Browning Dark Ops Pro DCL 63/100

Manufacturer: Browning Trail Cameras

Review

The Browning Dark Ops Pro DCL is a 26MP sub-micro size trail camera featuring Dual Camera Lens Technology and Invisible Night IR Illumination. The Dark Ops Pro DCL also features a fast 0.15-second trigger speed and a 100 ft. motion detection range. The tree mount bracket offers good adjustability, but the camera lacks door latch security. The Dark Ops Pro DCL can take up to two minutes of 1080p Full HD video with sound. However, nighttime videos are limited to 20 seconds. The Dark Ops Pro DCL only needs six AA batteries and is compatible with up to 512 GB SDXC memory cards.
Camera picture: Browning Dark Ops Pro DCL - Browning Dark Ops Pro DCL
Browning Dark Ops Pro DCL
Camera picture: Browning Dark Ops Pro DCL - Box - Browning Dark Ops Pro DCL
Browning Dark Ops Pro DCL - Box
Camera picture: Browning Dark Ops Pro DCL - Box Side - Browning Dark Ops Pro DCL
Browning Dark Ops Pro DCL - Box Side
Camera picture: Browning Dark Ops Pro DCL - Box Back - Browning Dark Ops Pro DCL
Browning Dark Ops Pro DCL - Box Back
Camera picture: Browning Dark Ops Pro DCL - Box Side 2 - Browning Dark Ops Pro DCL
Browning Dark Ops Pro DCL - Box Side 2
Camera picture: Browning Dark Ops Pro DCL - Front View - Browning Dark Ops Pro DCL
Browning Dark Ops Pro DCL - Front View
Camera picture: Browning Dark Ops Pro DCL - Latch - Browning Dark Ops Pro DCL
Browning Dark Ops Pro DCL - Latch
Camera picture: Browning Dark Ops Pro DCL - Side - Browning Dark Ops Pro DCL
Browning Dark Ops Pro DCL - Side
Camera picture: Browning Dark Ops Pro DCL - Back - Browning Dark Ops Pro DCL
Browning Dark Ops Pro DCL - Back
Camera picture: Browning Dark Ops Pro DCL - Mount - Browning Dark Ops Pro DCL
Browning Dark Ops Pro DCL - Mount
Camera picture: Browning Dark Ops Pro DCL - Adjustable Mount - Browning Dark Ops Pro DCL
Browning Dark Ops Pro DCL - Adjustable Mount
Camera picture: Browning Dark Ops Pro DCL - Screen - Browning Dark Ops Pro DCL
Browning Dark Ops Pro DCL - Screen
Camera picture: Browning Dark Ops Pro DCL - Accessories - Browning Dark Ops Pro DCL
Browning Dark Ops Pro DCL - Accessories
Camera picture: Browning Dark Ops Pro DCL - Setup - Browning Dark Ops Pro DCL
Browning Dark Ops Pro DCL - Setup
Camera picture: Browning Dark Ops Pro DCL - Memory Card Slot - Browning Dark Ops Pro DCL
Browning Dark Ops Pro DCL - Memory Card Slot
Camera picture: Browning Dark Ops Pro DCL - Deployed - Browning Dark Ops Pro DCL
Browning Dark Ops Pro DCL - Deployed
Camera picture: Browning Dark Ops Pro DCL - Tree Mounted - Browning Dark Ops Pro DCL
Browning Dark Ops Pro DCL - Tree Mounted
Camera picture: Browning Dark Ops Pro DCL - Security Box - Browning Dark Ops Pro DCL
Browning Dark Ops Pro DCL - Security Box
Camera picture: Browning Dark Ops Pro DCL - Security Box View - Browning Dark Ops Pro DCL
Browning Dark Ops Pro DCL - Security Box View

Pros

  • Dual Lens
  • Excellent Detection Range
  • Compact Size
  • Adjustable Mount

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Grainy Nightime Images
  • Too Many False Triggers
  • Limited Warranty

Camera Ratings


Detection Range: 15/20

The detection range is impressive but somewhat inconsistent. For example, the cam would often trigger way beyond 100 feet, but the object is frequently very close before the camera is triggered.

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Detection Range Browning Dark Ops Pro DCL

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Elk - Detection Range

Speed: 6/10

The trigger speed is listed as only 0.15 seconds, but often we see animals exiting the frame before the camera starts recording. The Dark Ops Pro DCL also provides excellent recovery times between images.

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Running Grey Wolf

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Mule Deer Doe

Accuracy: 3/10

The trigger sensor of our unit is so prone to false triggers caused by even a mild wind, making this camera almost unusable for outdoor use. 

In our test, a brand-new Dark Ops Pro DCL camera was deployed to a location that replaced an older Browning model. 

