A mini camera can be really handy in a lot of situations. Whether you work in law enforcement, in a classroom, or while you’re on long road trips, mini cameras are one of the best ways of being able to record without the camera being in plain view.
The first thing that comes to mind when people think of cameras is that they’re large, bulky, and might be a bit cumbersome to operate. But with a mini camera, you can record almost anything that you want without having to carry a bulky device. For professionals who need a good way of documenting activities at work or for the avid traveler, mini cameras are one of the handiest tools in the market.
But first, what is a mini camera? What are the key features that we have to look into a mini camera, and most importantly, how do we operate one? We’ll walk you through this guide.
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As the name suggests, mini cameras are significantly smaller than your average point-and-click and DSLR cameras. These mini cameras come in different forms and sizes, but the most common design is a small square-shaped camera with a built-in lens that can fit the palm of your hand. (1
There are certain companies that specialize in designing and manufacturing mini cameras. While there are some cameras that excel in being placed on stationary positions, there are also some cameras that are designed for sports and other rigorous physical activities. Mini cameras also have a wide variety of features that it might and might not have depending on the function of the camera.
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Mini Camera Features
What are some of the key features of mini cameras? Here are some of the best features that you should look out for:
Firstly, we have to look into the quality of the video. To get a good feel of the video quality of the camera, you can test it in low-light and ambient lighting environments. Certain cameras will struggle when placed in low-light situations. Users should not depend on how many megapixels a camera has. It’s best to look for a camera that’s versatile for a variety of different occasions.
As always, safety has to be taken into account. When you’re doing vigorous physical activities, you’ll need to have a lanyard strapped into our mini camera so it won’t fall off whenever you’re recording.
Photo And Video Mode
Usually, a mini camera will have a mode switch located right beside the main button. This photo and video mode will let you switch between taking photos or taking a video.
You should discern how far it will be able to hear from certain distances. You can try doing test recordings with you on different distances. Will it be able to hear everyone in the room? How does it fare outdoors when someone is a few meters away? These are some questions that you have to ask yourself when choosing a mini camera.
It’s a plus if there is a headphone or mic jack that you use to filter out ambient noise.
Wide And Narrow Shots
There are certain cameras that have wider lenses than narrower lenses. Most of the time, cameras that are used for sports and surveillance have wider lenses. Lower quality mini cameras have narrower shots since they’re used for simpler forms of documentation. It’s recommended that you buy a mini camera that’s designed for the task that it’s made for.
It’s always paramount to be aware of the battery life of a device. It’s best to look for a mini camera that has a battery life of around 8 - 10 hours in a single charging cycle. Moreover, it’s also best to take into account the method of recharging your mini camera. There are some older models that use AAA batteries while newer models use USB connectors for charging. Normally, if you’re on-the-go, using triple AAA batteries can be handy as a renewable source of energy. (2
SD Card Slot
Almost every new-generation mini cameras have SD card slots. It’s recommended that you get 16 GB or 32 GB SD cards since most videos that will take 30 minutes to an hour in 720p or 1080p can take up gigabytes of space. Although there are some mini cameras that have their own built-in internal memory system, it’s still recommended that you have an SD card that you can keep externally. (3
Most people will overlook the frame rate of the device as long as the video quality is good. In reality, the frame rate is one of the most important factors when choosing a mini camera. A camera with a low frame rate won’t be able to catch important details that might be important when processing a video. 30 Frames per second are sufficient for camera standards but having 60 frames per second camera is even better.
Aside from the quality of the video, the screen resolution of the mini camera needs to be taken into account. Most mini cameras will have a standard resolution of 720p but you will be able to change the resolution to 1080p or even below 720p. However, when you change the resolution of your camera, you have to be mindful of the available storage on your device.
Certain cameras will have a Wi-Fi future which lets you connect your camera to your phone which provides a live feed of the output. Moreover, a wireless transfer feature will let you transfer photos and videos from your camera to your phone or laptop. This feature can be tweaked to fit the user’s preference. Newer generation mini cameras will have this feature, especially those made for sports and physical activities.
How To Use a Mini Camera?
One drawback of mini cameras is that there are a plethora of different models that are in the market; this can make operating a mini camera for sports different from a camera used for surveillance. Turning a camera on will be determined by what it’s designed for and how the camera is operated. If you’re getting a body camera for law enforcement or a mini sports camera for traveling, there’s a button that you can press that turns it on and off. Then, a light will flash that signifies that the camera is now recording. Additionally, there are other cameras that will keep on recording even when the camera’s live feed is off.
However, there are some similarities in each mini camera in the market. Since this type of camera is too small for multiple buttons, it will have a singular button that will have multiple functions depending on how you press it. For example, when you press this button once, it will turn on. Pressing it again will make it record. Pressing it twice will turn it off.
Additionally, newer mini cameras that you can link to your phone will have a wireless transfer/live feed button. If this is the case, you’ll be able to find a button with a wifi sign on the bottom of the mini camera.
(1) DSLR - https://www.digitaltrends.com/photography/what-is-a-dslr-camera/
(2) batteries - https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/batteries.html
(3) gigabytes - https://www.techopedia.com/definition/2705/gigabyte-g-or-gbyte