Bushnell Trophy Cam HD Essential Review

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Bushnell Trophy Cam HD Essential Review

Discontinued Model # 11-9736c | Bushnell Trophy Cam Essential Owners Manual
  • Incredible picture trigger speed
  • Great battery life


  • 3.2 second video trigger speed
  • Poor night pictures

Trailcampro Analysis

The Bushnell Trophy Cam HD Essential is a bare bones trail camera. This is their base model for this year and while it doesn't have the speed and features of the new Aggressors, it should still pack some quality for the price.

Quality of Design

Dimensions: 5.5" x 4" x 2.5" | Battery Type: 8 AA Batteries | External Battery Jack: 6 Volt

Case design is identical to previous years Trophy Cam models. The clasps aren't nearly as strong and sturdy as the new Bushnell Aggressor cameras. There are built in brackets for a Python lock and a threaded slot for the Slate River Mount.

Programming is easy, but lacks popular features like password protection, sd card overwrite and start/stop time.

  • 1-3 multi-shot burst
  • 5 s. - 60 s. video clips
  • Time lapse: 1 s. to 60 m. 2 x custom setting / day
  • Photo Stamp: Date, time, and temperature
  • Picture + Video Mode: Yes
  • Temperature Range: -5° - 120° F.
  • Field of View: 42.3°
  • Start / Stop Time: No
  • Password Protection: No
  • SD card overwrite: No
  • PIR settings: High, normal, low, auto
  • Flash settings: No, Red glow infrared

We have sold this camera and similar Trophy Cam versions for years. They are relatively durable for a camera made overseas.

Detection Circuit

Picture Trigger & Recovery Speed: 0.11 s. / 3.8 s. | Video Trigger & Recovery Speed: 3.2 s. / 5.4 s. | Detection Range: 90 f

The 0.11 second picture trigger speed is what stands out here. At the time of this writing, that is the fastest trigger speed to date. The 3.8 second recovery is relatively average. The Video trigger speed is way too slow, while the video recovery is above average.

Detection range is a big plus, measuring in at 90 ft. (this is an average and can vary based on ambient temperature).

Picture Quality

Photo resolution: 12, 5, 3 mpxl | Video Resolution: 1280 x 720 w/ audio | Flash Type: Red Glow Infrared

Daytime pictures have good color and clarity but have a tendency to blur when the camera is in the shadows. Overall, daytime pictures are solid.

Night pictures are very disappointing. They are grainy and blurry and don't give the crisp feel that the higher end Bushnell cameras have delivered. The flash is even across the picture, which is good, but, there is a lack of range and animals out past 35-40 feet are exceptionally grainy. All the small animals we have photographed are very blurry and indistinguishable.

Daytime videos are ok. They don't have the best clarity or color. They are very middle of the road. Night videos are much better than the Essential's night pictures. The flash looks strong and since it is video, there isn't the noticeable blur.

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Battery Life

Resting Power (on): 1.26 mW | Daytime Power Consumption: 2.57 Ws | Nighttime Power Consumption: 3.71 Ws

Battery life can be categorized under "really stinking good." Resting power, daytime consumption and nighttime power are all very low and very efficient.

The Essential uses 8 AA batteries. It can use Tenergy nimh rechargeable, alkaline or lithium batteries (which we would recommend).

If the Bushnell Essential were to take 35 day pictures and 35 night pictures every 24 hour period, this camera would last an astounding 11 months in the field on a set of lithium batteries.

Bushnell Trophy Cam Essential Review Conclusion:

The Bushnell Essential is a quick, battery efficient camera trap. However, picture and video quality aren't quite up to snuff and the case design is outdated. If it were our money, we would spend a few extra bucks and get the Bushnell Aggressor camera.

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