Bushnell Trophy Cam HD Essential E3

Rated 4.89 out of 5 based on 9 customer ratings
(9 customer reviews)


  • Bushnell’s entry level wildlife camera
  • 1280 x 720p HD video
  • 100ft detection zone
  • Stunning 16MP images
  • 0.3 second trigger speed
  • 32 infrared LEDs for impressive night time flash
  • Perfect entry model
The Essential E3 has been discontinued.
There is a new version of this camera available; the Bushnell Prime Low Glow

Why choose NatureSpy for the Bushnell Trophy Cam HD Essential E3

Bushnell Essential E3 – Our Rating:Bushnell Trophy Cam Essential E3 119837 review


Bushnell Trophy Cam Essential E3 119837 review

The Bushnell Trophy Cam Essential E3 picks up where the E2 left off – offering some improvements throughout, and the same great video quality.

Recovery times have improved a lot from last year’s model, particularly for video; now re-triggering in well under a second. Photo trigger speed has improved to under 0.2 seconds, though video triggers are still a little slow at around 1.8 seconds. The detection circuit has also had an upgrade – now able to detect out to around 80ft.

The video quality, particularly at night, is what makes this camera so popular however – and the night video is still great. It is 30fps, which is better than the more-expensive Aggressors, at 18fps, although at a slightly lower resolution of 720p.

The build quality and overall design of the Essential E3 hasn’t changed much on last year – its still a sturdy, well-built unit.

Bushnells have also been easy to use, and the E3 is the same – it’s quick and easy to change the settings to what you need.

Like the E2 before it, the Essential E3 is using a 12V power system (the reason night footage is so good), and this means night time videos are limited to 15 seconds per clip. The better recovery speeds on this new version however means it can re-trigger in under a second.

Also taking into consideration the price of the camera, we feel the Bushnell Essential E3 continues to be an excellent choice for those looking for a great camera without breaking the bank. Night video is a particular draw, though the trigger for videos isn’t quick. We give it a solid 8 out of 10.

Read more of our review below…

Not sure which is the right camera trap for you? Try our camera trap chooser

Bushnell Trophy Cam HD Essential E3 features review

Video quality
Max res: 720p (30fps day, 30fps night)   Max length: 60 secs day, 15 secs night
Trigger speed: about 1.8 seconds   Recovery time: about 0.6 seconds

The video quality on the Essential E3 is certainly it’s draw for most people. Although 720p, its very well defined at night, and captures good colour during the day. Both night and day videos are also at 30fps, for smooth viewing.

The video trigger speed, at 1.8 seconds, is still just slightly on the slow side for a modern camera – although most of the time its perfectly fine, it just means occasionally the video will start when the animal is already well within shot. For slower moving animals however, it isn’t an issue – but if you expect wildlife to be pelting passed the camera, you may need a faster video trigger.

Sound is ok – fairly standard for a camera trap. Nothing fantastic, but you can hear birdsong, animal calls, running water etc.

The exposure control at night is still good, but perhaps not as good as last year. Mounting the camera to ensure that there is no over-exposure in the foreground or on close objects makes a big difference.

Due to the 12V system, night videos are limited to 15 seconds, but improved recovery times on the new E3 means that another video can start in under a second, if the interval setting is set to its lowest.

Photo quality
Max res: 16MP max.   Max number per trigger: 3 photos
Trigger speed: about 0.2 seconds   Recovery time: about 0.6 seconds

The Bushnell Essential E3 is a great camera for photos. Daytime photos have great colour and the camera seems to cope well in low-light conditions.

Night photos are very strong, thanks in part to that 12v system. Like videos, it doesn’t seem to be as good as older version on correcting overexposure however – but is good at controlling motion blur.

  • Bushnell Trophy Cam Essential E3 119837 example photo of a badger

Most users of the Bushnell Essential E3 go for this camera for the video however, so this may not be too big a concern for most. We also have no idea why photo recovery speeds are slightly slower than video trigger speeds – normally this is the other way around.

Trigger speed and detection
Trigger speed: approx. 0.2s (photos), 1.8s (videos)   Recovery speed: 1s (photos), 0.7s (videos)
Detection range: approx. 80ft   LED type: Low-Glow LEDs

The detection circuit on the Bushnell Aggressor cameras has long been a major strength, and this year Bushnell have brought the Essential E3 a good step closer to the Aggressor range. The camera has an improved detection range compared to the previous version, and is generally more sensitive.

Video triggers are a little average, especially when compared to the photo trigger speed. However video recovery speeds have seen a huge improvement and are now amongst the best.

