Micro bullet cameras, specifically those with so-called microlenses are proven workhorses for physical security and low key building surveillance. However, with a few inexpensive changes...you can turn the tiny camera into a stealthy, criminal catching machine.
Ditch The Stock Lens
First things first, lose the included lens. Odds are, for covert video surveillance you'll want to have the camera some distance away from the target. That being the case, you'll want to remove the included lens in exchange for a much more powerful lens. Fortunately, bullet cameras such as the MAXSUR MCML7B accept an M12 type lens, and for the most part, any M12 lens will work with it.
Typically, bullet cameras come with a pretty wide field of view lens, such as a 3.6mm and generally a lens like this provides about 90 degrees field of view, which is far too wide for most surveillance. In contrast, a 16mm M12 lens will provide approximately 24' of view at 80' away from the camera. This 16mm lens will stand a far better chance of getting an identification on persons and vehicles.
Micro bullet cameras are usually less than one inch in diameter, making them nearly invisible at 25' or more. Even with a light dressing of concealment, mini bullet cameras blend into environments quickly, turning them into a bad-guys nightmare. As shown in the article picture, the bullet camera is dressed in burlap and even from a short distance of 10' away, the average person could easily miss it.
For more urban and industrial scenes, bullet cameras can be concealed in a variety of fixtures...and again, all you need is a 1" diameter hole for the camera to peer out of. In some cases to where the threat of camera detection is very possible, the camera can be concealed behind a plate of tinted lexan. So should suspicion arise...there is nothing for them to see. Lastly, in those environments...take advantage of your imagination, even bits of trash can be used to conceal the camera and peripherals. A great example is a beverage 12 pack which has plenty of room for the camera, batteries, and recorders.
With most surveillance occurring at night, special attention should be given when selecting both the bullet camera and M12 lens. If you are going color for your mission, I highly recommend selecting a day-night capable camera. If so, please ensure the camera is truly IR sensitive as most are not! With an IR sensitive bullet camera, you'll be able to harness all available light and provide a much crisper picture at night. In the case of the MCML7B, the IR cut filter has been removed and allows all light spectrum bands to pass through.
Likewise, be careful with the purchase of microlenses. Most lenses cut infrared light, which might help to provide a beautiful color picture in the day, but will scrap any chances of getting great low light video. So make sure the lens has an IR pass through and no filtering.
I hope this article has been of assistance to you. However, what I post here in public view is very limited. In the case that you have additional questions, and you're with a government or law enforcement agency, please feel free to give me a shout. Email Me
Example Micro Lenses
|MML-6||6MM Micro Lens|
|MML-8||8MM Micro Lens|
|MML-12||12MM Micro Lens|
|MML-16||16MM Micro Lens|
|MML-25||25MM Micro Lens asdf|