Customer Reviews: Browning BTC 3 Trail Spec Ops Camera, Camo
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on June 9, 2014
First of all, the only thing Browning about this camera appears to be the name. It isn't made by or for Browning, nor does Browning sell or distribute it. The only thing Browning seems to do is collect a fee for permitting Prometheus Group, the 'manufacturer' of record, to use the Browning name and logo on their product. So Browning joins a growing list of companies that make money by licensing their name and logo to other companies in order to fool the consumer into buying an unknown product while thinking there is a reputable name behind it.

Secondly, it isn't really an 8 megapixel camera. Buried in the specs at the back of the 'manual' is the admission that the Effective Pixels (their term) is really 1920x1080, which works out to 2,073,600 pixels. It's a 2 megapixel camera, folks. The 8 megapixel results are done by digital upscaling, with attendant loss of resolution and waste of space on the SD card. You can do the same thing on your PC, probably with much better results than the huge mediocre quality images that result when it's done by the camera. It's best to set the picture 'quality' setting to 2MP to mazimize both real image quality and SD card capacity and leave it at that.

Okay, this unit was purchased to replace/augment an older StealthCam. Compared to the StealthCam, it's really small and the camo works well, making it hard to see out in the woods. It takes AA cells in a slide out tray, while the Stealth took a wad of C cells. The battery indicator is crap, showing exhausted batteries with just a little use. The color screen really sucks the power making the battery voltage reading meaninless. However, if color screen use is minimized, the camera still works with no discernible problem after being out for a month or more, while taking well over a thousand pictures. I've learned to ignore the battery voltage reading. It's useless.

The color picture quality is just OK, but could be a lot better. The infrared quality flat sucks. It significantly inferior to the StealthCam. Unless the subject stands absolutely still, IR pics tend to be a fuzzy blur, usually to the point that the triggering critter is barely identifiable. Sometimes it is impossible to tell what it is or was. However, it truly does have an invisible flash. I could see no trace of red outdoors at night. Trigger range is good during the daytime, only fair at night. Unfortunately, significant tree movement will trigger it during the daytime if leaves are near and the wind is up. Over a two day period I got over a thousand pictures of waving trees but not a single image of any kind of critter.

Walk testing requires you to open and close the camera, possibly disturbing its aim. It's a lousy way of doing it. The SteathCam has an external green walk test LED. When the unit is turned on it automatically goes into walk test mode and you can make sure it is covering the intended target area properly. After 60 seconds of inactivity (user walks out of range when leaving), walk test is disabled and the StealthCam goes into regular operation. It is vastly superior to what the BTC 3 offers.

The StealthCam has over center latches that require little force. The BTC 3 has snap latches that require a lot of force. You can easily move the camera's aim if it isn't rigidly mounted to something heavy and sold, such as a big tree.

The BTC 3 has a tiny built in color screen. It is virtually unreadable in most daylight situations and takes a lot of power to run. A transmissive monochrome screen would have been much better. They are highly readable day or night, don't need backlighting in the daytime, thus saving battery power and are cheap. Little is gained by having a built in color screen. A lot is lost.

I did not try features not mentioned here, so can't comment on them. To sum it up. If all you need is a daytime color camera that hides easy and takes just OK pictures, it will do as long as you can mount it solidly, ignore the battery warning, and deal with the screen visibility issues. If you want IR pics, don't waste your time or money.

And add Browning to your list of companies that rent out their brand names.
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on November 10, 2013
This is a great all around trail camera. It performs a variety of tasks well and I am please with the purchase.

Hardware - 5/5 stars. (Solid build, small and light)
Picture Quality (Day) - 5/5 stars. (Excellent, wide-angle pictures)
Picture Quality (Night) - 3/5 stars. (Descent but grainy. Infrared flash is notorious for less than optimal image quality. This camera is no exception.)
Video Quality (Day or Night) - 4/5 stars. (To my surprise, very good video quality, even at night. Better than nighttime photographs.)
Battery Life - 3/5 stars. (Fairly short battery life: 1 Month on rechargeable batteries. I will use lithium for this model in the future)
"Covertness" - 5/5 stars. There was no evidence that the wildlife noticed the camera. I think the blackout glass worked wonders. It's size and camouflage also make it quite hard to see.

Takeaway: A great camera if you can't afford one of the top brands (i.e. Reconyx). It does not reach that level but is an excellent camera for the price. If you don't need the camera to be covert, the less expensive low glow model would probably suit your needs.
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on October 7, 2013
This is my first trail camera so can't compare to others. I looked at a lot of specs & comments before choosing this one as a good level of spec+features for the price, and after using it for 2 weeks I think it's very good choice.

I ordered this camera from 17th St Camera and it arrived promptly but it did not work well. The sensor could not "see" anything more than about 20 ft away and the photo trigger was also erratic, it seemed to reprogram itself. Very frustrating. I called their 800 number and got a return authorization with no hassle. The replacement camera arrived in about a week or so and works very well.

This camera takes marvelously clear pics in all light conditions, and there is no detectable flash or noise. Very stealthy! This camera "sees" objects moving about 60ft away and with it set for 6 shot bursts, you get very clear pics of anything in the field of view. It is easy to set the field of view with the camera's built-in screen.

