Bushnell Essential E2 Review

Trailcampro Comprehensive Score:

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The Essential E2 is a discontinued trail camera. Here are all current Bushnell Trail Cameras. - TCP Staff

Bushnell Essential E2 clasp view

2016 Bushnell Essential E2 Review

- The Essential is one of our top-rated cameras under $150. GREAT night pictures, 11-month battery life, and fast trigger make this a big winner for 2016. - TCP Staff

Model # 11-9836c | Essential E2 Owner's Manual


  • Incredible night photos & videos
  • Great color day pictures
  • Fast trigger speed
  • Outstanding battery life


  • Middle of the road video trigger
  • No external battery jack & doesn't work with rechargeable batteries

Trailcampro Analysis

The new 2016 Bushnell Essential E2 combines performance with affordability. The Essential E2 is very similar to the Bushnell Aggressor Red Glow, with a few subtle differences:

  • 12-volt battery system allows for more power to infrared LEDs (no external battery jack)
  • Lower resolution video, 1280 x 720 w/ sound
  • 12 mpxl pictures (interpolated megapixels)

Picture Quality

Photo resolution: 12 mpxl (interpolated) | Video Resolution: 1280 x 720 w/ audio | Flash Type: Red Glow Infrared

    Overall, day pictures have been crisp, clear and show great color. Most impressively, there have been very few day pictures with any blur - even with movement.

    Night pictures are stunning. Tons of flash range while keeping a good contrast and minimizing blur. The flash is distributed evenly from the far left to the far right of the picture. Most impressively, the infrared flash adjusts if an animal gets close to the camera. This has kept "white out" to a minimum.

    [powr-image-slider id=413c7106_1457710117142]

    Day videos have been very solid and enjoyable. Night videos are outstanding and are among the best we have ever collected. Notice how the flash adjusts as an animal walks close to the camera.

    If you want higher resolution video from a Bushnell camera, the Aggressor Red Glow shoots at 1920 x 1080.

    Megapixel Ratings:

    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.

    Battery Life

    Resting Power (on): 0.84 mW | Daytime Power Consumption: 2.86 Ws | Nighttime Power Consumption: 4.3 Ws

    Battery life doesn't get much better than this. The data across the board is outstanding. Combine that with the camera operating on a 12-volt system and this camera is set to last an incredible amount of time in the field.

    If this camera were to take 35-day pictures and 35-night pictures every 24 hour period, this camera would last an astounding 11.1 months in the field on a set of lithium batteries.

    Do yourself a favor and use Energizer Ultimate Lithium batteries in this camera. They will improve the consistency of the image and battery life. This camera does not work with rechargeable batteries, the cutoff voltage is too low.

    Detection Circuit

    Picture Trigger & Recovery Speed: 0.22 s. / 3.3 s. | Video Trigger & Recovery Speed: 1.74 s. / 5.3 s. | Detection Range: 60 ft.

    Picture trigger speed is exceptional. Picture recovery is above average, but significantly slower than the Aggressor cameras.

    Video trigger and recovery times have improved but are not top of the line.

    Detection range came out to 60 ft. By today's standard, that is average.

    Quality of Design

    Dimensions: 5.75" x 4.25" x 3" | Battery Type: 8 AA Batteries | External Battery Jack: N/A

    Back of Bushnell Essential E2

    On the surface, the Essential E2 is identical to the Bushnell Aggressor cameras. Large, easy to grasp latch, durable plastic case, and futuristic design.

    Most notable difference is the Essential E2 is a 12-volt camera and does NOT have an external battery jack. The Essential E2 will not support anything other than the 8 AA batteries it requires to operate.

    "No external battery jack..."

    Bottom of Essential E2

    Loading the batteries can be difficult. Getting the batteries out can be even harder. You may need a pen or screwdriver to pry them out.

    Programming is identical to all Bushnell cameras of the last 5-7 years. Some people find it a bit confusing, but overall, it is pretty easy to navigate once you get the hang of it.

    Durability on Bushnell varies. They are always one of the best selling trail cameras on the market, so it only makes sense that you will find a higher number of reported customer warranties. If you break it down to percentages, they are middle of the road.

    2016 Bushnell Essential E2 Conclusion

    The Essential E2 is an outstanding value at this price point. The switch to the 12-volt system was a smart move by Bushnell that took the night picture quality from good to great. Trigger speed is nearly instant, battery life is a huge strength and day pictures have some of the best color and clarity we have seen in 2016. Outside of some quirks, the 2016 Bushnell Essential gets a big thumbs up from us.

    Enjoy our reviews? Please consider purchasing your next trail camera from us.

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    view of Essential E2 battery compartment

    Manufacturer Specifications

    • 12, 8, 3 Mpxl interpolated photos
    • 1280 x 720 Video w/ audio
    • Field Scan Mode: 2X Time Lapse w/ Live Trigger | Records time lapse sequence and expands camera coverage
    • 32 Red glow infrared LEDs
    • Date, Time and Temperature stamped on every image
    • 8 AA batteries required
    • Comes with nylon strap for mounting
    • 1/4" x 20 threaded insert on the bottom and back of the camera
    • Bracket for python cable lock
    • Accepts up to 32 Gig SD cards

    Ups Ground Shipping Times
    Domestic U.S. Shipping Options
    • Free UPS Economy Shipping on all orders over $99
    • Free shipping applies only to the lower 48 states and will be shipped via the most economical method.
    • Orders placed before 3 p.m Central Standard Time are usually shipped the same day
    • We are happy to offer expedited shipping options. Prices are shown during checkout.
    International Orders

    Dear International Customer:

    Trailcampro has shipped to practically every country on the globe and is dedicated to the highest standards in International Customer Service.

    We ship via FedEx International Air (fully insured) with an ETA of 2 to 8 days, depending on your location. Due to our high volume with FedEx, we can offer discounts of 35% to 40% off their list carriage rates.

    We ask that you first contact us by email at internationalorders@Trailcampro.com with your proposed order. We will calculate the packaged weight and promptly provide a carriage quote and estimated delivery time. If the quote is acceptable, simply provide us with your credit card information (Name, Credit Card Billing Address, Account Number, Expiration Date and the 3 Digit Security Code on the back) and your order will be on its way. Alternatively, payment can be made via bank transfer to our International Swift account with Bank of America. Additional Notes:
    All merchandise purchased is FOB Springfield MO USA
    Customs duties and/or related taxes are the buyer's responsibility.

    Our goal is to make sure your International buying experience exceeds your expectations. If you have any questions, or would like references from our customer base of large institutional, research or university clients, please feel free to contact me anytime at rich@trailcampro.com

    Rich Howell
    President & CEO
    Trailcampro L.L.C.

    Bushnell Essential E2 Accessories

    Here are a few of the accessories we like to use in the Essential E2.

    lithium batteries

    Energizer Ultimate Lithiums | 8 Pack


    - There is no downside to using lithium batteries. Long battery life, extreme durability and better night pictures. You will be happy you did.

    Bushnell Essential/Aggressor Security Case


    - 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.

    6 Foot Python Cable Lock


    - Use this with the security case, or just the camera itself. The Essential E2 has brackets on the back specifically for this lock.

    Extra SD Cards

    Start at $5.95

    - SD cards store your pictures and videos for easy removal. We give you a free SD card with the Essential E2, but most people use a second card. If you have two cards, you can swap them out when you retrieve the pictures.

    Slate River Mount


    - If you aren't using a security case, this is a must-have. Screws into the tree and rotates to any angle. You no longer need to find the perfect tree to mount the camera to.

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    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.