Until the 64GB memory card ran out of space, the Dark Ops Pro DCL took a staggering 1,745 videos in less than two weeks. Sadly, 99% of those videos were false triggers. 

The previous Browning camera would never fill up a 64GB card even when left over the winter for over eight months between swaps. 

We deployed this unit to a crucial location, where we have been tracking wolves and wolverines for many years. 

As this is a very remote and hard-to-access area, it was heartbreaking to find weeks of missing footage because the memory card was full and filled with false triggers. 

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False Trigger

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False Trigger 2

Battery Life: 5/10

The absurd false trigger ratio will negatively affect the battery and overall camera lifespan. Unfortunately, the camera lacks a sensitivity setting option often included with other brands.


Daylight Images: 8/10

The daylight videos are good but not great, especially considering this is a costly, top-of-the-line model from Browning. At least, the Dark Ops version does considerably better than its twin version, Strike Force Pro DCL. Unfortunately, the colors are still slightly oversaturated, causing some loss of detail and clarity. 

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Mule deer at daylight

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A pair of sandhill cranes

Lowlight Images: 7/10

Like other Browning models, the Dark Ops Pro DCL trail camera will switch from color mode to a black & white recording mode during dawn and dusk. When still in color mode, the images are rather dark. The monochrome images are slightly sharper than lowlight color images. 

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Three Bull Elk

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Lowlight Mule Deer

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Early Morning Mule Deer

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Low Light Mule Deer

Night Images: 5/10

In general, the "invisible illumination" is not as powerful as the traditional infrared illumination, and the Dark Ops Pro DCL is the perfect example.

The Dark Ops version also has a dedicated nighttime lens, but unlike the Strike Force Pro DCL version equipped with the traditional IR flash, the images from the Dark Ops version are darker and grainier.

The "invisible" illumination is essential for our use as it will not spook sensitive animals, but unfortunately, this unit is relatively underpowered. 

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Elk herd grazing at night

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Elk spike at full moon

Design: 14/20

Most Browning models have a new paint color scheme for 2022, and the Dark Ops Pro DCL model is one of them. 

The new paint job makes the camera easier to conceal and is a notable improvement over the previous camo design. 

However, only time will tell if the new paint job quality is better and not as prone to fading when exposed to outdoor elements. 

The included strap is of good quality, but the green color is highly noticeable. 

The camera setup is easy. The screen is bright and relatively large. 

The camera settings have some convenient options, including the Smart IR video option, but unfortunately, a PIR sensitivity option is not one of them. 

The adjustable mount is a plus, but the functionality won't be helpful if you need to use a security box. 

A security box is a must, at least for us, as the camera does not have a lockable latch, and anybody can remove the memory card.

The Dark Ops Pro DCL trail camera model uses only six AA batteries and will require more frequent battery swaps due to its flawed trigger. 


Verdict: 63/100

We got very excited when Browning released the 2022 Dark Ops Pro DCL model specs.

On paper, this trail camera model was a Patriot in a compact design packed with new and compelling features.

Unfortunately, thus far, the Dark Ops Pro DCL is a colossal disappointment.

The night illumination is underpowered, and the nighttime videos are dark and grainy, regardless of the dedicated night lens.

Daytime images are acceptable but still somewhat disappointing, considering the $179.99 MSRP.

While this camera probably holds the detection range record among the cameras we have used over the last eight years, the faulty trigger of our unit makes the camera utterly unsuitable for outdoor use. 

Over the years, Browning trail cameras were always very dependable, but unfortunately, we are having similar issues with other 2022 Browning models too. 

Therefore, we recommend holding off your purchase until these issues are corrected.


Pro Tip:

To decrease excessive false triggers during the summer, we recommend using the NORMAL option instead of the LONG RANGE motion detection option.


Alternatives:

The Browning Patriot is probably your best choice if you are sold on the Browning brand.

While the Patriot is not the latest model and suffers from false triggers during warmer temperatures, the Patriot undoubtedly has better night illumination.

In addition, the Bushnell Core DS-4K No Glow and the Stealth Cam DS4K Ultimate should be on your radar at this price range. 


Specs

Official specs from the manufacturer.
Name
Browning Dark Ops Pro DCL
Manufacturer
Browning Trail Cameras
Model
BTC-6DCL
Series
Sub Micro
Flash Type
No-Glow IR
Max Pixels
26
Max Video
1080p
No. of Sensors
1
Detection Range
100 ft
Flash Range
100 ft
Trigger Speed
0.15 second
Min Delay
1 seconds
Max Delay
60 minutes
Max Card Size
512 GB
Wireless
No
Wifi
No
MSRP
$179.99
Warranty
12 months

Questions & Answers