If you’re in the market for spy cameras, you no doubt realize that there are dozens of choices, with many features and capabilities to choose from. When you shop for a camera, you can easily end up with either far more or far less than you need. The key is to not focus on what the camera costs or how many great features it has, but on your requirements for a camera.
Your first step in finding a spy camera is to understand what spy cameras can do, and why you would want to use a covert camera. If you already have a purpose in mind for your video or still camera, you are well on your way to knowing what you need.
If you are a business owner, you may choose to use a hidden camera to protect your employees and prevent theft. Your primary concern may be avoiding employee theft, and for that reason you may choose to install a camera near the cash register.
Installing a covert surveillance device will let you monitor employees and reduce employee theft, but it will also have other benefits. You will lessen “time theft,” in the form of employees leaving early or hanging out with friends during working hours. This alone will make your business more profitable and help you run your company more smoothly.
One thing many business owners don’t think about is the customer service end of spy cameras. As you monitor your employees by use of one or more spy cameras, you may notice some behaviors that don’t meet your standards. You can use this as an opportunity to teach your employees how to treat customers well. When you have an example on tape of their behavior, you can show them how you would like them to act instead.
If you are planning to use spy cameras to improve your business, you need to think beyond just catching people doing things wrong, and look for cameras that can easily keep an eye on large areas of the store, recording not only the cash register area but also other areas where customers and employees interact. You’ll want to look at cameras that have a wide field of view, record audio as well as video, and record in high quality so that you can discern subtleties in tone of voice and facial expression.
Of course, you may not be using your spy cameras for business purposes. Many parents use hidden cameras to record what’s going on in their home while they’re away. The most familiar of these uses is the nanny cam; this is a camera that records the activities of the sitter and children while the parents are away.
As your children get older, you may feel that instead of a nanny cam, you may feel you need a “teenager cam” installed in your family rooms to keep an eye on your teens and their guests, particularly guests of the opposite gender.
When you install a nanny camera, or a teen cam, you will want to look at spy cameras that are easy to conceal and hard for the recording subjects to turn off. You need a camera with a motion sensor, so that you don’t have to sift through hours and hours of footage with no one in it. And you need to record footage onto a hard drive, rather than a looped tape, so you can capture many hours of activity.
As you can see, you want to look at specific features for specific uses. Knowing what you want to do is one of the main factors in getting the right camera. But knowing what is available will also help you choose the features you need.
When you shop online for spy cameras, the first thing you will notice is that there seem to be an almost unlimited number of ways to hide a camera. You may want to get a specialty hidden camera, such as a device that looks like a potted plant, an exit sign or a clock radio. These devices can be very good when you want your camera to fit in. Of course, if you choose a disguised camera, you need to make sure that the disguise you choose is convincing.
If you will be doing covert surveillance in multiple areas, you may want to get a simple mini cam that can be hidden in a variety of places. While these small cameras are not as fun as buying a secret recorder that looks like something else, they can be secreted almost anywhere, and may be easier to conceal than the disguised devices.
Consider the quality of the recorders you’re looking at. Not that long ago, all spy cameras recorded in black and white with grainy quality. Just being able to record video from a hidden recording device was a big deal, and poor quality was accepted because there was no other option.
Now, recording video with a concealed camera is commonplace, and many devices offer crisp, clear recording in color with high-quality sound. If you need clear video and very good sound quality, make sure the camera you’re considering has the quality you need. It simply is not that hard, or that expensive, to find good quality, so you can afford to hold out for exactly what you need.
Quality, price and concealment are three of the major features you’ll look for in spy cameras. If you can see a camera in person at a spy shop and try it out, you can make some judgments about the quality and various features. If you’re not able to try out all the cameras you’re interested in, you may have to rely on information from the manufacturers and third parties who’ve used the cameras. If you do this well, you can make very good decisions about the camera you buy, even without seeing it or using it yourself.
Your first source of information about a camera will probably be an online store which sells spy gear and cameras. Visiting an online spy shop will give you a list of cameras that might meet your needs, and allow you to narrow down your choices. Knowing what cameras you’re most interested in will make your decision much easier. Once you’ve decided on three to five choices, you can investigate those cameras and take notes on their various features and capabilities to find exactly the device you need to perform the duties you have in mind.
The online stores you visit will have descriptions of the spy cameras they sell. You can visit more than one store to get additional details about a particular model. This is very useful if the descriptions on some sites are vague, because you can get more details from more other stores. In general, the best stores offer the most information about their spy gear, and online shops that offer a lot of information are more reliable sources.
Online spy shops are one source of information; another great source of information is online review sites. As with the spy stores, you may want to collect information from several sites. Even a good camera will have detractors. By visiting multiple reviews and spending the time to really investigate a camera before you buy it, you can make sure that you’re getting exactly what you need. As you study the various review sites, you’ll notice that some reviewers love everything and some hate everything. By ignoring these reviewers and focusing on more discerning sites, you can get good information on the spy cameras you’re considering.
Forums and email lists are another good source of information for this kind of shopping. Many of the people who post on forums and email groups have strong opinions, and may have a bias toward one or more cameras, or against certain cameras. Again, by taking in a large amount of information and straining out the extremes, you will learn a lot about the devices you’re considering and find the right camera for your needs.
Spy cameras are difficult to buy for the first time, but they’re no more difficult to buy than computers or furniture. The first thing you need to do is narrow down what you really need. If you were buying a computer, you’d start by deciding on a desktop or a laptop. With furniture, you’d ask yourself whether you needed bedroom or office furniture. This is the same approach you’ll use when visiting online spy shops. Start with what you need, and look for hidden cameras that will do what you need to do. Read reviews of the cameras you’re considering, and ask for input from people who’ve used the same equipment you’re looking at. Understand that you can’t really get a good idea of suitability from asking one person or reading one review. However, when you collect a lot of information and put it all together, you can get a complete picture of what the camera does and how it will fit your needs. Then you can choose with confidence.