The 808 series of key-chain spy cameras


When it comes to dirt-cheap video cameras, the 808 series of key fob cameras must be one of the most popular. A large selection of these can be found on Amazon.com These cameras are designed to look like a vehicle key fob, and they do a great job of that.   Most folks would look at them and have no idea that you have a video camera attached to your key chain.  However, for many people, spying isn’t the primary use for these camera.  They are commonly used to capture areal footage from a model plane, helicopter, or rocket.  Because these cameras are lightweight, they work well for this purpose.

There are several models of 808 key chain cameras, and the video quality and price varies widely between these models.  The model is simply a number, usually between 1 and 24.  When you buy one of these, the particular model should be specified.  If it is not, be careful!  The lower models have very low resolution and video quality.  I got one of those to use with my model rockets to get areal footage.  You can see the quality (or lack thereof) by taking a look at my rocket videos, or the video taken from my radio controlled Sky Ranger airplane.  The cost for my camera was about $12, and I knew what I was getting.   However, there are some sellers that will sell you a low quality model for $40 or $50 – a big rip-off.

If you’re looking for a higher quality camera and don’t mind a higher price take, the 808 #16 and 808 #26 cameras are some of the most popular and give you 720p and 1080p video respectively.   In addition to the 808 series, there are also some similar cameras that have become very popular.  One of those is the Mobius Action Camera, which is similar in specs to the 808 #24 camera and will probably be my next camera purchase.

Surface Pro 3 camera test – a disappointment

I recently had my first experience using the Microsoft Surface Pro 3. Since I’m into photography and video editing, I figured the first thing I should do is check out the camera.

When I tapped the camera app, a view from the rear facing camera filled up the screen, and nothing else. No button or toolbars were visible to give me a clue how to use the app. So I tapped the screen, thinking that it might take a picture just like it would on my Moto X. Sure enough, it did. Next I tried to slide a finger up and down on the display to see if it would zoom like my Moto X does, but it didn’t. I tried using two fingers and sliding them apart to zoom, but that didn’t work either. After some more poking around, three buttons suddenly showed up along the right side of the screen. One was to take a picture, one to take a video, and one to take panoramic photograph. I’m not sure quite why a button to take a picture was included because tapping anywhere on the display appears to do the same thing. Pressing the video button started a video, so I took some test footage and pressed stop. The interface paused for a few moments, presumably to save the footage, before it allowed me to take another picture or video. After trying a few more video clips, I noticed that sometimes this pause would be non-existent, and other times it would take 30 seconds or more before it would save the video and let me proceed using the camera app. I found this rather baffling, but I assumed it was by design.

Then I looked at the footage. About two out of three clips had distortion or artifacts in the video. Some of the problems were minor, but in some cases the entire video was garbled and choppy. It seemed that the videos that took the longest to save were the ones that had the most issues.

After many attempts, I put together a camera test video, but I had to record some of the segments several times to get a usable video. As you can, even the clips I used had some distorted areas.

Has anybody else encountered these problems with the Surface Pro 3? If so, put your experience in the comments below. In the coming days I’ll be doing some more research to see if I can find more information on the issue or a way to fix it. If I can learn something, I will add it to this post at a later time.