Equipment

Most of the photos were taken using various digital cameras, from a Nikon 5700, Canon PowerShot SD600, to my current Canon PowerShot SX260 HS and Canon 1000D digital SLR.

The SX260 captures video in HD and has excellent image stabilisation, also has a slow motion mode; older video here was captured using the SD600 or a Panasonic NV-GS330 standard definition mini-DV camcorder.

The trap camera used for a while was a Ltl Acorn Scouting Camera – Ltl-5210A, which will automatically photograph or video anything it detects within range of it’s camera.

Ltl Acorn

Ltl Acorn Scouting Camera

 

The Acorn had some problems, mostly that it wouldn’t turn on or switch modes half of the time, one had to keep flipping the switch before it eventually came to life.  It was also susceptible to internal condensation and water ingress when the weather turned bad; I also had one of the clips fail on me so had to buy a replacement clip (which wasn’t cheap for something so small).  It eventually stopped working altogether though so I was without a trap camera for a while, eventually going for a Bushnell NatureView CamHD, which has a much more solid feel and full HD video with audio, interchangeable close-focus lenses, and a very long battery life (when using lithium AA batteries, expensive but they pay for themselves easily).  I use the Bushnell on a cheap and cheerful small tripod (a clone of a well-known brand, but works perfectly well and was very cheap), perfect for ground-level views of the hedgehogs!

The Bushnell takes a bit of getting used to in terms of setting it up, it can take a few tries to find the correct settings for the environment.  For being close to the ground I found that low LED power and high sensitivity worked best, I keep it on video as sometimes the trigger speed isn’t that fast (perhaps it doesn’t sense small animals until they are quite close) so on photo mode there might be only half an animal in the frame if it’s moving fast (as hedgehogs often do).  The close-focus lenses are pretty good, the case feels robust and is definitely waterproof as mine has been outside for several weeks in all sorts of weather and the inside is always dry.  I have fitted a 32GB SD card, plenty of space for several week’s worth of full HD 60 second video clips, which is the longest clip it can take at a time but can be set to start capturing again almost immediately providing there is still something there to trip the sensor.

Bushnell NatureView CamHD

Bushnell NatureView CamHD

 

I have previously purchased a small spotting scope, the Celestron C50

Celestron C50

Celestron C50 spotting scope

 

However I didn’t use it that much and now prefer a small pair of binoculars.

Other note-worthy additions to my equipment include a Luna Optics night vision scope which give the opportunity to observe wildlife live without obtrusive torches disturbing them, and Pentax Papilla II 8.5 x 21 binoculars which are superb for extreme close-up focusing on plants and insects, and still pretty good for regular distance viewing.

Luna Optics NVM5-HR

Luna Optics NVM5-HR

 

Pentax Papilio 8.5 x 21

Pentax Papilio 8.5 x 21

 

 

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