Advances in surveillance technology, alongside miniaturization of devices, have supported the development of surveillance gadgets that can be used by almost any person. But still, how does one choose the right surveillance gadget for their specific purposes? The following surveillance devices buying guide explain the main features that you should look out for when purchasing a surveillance gear.
We will take also a look on what kind of surveillance gadgets there are available such as hidden spy cameras, body worn surveillance cams, GPS trackers and counter surveillance devices such as bug detectors.
Miniature Spy Cameras
Within the twenty years surveillance cam tech has evolved a lot from film cameras to digital cams. Film cameras were bulky and their video resolutions were low. However, technological progress, along with miniaturization of components, allowed manufacturers to build powerful and lightweight digital video recorders that were compactly-designed. This enabled manufacturers to build small surveillance video cameras that could fit into ordinary objects such as clock radios, books, pens and buttons!
Miniature cameras come in different varieties depending on their technology and surveillance features. Some miniature cameras can only record videos, while other s can record both video and audio. Some need to be wired to a storage device, image processor, or video processor; while others achieve this connection using wireless technology. Some cameras support night vision through their ability to activate a light source that can illuminate dark areas. Moreover, there are miniature cameras that can capture digital photos alongside video recordings, and others possess additional features including ability to play music as well as capacity to store data. Therefore, when choosing the right spy camera, it’s essential to know how it is going to be used. In what kind of situations it will be used? For example body worn spy pen camera is perfect for recording meetings and sudden situations, but it’s not a best choice for monitoring for example what happens in a room. For a such purpose wireless WiFi / IP surveillance cams are much better choice.
For understanding how the recording is done, and how the data is transferred or shared is important as it allows you to know if the camera suits for your specific needs. Most cameras come with a memory slot where a memory card is placed, and this allows recordings to be stored in the gadget, but there are cameras which lack this in-built storage feature and hence require a wired connection that allows them to store their data in a computer hard drive. Some, cameras use wireless connection to store their data in a WiFi-capable computer.
If you want total reliability, then it is wise to select a camera that supports both memory card storage and wireless transmission of recorded data. Also, there are advanced security IP-camera models that support two-way information stream, which means that the user can receive data from the camera as well as send instructions to the camera. This makes it possible, for example turn the camera on/off, or even change to direction if it’s motorized.
Things to know when buying spy cam
The main specifications you need to check before acquiring any miniature camera are:
- Resolution (Most cameras use at least HD-resolution, which should be enough for most purposes)
- Angle of view
- Lens size (as well as support for interchangeable lenses)
- Memory capabilities (how much data can be stored)
- Power source (battery-powered or AC-powered through power cable)
- Format of videos recorded and photos taken (for example avi video format or jpg photo format). Format of video and photos are important because they determine if the video or photo can be easily processed.
- Size of the cam. There are two main types of cameras; the born-worn types and the covert cameras. However, you need to know if you need camera that can be visible, or if it needs to be covert, hidden miniature spy cam.
For more detailed information, please read everything you need to know about buying a hidden camera.
Body Worn Surveillance Cameras
Conbrov Mini Spy Hidden Body Camera is very common model, which can be carried attached on belt or front pocket. Another very popular model is spy cam pen, which looks like just ordinary pen, but contains hidden miniature recorder. Both models makes it extremely easy to record any situations when walking or even when driving. There are also more distinguished models such a button cam, which looks like just like a ordinary shirt or jacket button, but it’s actually camera lens.
Below are very popular body camera models:
Covert spy cameras
They are designed to be fitted into ordinary objects, apart from clothes. They can be fitted or they are already fitted into flower vases, wall clocks, smoke detector, pens, cigarette lighters, and even behind the vent grill. Broadly speaking, they can installed at home as well as in the office.This kind of covert cam is very hard to detect without bug detectors. Camera could be hidden into book, light bulb, light switch or even inside mobile phone charger.
Below are popular cover cameras. These comes already fitted in ordinary object, so you need just place the book cam on bookcase or put charger cam on the socket, and your spy camera is ready to record everything, and no one will notice that they are under constant surveillance.
Covert cameras that are installed in the dashboard of a car are called dash cams, while those fitted into the rear-view mirrors are called mirror cameras.
Wireless WiFi IP Security & Surveillance Cams
Wireless WiFi IP Security & Surveillance cameras are perfect for continuous monitoring of any space at home or office. The main advantage is that you don’t need to have physical access to the cam after it’s installed as you can view live feed or access recordings online. However, it’s also the main disadvantage, as WiFi and IP devices could be hacked. Before installing WiFi or IP enabled camera, you need to carefully consider what kind of consequences there might be if someone gets unauthorized access to your cam footage. For more information, please read what kind of wireless surveillance cameras there are available.
