Here goes another one of my self-promoted product reviews.

Product: Bushnell Trophy Cam 5 Megapixel (last year’s model)

Retail Price: Cheapest price I could find was at B&H Photo for a shade over $140 including shipping.

Availability: Even though it’s a last year model, everybody seems to still have these in stock and for good reason – you can’t beat the price or functionality.

Pluses:

The top pros of this trail camera are undoubtedly its small size (basically a 2″ thick index card) and its incredible battery life (up to 6 months on 8 AA batteries).  I could go on about these 2 points, but let me just say the battery life is not a hoax and it is the smallest trail camera BY FAR I’ve ever used.

Another plus is its ease of use.  There aren’t a bunch of switches that be in a certain position for video versus photo mode or a convoluted mess of options that pop up on the LCD screen.  Plenty of options, but all very simply explained by the text on the LCD screen and very simple to select and deselect everything you could want.

I also appreciate the fact that the strap that is included with the camera is very long and can wrap around a pretty large tree – certainly a lot better than some of these cameras that don’t even give you a strap that will get around a middle-aged plantation pine tree.

Minuses:

I had trouble with one of my cameras.  Somehow or another, there was a battery drain which sucked every bit of juice out of my camera with a couple days.  It was aggravating and I went through 2 sets of batteries thinking maybe I had just stuck in an old set of batteries that I didn’t know was dead.

However, this minus leads me to a plus.  The customer service at Bushnell treated me great.  I called and explained my problem.  I had to cover the shipping to return the product but I had a brand new camera in my hands a little over 3 weeks later.  Not too shabby for a big manufacturer.

Bottom line:

If you aren’t worried about frame-quality trail camera photographs, but value simplicity and functionality, and don’t want to burn through a lot of hard-to-find, expensive batteries, then this is the camera for you.

I’ve got 2 of them and am waiting for last year’s model to take another nose dive in price when the 2011 models come out  so I can pick up a couple more for next season.

I gave this product (and Bushnell’s customer service) a solid A-.