Best Garden Camera/Alexa
14th March 2021 at 7:36 am #29720
Im not terribly ‘Techy’ but was given an Alexa for Xmas..
Can this be used with a camera to see hogs in the garden OR do I need a specialist type garden camera to see stills and photos on my computer?
Tks14th March 2021 at 9:20 am #29726
t know anything about Alexa as i dont have one. But i would say you need a dedicated trail camera that has night vision.14th March 2021 at 3:12 pm #29732
Hi laura. A poster here mentioned Aldi’s Maginon wildlife camera some time ago and I was keen to buy one. I had to wait till they were in stock again (seem very popular and have decent reviews).
Unfortunately mine has a fault and Aldi Germany tell me they aren’t sending anything to the UK now because of Brexit so I can’t get a replacement – it’s also unavailable on A*m*z*o*.
I still believe they are a simple decent wildlife camera for a decent price from what I’ve heard if that is any help, my experience seems unusual. I am very keen still to get a camera so I’ll be following your post for answers.14th March 2021 at 6:38 pm #29734
I would probably say with trail cameras buy the best you can afford. Buy cheap buy twice is probably correct in this case.
I have one called a Ltl Acorn (little acorn) product number 5210A. It cost a little under £100 and I have had it for years and years and it does everything I need and never fails.
Photos, Video, Night and Day and easy to use. (no sound recording )though.
£100 is not cheap but I would say it is the place to start if you want a good one.
NHBS is a good site to look at15th March 2021 at 10:39 am #29743
If the Alexa you have is the type with a screen you could connect it to a camera if you buy a camera with WiFi, you would have to place it in the garden within range of your router and setup may be a little tricky if you’re not techy. Most cameras use an SD card which you retrieve and insert in the camera or connect the camera to your laptop/tablet via a cable and it is fairly straightforward.
I got a Campark 16MP (they do a few different models) about a year ago and I’ve since got two more, can’t really fault them, most of the features of more expensive cameras but a lot less money. There is a few threads discussing cameras on the forum if you look back a couple of pages15th March 2021 at 2:53 pm #29752
As I’m still searching for a camera wanted to mention I have found NatureSpy.org and seems a good site with lots of information on various wildlife cameras, especially for a beginner such as myself. Also a non-profit organisation. I never realised there was such a choice – confusing.15th March 2021 at 3:44 pm #29753
There are loads to choose from, some are just clones of each other from what I can tell. There are some good youtube videos where a selection is reviewed and the pros and cons of each pointed out.
I recently bought a Victure for under £70 which has WiFi so I can connect to it from inside the house and at the same time have it set up to record when triggered onto the SD card as all the other ones do.
What I would say, from trying a couple of different models, is get at least 2 sets of rechargeable batteries (many of these cameras require 8 x AA) and a good charger so you always have a set ready to go. Some manufacturers (including the highly respected Browning company) state that some of their models will not run on rechargeable batteries which in these more environmentally aware times is very poor in my opinion so always check the specs before you buy. Alo some of the manuals are rubbish but you can usually find a demo on youtube.15th March 2021 at 4:16 pm #29755
I also have a Victure HC200 (without WiFi). It was a gift, so I didn’t have to do any research myself. I set it out in the evening, bring it in in the morning, transfer the videos (or photos) to my laptop then recharge the camera batteries. Two sets of batteries would be much better, as suggested, as they seem to take a while to recharge, but I’ve managed for a year with just one set. I’ve left it out for three nights without recharging, but I prefer the daily routine.
The lenses need cleaning every now and then, and I’ve also covered the LED lights with a thin layer of black plastic because the centre of the photo/video was whited out. I’m still experimenting with that.
The sound quality of the camera is excellent. You can hear every breath and every munch (I feed a mixture that includes dry cat biscuits). The video quality is sufficient for my needs; I can see what’s coming and going, what they’re eating and drinking, and how they interact (hedgehogs seem to be unfazed by cats and foxes, but the cats scarper when a fox approaches). So I use it for observation purposes rather than professional quality videos, although some of mine have been pretty good.
WiFi and real-time viewing would be great, and would save me time wading through scores of videos every morning (mainly of cats and birds, as I’m a late riser) and deleting unwanted ones before my cloud backup starts! But I find shopping research tediou,s so unless someone recommends a good one on here I’m going to stick with what I’ve got.
We leave a floodlight on until midnight, so we can watch a lot of hog behaviour in real time, but they’re coming and going until dawn at the moment so the camera provides extra information.
