We’re busy putting the Recon Force Elite HP4 through its paces for this review – check back soon for more info, photos and videos!
The Browning Recon Force Elite HP4 builds on the Recon Force Edge and is our new favourite wildlife camera at NatureSpy. The video quality day and night is superb, better than on any other camera trap, and photo quality is very solid.
The previous version of this wildlife camera was used on BBC Springwatch and the new version doesn’t disappoint.
A headline change is the new long-range power LEDs, which as well as providing better night time performance, also allow the camera to run off rechargeable batteries – something we’ve long been pining for. It makes this wildlife camera suddenly much greener! We strongly recommend the Eneloop Pro, and you must use rechargeable batteries that are above 2500mAh.
It offers faster trigger speeds, and much improved night video definition. Detection and sensitivity have also been improved and the trigger speed has got slightly faster still.
It retains the important addition of a start and stop programmable timer – allowing you to set when you want the camera to be active, and avoid those times when the pigeons are in the garden, or the cat is let out etc – essentially, so you can focus on the wildlife.
Trigger speeds, particularly for videos, are very impressive and quick, at an improved 0.2-0.4 seconds – a stat that few can match (regardless of what the manufacturers tell you!). Detection is reliable and consistent.
The build quality and overall design of the camera is excellent and has improved further, with a forward-facing colour screen to help with set up and so you can review images/videos without dismounting the camera in the field. The warranty length in the UK through NatureSpy is 2 years.
The Recon Force Elite HP4 is also straightforward to use – uncomplicated, without a vast array of settings, but quick and simple. The only difference between this and the Spec Ops Elite HP4 is that this camera has low-glow, rather than no-glow, LEDs.
Due to it’s 12V power system (the reason night footage is so good), night time videos are limited to 20 seconds per clip. However, if activity remains, the camera can recover in under 1 second and record another 20 second clip.
Read more of our Browning Recon Force Elite HP4 review below…
Max res: 1080p (60fps day, 60fps night) Max length: 2mins day, 20 secs night Trigger speed: about 0.3 seconds Recovery time: about 0.8 seconds
This is the absolute headline feature of this trail camera – its video quality. The Recon Force Elite HP4 is designed around this – it has the latest iCatch processor to allow for crisper videos, day and night, than ever before.
Audio has also really improved, with minimal background hum – meaning you can hear the noises of wildlife trotting by, badgers squabbling or birds playing with ease.
Max res: 22MP (lowest 4MP) Max number per trigger: 8 photos Trigger speed: about 0.2 seconds Recovery time: about 0.6 seconds
Photo quality is often overlooked on this camera because the video quality is so good – but the photos don’t disappoint either.
Daytime photos are clear and colourful, offering great detail. Night time are good and the new LEDs really help here to freeze motion better.
As with all camera traps, we recommend using the lower photo resolution settings for better results – this avoids excessive interpolation and can actually improve the image quality.
Photo examples coming soon…
Trigger speed and detection
Trigger speed: approx. 0.02s (photos), 0.3s (videos) Recovery speed 0.6s Detection range: approx. 90ft LED type: Low-Glow Power LEDs
The Recon Force line of wildlife cameras from Browning have always been quick, and this is no different – photos trigger almost instantly on detection, and video triggers are about 0.3s once detection is made. Pretty darn quick, and means you’re not likely to miss anything at all.
Detection is as usual very good – one of the reasons these Browning trail cameras gets used so widely. Detection varies (as with all cameras with a PIR sensor) based on batteries, settings, positioning and temperature but you can expect up to 90ft for a human-sized animal or deer etc. For hedgehogs, we always recommend being no more than 20ft away.
Build quality & batteries
Warranty: 2 years (through NatureSpy) Batteries: 8x AA (Lithium recommended, but can run from rechargeable above 2500mAh)
Browning cameras are always sturdy little units and the new Recon Force Elite HP4 is too. It keeps the slimmer case design of the previous Edge version, with the catch slightly beefed up too.
The metal bracket that the strap feeds through means you can pull it tight against a tree or fencepost without worrying if you’re pulling too hard.
Battery life is really good on this camera trap. In video mode, taking about 20 videos over 24 hours, you would get approx. 3 months from a set of lithium batteries. In photo mode, taking approx. 70 photos in 24 hours, you would get about 2 years of use… pretty amazing!
There is a tripod mount at the base if you want to put on a tripod in the garden etc (just be careful not to over-tighten). This also works with the Camera Tree Mount to allow for more fine-tuned set ups.
