Some of the technological advances we have witnessed over the last 10-15 years have proven to be a huge help to us in our hunting endeavors. One such advancement is the use of digital trail cameras to help us scout our hunting areas. Nothing quite like being there, even when we can’t be there, to help us learn the animals in our favorite hunting spots, their patterns, their movements and even to learn where we can get away from other hunters on public land.
I have used a number of trail cameras over the past several years to help in my quest for filling those hard to acquire tags. As part of our 2011-2012 hunting season here in New Mexico, we decided to do a series of reviews on a number of cameras in search of the perfect camera for our extreme hunting conditions here in New Mexico. Which camera can go from timberline during elk season to the lowest desert for our sheep hunts and function everywhere in between for lions, bears and deer? One thing is for sure, we learned a lot about a number of different cameras.
All of the cameras we used had good points. Some had a few minor issues, but we can honestly say that each camera had a niche, and some sure had some bold new ideas. The camera with the boldest of the ideas is the Bresser 360.
The technical specs: Download from: Bresser
Rather than list the technical specifications and discuss each one and how the camera performed, in this review I am choosing to basically discuss the cameras pro’s and con’s as it is advertised, and as it worked. First, I will discuss the size and design.
This camera is very large. Measuring in at over 15 inches in height and almost 5 inches across the base, it is significantly larger than most other cameras. The camera is also much heavier than most. The size may or may not be a limiting factor for most people, I just know that I would not want to have to pack two or three of these cameras very far to set them up.
The PIR sensor on this camera is listed as “Multi Zone”. We had photos where the subject triggered the camera at 40 feet. We also noted that the LED range was stretched at the advertised 10-12 meters (32.8-39.37 feet). The Bresser 360 boasts 130 LED’s, which makes it sound like it would light up the night. However, the LED’s are directional, which means that wherever your subject is in the photo, it will only get the direct light of 10 of the LED’s, with fractional light from 20 additional LED’s. There are six (6) motion sensors wrapping around the camera to detect movement. Overall, we would rate the motion sensor system in the Bresser 360 as adequate per its advertised ability, and we would sure like to see a few more directional LED’s.
Trigger speed would become a concept of the past with this style of camera. With the concept of a 360 degree field of view for each photo, you would never miss another animal. The PIR sensor then would become even more important, and you would want a sensor that operated right at the range the camera advertises (to make sure your subjects were close enough to the camera to get a clear photo). The second most important factor then becomes recovery time, so you would get them as many times as they were in range. The camera has a multiple shot feature that allows for up to 6 shots per trigger, with option delays of 1, 3, 5, 10, 15 and 30 minutes. This function of the camera is designed well. Set up and changes to operating parameters are easily completed on the front of the camera utilizing the LCD preview screen and programming keypad, another good component of the Bresser 360.
The Bresser 360 comes with a number of useful features. The camera can be used to record photos or videos. Videos are recorded as 640X480 or 320X240, in lengths of 10, 20 or 30 seconds, whichever the user chooses. The 360 can be set to allow for picture quality of 9, 5 or 3 MP. The camera can be set to operate 24 hours a day, only during the day, or only during the night; another nice feature. Photos can be date and time stamped at the users choosing.
Overall, the picture quality was OK. The photos do not look like a regular trail camera photo. Because the camera takes a 360 photo, your pictures are big round circles that have a lot of extra scenery in them. Looking through the photos to find your subject can be a hassle. Bresser needs a software to go with the camera to help with this task.
The Bresser 360 operates on 4 D batteries. Battery life was average compared with the other cameras we reviewed. After 2 months and plenty of pictures, the camera still had remaining battery life.
OK, obviously there are some major differences between this camera and everything else on the market. Some of these have a few issues to work out.
The main body housing holds not only the LCD Screen and Programming Keypad, but also the battery well. To keep the elements away from these components, Bresser has covered this area with a big clear plastic housing. The housing is sealed top and bottom with a rubber o-ring. You slide the housing over the camera, down to the bottom, then “screw” it on to keep moisture and dirt out. We had a number of issues with the o-ring seals not staying in their tracks, with the housing not wanting to loosen up after it had been out in the sun for a few days, and every time we took it off, we ended up with grease all over everything. This part of the design needs some work.
The same type of element shield is employed on the top of the camera around the hyperbolic lens that provides the 360 view photo. We learned three things about the top shield real quick. First, if there is dew in the air, it gets covered and blurs the photos. Second, if there is dust in the air, it is a dust magnet and will be covered in dust, causing it to blur. Third, I assume having something to do with that shiny “mirror” inside, every animal around wants to lick it, causing blurred photos. If the camera is to be placed somewhere where you won’t be checking it on a daily basis, all of these things can cause some problems.
The last issue goes back to locating the camera. The Bresser 360, because of the way it operates, must be mounted from the bottom. The camera comes with a bracket that screws into the bottom of the camera and then mounts on a T-post. It is a secure mount, but you do have the requirement of having a T-post where you want to use it.
Now the other obvious issue we found. How many of us have spent years and years learning that we had to be very careful how we placed our cameras to make sure we did not end up getting photos that were facing a rising or setting sun. Much of the wildlife activity we capture on trail cameras is during these two magical hours of the day, sunrise and sunset. With this camera, there is no way to guard against sun interference. No matter how you set the camera up, you are going to have this problem. If you set the camera up on the side of a tank or tree to help block it, then you are losing part of what the camera was designed for. Of course, this is not an issue at night, so the 360 component of the camera can be a big benefit then.
Overall, we really like the idea of the Bresser 360.We see lots of utility for this camera in the future, with a few minor design corrections. If you can check it frequently and want to set it up for taking pictures or video on a feeder during the night hours, I think it could a big benefit to you. For extended uses out in the middle of nowhere, Bresser is going to have to do a little more work before we will add it to our arsenal of trail cameras.
For more information please go to: Bresser