Browning Recon Force Edge Trail Camera

Seeing some recent hedgehog activity prompted me to setup an old trail cam that had not been used in sometime. The resulting footage from the old trail cam could have been better quality and so this prompted the purchase of a new trail cam, the Browning Recon Force Edge. Here I'll outline the issues with the old trail cam, the factors in the selection of the new one and how it has performed so far.

Hedgehog
Still from Browning video - Hedgehog

Back in 2018 I reviewed my new Victure HC200 trail cam, a no-glow IR unit that I would describe as cheap and cheerful (still available, the current variant is now about £60). It did the job in detecting what was moving about but it was awkward to setup, image quality was poor and USB file transfers were painfully slow.

With these factors in mind I looked for a new trail cam that might deliver better image quality and generally be better all round. It didn't seem to make much sense to pay for a 4k camera when it would mostly be shooting in the dark with basic inbuilt IR lights and so 1080 HD was the choice. The old Victure gave 12mp stills, although I expect to typically be shooting video I was looking for a higher resolution on the stills. After reading a few reviews I settled on the Browning Recon Force Edge which offers 1080P video at 30 or 60fps and 20mp stills with low-glow IR.

For comparison, here is a video from the old Victure


and then here is a video from the new Browning


The instructions for the Recon Force are reasonably clear and the buttons straightforward. Batteries are 8 regular AA cells (alkaline or lithium). It also needs a memory card and takes standard (UHS-I) SD cards but can support the high capacity cards. In my case the camera was supplied with a memory card, a 32gb Sandisk extreme SD rated at 120mbs which has been fine, to format there is a Delete-All menu option. Note that the camera date setup requires month-day-year sequence, not intuitive for a UK user and there are no options to adjust the date format. There is the option to have various values shown as an information strip at the bottom of video. Included is a custom camera name however there is no option to have custom file names so care is needed to avoid duplicate file names if downloading images from multiple cameras. There is a temperature (in C or F) but I found it always gave a value too high, in the range plus 2 to plus 7 degrees C over actual temperature.

Still from Browning video - Gull

There are the usual configuration options to shoot stills or video (but not both together) and also a timelapse option. With the case open the screen can be used to see where the camera is pointing (works much better than the Victure but still hard to see in bright sunlight). There is a test mode to help check the sensor field of detection with a bright LED to confirm when detection is activated.

Still from Browning video - Jay

When you want to get your images from the camera the Recon Edge does not have any connection option, instead you need to take the memory card out and use a card reader (I use a SanDisk ImageMate PRO USB-C which gives very quick downloads).


Conclusions

Even at more than twice the price of the Victure the Browning still seems like reasonable value for money, given the features and the quality. It's relatively easy to setup and start using it and there's then options to tweak parameters such as sensitivity, reaction time etc. The low-glow IR works well and hasn't scared off any of the animals that I've seen so far (mouse, hedgehog, cat, various birds). The video footage, 1080P at 30 fps (there is a 60 fps option) in MP4 format is good. For me this has been a good purchase, it gives me better image quality and as a bonus I now have the option to setup two cameras if needed.

Pros

  • Good image quality.
  • Low-glow IR works well.
  • Good ergonomics.
  • Waterproof, robust, simple to use.
  • Option to use high capacity memory cards.
  • Captures lots of images you would likely otherwise miss.

Cons

  • Sometimes gives a bad file error.
  • Stuck with month/day date format.
  • Temperature values are not in any way accurate.


Details of the Browning Recon Force series cameras can be found here:
https://browningtrailcameras.com/collections/recon-force-series

To purchase in the UK I found NatureSpy fast and efficient:
https://shop.naturespy.org/collections/camera-traps?page=2&rb_vendor=Browning

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