I’ve never quite been one to set up hidden security cameras for the sole purpose of secretly keeping an eye on a friend or family member as I’m a bit uncomfortable about the idea, but there are plenty of legitimate reasons one might want to videotape someone discreetly. For instance, many parents who choose to hire a babysitter or other child professional to watch their children while at work or away make use of a so called “nanny – cam”, and with good reason due to the shocking amount of cases out there involving child abuse on the part of the caretaker. You can never truly know what’s going on while you aren’t there, and your young child may not have the capacity to tell you.
For whatever purpose you may have for them, spy cameras for home or elsewhere (or simply hidden security cameras if you’re not exactly using them as “hidden spy cameras“) can be useful for keeping an eye on our things and loved ones. Of course, this is generally the primary reason one buys their own security cameras for home. Whether they be spy cameras for home or your business, you want to take that extra measure for peace of mind.
Well, whether you’re spying on your kids or their babysitter or perhaps just want some nice security cameras for business to keep an on eye on a questionable employee, the Panasonic BL-C230A is an awesome model to rely on for both! It’s small, discreet, takes excellent video and photo, can be viewed remotely, etc. I could go on and on.. and don’t worry, I will!
One of the first aspects of this camera that was very apparent to me was the size and potential stealthiness of it. It’s almost cute. You could put it in on a bookshelf, to the side of a doodad on the table, over the mantelpiece above the fireplace, etc. without it being noticed without some pretty keen eyes. Even if they were to see it, many people probably wouldn’t think twice about what it was anyway. Its actual dimensions are around 3″ x 3″ x 3 1/4″ or so (give or take) to give you an idea of just how small it really is. It has a glossy white finish to it and for comparison really reminds me of something Apple could have made based on the look and feel if you’re familiar with their products.
Another great feature that I didn’t even notice right away was the “privacy button” located on top. This is a nifty change from previous models which allows you to tap this button which will then stop the camera from sending images. It looks sort of like a snooze button on an alarm clock. Once you tap the button once to command the BL-C230A to cease capturing video or images the green light on top will turn red, and then back to green again to indicate it has begun capturing images once again.
Easily one of the best security camera systems, and for being one of the best “spy cameras for home“, it was surprisingly simple to get started with and watching the live feed right there on my browser. Security camera systems can be tricky to setup for those who have never done it, especially if it has cables that have to be hooked up. Thankfully, the BL-C230A is a model of wireless security cameras. Wireless security camera systems are far easier to connect than normal security camera systems, as they generally only need a minute or two to “search” for a connection to your network. Once its been found you can connect automatically or following the entry of the password to your WiFi. The BL-C230A certainly makes a point of mentioning its plug and play capability, and this has certainly held true for myself in my experience with it.
Another awesome feature I had come to find out about later as well is that this cameras feed can be hooked up to your television monitor as well! Unfortunately, I couldn’t watch my own feed in this way as my television didn’t have the capability because to do so requires a Panasonic Viera model television. Kind of a bummer if like myself you don’t have one, but if you already happen to own a Viera this feature could bring you to the point where you might just about be convinced.
“You get what you pay for”: a lesson we’ve all probably had to learn ourselves one time or another to truly understand, and the supreme picture quality that the BL-C230A brings with it reinforces that ageless maxim. Compared with most small wireless security cameras, the BL-C230A truly delivers remarkable color and picture quality that’s hard to believe for such a small, unobtrusive little device. How is this possible? The BL-C230A uses a compression method, which is a term for the way in which a file (in this case captured video or images) is stored, known as H.264. This format allows for far more storage space, as the previous (yet still available and supported with this model) compression type known as MPEG-4 took up around 30% or so more space than the lean and mean H.264 format. You can set the camera to stop taking images and record video once its full or to delete the oldest data in order to make space for the new, but this won’t be nearly as much of a concern with this model.
While you can definitely view your all of your wireless security cameras remotely without the included software, I would suggest installing it anyway. There are some interface and remote viewing controls which will only be able to be used under the included software, although the browser based view includes most of the basics. Zooming in and out, the ability to view multiple home security cameras at once across your entire security camera system, and so on are available only through the software. This need not be looked down upon as a negative though, as the software is very simple to get up and running and arguably more so than trying to work through your browser.