Photo triggers, as with all camera traps, are faster, and a big chunk so on the Essential E3 at often under 0.2 seconds. This makes this camera, together with the Aggressors, oneof the fastest currently available for photo trigger speeds. The recovery is not as fast as some other cameras however.

Build quality & batteries
Warranty: 2 years (through NatureSpy)   Batteries: 8x AA (Lithium recommended)

Bushnell cameras are known for their sturdiness. You can tell they are well built and strong units, and the E3 follows the Aggressor design of the last few years.

Bushnell Trophy Cam Essential E3 119837 review

The look of the camera – somewhat akin to a grenade/stormtrooper – is a little unnecessary, but does serve to break up the outline of the camera trap.

Battery life is ok from 8x AA Lithiums – generally, you can expect around 5 months battery life for photos (taking around 60 pictures every 24 hours) and about 1-2 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. It is below average however, which is a shame – power consumption has increased compared to last year’s models.

The Bushnell Essential E3 is covered by a 2 year manufacturer’s warranty in the UK when bought through NatureSpy.

Ease of use
Bushnell cameras have long been amongst the easiest to use, and the Essential E3 is no different. The internal design of the camera is basically unchanged from last year.

Bushnell Trophy Cam Essential E3 119837 review screen

The camera trap has quite a lot 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.

If you’ve found our review useful, please consider supporting our work and purchasing your next camera trap from us.

Product Description

Bushnell why choose NatureSpy


Our favourite features…

Bushnell Trophy Cam HD Essential E3 features review


Bushnell Trophy Cam HD Essential E3…


The Bushnell Trophy Cam HD Essential E3 captures incredible 720p HD video and improved 16MP images.

The Bushnell Trophy Cam HD Essential E3 is a great place to start with Bushnell camera traps – the 720p video is fantastic quality and the 16MP image quality is eye-popping – they have also made big leaps forward in terms of night time photo and video quality and definition. Audio is also recorded with video.

The Essential E3 is a completely weatherproof, motion-activated camera which records directly onto an internal SD card. The passive infrared motion sensor is triggered up to a distance of an improved 100 feet and has adjustable sensitivity (low, medium, high or auto).

Images and videos are in full colour during the day and at night or in low-light conditions the camera trap switches to black and white. Hyper night vision technology ensures that night-time images are crisp and clear.

Not sure which is the right camera trap for you? Try our camera trap chooser

The Bushnell Trophy Cam HD Essential E3 low-glow has a trigger speed for photos of just 0.3 seconds and recovery between triggers is around 1 second.  The trigger interval can also be adjusted – this is the time in between capture events – between 1 second to 60 minutes. It is also possible to specify how many images to capture per trigger (1 to 3). Video trigger speed, as with all camera traps, is slightly slower.

The 2x Field Scan function uses time lapse technology to capture images at specified intervals (1 minute to 1 hour) between the hours of your choice. You can programme two separate time lapse windows so that you can monitor both dusk and dawn activity at your survey site.

The Bushnell Trophy Cam HD Essential E3 is powered by 8 AA batteries (not provided). Batteries will last for up to a year based on normal usage (i.e. taking approx 30 pictures a day).

Bushnell Trophy Cam HD Essential E3 Features:

  • 16MP high-quality full colour resolution
  • HD Video – 1280 x 720 pixels
  • Day/night autosensor
  • 32 low-glow infrared LEDs with 50′ range
  • Adjustable PIR (Lo/Med/High) or Auto PIR
  • 0.3 second trigger speed (photos)
  • Programmable trigger interval: 1 sec. to 60 min.
  • Multi-image mode: 1-3 images per trigger
  • Video length: 1 second to 60 seconds, programmable (max. 15 seconds at night)
  • Records audio with video
  • Field Scan time-lapse mode takes images at pre-set intervals, 1 minute to 60 minutes
  • Temperature range -5° F to 140° F
  • Black & White internal screen
  • PIR sensor is motion activated out to 100ft
  • Runs up to one year on one set of batteries
  • Adjustable web belt and 1/4-20 socket
  • SD card slot
  • Weather proof
  • 2 year warranty when bought through NatureSpy

For full specs, click the tab above.

Our Bushnell camera traps are central to what we do. Their sturdy build quality, strong detection and video quality sets them apart. We have an intimate knowledge of what makes them tick after years of working with them.

The new 2019 Core and Core DS models represent a big step forward for Bushnell, with much improved case design and battery life, along with faster speeds and better video quality. The Core DS models in particular, with dual sensors for better day and night imagery, have been giving great results.