I do wish tom cats wouldn’t spray the camera every time they pass, and so perhaps need to set it up a bit higher.16th March 2021 at 10:28 am #29768
I’d be interested how you get on with trying to dissipate the IR light a bit. I also find it a bit too intense and ‘spotlight’ though it helps having it raised up a bit. I already had a tripod so I’ve been trying the Victure mounted on that.
My other camera is an Apeman (which doesn’t work 100% as it should and in the end they gave me a refund on it so it was free so I cant complain) which seems to spread the IR light more evenly.
Unfortunately the picture quality isn’t as good as the Victure. I think I got one of a bad batch as I know other Apeman users that have had no issues but there are also Amazon reviews saying they had the same problems as me. I probably should give them another go, the features are very good for a camera in their price range.16th March 2021 at 11:48 am #29770
I wasn’t very scientific in my approach. I took a thin black plastic carrier bag and cut out a rectangle that covered the LEDs. I was later informed (where are your family when you’re actually doing these things!) that it might have been better just covering the middle first.
So it’s the topmost rectangle that I covered, for those like me that rarely read the manual before diving in.
Anyway, it gave a more or less even coverage of light across the whole area, and I could see more clearly, but not quite as sharply. There was no central white-out.
However I also changed where I placed the camera, at the same time, so that’s why it wasn’t very scientific. I’ll put it out tonight in the original position to see what happens and will report back.
I experimented with a tripod but the ground is very uneven, on a steep slope, and because I let the garden grow wild for most of the year (I strim around the feeding stations) it’s hard to find a good vantage point. Also the demon cats tend to brush up against anything they’ve sprayed (and they love spraying the camera) so I have a strange shaped brick that raises it a bit off the ground and gives it some stability.
Before I was given the Victure as an unexpected gift I was looking at the Apeman, so your thoughts on it are very useful. I’d like to have a camera trained on my new pond, so I’m either looking at buying a second camera or investigating a wall-mounted WiFi mains-powered camera that might cover a wider range. Or just rotating the current camera between the two sites.
I found a badger site yesterday, while on a walk, and was thinking of leaving the camera there overnight.17th March 2021 at 11:02 am #29794
Feedback from last night, with black plastic over the Victure 200 LEDs: The central area (the one that used to be whited-out) looked perfect. But the peripheral areas were too dark. So it definitely needs a more targeted approach. I’m sure there must be solutions out there, I just need to research them.
And although the camera part that I covered isn’t the motion detector I felt, on this and on the previous occasions, that it wasn’t detecting everything. I can’t explain why, as I don’t know much about cameras. When I checked both feeding stations this morning they’d both been used, but the camera didn’t catch anything going into the one that was more heavily used (definitely by hedgehogs). Given how much food was eaten, I think I missed a lot.
I’ll keep experimenting, but at the moment I’d prefer to capture all the action even if I can’t see it all clearly, than miss out on something.18th March 2021 at 8:57 am #29817
Thanks for the update, may be worth perservering. Some designs allow access to the individual little LED lights as the whole of the front opens up but the Victures don’t (I think its to give better water resistance to the LED’s, detectors and lens) so all you can do is blank out or restrict the little windows on the front of the case as you have tried. As you have found there will be some restriction of the light at the edges. The Victure does seem the throw a more ‘narrow beam’ out than the Apeman from my experience.22nd March 2021 at 12:42 pm #29896
The first couple of years I used Amazon bought cameras costing £60-£80, Apeman, Aucee, Reagle, Crenova and others. The image quality varied quite a bit not because of the quality of the lens but the focal range. My best camera and the only one still working is the Aucee.
However, over the last 8 months I have replaced the now deceased cameras with Brownings and I now have 3 of these. Initially the image quality did not look much different to the Aucee, but the build quality is much better. These cameras ranged from £184 – £165, so quite a bit more expensive, but hopefully will last a lot longer. Also unlike most of the Chinese cameras above there is much better support should anything go wrong. I bought mine from Wild View Cameras in the UK who have excellent support. They also have a FB page which is well worth a visit any most queries will have been answered on this site at some point.WildView FB . One of the best things I have got from this group is buying Close-up lenses for the cameras. Basically you buy a 37mm lens adapter and a few 37mm Close up lenses and fit one of them to the camera lens using a black ‘bluetac’. This brings the cameras much closer focus than the standard lens which is really for large animals. The result is that it transforms the image quality for most Trail cameras and well worth the £20 or so investment.
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.