As promised I’m back with a review of a very inexpensive security camera, it costs under $20 to be exact. What can you get for under $20 these days right? Well you can get a pinhole security camera that isn’t half bad. It’s from a company called LYD and they make all sorts of security related things as you might expect. Going into this I wasn’t expecting much, especially considering the price it sells for. I’ve installed other pinhole cameras before and they can easily sell for hundreds of dollars so one for under $20 had me seriously skeptical.
Mini Pinhole Wired Security Camera
Product ID: CM203CA
* MINI camera
* easy installation
* High clear picture
* Slim body easy for installation and suitable to fix in a concealed position.
* Square shape with needle hole lens.
* Designed for engineering with precise circuit & structure.
* Auto-PGA & Auto-backlight compensator.
* Auto electronic shutter.
* Audio monitoring with microphone in camera.
* Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 1.6 x 1.4 inches
Looking over at Amazon I found this camera selling for $13.99 plus about $5 for shipping, so it comes to under $20.
The camera comes in a nice looking little box.
Inside you’ll find the camera, documentation and a power adapter along with a second adapter cable.
This camera is interesting to me in that it uses dual power, either the AC adapter or it can use a 9 volt battery via the second power cable. How long you’ll get form the battery is uncertain though, but you never with these things, still it’s a very interesting option to have.
This little camera can do both audio and video so you’ll find connections for video, audio and power coming from the camera.
The camera itself is very small with dimensions of 1.2 x 1.6 x 1.4 inches.
The camera feels well made, it’s nice and solid and mostly metal.
It’s not listed in the documentation but the camera can be focused manually by twisting the lens. The idea is so you can focus short or long or somewhere in between. I’ve personally installed pinhole cameras in cash and vending machines where you want to see the face of the user, so a fixed focus is great for that type of situation where you want to make sure you have a certain focal distance clear.
The microphone is attached with a fairly short cable, but that’s fine as you’re not going to have it far from the camera.
I installed the camera using the PCI card I reviewed yesterday, so you’re already familiar with that.
Installation is very easy, just plug in a few cables and you’re set.
For testing I set it up in my dining room so here’s few pics of my kids at dinner.
As you can see the security software does put the title, date and time on the captures but they’re only 352×240 resolution. They’re fairly grainy yes, but again it’s a very inexpensive camera. The camera does need a lot of light to function well.
Here’s a couple close ups I took as well:
You’re not going to get nice full details with this camera but you’ll see and hear what’s going on and get a very good idea of it. This could be great for use like a hidden nanny cam to see what’s going on, or of course to monitor other areas where you don’t want the monitoring to be obvious like you would with a regular CCTV camera.
So what does $20 buy you? A half way decent camera I think, it might not be the highest resolution but for that price you can’t beat it really. Sure it’s not the greatest but for what it is and what it costs I’m happy with it and if you’re looking for an inexpensive pinhole camera then this is what you want I think.
If you need high resolution obviously you’ll need to pay more, but I could see this being used as a secondary type of camera or one where you would want a fixed focus where you know the subject will always be seen.