Audio Bug Transmitters
Audio bugs are a specialized type of spy gadget that operates as a sound transmitter. Generally, the recorded audio is transmitted to a remote location where the listener can listen to the live audio recording. Also, most modern bug transmitters can store recorded audio.
These bugs can be classified as either active bugs or passive bugs. Active bugs records audio continuously (that is, all the time), and this can consume large chunks of storage capacity. On the other hand, passive bugs only start to record when sound is detected.
The basic technology used in a bug transmitter involves sound amplification. The transmitter consists of a set of electronics that are linked to the microphone (or sound receiver) of the bug. When the microphone records the sound, it converts the sound waves into electrical signals which are amplified by the aforementioned set of electronics, and thereafter, the amplified currents are sent to the earphones where the electrical signals are converted into loud sounds that can be heard comfortably by the listener. This way, bug transmitters can detect even the slightest sounds.
For most bugs, the pre-amplified electrical signals are converted into radio-frequency(RF) signals that can be transmitted over a distance to a remote transmitter which contains the signal amplification electronics. Another way to transmit audio is to use cell phone network. Remote transmission capabilities has allowed some manufactures to build unique bugs that allow the microphone to be installed in the target location, and for the transmitter to be concealed in another place.
Bugs differ in the type of sound receivers and sound amplification modules used. First of all, there is the AM bug which is named after the audio-modulation technology that it uses. It uses a standard audio receiver to capture sound waves. Secondly, there is the digital bug which uses encoded transmission to transmit sound waves captured by the receiver and then encoded by the in-built decoder. Thirdly, there is the frequency hopping bug that uses an anti-detection technology called spread spectrum modulation to rapidly change the frequency of the signals so as to minimize the chances of being detected by a radio-frequency detector. It uses a spread spectrum receiver. Finally, there is the SSB/DSB bug that uses modulated sideband technology to transmit sounds captured by its modulation receiver.
Before acquiring a audio bug transmitter, you need to check its size, design, type of transmitter, transmission technology, as well as whether it is an active or passive bug.
GSM-enabled audio bugs are perfect for remote monitoring any room or car etc. These audio bugs transmits voice over the cell phone network. Most allow call-in, which activates microphone and let’s listen what’s going on over the phone. There’s usually also voice activated mode, when transmitter calls to your phone number when it detects any voice. These are quite sophisticated listening devices, and works anywhere in the world where cell phone signal is available. Of course you need insert SIM-card on the device, that it could work.
There is a special type of bug called keystroke logger which records the keystrokes the target makes on the keyboard. This bug is usually a keystroke-logger program, but it can also come as a USB drive with the program pre-installed. Once the USB drive is inserted into a computer, the program installs itself in the computer, and then proceeds to record every keyboard stroke made by the target. The recorded keystrokes are stored as a file which can be transmitted through either the internet or intranet to a remote server owned by the attacker. Sometimes, the file is stored in the target computer and later retrieved by the attacker when he/she accesses the computer physically.
GPS Trackers for vehicles & persons
Another specialized bug is the GPS tracker which transmits the geographical location of the target to person who installed the tracker. These small GPS trackers can be fitted underneath a car-seat, or on the undercarriage, there’s also small personal GPS-trackers that can be carried on a pocket.
Below are popular GPS-tracker models. Please be sure to read also things you need to know about live GPS Tracking devices before buying.
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If someone suspects that a spy gadget is installed somewhere, a counter-surveillance gadget such as bug detector can be used to detect and locate the bug. Bug detectors works detecting radio-frequency signals as well as locate their origins. More advanced detectors could detect wider spectrum.
The RF detector is a hand-held portable device that needs to be turned on so that it can scan the room for any installed spy gadgets, and once one is detected, the user is notified by either a sound beep or visual cue. Some advanced RF detector models features jammers which are used to block the transmission of RF signals.
You need to check the features of the RF detectors including whether they allow for the audio beeps to be turned off so that discrete sweeps can be done. Likewise, high-sensitivity models that support multi-channel scanning are preferable to standard RF detectors. For more information, please read how to find spy devices and hidden cameras.
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Where to buy spy gear?
There are plenty of so called spy shops online, however their prices are usually quite high. Therefore we recommend that you buy spy devices from Amazon, as they have a very wide product range available from spy cam pens to advanced bug detectors. Prices are also reasonable.
Hopefully you found some useful information from this SpyGearExperts.com’s Surveillance Gadgets Buyers Guide. Be sure to read also our Spy Gadgets Reviews to find the perfect spy gear for your purposes, and read our spy gadgets overview to get even more detailed idea about what kind of surveillance devices are available.