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Not Really A Browning -- Some Good, Some Bad Points
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.