A pair of Canon DSLR trail cams…!

Thursday, August 21, 2014posted by Bruce 10:41 AM

A Canon 400D-Nikon 55mm and a Canon 600D-Nikon 20mm

Canon 400D & 600D trail cam

Canon 400D with a Nikon 55mm ‘Macro’ lens on the left, and a Canon 600D with a Nikon 20mm lens on the right.

Working in the Western Forest Complex in Thailand has been extremely satisfying with loads of wild animals passing my cams. This forest is one of the greatest tiger reserves in the world and I look forward to every visit checking my DSLRs…! After the great results from my Canon 400D last month catching a tiger plus yellow and black phase leopards, I decided to finish off these two cams that had been on the bench for sometime.

Canon 400D & 600D trail cam open

Both cams in Pelican 1150s with 8-volt SLA external batteries.

As I wanted to leave these cams in the forest for several months over the rainy season, I added an 8-volt SLA battery and hacked into the battery grip (I will do a post on this mod very soon). It was a fairly easy task and both cams fit in the Pelican 1150 with ease plus the SLA battery lying horizontally in the case. After charging up the cam’s batteries and hooking up the externals, they will stay on for months, and just what I needed for a long soak. Time will tell and the 600D is now set-up on a known wildlife trail frequented by the big carnivores including black leopard.

Canon 600D trail cam

600D showing connections to external sensor and flashes.

I’m using a Snapshotsniper SSII external sensor on the 600D and 400D with both cams set on ‘continuous’ mode. Both sensors are on 10-meter 4-conductor shielded wire housed in ‘Tupperware’ type boxes and hooked up to the cam with 3-prong quick detachable plugs and the sensor boxes with cable glands.

Canon 400D trail cam

400D showing connections to external sensor and flashes.

The flashes are a mix-pot of Nikon SB-26s and 28s also housed in Tupperware type boxes and hooked up to the cam with 2-prong quick detachable plugs and 10 meters of 2-conductor shielded wire and cable gland on the sensor box. I am standardizing all my flashes with two-conductor shielded-cable and eventually, will be able to inter-change my flashes with all my DSLRs in the field. That way, if I have a problem with a flash (stomped by elephant or some other failure), I will be able to quickly change one out and replace it. That will also go for the three-conductor external sensors…!

Canon 600D trail cam-sensor and flashes

600D with external 10 meter hard-wired sensor and flashes.

As usual, I built ‘elephant proof’ boxes that I have made-up for these two Canons. Python 10mm cable locks are used and 3” stainless steel lag bolts are screwed into the tree from inside the box. The faceplate is bolted to the box using six power-torque 10mm machine screws. Camouflage is made up of spray paint (earth brown and army green) plus ‘morning glory’ plastic leaves wrapped with thorny branches to keep the elephants at bay.

Canon 400D trail cam-sensor and flashes

400D with external 10 meter hard-wired sensor and flashes.

Hope this helps those people on the forum wanting to build a long-soak Canon ‘Rebel’ sized DSLR home-brew trail cam. I normally don’t use Canon but really like these cams for capturing wildlife. They are quiet and quick enough. The 600D has good file size so cropping is a plus.

 Canon 600D and 'elephant proof' box

600D and ‘elephant proof’ aluminum box.

Actually (don’t tell anybody), I’m changing out two Nikon D300 bodies for Canon 550D or 600Ds…they just seem to work better. But, I’m still sticking to my Nikon lenses with a Canon adapter. Real glass and metal materials are the best lenses for trail cams…but that’s just my opinion…!!

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