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2018 Browning Dark Ops Pro Review
This is an outstanding no glow IR trailcam. Battery life is top-notch, the look/feel/interface of the camera is among our favorites, the detection speeds are very fast and the picture quality is solid. - TCP Staff
Model # BTC-6HDP | Dark Ops HD Pro Owner's Manual
- Very solid picture/video quality
- Fantastic battery life
- Extremely fast detection circuit
- Internal picture viewer
- Picture recovery time has a glitch (see comments in Detection Circuit category)
- Max of 20-second night videos
Browning completely redesigned their popular Dark Ops sub-micro camera and the final result has left us impressed. Nearly every category we test shows substantial improvement. These improvements have resulted in a monster comprehensive score for this Browning Dark Ops HD Pro trail camera.
Photo resolution: 18 mpxl (interpolated)
Video resolution: 1296x720 w/ audio
Flash Type: No glow IR
In a variety of conditions and camera trap setups, picture quality is proving to be a real strength for this camera. When you view the photos in full resolution, you will notice some pixelation, but other than that, daytime pictures are great. Color, clarity, and depth are all impressive.
One note on daytime pictures, the color has a heavy yellow/green tint.
Night pictures have above average range for a no glow but there is some graininess to the images. The camera can adapt for up-close shots of animals, preventing the typical "white-out" seen on other models. If there is a weakness in night pictures, it would be with moving animals. As you can see from the sample photos below, we have seen some blur on moving animals at night.
Videos are shot at 1296x720 w/ audio. Much like the pictures, you will see an improvement in color. These day videos are pretty good, but not the top-notch quality you see in the Browning Recon Force & Spec Ops cameras (1920x1080 resolution cameras). There is some pixelation to the videos when viewed in full-screen.
Night videos have a limited flash range and are much darker than the Strike Force Pro (red glow). We consider the night videos to be average for a no glow camera.
What if you purchase from us and aren't happy with the image quality?
This is a common question and we have a very simple solution. Call, email, or chat with us and we can take a look at the images and offer suggestions or immediately tell if something is wrong with the camera. If so, we will warranty the camera for you (with the free 2-Year warranty you receive from us) or return the camera for a full refund (within 90 days of purchase). You have control of the process, remember, we work for you.
In the past, many people get confused with the megapixel rating trail camera manufacturers advertise. Companies inflate the mpxl rating to attract eyes to their products. They do this through interpolation, which digitally adds megapixels to a photo without actually improving the picture.
The best way to judge picture quality is to look at actual pictures. You will notice this the most when you zoom in on a full-size image that a camera has taken. The details of the photo will appear hazy or even digitized. This is normal, and to be expected.
Picture & Video Resting Power (on): 0.74 mW
Picture Daytime/Nighttime Power Consumption: 1.7 Ws | 2.2 Ws
Video Daytime/Nighttime Power Consumption: 9.3 Ws | 30.5 Ws
Battery life is insanely efficient. There is hardly any room for improvement in the Dark Ops Pro's efficiency. We have never seen lower, more efficient video power draws. The improvement could be in large part to the new infrared emitter the camera utilizes.
If this camera were to take 35-day and 35-night pictures every 24 hours, the Dark Ops HD Pro would last 13.5 months in the field on a set of 6 AA Lithium Batteries. We consider this to be outstanding, especially considering the camera only uses 6 batteries.
If this camera were to take 15-day and 15-night videos (10-second videos) every 24 hours, it would last 4.1 months in the field on a set of lithium batteries. This is some of the best video battery life currently on the market.
Picture Trigger & Recovery Speed: 0.21 s. / 1.2 s. *
Video Trigger & Recovery Speed: 0.4 s. / 2.0 s.
Detection Range & Angle: 90-100 ft. | 39.4° (42.5° F.O.V.)
Picture trigger speed is extremely fast and a big improvement over other Dark Ops models. Video trigger and recovery times are also tremendous. This is one of the fastest video cameras currently on the market. The Dark Ops Pro has outstanding detection capabilities.
- 0.3 s.
- 0.537 s.
- 0.27 s.
- 0.633 s.
- 0.267 s.
- 0.54 s.
- 0.29 s.
