I’ve received a few emails of late by readers asking about other hidden camera devices, such as keychain cameras or spy watches and their application within the professional fields.
I’ve had unique experience with a variety of these spy cameras and will provide a few anecdotes and my thoughts as they relate to covert surveillance and obtaining interior video of individuals being investigated for insurance fraud. I’ll break it down by category and compare each hidden camera to the spy pen specifically.
Bluetooth headset. These were at one time popular in my office as we were given a number of them for free during an investigators conference. The trouble we had with these spy cams was extensive. Firstly, the lens is mounted on the side, meaning our heads were constantly turned away from the subject if in a grocery store for example. In busy environments, it would be easy to loose sight of the subject as we were forced to look perpendicular to their location. As it is habitual to constantly track your subjects location, it provided for very jerky spy camera video as we continually shifter our gaze left or right. With a pen camera, this is all avoided of course, you leave in your shirt pocket or even hold in your hand, leaving your head free to turn. A spy pen in ones hand looks natural in almost any situation. In a grocery store for example perhaps you are crossing off your list of items. We attempted to hold the bluetooth hidden camera in our hands as well, but the awkward shape of the device gave an odd appearance as we had to grip it with the tips of our fingers to avoid covering the lens. It looked unnatural. Also, the resolution on the blutooth devices are significantly lower than that of the higher end spy pen camera models currently available on the market today. In addition, although we received our bluetooth hidden cameras at no cost, so we really cannot complain too much, the reliability on these things were atrocious. Thankfully we carry other devices (such as the spy pen) for just such a scenario.
Spy watch. Spy watches are also somewhat popular, and interesting in theory as a spy camera, but truthfully they are quite difficult to use effectively. The best real example of a particular circumstance where a spy camera watch was ideal is illustrated in the following true story: Myself and another investigator were riding along in a subway after having recently followed our subject out of his building. This was the first time we had seen the subject. As such, in order to produce a good product for our client, we attempted to get a very close up ID shot of this individual (to blow up in glossy 8×10 to submit with the report. These touches add to the presentability). With watch on wrist (I put it on just for this after taking it out of a knapsack) I walked directly infront of where our subject was seated and grasped a hand rail directly infront of his face, with the spy camera on the watch head facing him. After maintaing this posture for a minute or so I retreated to another part of the train (minimize exposure with subject) and placed the hidden spy camera watch back in my bad. Upon return home that evening and watching the video, indeed, a clear shot of the subjects face was captured. And that was the last time I ever used the spy camera again. Fact is, because it is on your wrist, the hidden camera is actually quite difficult to use effectively. Unlike a spy pen which sits vertically in a stable position, holding your wrist out where it is not natural to do so is damaging to discretion. I still have the watch but it is just not practical. Also, these devices can be quite expensive if you purchase a quality spy camera watch as their housing costs more to produce than the simply shell of a spy pen camera.
Keychain camera. These are utter junk. I do not know what it is, but I have never encountered a keychain spy camera that lasted for any length of time, or possessed any hint of reliability. Most of these hidden cameras utilize the 808 form factor, with poor quality internals. These are not devices to be relied upon in any manner. Relative to a pen camera, these spy cams offer too little for the professional field t even consider, especially when we have so much riding on us getting footage successfully.
Time and agin, we return to the spy pen, particularily top level models such as the top dog SecuritySystems device or Brickhouse variations. These are our day to day survaillance tools we rely on to make a living. Spy pens are perfectly suited for a variety of envrionments where discretion is a concern as they can blend into various setting without looking unnatural. Any questions or comments email us at Contact@spypenhq.com