Beginner's Guide to Trail Camera Flash Types
Trophy Size 7x7 Bull ElkCaptured: Nov. 7, 2021
7x7 Bull Elk Victure HC 300 from Victure HC 300
Camera Model: Victure HC300
Animal: Elk Family: Deer (Cervidae)
Article Summary - TLDR
Trail cameras are used to observe animals in their natural habitat and use either Infrared or White Flash illumination to capture images at night. Infrared illumination uses longer wavelengths of light, making it invisible to the human eye, while traditional white flash uses visible light. No-glow flash uses 940nm infrared LEDs, making it invisible to most animals and humans, while low-glow flash uses 850nm infrared LEDs, making it visible to some animals and humans. Both have advantages and disadvantages, and the choice depends on the specific needs and preferences of the user.
Beginner's Guide to Trail Camera Flash Types
Published: March 14, 2023, 7:56 p.m.
Trail cameras are a popular tool for wildlife enthusiasts, researchers, and hunters to observe animals in their natural habitat. Game cameras use two illumination types to capture images, Infrared and White Flash. Each with advantages and disadvantages. The main difference between infrared illumination and traditional white flash is the wavelength of the light being emitted.
Infrared illumination uses wavelengths of light that are longer than those of visible light, so it is not visible to the human eye. On the other hand, traditional white flash uses wavelengths of visible light, so it is visible to the human eye. The terms "low-glow," "no-glow," and "black flash" are often used to describe different types of infrared illumination.
However, in most cases, these terms refer to either 850nm or 940nm wavelength illumination, with "low-glow" typically referring to 850nm and "no-glow" and "black flash" to 940nm. There are some variations in the design of these illumination types. For example, some manufacturers may use a combination of 850nm and 940nm illumination in their low-glow or no-glow cameras to balance stealth and image quality. Additionally, some trail cameras may use a hybrid illumination system that combines infrared illumination with visible light to capture color images at night.
It's important to note that even with low-glow or no-glow illumination, some animals may still be able to detect the flash, especially if they are close to the camera or have a particularly acute vision. However, stealth illumination can help minimize the impact on wildlife behavior and increase the likelihood of capturing natural, unobtrusive images.
Overall, while there may be some variation in the terminology used to describe different types of trail camera illumination, the underlying technology is mainly limited to 850nm and 940nm infrared illumination. However, ongoing advances in camera technology may lead to the development of new types of illumination that offer even better stealth and image quality in the future.
Modern trail cameras rarely use a white flash, typically found in traditional cameras and phones. This type of flash creates a bright and visible light that can startle and scare away animals when triggered. Although a white flash can capture color images at night and is effective at capturing fast-moving animals, its potential to disturb animals with its bright flash is why it is not widely used in modern trail cameras.
No-glow flash, also known as black flash, uses 940nm infrared LEDs that emit light that is not visible to the human eye or most animals. The advantage of no-glow flash is that it does not emit a visible flash, making it less likely to startle, spook wildlife, or alert potential thieves to the camera's presence. However, the downside is that no-glow flash typically has a shorter illumination range and can result in lower-quality images in complete darkness.
The advantage of low-glow flash is that it typically has a longer illumination range, providing better image quality in complete darkness compared to no-glow flash. On the other hand, low-glow flash uses 850nm infrared LEDs that emit a faint red glow that can be seen by some animals and humans but is less likely to startle wildlife or alert potential thieves.
Low-Glow (850nm) vs. No-Glow (940nm)
The 850nm and 940nm are two types of infrared light used in trail cameras. 850nm infrared light is generally more visible to humans and animals than 940nm infrared light. This is because 850nm light is closer to the visible light spectrum, making it more detectable by the human eye. 940nm infrared light, on the other hand, is almost completely invisible to humans and animals, making it a good choice for applications where stealth is critical, especially wildlife monitoring or research. In summary, 850nm illumination provides better illumination in trail cameras. Still, it may spook some game animals due to its visibility. Compared to 850nm illumination, 940nm illumination is less visible and more stealthy, making it a good choice for avoiding detection by animals. However, it may provide less illumination, resulting in grainier and lower-quality images. The choice between the two depends on the specific needs and preferences of the user.
Can animals see 940nm illumination?
Most animals have limited ability to see in the near-infrared spectrum, which includes the 940 nm wavelength. Some animals, such as deer and other ungulates, can detect light in the near-infrared spectrum, but it is typically at much lower intensity levels than the human eye. For this reason, 940 nm illumination is often used in game cameras because it is less likely to spook the animals being captured on camera. However, it's worth noting that different animals have different sensitivities to different wavelengths of light, so the effectiveness of 940 nm illumination can vary depending on the species being captured. Additionally, some animals, such as coyotes and bears, have better night vision than others and may be more sensitive to near-infrared light.
Can animals see 850nm illumination?
850nm illumination is generally more visible to game animals such as deer, elk, bears, coyotes, and wolves, as it is closer to the visible light spectrum than 940nm illumination. However, 850nm illumination is less likely to spook game animals than white flash, and some newer fame cameras can still capture color images at night. Compared to 940nm illumination, the advantages of using 850nm in trail cameras include better illumination, the ability to capture color images at night, and a longer flash range. However, the disadvantages include the potential to spook some game animals and the potential for the camera to be detected by humans who may see the faint red glow of the LEDs.
How does the power consumption of 850nm illumination compare to that of 940nm illumination?
The power consumption difference between 850nm and 940nm illumination in trail cameras depends on a number of factors, including the design of the LED and the driver circuit, the number of LEDs used, and the overall power requirements of the camera. Generally speaking, the power consumption of infrared LEDs increases with the illumination wavelength, so 940nm LEDs tend to be more power-hungry than 850nm LEDs. However, this difference can be offset by using more efficient driver circuits or by using fewer 940nm LEDs to achieve the same illumination level. As a result, the actual difference in power consumption between 850nm and 940nm illumination can vary widely and is highly dependent on the specific design of the camera.
Are there any alternatives to 850nm and 940nm illumination in trail cameras?
While different marketing terms are used for trail camera illumination, they generally fall into the categories of low-glow, no-glow, and black flash, which are all variations of 850nm and 940nm infrared illumination. So, from a technical perspective, trail cameras have no other options for stealth illumination.
Why is white flash not more common in trail cameras?
White flash is uncommon in trail cameras because it is more visible to animals and can startle them. Trail cameras aim to capture images of wildlife in their natural state without causing a disturbance. When a flash spooks an animal, it is likely to change its behavior and not act naturally, which can affect the quality and usefulness of the images captured by the trail camera. White flash can also be seen from a much greater distance than infrared flash, which can reduce the effective range of the trail camera. Infrared flash is (almost) invisible to both humans and animals, therefore, making it the preferred choice for most trail cameras.