2017 Bushnell Trophy Cam HD Essential E3 Camera Review

Bushnell Trophy cam Essential E3/August 07, 2017

The Essential E3 is a medium sized camera, a bit larger than this years micro series by Browning.  It uses only 8 AA batteries internally.  The E3 uses a small monochrome multi-line LCD display screen for its menu setup.  It is a bit hard to see unless you get it at the right angle.  It is back lit for use in the dark.

This camera utilizes a visible IR red flash LED array for its night imaging.  I do not hear a filter click during image capture.

The surface of the camera has a molded “industrial” geometric pattern that Bushnell has used for a few years.  The camera is an olive green color front and back.  The LED array is black and broken up by a honeycomb overlay to reduce glint in the sunlight and to help the camera hide in its background.

This camera opens like a book, with camera in the front half and battery compartment in the rear half.  The bottom and back have a threaded insert for mounting while the back of the camera supports both strap and a python.  Note: There is no external battery port on this camera. I like the single cam buckle that latches securely and feels tight.

Included in the box is a substantial nylon strap with a metal cinch type buckle.

Ultimately, I recommend a lock box for this camera for better security and protection as there is no way to stop someone from opening your camera and removing the SD card otherwise.  Also, with a python it can fairly easily be yanked loose from the python, breaking the thin plastic tubes holding the python.

I would consider this an easy camera to use and I was able to change the configuration with out referring to the printed manual so far.

Manufacturer model #: 119837.

Manufacturers specifications:

  • No external battery jack
  • 16 interpolated mpxl photos
  • 1280×720 videos w/ audio
  • 2X time lapse w/ live trigger
  • Day/Night/24 Hour mode
  • Date, time, and temperature stamp on all images
  • 8 AA batteries required
  • Accepts up to 32 gig sd card

The MSRP on this camera is around $149.00.

Chasingame Test Results:

Test PerformedResult
Flash RangeVery Bright, usable beyond 60 feet.
Trigger Time without flashavg .20s
Trigger Time with flashavg .30s
Video Trigger Timeavg 1.80s
Photo Recovery Timeavg .84s
Video Recovery time.01s
Day RangeDarker fairly natural color and good clarity beyond 50 feet even when zoomed.
Battery Life4456 photos (70% with flash) and 363 video clips over 5 weeks.
Filter ClunkNo
Invisible FlashNo
Motion Blur
Sensing Test70+ feet at 83F degrees

Photo Samples captured in 16MP setting [transition and early morning overcast].

« 1 of 2 »

Video Samples captured in 720p setting.

2017 Bushnell Trophy Cam Essential E3 from Chasingame.com on Vimeo.

Progress and Activity
08-07-2017 Update: Unboxed
Recently I received a box of cameras from Bushnell, and I am please to have several Bushnell and Primos cameras to run through the testing here.  This first camera I am testing is the Trophy Cam Essential E3.  This is a fairly inexpensive camera but likely a good performer and good bang for the buck.  Included in the box is the camera and a nice strap with metal buckle and user guide.  I will grab some photos while its sunny and get onto the trigger testing machine.
08-08-2017 Update: Flash Range, Sensing and Photo samples/Whiteout
Last night I performed the flash range samples and sensing walk tests.  The flash range picture is very bright and shows usable range beyond 60 feet which is good. Sensing was also very good on this camera.  This morning I put the camera out under an overcast sky at around 7:30am (official sun rise is 6:45).  I called the deer up shortly thereafter and left the camera.  The initial photos exhibited nearly 100% white out with almost no usable detail over a period of 15 minutes until the deer left.  The deer came back around 09:15am and the camera took a more normal color photo.  I would call this whiteout problem a moderately severe issue and is one I always look for.  If you are relying on the camera to take accurate images at dawn and dusk then you may have an issue with this particular model camera.  I will continue to follow this issue as I gather more samples.
08-09-2017 Update: Review on hold for replacement camera from Bushnell
As it turns out the unit I am testing is on the very latest firmware.  In light of the whiteout issue I experienced in photo mode, we are going to replace the unit on the chance there is a faulty day night sensor.  I will resume testing in photo mode when the replacement arrives.
08-15-2017 Update: Replacement Cam has arrived
I just received a new Essential E3 and put the same batteries back in it from the previous unit to preserve my battery life testing. I will retest starting with photo mode to check for the transition period white out problem.
08-15-2017 Update: Photo samples on replacement
I left the camera out for several days and grabbed a large group of samples. I am still see some underexposure but maybe this camera performs better or conditions weren’t identical but I did not get any whiteout images on this run.
08-23-2017 Update: Video Samples
This camera was left in video mode for several days and gathered a nice set of videos. The video quality is good and audio is excellent as well. Video is a strong point on this camera.
09-18-2017 Update: Battery Life
I have pulled this camera from the field as the batteries have been fully drained. The camera took 4456 photos (70% with flash) and 363 video clips over 5 weeks. This review is now complete.

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