2017 Bushnell Aggressor Low Glow 119875 review

We ran a crowd-funding project at the end of 2013 to raise money for Bushnell camera traps as part of our Yorkshire Pine Marten Project, and still use more up-to-date Bushnell camera traps in our iWild North Wales and Deescover projects.

We used Bushnell cameras solely in the iWild North Wales project and to a lesser extent in the Deescover project, mainly due to their high video quality.

All of our environmental projects generate hundreds of camera trap videos every single month; you can see some of the highlights and quality of the Bushnell footage on our YouTube channel. Please note that all this footage comes from a variety of Bushnell models at different resolutions.

They are extremely hardy and able to resist both low and high temperatures very well, and the case is well designed.

The image quality is consistently good and it’s main stand-out feature is the video quality.

If you aren’t sure which camera trap is for you, don’t hesitate to contact us and we’ll provide the best advice we can. All of our staff actually use different camera trap models in the field every single day, so we are ideally placed to help you make the right choice.

Bushnell Trophy Cam HD Essential E3 119837
Wireless Connectivity:
Resolution Setting:
PIR Sensor:
Night Vision Flash:
Low-Glow 32 LED / 100′
LCD Display:
B&W Text LCD
Date/Time/Temp/Moon Stamp:
GPS Geotag:
Power Supply:
AA (8)
Solar Compatible:
Battery Life:
Up to 12 Months
Video Resolution:
Video Length:
Up to 60 Seconds (max. 15 seconds at night)
SD Card Capacity:
Field Scan 2X:
Audio Record:
Hybrid Capture:

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4.89 out of 5 stars

9 reviews

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What others are saying

  1. Rated 5 out of 5
    Life in the Woods!

    Alison Brown (verified owner)

    Have had the e3 for 4 months, and, delighted! Easy to set up, move to different sites, load and unload card and transfer to ipad. Quality great, both daytime and at night ….even insects, and rain falling! Have badger and child, grey squirrel, foxes and cats, all caught on camera. My best buy for 2020!

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    • NatureSpy (store manager)

      Thanks Alison, really pleased to hear you’re enjoying the cameras 🙂

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  2. Rated 5 out of 5
    Bushnell E3 wildlife camera

    Chris (verified owner)

    We have had it about 3 weeks now and have had great fun finding out how it works, best locations, video options etc. We have had sightings of fox, hedgehog and Muntjac deer in the garden, as well as my least favourite – grey squirrels and wood pigeons!!. Stillwaiting to capture one of the Coronavirus bugs on camera!

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  3. Rated 5 out of 5
    Bushnell Trophy Cam

    Katherine (verified owner)

    I bought this camera to record video of wildlife in our garden at night. It took a couple of days to position the camera correctly as there is no view finder. Once the correct position for the camera has been found we have enjoyed several days of nightime wildlife watching. We have seen hegehogs, mice, foxes and cats! The pictures are clear with few false triggers. The sensitivity seems to pick up even the fastest mouse (we have set the sensitivity to maximum). It has been raining almost constantly and the camera seems to be coping well with no obvious signs of leaking. So far so good, very pleased.

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  4. Rated 5 out of 5
    Excellent service

    Lorna (verified owner)

    Delighted with purchase. Already given delight with photographs taken – a previously unseen life at our pond!

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  5. Rated 4 out of 5
    Getting there

    Susan (verified owner)

    The Bushnell is miles better than my last wildlife camera – Acorn. Simpler to use, better manual, easier to install batteries. Only disappointment so far is that it focuses on the static things in the nid distance and the moving wild boar near it are out of focus

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  6. Rated 5 out of 5
    The Glens Red Squirrel Group

    GRSG (verified owner)

    We found Naturespy very easy to deal with. We asked for a quote which they held too, even though we were over the quote time period. Once we ordered the cameras they dispatched quickly and the cameras are now up and working. GRSG.

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  7. Rated 5 out of 5

    John (verified owner)

    Excellent camera. Excellent service.

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  8. Rated 5 out of 5
    Happy Hedgehogs

    Brett (verified owner)

    We’re delighted with our new camera. It’s great for monitoring hedgehog activity and were ordering another one to make sure we’ve got both our hedgehog houses covered.

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  9. Rated 5 out of 5

    Dave (verified owner)

    Good quality and easy to use
    I have only used my Trophy Cam for a few days but it was very easy to setup and start capturing images. The build quality is very good and it appears to be unaffected by inclement weather. I look forward to finding out what is roaming through the garden overnight!

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