There will come a time when you need to collect video or audio evidence when it comes to work or for personal use.
Of course, you have your smartphone with you. But whipping out your smartphone and shooting with it will certainly attract attention.
You want to collect evidence covertly without raising eyebrows. For that, you’ll need one of the best spy pen cameras as discussed below.
What is a Spy Pen Camera?
A spy pen camera is a miniature version of an audio-video recording system.
Apart from recording high-quality video and audio, it can also snap pictures.
This compact video camera has a tiny lens at the top of the pen through which recordings are done.
Recordings are stored in a memory card within the camera. The battery powering spy pens can last anywhere from 1 to 5 hours depending on the nature of use.
There are many types of spy cameras out there. A spy pen camera is one of those which attracts the least attention.
This is because very few would take notice of a pen in someone’s pocket, as almost anyone has one there.
What’s more, you can use a spy pen camera like any pen to write. As long as you don’t lend your pen to anyone who may notice something odd about it, nobody will suspect you’re carrying a spy camera.
What Can You Do with a Spy Pen Camera?
A spy pen camera is not only used by private and police detectives to make secret recordings.
It can also be used in other everyday situations.
Recording lectures: If you aren’t allowed to record a lecture with your smartphone. turn on your spy pen camera and record.
Involved in an accident? Record what’s happening at the scene without anyone knowing it.
Being harassed or victimized at work? Turn on the spy pen camera and record the evidence.
Leaving your belongings to go somewhere for a while? Turn on your spy pen and leave it nearby.
Are you an employer who wants to record an interviewee’s performance during a job interview? A video camera or a smartphone facing an interviewee would make him or her nervous. A spy pen camera would do a good job to help you review an interview.
A spy pen camera also makes a digital timestamp on recordings, useful when the date and time of evidence are required.
Is the Use of a Spy Pen Camera Legal?
Generally, you’re allowed to record hidden video in the confines of your home without the consent of anyone coming into it.
Still, you may get into trouble if you use it with the malicious intent (voyeurism, blackmail, and other forms of criminal behavior ) of invading someone’s privacy, even in public spaces as this teacher did.
As long as you record what’s permissible for personal or legal use, you’re in the safe zone.
What to Look for in a Spy Pen Camera
Pen Shape and Size
You may not get the pen size and shape that you desire. Especially, if you’re used to slim pens.
Spy pen cameras are slightly fatter than normal pens, to accommodate the lens and internal components. The bigger shape is to keep the spy pen camera discreet. If you feel that the shape and size of the spy pen camera may attract attention, then you may want to carry a few other normal pens which look more like your spy pen camera.
Just because spy pen cameras have miniature cameras, the video quality will be wanting.
Audio quality is acceptable. You get to record audible sound within a reasonable distance.
The battery life of spy pen cameras has improved over the years. Except to get about an hour of battery life when the pen is actively recording.
Storage and Video Transfer
Some spy pen cameras come only with internal storage. Others support external microSD cards. Some support a card size of up to 16GB. Others can go up to 128GB.
You can transfer video/stills from the spy pen camera to your computer. If your computer comes with a card reader, then you can use a microSD adapter to read the recorded content.
If the pen comes with only internal storage, then you can plug it into your computer through a USB adapter.
Replacement Ink Cartridge
If you don’t want your spy pen to attract attention, you’d better use it as a normal pen. Sooner or later, you’re going to run out of ink. You may not find compatible refills in your neighborhood stationery store.
Some models come with up to 5 replacement cartridges so you can put your spy pen camera to regular writing use.
Spy Pen Camera Frequently Asked Questions
How Do You Switch Between Shooting Videos and Images on a Spy Pen Camera?
There’s a switch at the top of the pen which you can press with your thumb. When you power on the spy pen, it records video by default. If you want to snap images, then you have to press the switch again to capture still images.
What Format is the Video Recorded In? Will it be Compatible with My Computer or Video Editing Software?
Videos are usually recorded in the AVI format. You can play it back on your computer with a media player like VLC.
Most video editing software programs accept AVI as an import format. You can use free video editors like Windows Movie Maker and Lightworks to edit your spy pen videos.
What Kind of Still Image Quality Can I Expect from a Spy Pen Camera
Technically, spy pen cameras have the capability of capturing images up to a resolution of 2560×1440 in JPG format.
Quality, however, will depend on surrounding conditions. You can’t expect high-quality images in ill-lit areas.
What Happens if I Run Out of Memory Card Storage Space During Recording?
You should ensure that you have enough storage space for your recordings. However, if you run out of space, the spy pen camera will not stop recording. It will overwrite the oldest recorded file(s).
Do I Have to Be Connected to the Internet to Make Recording with the Spy Pen Camera Possible?
No, you don’t have to be connected to the Internet. The spy pen camera doesn’t work like an IP CCTV where recorded video could be stored in a cloud storage platform.
Video is recorded directly to the microSD card within the pen.
Do I Need to Install Software to Make The Camera work with My Computer?
No, you don’t have to. Just plug the spy pen camera into a USB port and your computer should be able to detect it as a drive.
From there browse the file(s) you want to transfer to your computer.
Spy Pen Camera Buying Ideas
Now that you have a basic understanding of how a spy pen camera works, let’s check out some of the best spy pen cameras to help you choose a suitable one.
Note these spy pen cameras are no match for dedicated video cameras. They’re around to record videos without attracting attention. So, don’t expect to get great footage while you’re walking with it.
It would work reasonably well if it’s in a static position, maybe when you’re in a meeting or lecture room. something.
FabQuality Spy Pen Camera
This is a 1080p spy pen bundle that comes with a 16GB micro SD card and a USB Card Reader. A set of 5 ink cartridges is also thrown in should you use the pen for writing and run out of ink.
This makes it into the best spy pen camera list because affordability and the accessories that come with it.
You’re to twist the pen to get the nib out for writing.
It comes built-in rechargeable polymer lithium battery (220 mAh) which should ideally give you up to an hour of recording.
There’s a motion detection mode that activates video recording when there’s movement near the camera.
Video is recorded in Full HD at 30 fps in AVI format.
Check out the FabQuality Spy Pen Camera.
There’s also a 32GB version.
Sirgawin Spy Pen Camera
This spy pen camera has wireless capability and comes with a wide-angle lens. Add to that memory card support of up to 128GB.
These features make this Sirgawin 1080p model one of the best spy pen cameras.
It supports 90-degree angle recording and comes with an SD card reader, charging cable, and 5 ink cartridges.
The unit comes with a one-year warranty and 24/7 support is promised.
Check out the Sirgawin Spy Pen Camera.
Leotoo Spy Pen Camera
The manufacturer promises a 150-minute battery life with this 1080p spy pen camera.
It also claims that the pen uses a ‘blue’ lens, supposedly giving you a stable picture even when the pen is in motion.
A feature worth noting is the lens cover. You can slide it up and down to close or expose the lens. This is useful to avoid arousing suspicion and keep the lens dust-free.
Check out the Leotoo Spy Pen Camera.