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Going Dark: Invisible-Flash Game Cameras

The design of the standard game camera is fairly predictable. A passive infrared sensor detects motion and triggers the camera. During the day, a game camera will capture full-color images. At night, most use an array of infrared LEDs to capture a black-and-white image.

Those infrared LEDs emit a faint red glow, and even though this emission is faint, it is visible on dark nights. Occasionally you will see images of deer staring directly at a trail camera because they’ve noticed the glow. This can be a real disappointment if you were hoping for a more candid shot. The glow can also alert intruders to the location of your game camera if you're using it as a home security system.

Over the last few years, manufacturers have started to shield the infrared flash so that it is invisible to the human or animal eye. The shielding appears as a black lens over the LEDs, or else the LEDs themselves will be black. Three of the best invisible-flash game cameras are the Spypoint BF-6, the Browning Spec Ops XR and the Moultrie 990i.

The Spypoint BF-6 is an affordable camera from Canadian trail camera company Spypoint. The BF-6 has a 50-foot detection range and takes 6-megapixel stills. It also has a multi-shot mode, so you can capture up to four images per trigger. The best aspect of the BF-6 is its simplicity of use. Instead of the tiny LED screens and menus that you use to program many cameras, the Spypoint has a series of slider switches that allow for easy programming.

The Browning Spec Ops XR is a 10MP trail camera. Browning is a new player in the game camera industry. The Spec Ops XR has shielded LEDs and a 2-inch color screen for programming. This screen also allows you to preview your videos and photos in the field. The Spec Ops XR has an excellent 70-foot flash range and an exceptionally quick trigger speed of 0.67 seconds.

The Moultrie 990i is one of the best-selling invisible-flash game cameras on the market. It features the Mossy Oak Treestand camouflage pattern, which, when coupled with the invisible flash, makes this camera extremely difficult to detect. Much like the Browning, the Moultrie has a 2-inch color screen on the inside, which lets you preview your shots without having to put the memory card into a computer. It also has a quick trigger and a multi-shot mode.

An invisible-flash infrared game camera will practically disappear into the woods, even when it's shooting in the dark, and all three of these cameras are excellent choices if you're in the market. So, pick one up, hang it on a tree and see what's walking around in your woods. Just make sure you remember where you put it.