Just worth noting however is that the temperature reading is to be taken with a pinch of salt – especially if you’re taking lots of videos in a row.
Browning cameras have been very reliable for us and are covered by a 2 year manufacturer’s warranty in the UK when bought through NatureSpy.
Ease of use
The Recon Force Elite HP4 is certainly not a difficult wildlife camera to use. When turned on, you’re presented with an overview screen showing a view of what the camera can currently see and what it is set to take. It shows the files recorded and the space remaining at a glance. If you don’t press any button within 30 seconds (to access the menu etc) the camera arms itself and is ready to go.
This forward-facing colour screen is extremely useful – you can strap the camera trap up, then use the screen to perfect the positioning. Its also very handy when you want to review the images/videos captured without taking the SD card out and using a computer/tablet etc – just open the door and have a quick check – useful if out and about, or a sneaky look before you head to work!
There are three main modes; Trail Cam (photos only), Video, and Timelapse Plus. Most of the time, you’ll be using either photos or videos. The timelapse function only works during the day – and with timelapse plus, you can have photos taken at set intervals plus the camera will trigger day and night based on any detections.
There is also a ‘Motion Test’ feature, like most camera traps have, where a test light on the front will blink when it detects you. You can use this to find the right distances or angles and it can help with setting up the Recon Force Elite in the best place possible.
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.
If you’ve found our review useful, please consider supporting our work and purchasing your next camera trap from us.
Our favourite features…
Browning Recon Force Elite HP4
New for 2021 is the updated Browning Recon Force Elite HP4 wildlife camera trap. It’s main, standout feature is the fantastic quality 1080p, 60fps video quality and also has improved 22MP photos, a very fast trigger speed and a host of other features, building on our most popular wildlife camera ever, the 2020 Recon Force Edge.
A big change this year is to more powerful, long range IR LEDs – this allows much better night time illumination using invisible infrared, and importantly means the trail camera now supports rechargeable batteries. This is something that has been on our wishlist with Browning for years.
The Elite HP4 also has the much-sought feature, a programmable start and stop timer – meaning you can tell it when you want it to be active. This means with this wildlife camera, you can avoid the early morning pigeons or the dog in the backgarden, and focus solely on the best times for wildlife.
It also uses the latest V35MA processor from iCatch, the leading camera processor maker to deliver the next step up in performance and quality.
The Browning Recon Force Elite HP4 in particular delivers best-in-class video footage, day and night. If you’re looking for a wildlife camera to take great videos, this is likely to be the one for you. There are two choices for video resolution – ‘Ultra’ and ‘High’. Ultra is uncompressed 1080p HD video at 6o frames per second. The quality is undoubtedly amazing, but the file sizes are very large – over 400MB per video. Choosing ‘High’ resolution means the same 1080p but at 30 frames per second and video quality is almost as good, but the file sizes are much more manageable.
Day and night videos are 60fps when in ‘Ultra’ mode – the highest available on any camera currently. This means smooth footage, in addition to the brilliant quality.
The LEDs are low-glow and due to the use of the high performance LEDs, the range is improved over previous versions. The camera has a setting which allows you to tweak the flash based on your requirements; Power Save, Fast Motion or Long Range.
The Browning Recon Force Elite HP4 can detect movement out to about 90ft and has the ability to adjust the sensitivity and therefore the detection ranges to between 60-80ft. In the UK, we’d always recommend leaving it on the 80ft option. If you’re after no-glow, the Spec Ops Elite HP4 offers the same features as the Recon Force but with no-glow LEDs.
You can also adjust the trigger speed of the camera to between 0.2 and 0.7 seconds – if you have a slow or fast moving animals, for example. This new model adds a faster recovery time too, down to 0.6 seconds.
The forward-facing colour screen not only lets you view the images/videos captured, but is invaluable during set up as it shows exactly what the camera can see – so if you’ve set it too high, a look at the screen will tell you and you can then adjust.
It includes the exciting innovation from Browning of ‘Smart IR Video’ – this means that the camera will continue recording video footage for up to 5 minutes during the daytime and up to 20 seconds at night as long as the wildlife/people continue to move in front of the camera. So if you’re worried about video length vs. battery life, this feature takes that concern off your hands.
In photo mode, you can select how many images you want the camera to take per trigger. You can select either Multi-shot, which takes up to 8 images at 2 second intervals, or Rapid Fire, which can take up to 8 images at 0.2 seconds apart.
