The 2017 Bushnell Trophy Cam Essential E3 picks up where the E2 left off – offering some improvements throughout, and the same great video quality.
Recovery times have improved a lot from last year’s model, particularly for video; now re-triggering in well under a second. Photo trigger speed has improved to under 0.2 seconds, though video triggers are still a little slow at around 1.8 seconds. The detection circuit has also had an upgrade – now able to detect out to around 80ft.
The video quality, particularly at night, is what makes this camera so popular however – and the night video is still great. It is 30fps, which is better than the more-expensive Aggressors, at 18fps, although at a slightly lower resolution of 720p.
The build quality and overall design of the Essential E3 hasn’t changed much on last year – its still a sturdy, well-built unit.
Bushnells have also been easy to use, and the E3 is the same – it’s quick and easy to change the settings to what you need.
Like the E2 before it, the Essential E3 is using a 12V power system (the reason night footage is so good), and this means night time videos are limited to 15 seconds per clip. The better recovery speeds on this new version however means it can re-trigger in under a second.
Also taking into consideration the price of the camera, we feel the Bushnell Essential E3 continues to be an excellent choice for those looking for a great camera without breaking the bank. Night video is a particular draw, though the trigger for videos isn’t quick. We give it a solid 8 out of 10.
Read more of our review below…
Trigger speed: about 1.8 seconds Recovery time: about 0.6 seconds
The video quality on the Essential E3 is certainly it’s draw for most people. Although 720p, its very well defined at night, and captures good colour during the day. Both night and day videos are also at 30fps, for smooth viewing.
The video trigger speed, at 1.8 seconds, is still just slightly on the slow side for a modern camera – although most of the time its perfectly fine, it just means occasionally the video will start when the animal is already well within shot. For slower moving animals however, it isn’t an issue – but if you expect wildlife to be pelting passed the camera, you may need a faster video trigger.
Sound is ok – fairly standard for a camera trap. Nothing fantastic, but you can hear birdsong, animal calls, running water etc.
The exposure control at night is still good, but perhaps not as good as last year. Mounting the camera to ensure that there is no over-exposure in the foreground or on close objects makes a big difference.
Due to the 12V system, night videos are limited to 15 seconds, but improved recovery times on the new E3 means that another video can start in under a second, if the interval setting is set to its lowest.
Trigger speed: about 0.2 seconds Recovery time: about 0.6 seconds
The Bushnell Essential E3 is a great camera for photos. Daytime photos have great colour and the camera seems to cope well in low-light conditions.
Night photos are very strong, thanks in part to that 12v system. Like videos, it doesn’t seem to be as good as older version on correcting overexposure however – but is good at controlling motion blur.
Most users of the Bushnell Essential E3 go for this camera for the video however, so this may not be too big a concern for most. We also have no idea why photo recovery speeds are slightly slower than video trigger speeds – normally this is the other way around.
Trigger speed and detection
Detection range: approx. 80ft LED type: Low-Glow LEDs
The detection circuit on the Bushnell Aggressor cameras has long been a major strength, and this year Bushnell have brought the Essential E3 a good step closer to the Aggressor range. The camera has an improved detection range compared to the previous version, and is generally more sensitive.
Video triggers are a little average for a 2017 camera, especially when compared to the photo trigger speed. However video recovery speeds have seen a huge improvement and are now amongst the best.
Photo triggers, as with all camera traps, are faster, and a big chunk so on the Essential E3 at often under 0.2 seconds. This makes this camera, together with the 2017 Aggressors, oneof the fastest currently available for photo trigger speeds. The recovery is not as fast as some other cameras however.
Build quality & batteries
Bushnell cameras are known for their sturdiness. You can tell they are well built and strong units, and the E3 follows the Aggressor design of the last few years.
The look of the camera – somewhat akin to a grenade/stormtrooper – is a little unnecessary, but does serve to break up the outline of the camera trap.
Battery life is ok from 8x AA Lithiums – generally, you can expect around 5 months battery life for photos (taking around 60 pictures every 24 hours) and about 1-2 months for video (taking around 20 videos every 24 hours). This will obviously vary depending on how active and how each video is, and if there are more night shots than day. It is below average however, which is a shame – power consumption has increased compared to last year’s models.
The Bushnell Essential E3 is covered by a 2 year manufacturer’s warranty in the UK when bought through NatureSpy.
Ease of use
The camera trap has quite a lot of settings, but most of these you won’t need to worry about too much initially. Most users just want to go straight for video – changing the resolution to the full 720p and setting video lengths. Interval is always an important setting to play with too, and it’s all straight-forward to change on the onboard menu.
We tend to notice that Bushnell camera’s field of view is always a little higher than you think it may be – therefore we generally always angle the camera down, just a touch – it can make a big difference. Be careful not to go too much however as the camera can over-expose at night!
Overall a very straight-forward camera trap to use, but if you do require any help or have any questions you can just get in touch with us.
Bushnell Trophy Cam HD Essential E3…
The 2017 Bushnell Trophy Cam HD Essential E3 captures incredible 720p HD video and improved 16MP images.
The 2017 Bushnell Trophy Cam HD Essential E3 is a great place to start with Bushnell camera traps – the 720p video is fantastic quality and the 16MP image quality is eye-popping – they have also made big leaps forward in terms of night time photo and video quality and definition. Audio is also recorded with video.
The Essential E3 is a completely weatherproof, motion-activated camera which records directly onto an internal SD card. The passive infrared motion sensor is triggered up to a distance of an improved 100 feet and has adjustable sensitivity (low, medium, high or auto).
Images and videos are in full colour during the day and at night or in low-light conditions the camera trap switches to black and white. Hyper night vision technology ensures that night-time images are crisp and clear.
The 2017 Bushnell Trophy Cam HD Essential E3 low-glow has a trigger speed for photos of just 0.3 seconds and recovery between triggers is around 1 second. The trigger interval can also be adjusted – this is the time in between capture events – between 1 second to 60 minutes. It is also possible to specify how many images to capture per trigger (1 to 3). Video trigger speed, as with all camera traps, is slightly slower.
The 2x Field Scan function uses time lapse technology to capture images at specified intervals (1 minute to 1 hour) between the hours of your choice. You can programme two separate time lapse windows so that you can monitor both dusk and dawn activity at your survey site.
The 2017 Bushnell Trophy Cam HD Essential E3 is powered by 8 AA batteries (not provided). Batteries will last for up to a year based on normal usage (i.e. taking approx 30 pictures a day).
- 16MP high-quality full colour resolution
- HD Video – 1280 x 720 pixels
- Day/night autosensor
- 32 low-glow infrared LEDs with 50′ range
- Adjustable PIR (Lo/Med/High) or Auto PIR
- 0.3 second trigger speed (photos)
- Programmable trigger interval: 1 sec. to 60 min.
- Multi-image mode: 1-3 images per trigger
- Video length: 1 second to 60 seconds, programmable (max. 15 seconds at night)
- Records audio with video
- Field Scan time-lapse mode takes images at pre-set intervals, 1 minute to 60 minutes
- Temperature range -5° F to 140° F
- Black & White internal screen
- PIR sensor is motion activated out to 100ft
- Runs up to one year on one set of batteries
- Adjustable web belt and 1/4-20 socket
- SD card slot
- Weather proof
- 2 year warranty when bought through NatureSpy
For full specs, click the tab above.