatures ranging from -30 to 70 degrees Celsius.
Victure Mini Wildlife Camera
The Victure Mini Wildlife Camera uses a high resolution lens and captures 1080P HD videos with audio. It has a waterproof casing and a trigger speed of up to 0.4 seconds. Other features include password protection, an LCD screen and a time-lapse mode.
Bushnell Core Low Glow Trail Camera
This 20MP camera comes in a sand brown waterproof casing to help it blend into its surrounding environment. It has a night range of 30 metres (100 feet) and low glow technology that means you get brighter photos while the camera emits light hardly visible to the human eye.
Apeman Wildlife Camera
The Apeman Wildlife Camera shoots 4K video and has a trigger speed of up to 0.2 seconds. With Infrared Low Glow LEDs, the camera can also capture night imagery within a coverage of 19 metres (65 feet). It can be operated by an external power source, has a two-inch colour screen and also stamps photos with time, date and temperature information.
Wingscapes Timelapse Camera
The Wingscape Timelapse Camera automatically captures frames at regular intervals and allows you to turn them into standard-definition time-lapse videos. It has a lockable, rugged case, battery life indicator and a time, date and location stamp to help you track movement.
Spypoint Link-S Trail Camera
With a detection range of up to 24 metres (80 feet), the Spypoint Link-S is a cellular camera with a trigger speed of up to 0.4 seconds. It’s fitted with a solar panel to extend its battery life, is powered by eight AA batteries and supports a 32GB MicroSD card.
ToGuard 1296P Wildlife Camera
This camera from ToGuard has built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and an accompanying app to make viewing your photos easy. The trail camera captures 20MP photos and 1269P video and has a trigger speed of up to 0.3 seconds.
This Product Guide was last updated in February 2021 and we apologise if anything has changed in price or availability.