Sometimes it can be hard to find an affordable trail camera with good features and performance at a price that isn’t well over $100. That task can be even more difficult when you want to purchase a trail camera from a brand that has a name you are familiar and with a reputation you feel good about.
Luckily Bushnell helped make this job easier with their Trophy Cam HD Essential E3 low glow trail camera.
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Reputation and History of Bushnell Trail Cameras
Bushnell, which was founded in 1948 by David P. Bushnell, is an American company that specializes in sporting optics and other outdoor products.
In addition to trail cameras, Bushnell’s product line includes binoculars, riflescopes, red dot sights, rangefinders, and spotting scopes (small portable high-powered telescopes).
So when you purchase a trail camera from Bushnell you can rest assured that you are buying from a company who isn’t making selling trail cameras as an afterthought. They have based their business on making quality optical products. Plus, they stand behind their products with a one year limited warranty.
Introducing the Bushnell Trophy Cam HD Essential E3 Trail Camera
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The Bushnell Trophy Cam HD Essential E3 trail camera is a strong performing low glow trail camera. It is affordably priced and has good specs along with some unique and customizable features.
- High quality 16 MP images
- Adjustable Motion Sensor with 100 foot range
- 100 foot flash range
- Fast trigger speed
- Easy to setup & use
- Battery life may not be quite as long as some other trail cameras
- No viewing screen
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Review of Key Features and Benefits of the Bushnell Trophy Cam HD Essential E3
Let’s face it one of the main concerns of most people looking to buy a trail camera is the camera itself. You can rest assured that the Trophy Cam HD Essential E3 will take great pictures with its’ 16MP camera and automatic day/night sensor that will help ensure that you get crisp, vivid images regardless of the time of day.
The E3 can also record 720p HD video with audio. You can set the length of video recordings on this trail camera from 5 seconds up to 60 seconds. Please note that in order to help extend the battery life the maximum length of video recording at night for this trail camera is 15 seconds, which is not an uncommon feature among today’s trail cameras.
The detection range of the passive infrared (PIR) motion sensor on the Bushnell Trophy Cam HD Essential E3 extends out to a maximum range of 100 feet, which is very good. In addition to that sizeable detection range, the motion sensor on this trail camera is also adjustable offering Auto, Low, Medium, and High settings for the PIR sensor.
The “High” setting will make the camera more sensitive to infrared (heat) and more easily triggered by motion, and the “Low” setting makes it less sensitive to heat and motion. The High setting can be useful when the ambient temperature is warm (making it more difficult for the sensor to detect animals), and the Low setting may help in cold weather if the camera is being triggered too often by anything warmer than the surroundings. “Medium” is for average or moderate conditions. The default “Auto” setting will allow the camera to determine the best setting based on its current operating temperature. This is an ideal setting if you plan on checking the camera very infrequently or if the weather is expected to change significantly during the period the camera will be used.
Field Scan 2X (our favorite feature)
Field Scan is a revolutionary new feature for the Bushnell Trophy Cam HD Essential E3, which allows you to monitor an area with time-lapse images or video. When set to “On”, the Trophy Cam HD Essential E3 will take a photo (or record a video clip) automatically at predetermined intervals of your choosing (for example, once every five minutes) during one or two blocks of time you select for each day, without requiring a trigger from an active animal.
This has the advantage of giving you the ability to monitor an area that might be 50 or 150 yards away from the camera out of the PIR sensor’s range. The result is an effective range much greater than it would normally be, if the camera dependant on triggers generated by nearby animals.
This is a great feature for hunters who want to scout an entire field with just one camera. If an animal does enter the area covered by the PIR sensor and generates a trigger event during a time in between the Field Scan intervals you set, the camera will capture an image or video just as it normally would, based on your other menu settings.
This feature is ideal for people who want to scout food plots or field edges with time-lapse images or video.
Whenever a trail camera has a trigger speed of less than 0.5 seconds it is pretty fast. This Bushnell has a fast 0.3 second trigger speed, which should be more than enough to satisfy the vast majority of users.
The Bushnell Trophy Cam HD Essential E3 has 32 Low Glow LEDs, which give it a 100-foot flash range. This flash range compares very favorably with other similarly priced trail cameras. In fact, its 100-foot flash range is as long or longer than many more expensive trail cameras.
As we point out with all low glow trail cameras… if you plan on using the trail camera for security purposes or if you are hunting on public land and want to keep the location of the camera better concealed, a trail camera with no glow flash might be a better fit for you. But for most people, the low glow LEDs will be just fine.
The trail camera has an LCD screen that displays text to make setting up the camera simple and easy. The screen doesn’t display color and isn’t capable of showing you the pictures and videos it has captured.
A lot of cameras have color viewing screens these days. While they can certainly be nice to have, you can still manage just fine without one.
We would never suggest avoiding an otherwise good performing and competitively priced trail camera just because it doesn’t have a color viewing screen. If you really want to be able to view the pictures and videos the camera has captured in the field you can always purchase an SD card reader or viewer, many of which are surprisingly affordable. If you want to learn more about card viewers and readers before buying you can check out an article where we break down what you need to know here.
Most trail cameras support SD cards up to 32GB in size. So hearing that the Bushnell Trophy Cam HD Essential E3 supports SD/SDHC cards up to 32GB isn’t anything out of the ordinary.
Some, usually higher-priced, trail cameras now have the ability to accommodate higher capacity SD cards. That being said a 32GB SD card should work fine for most people. The only situations where a 32GB SD trail camera won’t be enough is when the trail camera is left unattended for months at a time in high traffic areas where it will capture a huge number of video or images.
If you are unsure about the differences between SD cards and microSD cards you can read our article that talks about the different types of memory cards that are available.
If you look at the strong features that are offered on the Bushnell Trophy Cam HD Essential E3 and then look at its’ price you will find that it is priced very competitively when compared to other similarly equipped trail cameras.
Price is only a positive for this Bushnell trail camera. It shouldn’t be discouraging for anyone who is thinking of purchasing it.
The Browning Strike Force HD Pro is another solid option to consider for just a few dollars more. The Strike Force HD Pro has an 18MP camera compared to the 16MP camera on the E3. However, both cameras record video in 720p. The Browning has an adjustable 120 flash range, which is 20 feet more than the E3. Another thing the Browning has that might catch your eye is a 1.5” color viewing screen. We did a full review of the Browning Strike Force HD Pro and thought it was a good trail camera.
You can check the price of the Strike Force HD Pro here.
If you want to stick with the Bushnell brand, but would like to take a step up, for just a little more money you can get the Bushnell Trophy Cam Aggressor HD. It has a better camera that can take 20MP pictures and record 1080p videos compared to 16MP pictures and 720p videos with the E3 trail camera. The Trophy Cam Aggressor HD also has a 0.2 second trigger speed, which is slightly faster than the 0.3 second trigger speed on the E3. The Bushnell Trophy Cam Aggressor HD is also solar compatible, which depending on the camera settings you choose and the amount of activity by the trail camera can be an attractive feature for people who want to leave the trail camera unattended for extended periods of time.
You can check the price of the Trophy Cam Aggressor HD here.
Over the years people have come to expect quality from the Bushnell brand. First with binoculars, riflescopes, and telescopes and now with trail cameras. The Bushnell Trophy Cam HD Essential E3 lives up to these expectations.
The 100 foot detection and flash ranges as well as the 16MP camera and Bushnell’s Field Scan 2X feature make this competitively priced trail camera worthy of serious consideration if you are in the market for a quality low glow trail camera.
You can learn more about the Bushnell Trophy Cam HD Essential E3 here.