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Board Cameras

The best array of day cameras can still have their flaws; while they provide high-definition coverage, they’re easy to spot, and once spotted, can be dismantled. For serious yet covert security, board cameras, also known as CCD cameras, are the best option for a secretive camera. Due to their small size and their reputation as a core component in most security cameras, the places they can be concealed are limited only by the contents of the environment and the imagination of the controller. These small cameras also have the advantage of being cheaper than larger, more noticeable security cameras, and so offer an economical solution to a need for surveillance.

Board cameras are, by definition, miniature cameras that consist of a lens mounted upon a circuit board. The lens is extraordinarily small sometimes no bigger than a square inch, and is the same as those used in mini cameras and dome cameras. However, the lens and circuit are uncased, which allows customization and mounting at the discretion of the buyer.

Features and Options Available

Board cameras offer a range of lens type and color options. That said, board cameras come with either a pinhole or a full lens, both in a respectable assortment of sizes, and may capture images in either black and white or color. It should be noted that cameras, like the human eye, cannot see in complete darkness, and will require their subjects to be lit by some variety of light. There is the option to purchase a lens with a low Lux rating for low-light surveillance.

A Lux rating refers to the measurement of how many rays of light are needed to illuminate a square meter of space; a good average Lux rating is around 0.05, but low-light lenses may have a Lux rating as low as 0.0003. Video and image resolution will also vary according to each lens. A higher resolution will allow greater image detail, but are often more expensive than their low or medium-resolution counterparts. A board camera typically has a fixed iris, which does not allow for zooming in or out of a scene. They also have a short focal length, which results in an ideal-for-security wide angle shot of their surrounding area.

Pinhole board cameras are cameras with very small lens openings, some measuring only 1/8” in diameter. Some pinhole cameras have a conical lens molding, which enables the camera to be embedded in thicker material, such as a ceiling tile or picture frame.

Regular board cameras require a vision hole of 5/8” to ¾” wide in order to function properly. They have larger lenses than pinhole cameras, which can allow for a greater range of vision and higher resolution quality.

How They Are Used?

Due to its extraordinarily small size, a board camera is most commonly used for body-worn covert observance and undetected permanent video installation. Board cameras are small enough to be concealed behind buttons or pins for mobile surveillance, but when used in the home, they may be concealed almost anywhere. Popular mounts include ceiling tiles, picture frames, book spines, speakers, DVD players, and room corners. Since the camera comes mounted on a computer board, it will be up to the buyer to affix an information cable to the computer board in order to be able to view images.

With a pinhole camera, if it is hidden behind a thin layer of material such as paper, fabric, or sheet metal, the lens will need only a 1/16” hole in order to see through. Because the hole they require is so small, it is easy to create a virtually undetectable surveillance network in any location. Other creative uses include mounting board cameras on toys, which can result in mapping out a neighborhood from a balloon or a larger-than-life recounting of a model airplane’s first flight.

Who Can Benefit?

As mentioned above, one of the most common uses for board cameras is for surveillance and covert operations. However, there is an entire range of other uses for which a board camera may be suitable, and they can benefit or entertain according to the desire of the buyer. For example, a board camera mounted within or on a model train can produce a record of the train’s journey unlike any that could be seen from a normal perspective. If installed on a flying device, a board camera can mean the difference between just another toy and autonomous indoor surveillance. A board camera mounted within a tree with proper protection from the elements, of course could yield a documentary film of the life of a bird family, or any other subject of interest to inventive filmmakers. Science fair projects will gain a new level of wonder when the action of the experiment is recorded in a way that no regular camera could hope to capture. Anyone and everyone can benefit from the use of a board camera – the only limit to their potential is in the ingenuity of the customer.