- 6.715 s.
This happens consistently and we have made Browning aware of the issue. For the purpose of our scoring and rating system, we will continue to rate from the average, which over the course of dozens of triggered events, is 1.2 seconds.
Detection range is 90-100 ft. but the detection width is less than the field of view. This results in very few empty or "false" triggers, but the camera does not detect the full width of the picture. Points were taken off the detection rating for not detecting the full width. The field of view is 45 degrees and the detection width is 25-30 degrees.
Dimensions: 4.25" x 3.75" x 3.25"
Battery Type: 6 AA Batteries
External Battery Jack: 12-Volt
The Dark Ops Pro's case design has seen a radical re-design. Just like all other Dark Ops models, the Pro is super small and easy to carry/conceal. The case feels really solid and durable. Browning added an adjustable metal back bracket that swivels up and down (about a 30° range of motion). The bracket allows for easy up and down adjustments without using twigs for shims. If you need more adjustability, we'd still recommend a Slate River Mount.
Browning made the SD cards easier to load and unload (much easier than other Dark Ops models). The only downside we found is the battery eject button takes a bit of work to unlatch. Expect to use a sturdy fingernail.
Temperature ratings the camera records have a tendency of being unreliable and off by a significant margin.
Overall, the case design on the is outstanding. It is everything you'd expect from a quality trail camera.
The Dark Ops Pro has a small internal viewer that makes camera setup and picture/video playback extremely easy. The viewer is a huge improvement and the live-view element eliminates the guesswork to setting up for the perfect trailcam shot.
The internal setup should only take you a minute or two - at the most. Even though the internal viewing screen is small, Browning was nice enough to enlarge the words on the screen for those of us with poor eyesight!
The Dark Ops Pro can accept SD cards up to 512 Gigabytes. This is more than enough storage than you could ever use.
SD Card Storage Examples
With a 16 Gig SD card and the camera taking 4 mpxl photos (this is our recommended setting as it is closest to the native resolution), the Dark Ops Pro could store 9,008 pictures on the SD card.
With a 16 Gig SD card and the camera taking 1280x720 videos (called "Ultra" video quality in the settings), the Dark Ops Pro could store 508 10-second videos.
From this data, you can extrapolate out storage capacities of different sized SD cards and different resolution settings. We give you a 16 Gig SD card with the purchase of this camera through us. If you need additional or larger SD cards, you can shop all SD card options here.
The only issue we have noticed is a carry-over from 2016/2017 models. If you turn the Dark Ops Pro off, while standing in front of the camera and with the recovery time set to the fastest setting, the camera may continue to shoot dozens of pictures as long as you are being detected. We hoped to see a firmware update that fixes this, but to date, we have not. In the meantime, a quick and dirty fix for this is to place your hand over the PIR lens of the camera while shutting it off. This will keep the camera from taking pictures.
Through our 2-year warranty program on the trail cameras we sell, we are able to track warranty rates on all trailcam manufacturers. We do not publish this data but Browning trail cameras have proven to be a durable camera for us. If an issue arises in this model, we will update this Browning Dark Ops Pro Review immediately.
Since 2005, our mission has to been to provide consumers with unbeatable value, advice you can trust, and customer service that exceeds expectations. There are a plenty of places you can choose to do business with, if we are lucky enough to earn your support, we promise to give you our undivided attention. Trailcampro has grown each year not only by relying on your happiness but on the assumption that if we blow you away with customer service, you will brag about us to your friends (have you seen our referral/reward program?).
As always, if you have additional questions, feel free to call, email or chat with us. We look forward to helping you find your next trail camera!
Enjoy our reviews? Please consider purchasing your next trail camera from us.
FAQ's: Browning Dark Ops Pro
Q: How do I view the pictures?
A: There are a number of ways to do this. Pictures/videos are stored on the SD card you place in the camera. The Dark Ops Pro has an internal viewer that replays pictures and videos the camera has taken. Here are some other methods for viewing images:
- View pictures on your computer. Plug the SD card in a desktop computer or laptop via the built-in SD card reader or use a USB reader if your computer doesn't have one. This method works for most tablets as well. With this method, we recommend having two SD cards per camera so you can swap them in the field.