While this isn’t flawless in terms of home security cameras which have excellent night vision, I certainly cannot complain about its abilities. Night vision capabilities boast a “color night view mode”, which will automatically adjust camera brightness settings to accommodate the lighting conditions where it’s recording. If you’re in a dimly lit area, the light will saturate subjects far more than a brightly lit room in the middle of the day. In near complete darkness the BL-C230A tends to become a little grainier and hard to see, so I wouldn’t count on keeping it somewhere you need sharp video footage with all the lights out.
Despite any shortcomings in regard to darkness, in comparison with many wireless security camera systems this one in particular performs extremely well and even has features to automatically face these issues if they should arise in it’s viewing area. In the settings you can toggle the cameras function to do this on and off if you have reason to do so.
Much like just about any and all wireless security cameras worth buying these days, the BL-C230A allows for remote viewing of your cameras live feed from anywhere in the world that you can locate an Internet connection. You simply log in to your web browser and you begin begin viewing the streaming video anywhere, including your smart phone! Through the web interface there are a number of functions you have control over, including of course the ability to not only pan around and tilt up and down, but this hidden security camera also has the ability to zoom in and out, and focusing on a new subject or location is as effortless as clicking there on the screen. You can place the camera to pan back and forth as well, setting up a decent sized perimeter. Despite the small stature of the device, it has a shockingly large wide screen view which together with its ability to pan gives its vision a long reach.
Speaking of the web interface, not only can it support wireless security camera systems of up to 16 different kinds of home security cameras, but it’s somewhat unique in that you can choose to view each cameras streaming video at many different sizes or resolutions, all the way up to the point of being full screen with a single camera which is a feature that isn’t very commonplace. Whilst choosing which video feed you’re going to be viewing, you can toggle on and off the streaming/recording of audio as well. On the bottom left hand side of the face, the BL-C230A has a small microphone which can relay audio to you as well as alerting an audio trigger or alarm.
In my opinion, one of the greatest functions home security cameras and home security camera systems in general can provide is the ability to alert you about changes in the environment when they occur and provide information to you about what those changes are. Some of the more cheap mini spy cameras out there probably won’t have any sort of ability like this, while higher priced security cameras for your home more than likely have some sort of trigger that will command the hidden security cameras to begin recording video, audio, picture stills, etc.
Unlike most however, the BL-C230A takes it even a step further than most reasonably priced home security cameras with three different variables that it can track and alert you should they be triggered. Using some sophisticated motion detection technology, this camera can be alerted by motion, sound, and even body heat. The infrared body heat detection system works excellent, picking up any new body heat detected in the home security monitoring zone that you establish. This also applies to any motion or sound detected as well. If you’re concerned about only one of these factors for whatever reason, the alert can be programmed to only be set for specified kinds of stimuli. It can even be preprogrammed to activate specific sensors at specific times of day. This can come in very handy if you’re not going to be home to change preferences, but expect certain types of (or lack of) activity at certain times of day but do not at others. Instead of foregoing setting up the alerts at all or simply dealing with the large amount of “false alarms” you might get, you can have your hidden security cameras preferences tailored directly to your needs any hour of the day without even having to be there.
Once a certain noise threshold has been crossed or body heat/motion detected, you can set your security camera system to inform you via email, your phone, PC, etc. which will include an image captured of what was happening in the moment changes in the environment were detected. You’ll receive a series of still shots which have the option of being downloaded in batches of 10 or 100. You can also set the camera to email a single still image to you at specific times of day, which can be useful if you have a vacation home or other far away residence that you can’t physically keep an eye on at all times.Compare Prices And Order Now!
*Easy to setup and manage wireless connection
*Three separate sensors with the ability to detect motion, sound, and body heat
*Automatically adjusts brightness settings based on light conditions
*Simple plug and play installation
*Blends seamlessly with most home or business furniture or doodads
*View and operate remotely from any Internet connection
*H.264 compression format, resulting in higher quality videos which take up less space
*On board memory along with ability to forward images and video