Re: Cheap camera - A User Report

Alain Caillet (acaillet@dow.on.doe.CA)
Sun, 12 Feb 1995 18:50:36 -0500

Jan 23 , 1995 Steve Loboyko ( reported:

>1.I bought a $90.00 B/W camera from BG Micro (1-800-276-2206,
>214-271-5546), the "SpyCamera II". It is very nice, it comes with a case,
>and a power supply (wall wart). It is 12V, so I just made a little cable and
>tap off of the PC. The camera lacks an "on" light and an on/off switch, so I
>added them...... Other than that, it looks super-professional.

Sounded to good to be true, nevertheless, I bought one and now must
agree and... disagree with Steve.

First, it is indeed a very small and light camera. I took it apart to
evaluate the quality of the electronics. Conclusion: very good
quality printed circuits (3 of them) held by screws , plated trough holes,
easy to remove from the shielded box . All components surface mounted.
IC's made by Sanyo. Focusing fixed but the lens, locked by a screw,
can be removed/refocused. There is enough space to add a switch
and 'on" LED (for the experienced only).

Now why would the camera be named a "spy" camera. It's small but not so
small ? Here is, I think, the answer and why I disagree with Steve. This is
a camera made to work in very low light (amazingly sensitive) and it has a weird
color to grey response characteristic which does not make it so nice for
video conferencing.

As an example of weird response: the dark green leaves of a typical
house plant will show as bright white. A human hand in the middle of the foliage
and of a much lighter shade appears " light grey " over the bright
white foliage. This apply mainly to green and to a lesser extent to deep red,
deep blue and brown which appear as if the image was a negative.
Flesh tone rendition is OK.

The image looks very much like those shown during TV program reporting
a sting operation where video taping was done from a hidden spot
in low light in an hotel room.

There is also, at least with the one I received, a bit of ghost image. This is
strange as this artifact is normally associated with multi path reception of
a broadcast signal, not at all the case when the video travel at most 6 feet
to the display !

I would like to hear from others who may have bought this nice but
special camera.


Alain Caillet, Sr Meteorologist <>
<> A.E.S. Downsview <><> The validity of a science ...
<> Ontario CANADA <><> ... is its ability to predict