The Browning Recon Force Elite HP4 is powered by 8x AA batteries (not provided), and has the ability to use an SD card up to 512GB – unprecedented in camera trapping. We’re not sure if you’ll ever need that amount unless using ‘Ultra’ video resolution, but it’s nice to have the option of using a 64GB card for long-term monitoring, or if you don’t want to keep deleting captures from your SD card. The Elite HP4 also has a SD management option which will overwrite the oldest recordings/photos once the SD card fills.
The Browning Recon Force Elite HP4 is supplied with a 2 year warranty when bought through NatureSpy. Browning are an American company; but if anything goes wrong with your camera, we’ll deal with all warranty returns here in the UK. We’ll never ask you to send your Browning camera trap direct to the manufacturer.
Browning Recon Force Elite HP4 features:
22MP high-quality full colour resolution
Full HD Video – 1920 x 1080 pixels at 60fps
2″ colour viewing screen
Programmable start/stop timer
Can run off rechargeable batteries (min. 2500mAh)
4 new power low-glow infrared LEDs
Smart IR video detection system
Fast 0.2 ‐0.7 Second Adjustable Trigger Speeds with 0.6 second recovery
Adjustable Detection Range up to 90 ft.
‘Zero-blur’ technology – ensuring crisp photos
Programmable trigger interval: 5 sec. to 60 min.
Multi-image mode: 1-8 images per trigger
Video length: 1 second to 2 mins (night time video limited to 20 seconds)
Records audio with video
Highly programmable time-lapse periods
PIR sensor is motion activated out to 90′
Adjustable web belt and 1/4-20 socket
SD card slot (512 GB max.)
SD cycle option – so when the SD card gets full, it rewrites over the oldest images/videos
2 year warranty when bought through NatureSpy
For full specs, click the tab above.
Browning Trail Cameras are an American-based camera trap manufacturer with a growing reputation. They’ve innovated fast and won loyal customers across the pond – and its easy to see why. We’re proud to be a main UK distributor.
The current range from Browning builds on their successes, pushing the boundaries and improving every time. The Recon Force Edge and Spec Ops Edge have some of the best video quality we’ve ever seen on a camera trap; comfortably beating the previous leaders, Bushnell.
Browning say that you can watch their 1080p footage back on a 60 inch TV and not lose clarity – and we can see what they mean. Add excellent video trigger times (which are always slower than photo triggers) of about 0.3 seconds, and you can start to see why we’re so excited about these trail cameras. You can see videos for the product you’re viewing on the ‘Example video’ tab or in the ‘Our Review’ section.
Photo quality is also generally good, though differs throughout the range. Trigger times again are strong. All models also have Multi-Shot and Rapid-Fire modes, which give you control and choice over what you want your camera to do when taking photos.
Many models also have built-in, forward facing colour screens and a host of smart features and simple set ups to make camera trapping that bit easier and convenient. Add this all together with the excellent price and it can be difficult to look beyond a Browning wildlife camera trap.
And as NatureSpy are an official UK distributor, you’re fully covered by our 2 year warranty and if in the unlikely event something goes wrong, we’ll deal with it entirely in the UK.
If you need to have a chat about Browning or any other camera trap, just get in touch and we’ll be happy to help.
Model: Browning Recon Force Elite HP4 (BTC-7E-HP4)
2” Color Viewing Screen
Infrared LED Illumination at Night
Adjustable IR Flash (Power Save, Long Range, Fast Motion)
1920 x 1080 Full HD videos with sound (Daytime Settings Range from 5 Seconds – 2 Minutes in Length; Nighttime Videos
are Limited to 20 Seconds)
Timelapse Plus Camera Mode with Infrared Triggered Pictures
Compact Case Size 5.0” x 4.0” x 2.5”
Supports up to a 512GB SDXC Card (SD Cards Not Included)
Distance & Speed Features:
80 ft. Flash Range
80 ft. Detection Range
0.2 Second Trigger Speeds
0.6 Second Recovery Time
Up to 8 Multi-Shot Images
Up to 8 Rapid Fire Images
Programmable Picture Delay (Delay Settings Range from 5 Seconds – 60 Minutes)
SD Card “Memory Management” Option
“Smart IR” Video Detection System
Fast 0.2 ‐0.7 Second Adjustable Trigger Speeds
Adjustable Detection Range up to 80 ft.
Long Battery Life from 8 AAx Batteries (Batteries Not Included)
12 Volt External Power Jack
Picture “Data Strip” Displays: Time, Date, Temperature, Moon Phase, & Camera ID
Compatible with Browning “BuckWatch Timelapse Viewer” Software
Threaded Insert Size of 1/4” – 20 on Bottom of Camera for Mounting Purposes