The 1-sec trigger time is a bit slow, when a person walks across the field of view the camera does not catch them until the are halfway gone. However if it catches a moving car, the photo is so clear that you can easily read license plates (in daytime) or see the faces of people in the cars.

The menu is kind of clunky and does not match the instruction manual. However with some common sense I got the camera working the way I wanted, and it works so well that we are very happy with it.

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on December 8, 2013
This is my first use of trail cameras so maybe my issues are not abnormal. I bought two Browning cameras at the same time, a BTC 3 and BTC 1. Deer seem to be unfazed by the low glow LED's on the BTC 1. Some look at the red glow for a second or two, others couldn't care less. The BTC 3 is easier to set up because of the viewing screen. Although the BTC 3 has more LED's than the BTC 1 I think the BTC 1 has a longer range, go figure. I use both for videos only and the range is about 25-30' in daylight and 20-25' at night. The trigger time has got to be longer than 1 second at night as there are many slow moving deer well into the frame before the video has started and some where you just catch the body of one moving slowly out of the frame.
The first problem is they both eat batteries. I record about 1-3 mins of videos in a 24 hour period and have to replace batteries every 7-10 days. The second problem is they both create blank files. By blank I mean a created, numbered file that has 0 content and when you try to open/play it, you get a blank screen and an error message. There is nothing like bringing your cards home to find 8-40 files that have no content. When I contacted Browning, the tech. told me it's a SD card issue. This is b.s., I'm using 8 different cards, Sandisk, Kingston and PNY, class 4's and Extreme 10's. The problem occurs on all the cards. What I have found is when the batteries are fresh there are no blank files. When the batteries are around 53% I start getting the blanks. The weird thing is, the last video on the card of me approaching the camera will be a good file. I've got $260 in these two and if I had to do it over again I would look elsewhere primarily because of Browning brushing me off. These may be fine for pictures but if you want videos, shop for something else. If you do buy one have some other stuff that uses AA batteries because your going to have a hundred in no time that still have 1.43 volts that will be good for something other than Browning trail cameras.
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on October 11, 2013
I can get about 90-120 pictures over a 8 day period on a set of batteries then they are dead. I would expect them to last longer and that I wouldn't have to keep replacing the batteries so often. I've tried changing settings, brand of batteries but all batteries I've tried are gone within 6-10 days. That makes this pretty useless if I have to go through so many batteries (24-32 AA's) in just a month.

Other than that, it takes decent pictures, but I've had some almost all black pictures at night.

Perhaps I have something misconfigured, but I don't think I'd consider buying a second one of these.
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on August 2, 2014
I've tried dozens of cameras and this one is the best. Even compared to the reconyx it produces a sharper photo, has a much better IR range, and the built in photo viewer is a really nice touch. I also have the btc 2 which is the same minus the photo viewer. Both are great cameras. The reconyx does win when it comes to battery life. These will go almost a whole deer season on a set of lithiums. The reconyx takes more batteries, but will literally last multiple deer seasons on a single set.
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on January 1, 2014
my friend and I bought two cameras labor day weekend 2013,both took hundreds of pictures,his first set of duracell batteries only lasted one month,his second set are still going strong,I just pulled my camera new years day the same set of batteries from labor day,and have 51% life on them ,so its not a camera issue its a battery issue.good trail camera
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on January 12, 2014
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on June 5, 2015
I would like to love this camera, but it's really 4MP interpolated. Takes beautiful photos and is extremely accurate, but does NOT resolve well enough to identify trespassers or license plates in daytime, near or far. a better CCD is required for security purposes which is what I bought it for. I hope future models will have higher resolution cameras, but it may be a trade-off.
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on March 15, 2015
I generally use items for an extended period before forming an opinion or bothering to write a review. This one has been in service for ~1 year and although not faulty, really doesn't meet expectations. I can compare it to several Bushnell, Moultrie and Cabela’s branded models (and one other Browning model) being used in the plot areas. The cameras get rotated around to the various areas and wildlife, etc. will frequently pass in front of several of the cameras as they move across the various sections. This makes it easy to see the differing levels of performance. In general the camera is nicely constructed and has a fully removable battery tray, allowing easy replacement of the batteries. This is a nice feature as battery replacement is typically an issue with these devices once deployed. Overall the quality of the pictures is only marginal and really don't appear to be 8MP as advertised. They are about on par with one of the old Bushnell units that advertised 4MP and have an incorrect aspect ratio that makes the image slightly stretched. This camera also consistently has issues capturing night movement and tends to be triggered easily by daytime shadows no matter what the sensitivity setting. It will fill an 8GB card within 2-3 days if it is sunny. It also uses up batteries faster than any of the cameras I have ever used. A firmware update – nice that they provided the facility to do them – helped with the battery life but it still mows through them at nearly 4x the rate of the others. Before the update it wouldn’t go a week without fully draining lithium cells, now it gets almost a month.

+ Battery sled is nice, but you will definitely need this feature too much
+ Color display and menu system is fairly advanced compared to many others
+ Seems to be well constructed

- Battery cost will exceed unit cost in short order
- Mediocre picture quality at best
- Out of thousands of images it has captured only a handful of night shots. Cameras on each side in the same zone capture 20-30 each week.
- Latch system is cumbersome

Bottom line: Should have returned it during the 30 day window. This model is outperformed by every other camera on our site. Would not buy a Browning branded camera again unless they change their manufacturer.
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