Influence of camera model and alignment on the performance of paired camera stations

Influence camera model and alignment on performance paired camera stations.pdf

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Influence of camera model and alignment on the performance of paired camera stations


The probability of obtaining images of target species may vary across camera models or relative position of cameras at survey locations. Alignment of cameras within paired camera stations (hereafter, stations) could affect species detection due to issues with image exposure. We quantified effects of 3 camera models and alignment (staggered, offset by a perpendicular distance of 4.6 m, and aligned, directly facing one another) on camera performance in a station design. Mean exposure events (flash from one camera overexposes or underexposes pictures) at aligned stations was 3.93 (SE = 1.01; n = 40), whereas no exposure events were documented at staggered (n = 36) stations. Overall frequency of exposure events of mammal images at aligned cameras was 44% (68 exposure events/153 images). On average, 8% (range 0−35%) of mammal images from aligned stations were exposure events. We detected no difference (P = 0.88) in exposure events among paired camera models. Further, we detected no overall differences (P ≥ 0.07) in paired camera performance (i.e., number of mammal images over survey interval) between aligned or staggered stations, though reliability (i.e., percentage of camera stations that lasted entire survey interval) varied (P ≤ 0.001) between model types. Research deploying 2 cameras within a camera station framework can eliminate exposure events by using a staggered camera alignment without affecting the number of usable mammal photos. Rigorous field testing prior to deployment of stations is warranted to optimize reliability. One of our low-cost models performed as well as a more expensive model within our paired camera stations at collecting mammal images, and thus could be incorporated into study designs without compromising quality of camera photo data. We suggest a pilot study before large-scale deployment to evaluate reliability and performance of cameras, particularly when deploying multiple models.

Bibliographic Citation

Swearingen, T. C., R. W. Klaver, C. R. Anderson Jr., and C. N. Jacques. 2023. Influence of camera model and alignment on the performance of paired camera stations. Wildlife Society Bulletin e1422. 10.1002/wsb.1422


Swearingen, Tim C.
Klaver, Robert W.
Anderson, Jr, Charles R.
Jacques, Christopher N.


Bilateral images
Camera trapping
Sampling bias
Spatial alignment
Paired camera station


11 pages







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Wildlife Society Bulletin

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This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Swearingen, Tim C. et al., “Influence of camera model and alignment on the performance of paired camera stations,” CPW Digital Collections, accessed September 21, 2023,