Trail camera prices are on the rise, but there are still some affordable options under $50 that provide perfectly useful photos and videos for a fraction of the cost.
Do you really need an expensive trail camera? NO!! Expensive trail cameras do offer a few bells and whistles that make browsing photos and viewing photos remotely extremely convenient, but they aren’t absolutely needed. Cheaper cameras, especially those under $50, offer basic features that can perform nearly the same for less.
Cameras like the Primos Bullet Proof 2 and WildGame Innovations TX10i1-8 are under $50 and take crystal clear photos that rival even the most high dollar cameras. In this guide, we’ll take a look at our top picks for the best game cameras under $50 and why you should pick one up.
These are the Top 3 Trail Cameras Under $50:
Trail cameras are great tools for capturing what goes on when you can’t be there. These handy little game cameras can be mounted discreetly and provide a wealth of information. While game camera prices have soared recently, there still remain budget options under $50 that can get the job done.
These are the three trail cameras under $50 you should consider:Primos Bullet Proof 2 (click to check the current price on Amazon) – Primos is well known in the trail camera industry and has been producing quality cameras for decades. I’ve used the Bullet Proof 2 camera for several years and it’s never let me down. Its compact size is perfect for hiding to prevent people from stealing it. This trail camera is my top pick for a camera under $50. Wildgame Innovations TX10i1-8 (click to check the current price on Amazon) – Wildgame Innovations just released the TX10i1-8 Terra Extreme camera and it has received some great reviews. It’s one of the cheapest game cameras that still has HD Video. It has slightly more options then the Primos, but costs slightly more as well. Foxelli Trail Camera (click to check the current price on Amazon) – Foxelli isn’t a brand I’m familiar with, but I had to order one of these cameras just to see what all the hype was about. This is your budget option. It’s likely made by a Chinese company so it’s cheaper, but the quality is almost identical to the some of the $100 game cameras. After one season of use, it’s held up great, battery life lasts over a week, and photos were absolutely GREAT!
Why I picked the Primos Bullet Proof 2 Camera
When you sit down and compare the Primos Bullet Proof 2, Wildgame Innovations TX10i1-8, and Foxelli, the differences are noticeable.
- The Primos is a subcompact camera that is easy to hide from the prying eyes of thieves.
- The Primos can go multiple weeks without needing to change the batteries. Other cameras barely last a week with normal use and need more batteries. The Bullet Proof 2 only runs on 4 AA Batteries.
- The Primos accepts up to 32GB SD cards to store tons of photos and videos.
- The Bullet Proof 2 is a rugged camera that has what you need and nothing you don’t. There are fewer things to go wrong like with the Wildgame Innovations and Foxelli.
- The Primos offers 8 MP resolution and 720 HD Video which is more than enough for regular use on the deer lease or for home security.
- You can buy several of the Primos for the cost of higher priced cameras. Monitor more area while spending less.
Here is a great clip of the kind of pics you can expect to achieve with a game camera under $50 like the Bullet Proof 2.
Features to look for in trail cameras under $50:
- High resolution (though this alone does not guarantee a better picture) – Definitely get a camera with the most Megapixels and 1080 HD Video if available.
- Tough, durable, and water proof outer housing – These things get exposed to the elements 24/7 so they need be tough and keep water out.
- No-glow IR emitters for night time surveillance – Some trail cams emit a red IR light that is not an issue for wildlife, but people can see it and possibly steal your cam.
- Capable of accepting external SD cards – This is especially useful when you have SD cards in rotation where you can pop a new one in and take the used one back to camp to check out at a later time.
- 32 GB SD memory card compatibility – 64 GB and even 1 TB SD cards now exist, so take data storage capabilities into consideration. More is almost always better.
- Wi-Fi or Cellular connectivity that allows you to view pictures remotely – This is hard to find in trail cameras under $50, but could exist eventually.
- Easy to hide from would be thieves.
- Long Range Flash Capabilities. (Click here to see which trail cams see the furthest)
- Simple to set up and operate
- Quality microphone system with wind noise reduction
- Anti fog lens for wet/cold conditions
- Long life battery use or rechargeable batteries – Game cameras can eat through batteries. Make sure you’re comfortable with the battery usage before you buy.
About Budget Trail Cameras Under $50
You might think that trail cameras under $50 might be too cheap to even mess with, but surprisingly they are some of the best hidden gems. I’ve found budget game cameras to be like that old truck with a manual transmission and roll down windows; its simplicity is something to be cherished.
Should you buy a cheap trail camera or go for the expensive ones?
Expensive Trail Cams Vs. Cheap Trail Cams – Which is better?
- Expensive Trail Cams – These are your trail cameras between $200-500. They offer remote connectivity through cellular and Wi-Fi so you can view the camera on your smartphone wherever you are. They also have sound and video that cheaper cameras do not.
- Cheap Trail Cams – These cameras are under $100 and have the basic technology to perform the task at hand, but lack the ease of use of higher priced cameras. For most tasks, a cheaper camera will work just fine.
I’ve used both expensive trail cameras and cheap trail cams and my preference leans toward the budget side. Why? Because trail cameras can be finicky pieces of equipment and unless there is a special circumstance where an expensive camera offers a certain option I need, the cheaper camera could perform just as well and I wouldn’t lose any sleep over ruining a $500 camera.
Budget trail cameras are great for public hunting areas (those that allow trail cam use) since even if someone finds it and takes it, you’re not out a whole lot. For private land where the risk of theft is less, going with an expensive camera makes just as much sense. If you need some ideas on how to hide you cameras, check out this guide.
Additionally, it’s easier on the wallet to buy 5 or more budget trial cameras to cover a large hunting ranch than it is to buy multiple expensive cameras. You’ll be able to monitor more areas with cheap cameras if you’re on a strict budget.
I will say that expensive trail cameras have their place and being able to view your camera photos in real-time remotely is an awesome feature. The cheap cameras just can’t compete with the options the expensive cams provide, and Cuddeback even has a few models that can daisy chain Wi-Fi connection up to 4 miles. That’s pretty cool.
My advice? Look around before you buy to compare prices before making a decision. The cheapest are usually not going to last very long and expensive cams are usually way more than you’ll need. Somewhere in the middle has almost always resulted in the best choice for me. Check out this review for more info on some the best trail cameras currently available.
About Trail Cameras
Trail cameras are efficient tools that offer a way to capture photo and video once a motion sensor is triggered. They make great wildlife viewing cameras since they can be set up on trails or feeders to record daily events.
Trail cameras have come a long way since first being introduced. They are now compact, durable, and include some of the most advanced technology of the day. They can be accessed remotely via cellular connection and transmit in real-time to smartphone devices.
Trail cameras CMOS sensors are available up to 16 MP and video can be recorded in 1080 HD with sound. Expandable memory slots allow compatibly with anywhere from 8 GB to 1 TB SD memory cards.
Battery life varies by model; however, most trail cameras use multiple AA batteries that can last several days to a few weeks. It’s important to note that some game cameras require special lithium ion batteries which can be rather expensive to replace. Cameras that take generic rechargeable batteries are always a better choice.
Trail cameras come in a wide range of designs and costs that should all be taken into consideration when deciding which one is right for you. Take the time to compare prices and specs to make sure your next trail camera is capturing everything you need it to.
John is our resident expert on the outdoors. He writes about outdoor gear, camping, traveling, and anything outdoors related. He has over 20 years experience camping and hiking the backwoods of Montana and the plains of Texas. He has traveled extensively all over the world.