The 2015 Bushnell NatureView Essential is an entry-level and basic camera, but a decent all-rounder, particularly suited to back gardens.
Video quality is not bad at 720p, and the use of low-glow LEDs with no filter screen means a powerful IR flash range. It does glow more that most other camera’s however, so isn’t recommended outside a garden setting or for sensitive wildlife.
Photo quality is very good – unlike most Bushnell cameras, the NatureView Essential is actually using a 5MP CMOS sensor, as opposed to the usual 3MP. This results in high-quality photos, better than most other Bushnell cameras.
The build quality and overall design of the NatureView Essential is good – the traditional Bushnell pelicase design.
Bushnells have always been easy to use, and the NatureView Essential is the same – it’s quick and easy to change the settings to what you need.
The NatureView Essential is using the older 6V power system, meaning it can run of 4 or 8 AA batteries. However, this means night videos aren’t as good as some more up-to-date 12V cameras, such as the Browning Recon Force Extreme or Bushnell Essential E3, but the nighttime video length limit is 60 seconds rather than the 15-20 seconds on 12V cameras.
Also taking into consideration the price of the camera, we feel the Bushnell NatureView Essential is a decent choice for backgardens, but in this price range there are some better, more up-to-date options – such as the Browning Strike Force HD Pro or Bushnell Essential E3. Therefore, we give it a 6 out of 10.
Read more of our review below…
Trigger speed: about 2.7 seconds Recovery time: about 3 seconds
The video quality on the NatureView Essential is not bad, at 720p. It adjust exposure well after about 2 seconds of a video starting, and the videos are well lit at night, with good colour during the day.
The video trigger speed, at 2.7 seconds, is certainly on the slow side. We find that generally this camera is very good for watching hedgehogs however – they are not particularly fast, and therefore you also may want the 60 second videos at night that this camera can do, as opposed to faster, more modern 12V cameras.
Sound is middle of the road – you won’t hear hedgehog snuffles, but bird song and running water etc are picked up.
Trigger speed: about 0.6 seconds Recovery time: about 1.8 seconds
The Bushnell NatureView Essential is a great camera for photos. Daytime photos have great colour thanks to the high quality 5MP CMOS sensor, and the camera seems to cope well in low-light conditions.
Night photos are good, due in part to the 32 low-glow LEDs without any kind of filtering. This means the camera packs a punch at night – anything too close will likely be overexposed, but in most situations it’s good.
Photo trigger speed isn’t the fastest, but it definitely fast enough for most uses.Trigger speed and detection
Detection range: approx. 60ft LED type: Low-Glow LEDs
The detection circuit on the Bushnell cameras has long been a major strength. They trigger fairly reliably, especially compared to other brands like Ltl Acorn and Minox.
Video triggers are pretty slow on this camera. It isn’t unusual for the camera to trigger when the animal is already well within the frame.
Photo triggers are quite a bit faster, as with most camera traps. Recovery again is a little slower than more modern cameras however. Overall, the triggers and recovery rates of this camera reflect the fact it is a 2015 model rather than the current 2017 offerings from most manufacturers.
Bushnell cameras are known for their sturdiness. You can tell they are well built and strong units, and NatureView Essential,in a green plastic casing, is no different.
Battery life is good from 8x AA Lithiums – generally, you can expect around 10 months battery life for photos (taking around 60 pictures every 24 hours) and about 3 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.
The Bushnell NatureView Essential is covered by a 2 year manufacturer’s warranty in the UK when bought through NatureSpy.
Bushnell cameras have long been amongst the easiest to use, and the NatureView Essential is no different. The internal design of the camera is basically the same as previous years of Bushnells.
The camera trap has a decent amount 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.