Detection sensor of the camera determines the detection area of the camera and basically defines how many pictures you will capture. In most trail cameras the motion detectors detect a subject using infrared radiation, in other words body heat, and motion. When the detection sensor detects movement or heat in detection area it tells the camera to take a picture. Thus the larger the detection area, the more area you are able to scout and the more pictures you will get.
Detection area is defined by two factors; detection range and detection width. Typically the detection range of the camera is roughly the same as the range of camera flash, generally somewhere between 45 and 65 feet. The detection width of the trail camera can vary from narrow (approx. 10 degrees) to wide (48-90 degrees).
Very narrow detection angle means that the animal needs to be directly in front of the camera for camera to take a picture. The downside of narrow detection angle is that you will miss the animals that do not come into front of camera. On the upside you will be sure that the animal is likely to be in the center of the picture and since your camera will take fewer pictures you won’t fill your memory card or wear out the batteries that fast.
Cameras with wide detection angle are able to capture photos of animals that cross anywhere in the field of view of the game camera. They are also able to capture fast moving animals. Some cameras actually have wider detection area than the field view of the camera itself. These cameras are especially good for capturing fast moving animals, but they can also produce empty photos when animals don’t move fast enough to be in the view of the camera lens.
As a rule of thumb one could say that if you are planning to use your camera on feeder bait, a narrow detection area camera will work just fine. But if you prefer to have more versatile camera, then choose a camera with wide detection area.
Word of advice related to detection circuit; when placing the camera it is important to ensure that the camera’s field of view is clear of objects that may cause movement, like swaying branches etc. You also want to place your camera so that that there are no objects receiving direct sunlight and thus acting as thermal sinks, reflecting the absorbed heat back at the trail camera as infrared radiation. These situations will result in false captures which wastes memory and battery power.