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Bird feeder camera question

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Old Friday 3rd May 2019, 15:16   #1
Demoicurn
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Bird feeder camera question

I had an action camera which took burst photos when motion was detected. It would take a bunch of pics every time a bird came to the feeder. The micro USB port broke and I'm in need of a new camera. I found one that take videos when motion is detected, but not burst photos. Trail cameras do this function, but they're not meant for up close pics. ANY help with my dilemma would be greatly appreciated.
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Old Saturday 4th May 2019, 08:19   #2
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Hi,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Demoicurn View Post
I had an action camera which took burst photos when motion was detected. It would take a bunch of pics every time a bird came to the feeder. The micro USB port broke and I'm in need of a new camera. I found one that take videos when motion is detected, but not burst photos. Trail cameras do this function, but they're not meant for up close pics. ANY help with my dilemma would be greatly appreciated.
I've used a trail camera on my feeder, but it's sort of unsatisfactory because it uses a fix focus lens that has a fairly long minimum "in focus" distance. Accordingly, it would have to be set up fairly far from the feeder, and the bird would only be very small in the frame, to give sharp pictures. (I've settled for somewhat blurry pictures instead.)

I'd also be interested in another solution. I believe inexpensive Raspberry Pi computers are a popular way to implement motion detection, but that wouldn't exactly be an off-the-shelf solution.

Here's an example: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2086784

I would think that generally, infrared motion detection such as used by trail cameras might be better than image-sensor based motion detection purely because the latter seems to require a lot more power.

Regards,

Henning
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Old Saturday 4th May 2019, 20:53   #3
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It’s fairly easy to fix a cheap close-up lens to a trail camera so that you can get sharp pictures with the camera much nearer to the feeder. I just used 4 little bits of blu-tack and it stayed put for weeks. There are details way back in the trail camera pages - #276 in Camera Trap delights by Nick Littlewood and later posts.
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Old Saturday 4th May 2019, 22:56   #4
Hauksen
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Hi,

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Originally Posted by Torchepot View Post
Its fairly easy to fix a cheap close-up lens to a trail camera so that you can get sharp pictures with the camera much nearer to the feeder. I just used 4 little bits of blu-tack and it stayed put for weeks. There are details way back in the trail camera pages - #276 in Camera Trap delights by Nick Littlewood and later posts.
Here's the link:

https://www.birdforum.net/showthread...93#post2898293

How do you determine the proper distance? As my trail cam has a tiny low-resolution display, and my computer takes forever to mount and dismount memory cards, I'd enthusiastically try to make it work with as little trial and error as possible ... :-/

Regards,

Henning
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Old Monday 6th May 2019, 01:17   #5
Demoicurn
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Thanks for the replies! I've let my ocd go wild this weekend. Researched past threads, action camera firmware mods, attempted/failed to change the micro USB port, trail cams, cameras in general. Can't find a replacement camera to take motion activated, continuous photos of my bird feeder.
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Old Monday 6th May 2019, 05:49   #6
Torchepot
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hauksen View Post
Hi,



Here's the link:

https://www.birdforum.net/showthread...93#post2898293

How do you determine the proper distance? As my trail cam has a tiny low-resolution display, and my computer takes forever to mount and dismount memory cards, I'd enthusiastically try to make it work with as little trial and error as possible ... :-/

Regards,

Henning
Hi Henning, from memory I did a few trial shots with a rule at right angles to the camera and found the sweet spot that way. DOF is fairly shallow but my set up was mostly for night use - I think the day time stuff with better light was a bit more forgiving. Haven’t got the camera trap boxes with me but I remember that focus was around about 25cm but it varies depending on the lens used.

Always the chance of catching a surprise nocturnal visitor to the feeder if left overnight - I used to get wood mice and occasionally hazel dormice on mine in France.

P.S. I tried 4 different cameras for nocturnal use with close-up lens attached and surprisingly the cheapest one produced the best results.

