A private investigator’s best friend is a camera. Cameras have evolved significantly throughout the decades. They are now more powerful and capable of taking reasonable and clear images even at great distances.
With a high lens, you do not need to follow a subject too closely, as they will be aware of your presence. Additionally, you can install tiny cameras in their automobiles or homes. These cameras will record videos and provide you with real-time information about their activities.
A surveillance camera used by a private investigator must meet specified standards. Their primary cameras should preferably include the following features:
• Capable of recording
• Optical zoom of x12
• Manual focus
• Night mode features
While all of the above specifications are typically included in a standard type of security camera, it is critical to examine other considerations. These may include the brand, the product’s quality, its functionality, its durability, and its price.
While there are other varieties of cameras accessible today, the three most prevalent categories of spy cameras are as follows:
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1. Hidden cameras
Spy cameras are designed to be concealed. This frequently means that they must be small enough to be unnoticeable and built in such a way that they do not resemble a camera. As a result, this category of cameras encompasses both small cameras and cameras concealed within everyday household devices such as smoke alarms, alarm clocks, and USB blocks.
2. Wearable cameras
Occasionally, you may find yourself in a scenario where a wearable camera is required for your own protection or other personal reasons. Wearable cameras come into play in this scenario. Additionally, these ingenious spy cameras come in a range of shapes, sizes, and configurations, ranging from cameras concealed in pens and tie clips to full-frame body cameras.
3. Vehicle cameras
Dash cams are an excellent way to capture film while driving. Additionally, they can be used to monitor activities around your vehicle, chronicle driving behaviours, and serve as video evidence in the event of an accident or traffic incident.
A few examples of the best cameras for PI
Cameras are an integral part of a private investigator’s toolkit. Because no single camera is capable of everything, it’s critical to select many that specialize in distinct areas.
Canon Rebel T3i
This is an 18-megapixel camera with an articulated screen that allows you to view the viewfinder from a variety of angles. It can also record video, but cannot autofocus in video mode. The only reason one might purchase a second camera is to obtain one with autofocus in video mode, such as the Canon 60D or 70D.
Canon VIXIA HF R600 (now HF R800)
Canon currently tops the list in terms of camera and video quality. Additionally, their camcorders remain competitively priced in comparison to their competition.
I’ve owned Sony and Panasonic cameras in the past, and while I have some positive (and negative) things to say about each, my Canon VIXIA HF800 has been an excellent camera for me when on surveillance.
The HF600 and HF700, I believe, are no longer manufactured. You might still be able to find these on Amazon or eBay, but in my opinion, the HF800 is the better option. Canon VIXIA HF800 is available on Amazon and should cost roughly $199 at the time of this article’s update.
One feature I enjoyed about this camera, in particular, is that it allows me to customize the video quality (4 Mbps, 17 Mbps, 24 Mbps and 35mbps). The higher the quality of the memory card you use, the faster it will be deleted. Additionally, the video quality significantly improves as you climb the ladder. Additionally, you can select between AVCHD and MP4 video formats.
HD500 1080P Spy Pen Camera
This camera is slightly more expensive than the majority of spy cameras we recommend, but it includes a plethora of features that the majority of spy cameras lack.
Best Night Vision Camera
- THE WORLD’S MOST ADVANCED COLOR NIGHT VISION MONOCULAR – IR sensor technology optimized for hunting, boating, outdoor, tactical, and military applications.
- INCLUDES PICATINNY RAIL MOUNT – The Picatinny rail mount is optimized for use with a 1/4″-20 standard mount. Assembling a real night vision scope for you (use before or after scope). Utilize two Auroras as flip-down night vision goggles/binoculars for night vision.
- IR NIGHT VISION AT LONG RANGE IN MONOCHROME OR COLOR – As far as the eye can see, near-moonless starlight is capable of unequalled nighttime performance. Incomparable full-colour infrared night vision.
- WATER RESISTANT (IP67 RATING) & TIME LAPSE FUNCTIONALITY – The camera can be submerged in water up to 3 feet for up to 30 minutes and time-lapse allows you to compress an entire night into a brief, shareable moment. Included is one lithium-ion battery. Lens 16mm f/1.4, f2.0, f5.6. A warranty period of two years.
- REMOTE VIEWING FUNCTIONALITY – Sync the SIONYX app to your smart device for wireless video streaming. Can be utilized as a trail camera, game camera, hunting camera, or navigation device when boating.
Best Overall Camcorder
Sony FDRAX33 4K Handy Cam
- Capture video in 4K/24P/30P resolutions that greatly exceed those of HD
- Zeiss lens with Steady Shot picture stabilization that is optically balanced
- For clean borders and colour gradation, a direct pixel readout is used
- The diaphragm of Iris: 6 blades
- Ring for manual adjustment of the iris, shutter, exposure, and white balance. Manual F1. 8–F9. 6 iris control, manual shutter speed. Control of the iris (photo mode) 1/30–1/10000
- Shooting versatility with XAVC S3, AVCHD, and MP4 codecs
- 27-inch electronic viewfinder (201K) with touch screen 3″ Exceptional Fine LCD (921K)
- Surround sound microphone with manual audio settings, 1 channel
- Creates a highlight7 video in MP4 format automatically from various footage
- Wireless connectivity, control, backup, and sharing through NFC2/Wi-Fi. Broadcast live from your camcorder using upstream live-streaming
Best Mirrorless Camera
- Photographs and videos were taken by professionals: 20.3 Megapixel micro four-thirds sensor with no low pass filter for great dynamic range and artifact-free performance
- Splash and Freeze Resistant Design: Freezeproof to a temperature of ten degrees. The rugged magnesium alloy body withstands repeated field use; construction that is a splash or dustproof with weather sealing on every joint, dial, and button
- Dual image stabilization: 5 axis dual image stabilization compensates for blur and nearly eliminates body and lens shake in both photo and 4K video recording
- Capturing 4K video: Record silky smooth 4K 60P by 50P (QFHD 4K: 3840 x 2160; MOV or MP4) video with internal 4: 2: 2 10-bit 4K recording, as well as exclusive 6K picture and 4K post focus recording at up to 60 frames per second
- Connectivity and Ports: 3.5-millimetre audio port; USB 3.0 port for connecting to devices; full-size HDMI port for connecting to an external display or recorder; Twin SD card slots (UHS-II U3 Compatible)
Best Small Camera
- 4K video and 10MP images are available in single, burst, and time-lapse modes.
- Hero5 Session is built to last and is waterproof to 33ft (10M) without housing.
- This model lacks an LCD display for real-time video watching.
- A single press of the shutter button turns the camera on and automatically begins recording.
The advent of camera technology has made surveillance more powerful and effective for investigators, so photographic evidence is easier to obtain. Particularly for private investigators, technology paved the way for appropriate avenues for surveillance. Innovative gadgets such as cameras became the most useful tool for private investigators. Although there are other types of equipment used in an investigation, cameras are the primary tool of the trade. However, not all cameras are fit for a private investigator. Although all kinds of cameras can provide surveillance evidence, not all can produce good quality photographs or videos.