Bushnell Essential E2
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
Trailcampro Comprehensive Score: What's this?
Mpxl Rating | Video ResolutionSee Breakdown ▼
Battery Life:11.1 Months
Resting Power(on) | Daytime Power Consumption | Nighttime Power ConsumptionSee Breakdown ▼
Trigger Speed & Detection:72/100
Picture Trigger & Recovery Speed | Video Trigger & Recovery Speed | Detection RangeSee Breakdown ▼
Quality of Design:78/100
Dimensions | Battery Type | External Battery Jack See Breakdown ▼
- 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
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Dimensions: 5.75" x 4.25" x 3" | Battery Type: 8 AA Batteries | External Battery Jack: N/A
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..."
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: 82/100
The Bushnell Essential E2 was supposed to offer a lower cost alternative to the $179 red glow Aggressor. Instead, the Essential E2 may end up completely taking over the Aggressor for anybody that doesn't need 1-second recovery and higher resolution video.
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 we documented in this review, the 2016 Bushnell Essential gets a big thumbs up from us.
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- 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
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Bushnell Essential E2 Accessories
Here are a few of the accessories we like to use in the Essential E2.
- 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 Essential E2 has brackets on the back specifically for this lock.
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.
- 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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