This is the latest addition to the new Bushnell NatureView series; a series of trailcams very much tailored toward the wildlife market, rather than the US hunting market. This new trail cam is now getting very close to being exactly what I personally want out of a trail cam.
I have been working on getting close-up footage for some time now, as this was something I personally wanted to be able to achieve. The basic lens on the Bushnells means that the focal distance is about 3m. This is fine with large animals such as fox, deer or badger. I wanted to capture the birds visiting my bird feeders and small mammals and they were just way too small on the captures.
I developed a close-up kit; lenses that changed the focal length and was lucky enough to be able to meet with and discuss what I felt was needed in the wildlife market with the guys from the USA... those who are involved in the development of the Bushnell trail cams. Providing them with the information I had gathered and sketches of what I felt would work, as well as footage from my close-up kit, I was delighted to be the first to receive this NatureView HD Max in February... the FIRST person in the UK to get their hands on one!
I have been trialling it since then and, although I have not tested every aspect of this new trail cam, I am very impressed with both its capabilities and the footage I have captured so far. I have very much concentrated on the close-up aspects first and will continue to upload footage as I capture it,
First to note is that this model is back to 1080p HD. Last year's models were 720p. The most exciting feature is that these NatureViews come with two additional lenses. The unit can be used without the lenses, as a 'normal' trail cam or the small lenses can be screwed on to the front lens, thus changing the focal length. Using these means that you will be able to focus your unit at 46cm and 25cm, rather than just the 3m distance.
The two additional lenses screw into the front of the lens unit....
On opening the unit, it looks the much the same as the previous larger units, except setting up is made much easier with the white markings now on the set-up buttons. Anyone who has used a Bushnell before will know that the previous models' buttons were difficult to see as they were moulded from the same colour plastic. This is a great improvement!
These units also have a 'hybrid' mode now. This means you can take a still and video. I found this quite useful when previewing the videos as my Mac does not give me a video preview. I could see by the image, what the video was going to be on. I did find that this mode drained the batteries, quite quickly, especially if it was on 3 shots before video. I found that the first image was a little dark, but the 2nd & 3rd were a more accurate exposure.
This initial review has concentrated on the close-up capablities initially and I will be adding additional footage without the close-up lenses over the coming months, so keep an eye out on my YouTube NatureView Playlist.
The quality is simply brilliant, as long as you measure carefully and ensure that the unit's positioning is spot on... this can take a bit of practise, but well worth it because when you get it right, you can be treated to stills and video footage of this quality!! I prefer taking screen captures from the video and most of these are from the video clips. In this way, I can capture exactly the image I want and I think the exposure is slightly better doing it this way.
Make sure you watch this in full 1080p HD for the full effect!
I set the NatureView up on a feeder in the garden, after having siskins visiting for the first time in ten years. After several attempts to get the posisitoning and focus right, I got some super video clips. These images are screen captures from the video. You can see the depth of focus here. I reckon about 5-6cm is in focus and it takes a little time to get your positioning just right. I tend to set it up, trigger it, check the card, adjust and repeat until I am sure it is ok before leaving the unit .
I was absolutely thrilled with these captures!
What super little birds and very special to have HD video of these birds.
I was most interested in how the NatureView was going to cope with the close-up lens on at night. Being so much closer to the action, I thought the IR would burn out the subject. I was pleasantly surprised!! If you have the unit set on hybrid, then the unit gives a burst of IR, to 'freeze' the movement and this caused burnout at close range. If just set on video mode, then the coverage is pretty amazing. This clip was filmed at just 25cm from the unit!
I am very impressed with this unit so far and I will continue to trial it and upload videos and comments over the coming months as I try out its different features.
The videos captured with this NatureView HDMax can be seen on my YouTube Playlist.
All my uploaded clips will appear in this playlist. Wherever possible, I will upload as full 1080p HD. Ensure you choose this resolution at playback.
These NatureView models are now available in my shop.