When it comes to trail cameras, users seem to be divided into two categories – Those who use trail cameras all year long, and those who use their cameras a few times a year.  If someone is only going to use a product a couple of times a year, why spend a lot of money on it?

Starting around September or so, sometimes October, big box outlet stores start getting their hunting gear in.  One item that often sparks interest are the low cost trail cameras.  Some of them cost as little as $30.  So what kind of quality could someone expect from a $30 trail camera?  The answer may be surprising.

For this project a Tasco 8MP game camera was purchased from a local big box outlet store for around $30, tax included. Some readers may think this is a small sampling size of just one camera. For over a decade I have used numerous cheap / low cost trail cameras with similar results. While we are discussing one certain camera, I feel it is representative of low cost game cameras in general.

The Tasco trail camera was placed near a wildlife feeder, left for several days, checked, moved back a little bit away from the feeder, then left out for several more days. Over the course of the testing pictures of deer, my dogs, and a coyote were taken.

tacso-camera-deer
Date on the camera is wrong. Picture was taken in 2018.
tasco-night-trail-camera
Pictures was taken in 2018, not 2019.
coyote-trail-camera
Hopefully the coyote is not heading to a chicken house.

Original pictures were taken at 8 megapixel, which measured 3264 x 2448, and ranged in size from 800kb to 1.80 mb. Daytime pictures were acceptable for the price of the camera, but night time were not as clear, which is to be expected. For $30 I feel the camera took more than acceptable pictures.

Pictures lack a temperature stamp that most higher end cameras have on them.  Then again, how many people pay attention to the temperature on the pictures?

One problem with the camera, it took a lot of pictures of nothing.  It seemed as if the camera was taking pictures when the wind blew.

Final Thoughts

Let’s be honest, most hunters are going to use their trail camera two, maybe three months out of the year.  The camera may be set out a month or so before hunting season, then put out right before hunting season.

Let’s be honest about another topic, and that is trail camera theft.  If a camera is stolen, do we want to lose a $100+ camera, or do we want to lose a $30 camera?  Don’t say it does not happen either.  Thieves will steal just about anything.  I have heard of everything from trail cameras, to entire stands being stolen.  When the thieves can not seal, they destroy.

As stated earlier in the article I have been using trail cameras for over a decade. After looking through a number of pictures I found a trail camera picture from 2006.

My beautiful picture
The picture from 2018 seems to have more vivid colors than the one from 2006.

Unless someone wants super high quality pictures, 8mp seems to be more than adequate for a trail camera.

Are cheap trail cameras worth the money?  Sure they are.  I would not hesitate to pick up a few more.

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