I tried a camera from Aldi but it didn’t adjust the led output so I just got total white out. The bushnell “aggressor” no-glow started each video as a white out but quickly adjusted to the correct level. Another camera from spycameracctv didn’t cope well with the close up lens - but I can’t recall the problem.
The best performer (at least for nighttime video) was a VWTECH camera from Amazon which I don’t think they sell anymore.

There’s every chance that for day time stills/videos the issues I had will not apply though.

Last edited by Torchepot : Monday 6th May 2019 at 06:10.
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Old Thursday 9th May 2019, 21:45   #7
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Update - going with a trail camera with a reading glasses lens for close focus. To be delivered tomorrow and set up this weekend. Will give more specifics this weekend if anyone is interested.
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Old Friday 10th May 2019, 21:00   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Demoicurn View Post
Update - going with a trail camera with a reading glasses lens for close focus. To be delivered tomorrow and set up this weekend. Will give more specifics this weekend if anyone is interested.

Yes Id be interested to hear how you get on.

Which trail camera did you go for?
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Old Sunday 12th May 2019, 16:23   #9
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Originally Posted by Torchepot View Post
Yes Id be interested to hear how you get on.

Which trail camera did you go for?
I went with an inexpensive 20mp Victure trail camera of Amazon. Taped a 3.25 reading glass lens over the camera lens and put a latex glove over the top to keep rain from getting between the lenses. Still in beta phase of testing, but I'm happy with the results so far. Any tips from anyone would be greatly appreciated. Happy Mothers Day!
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Last edited by Demoicurn : Sunday 12th May 2019 at 16:27.
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Old Sunday 12th May 2019, 20:26   #10
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Now I can see why you wanted to take photos of the birds at your feeders - what a cracking oriole!

As you can see the problem with these set ups is the shallow depth of field. Trying to slowly move the camera closer to the subject will help - it may also be worth trying some different strength lenses - less power will make the birds smaller in frame but you should get greater depth of field so more should be in focus.

Ive not tried day time stills at all, but I did get birds on video visiting my camera trap boxes, cleaning up crumbs left by nocturnal mammals. For reasons that I dont fully understand - there was quite a bit of difference in depth of field between the four trail cameras I tried - even though they were all fitted with the same close-up lens. How you get this information in advance without having to physically try it out - I dont know. Maybe someone out there with a big collection of cameras has done some comparisons?

A great start - and Im sure youll be able to tweak things to get even better results. Id be interested to see how things develop
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Old Sunday 12th May 2019, 21:53   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Torchepot View Post
Now I can see why you wanted to take photos of the birds at your feeders - what a cracking oriole!

As you can see the problem with these set ups is the shallow depth of field. Trying to slowly move the camera closer to the subject will help - it may also be worth trying some different strength lenses - less power will make the birds smaller in frame but you should get greater depth of field so more should be in focus.
I bought 3.25, 2.75, and 2.0 reading glasses. I'm trialing the 2.75 today. This has and will be a lot of trial and error. I'm excited to get this project going now the migratory birds are in the area. Thanks for the feedback

Last edited by Demoicurn : Sunday 12th May 2019 at 21:57.
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Old Saturday 18th May 2019, 15:55   #12
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Trail cam with a 1.25 reading glass lens is the best so far.
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Old Tuesday 21st May 2019, 04:15   #13
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From 2 feet away and edited with snapseed. Thanks for the tips!
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Last edited by Demoicurn : Tuesday 21st May 2019 at 13:22.
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Old Wednesday 22nd May 2019, 13:51   #14
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You are definitely getting there. I have couple of trail cameras set up looking at my feeders. They are primarily there to catch mammals at night but I get lots of bird activity. The birds are too small in the frame to be of real interest to me. I have a set of magnifier lens that don't fit any of my DSLRs so I might try setting up a third camera, a still shot on with a magnifier attached, just to see what I get.
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Old Monday 3rd June 2019, 18:02   #15
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I too have also been experimenting with obtaining better close up photos with my Crenova trail cam.

I bought a set of macro close up lenses:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Here are couple of examples using the +1 lens. DOF is very good. The camera is about 60cm from the birds.
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