Quality Button Camera with Digital MP4 Recorder
Eye Spy's Covert Black system reviewed in issue 43 is ideal
professional, but didnıt necessarily meet the needs of all our
readers, some who wanted a system slightly more affordable.
Thatıs not always easy, but thanks to the efforts of
colleagues who spent weeks looking for the 'perfect
combination set', we believe we have found something quite
special. Less money occasionally equates to inferior quality,
but this is really not the case with Covert Black Economy - a
system that still provides quality colour film footage and
audio. As with the more expensive set, this button camera
recorder comes complete with a quality display, has audio
capability and, it's easy to use. There is one main difference
- the price.
The quality of the camera is
outstanding for the price with sharp 380 horizontal TV lines that
performs well in low light and works in either PAL or NTSC
formats. Its small size makes it the perfect
combination for body worn
applications. Like Covert Black, the unit requires no additional
power source as the camera and audio is powered directly from the
The camera is lightweight and low in profile.
And because it is a modular
camera, it can be used beyond just shirt placements, such as in a purse,
backpack, tie, hat etc. Of added advantage, it has just one tough, but very
slender lead that plugs directly into the recorder.
Nevertheless, we still recommend it should be
worn in the sternum area. Many surveillance operatives wrongly assume that a
hat or eyeglass camera provides the best viewpoint.
While a head mount does allow the user added
movement of the camera, we have seen results that include too much
sky and ceilings in the top half of the frame and can be jerky or
blurred in replay. Additionally, it is more difficult to hide the
wire from the head to the recorder. The camera's 80 degree field
of vision is more than adequate. Correctly fastened in the button
hole it is totally invisible.
MP4 DIGITAL VIDEO RECORDER (DVR)
The DVR is small enough to fit into a standard sized cigarette
case and has a built-in screen to check the footage as it is being
collected. It also comes with a set of high quality earphones to
monitor the audio during playback and can be used as a standard
MP4 player for music as well. It has an excellent time display
allowing frames or footage to be accurately detailed. The unit has
512 MB internal memory that will hold approximately 4 hours of
video, but with an optional 1GB SD card, you can record an
additional 8 hours.
Playback is as simple as plugging the supplied USB cable into a
computer. The computer automatically finds and detects the camera
and files can be accessed like it was an external hard drive.
Files can be played back with any media player such as Windows
Media Player or Real Player.
Summary: Besides being easy to use, concealment and high-quality
image and audio, this set is simple and user friendly. The camera
is sensational and is matched by the DVR. Uploading the footage
takes seconds, and more importantly, programmes are available that
will compress large files allowing the user to store hours of film
on a single CD. In terms of performance and quality, the set is
Difference between Covert Black and the Economy Set
The economy set comes with just one set of matching buttons in
dark blue whereas the Covert Black comes with four sets of
interchangeable buttons and screws (the screw heads allows
concealment in wall panels, for example. The Covert Black set has
slightly better image quality - 450 horizontal lines against 380.
You can use a 4GB SD card with Covert Black, though it only takes
a few seconds to insert an empty card.
One advantage the economy set does have is it comes in a superb
hard sided carry case.
As with other systems, Covert Black Economy is not rainproof so
care must be taken when operating outdoors. It's not too difficult
to make protective housings. It took our operative about two
minutes to assemble and wear.
Video signal system: PAL/NTSC
Photo-image sensor: 1/3 CMOS COLOUR
Low Illumination: 2.0lux
Horizontal Resolution: 380TV Lines
S/N ratio: Min.48dB
Video output: 1.0-/75ohms
Operating Temp: -10/+50
Power Supply: DC 8V
Lens: 3.6 mm
MP4 Player Specifications:
Supports multi-language display
supports WMA/WAV/ADPCM/PCM audio
Standard USB2.0 interface
built-in SD/MMC card slot, 512MB
Support folder management function
and view function
Supports ASF format, ADPCM stereo sound, or convert to ASF format
by transfer tools
Set up function: time / calendar, language, game, storage/check
memory, game/auto power off
2.5" TFT OLED 260K colour 16k,
pixels support: TV OUT /IN
Built-in Mic / speaker
Built-in 2300 lithium battery
Video form: ASF shade is broadcast:
Picture browsing: support EXIF2.1
Power Supply: 3.7V lithium battery
Playing time: 8 hours
Order Code: CBE-LE
You Save: £50.00
You Save: $100.00
You Save: £50.00