Should you go for a black flash, infrared (IR) or white trail camera flash when buying a trail camera?
It’s important to differentiate when you’re buying a new camera.
These are the different kinds of flash modules available: white-light flash, infra-red and so-called black flash.
There are pros and cons in each case. To make your decision, think of your scouting and hunting interests and methods.
Or if you are going to use the camera for security purposes, consider what you want to observe and when.
If you’ve had cameras for years, this is familiar. The pro here is that you’ll take the best color-quality images overall. Your night-time photos will be in color (such as the photo above).
If disturbing animals – or human intruders – isn’t a problem, this is the best choice. Some white-flash models can illuminate up to fifty feet, giving you distant shots.
Infra-Red (IR) Flash (Low Glow)
This is a common choice for trail cameras used in night photography. The point is not to disturb animals or other humans. When the flash goes off, there is a slight red glow from the LEDs.
However, you see this only if looking straight at the camera. From the side the glow is invisible. Two important pros of these flashes are flash-range, and the possibility of night video.
The IR flash has a range of a hundred feet or more! When you can take both photos and video, you have so many possibilities. Images or video will be black and white, but crisp and clear (such as in the photo below).
One of the advantages of the IR flash is that you can see nightly activity. For example, bucks marking territory, or browsing, as they don’t in daylight. The video strings all this behavior together.
You can cover areas where deer could be over a wider area. Watching over the edges of fields, for example, when they could be far off. Or: set high or off to one side, you can watch a suspected burglar’s activities.
The Black-Flash by Comparison (No Glow)
The Black-Flash isn’t really black, but it’s a pure IR flash you can’t see. Most animals can’t either (there are exceptions). Here, you can mount a camera looking directly at deer rubs or scrapes.
The camera can be close up with no worry of frightening them. You can also hide your trail camera from other hunters on public land. This is important when there’s much competition.
The range of Black-Flash may be less than IR. (Of course,, your daylight pictures and videos are always in color, as with IR flash.) Below is a night black flash photo.
Other Pros of Black-Flash
You will see truly natural behavior of such animals. As said, you can have the camera much closer.
Black-Flash doesn’t give a camera away when surveying property. With wildlife, people get more and better photos and video of predators. Wolves, for example, won’t be intimidated by any red glow.
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