- View pictures on your smartphone. Buy the Stealth Cam IOS & Android Reader in order to view images on your phone. Phone readers require an app to access the photos, you can read more about these via the previous links.
- Trail Camera Viewers. While more expensive, handheld viewers are useful if you don't have a smartphone or run multiple trail cameras.
Q: Will this trail camera trigger on small animals (birds, rodents, etc.)?
A: Trail cameras detect on a combination of heat and movement, so, yes, small mammals will trigger the camera. However, if you are going after smaller warm-blooded mammals, we recommend getting the camera closer to your target. For best performance, place the camera in an area that would enable picture detection from 3 - 20 ft.
Q: Can animals see the infrared flash on this camera?
A: This is somewhat controversial. Humans can't see the flash as the nanometer spectrum is above what the human eye can detect (that is where the 940 comes from in the Dark Ops name). It's also much harder for an animal to see, but that could depend on the species of animal as different species see in different light spectrums.
Q: Where can I purchase this camera?
A: From us! We hope to woo you with our incredible charm, two-year warranty, 90-day returns, free continental U.S. shipping, and technical expertise. If that isn't enough, we give you an 16 Gig SD card with this camera and you can call and talk our ear off anytime.
Seriously, though, we know you have plenty of options of where to spend your hard-earned money. The internet can be the wild, wild, west of too-good-to-be-true deals. If you choose to do business with us, we will go out of our way to make sure you are happy with the camera you select and the service we provide you.
We are passionate about testing and reviewing trail cameras, but most importantly, we are passionate about treating our customers the right way. We do things differently from what you have come to expect from other internet retailers and we hope you give us the opportunity to prove that to you.
Read Reviews From All the Game and Trail Cameras
- 18 interpolated mpxl photos
- 1296x720 video w/ audio
- Accepts up to 512 Gig SD cards
- Smart IR Video Mode (dynamic video)
- SD Card Override
- Picture stamp includes; time, date, moon phase, temperature and camera ID
1/4 x 20 threaded insert for Slate River Mount
- Requires 6 AA batteries (we recommend Lithium batteries)
- Multi-shot up to 8 images
- 6-foot camera strap with metal buckle included
- 12-Volt External Battery Jack
Buy your next trail camera or accessory from us and we will protect your purchase with our 90-day return policy and our exclusive 2-year warranty.
Most manufacturer warranties are only one year. In our opinion, that isn't good enough. Our customers get a two-year warranty, directly from us.
Trailcampro's 2-Year Warranty
If the trail camera you purchase from us goes defective within two years of your purchase, we will quickly replace it.
We strive to make the warranty process as quick and easy as possible. Simply fill out our warranty form.
Trailcampro's 90-Day Return Policy
We believe you have the right to return any game camera that does not meet your expectations within 90 days.
Our return policy lets you field test products, at no risk to you!
- Buyer's remorse? Return the camera to us for a full refund (minus shipping).
- Purchased the wrong camera? We will ship you the right camera.
- Something wrong with the camera you received? We will replace it at no cost to you.
Want to talk to a trail camera expert? Contact our friendly staff.
Read our Customer Testimonials to find out what our customers have been saying about us!
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Browning Dark Ops Pro Accessories
Here are a few of the accessories we like to use in the 2018 Dark Ops Pro.
- There is no downside to using lithium batteries. Long battery life, extreme durability, and better night pictures. You will be happy you did.
- Use this to protect your new camera from bears and thieves. It provides much-needed peace of mind when leaving your camera out in nature.
- Use this with the security case, or just the camera itself. The Dark Ops Pro has brackets on the back specifically for this lock.
Start at $9.95
- SD cards store your pictures and videos for easy removal. We give you a free SD card with the Dark Ops Pro, but most people use two cards. If you have two cards, you can swap them out when you retrieve the pictures.
Verified Customer Reviews
We ensure that every customer review comes from one of our real customers and not someone who works for the competing trail camera manufacturer. These are verified customer trail camera reviews that you can trust.
We would love your feedback if you purchased this trail camera from us. We want your honest feedback, these reviews are a vital part in helping consumers choose the right game camera.