I build my own trail cams. From the people I've talked to you can build a trail cam for $250 and its on par with $600 factory built units. I've not used or even seen factory units so I can neither confirm nor deny that. Two of the biggest reasons cited are the quality of the photo and the speed between the motion sensor picking something up and the camera firing.
I'm running 5 cams right now. All of them I built. A 1.3 megapixel Olympus, a 3.2 megapixel Sony and three 4.1 megapixel Sony's. The Sony systems run their circutry on a 9-volt battery like a smoke detector and will last all season. The camera itself runs on a pair of rechargable AA NiMh batteries and will operate for a week taking 140 photos with the majority of them being flash photos. A couple of weeks if the activity is low.
Its possible to use a bank of batteries to power your camera as well. I also do know a couple of guys that have built units with solar chargers and leave their cams out for nearly a year since they are a thousand miles from being able to check them.
A DVR recorder is what I'm building next. Color day time video and IR night video.
If you want factory, I've heard great things about Leaf River and good things about Cuddeback. Both fire quickly from what I've been told and have very good picture quality.
Email me if you're interested in seeing some of the cams I've built. Or some of the photos the camera is capable of. And I'd be happy to get you started building your own.
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