body camera guide

Useful. Impactful. Controversial. These are just three adjectives that have been used to describe the proliferation of body camera technology within the security industry.

During our recent study of violence experienced by security personnel, quite a few of the security operatives we spoke to offered very positive feedback regarding the use of body cameras (BWCs) as a deterrent.

One respondent told us that Body Cameras

“had a definite effect on decreasing the frequency of incidental violence, especially from members of the public [that have been] knocked back on the door”.

This sentiment was echoed multiple times in our survey.

As body camera technology becomes more affordable and accessible, proliferating alongside similar technology being operated by the general public, its usage will likely become more common within the security industry.

Escalating levels of violence against security workers could potentially facilitate this proliferation to the point that body cameras become standard equipment for all licensed door supervisors and security guards.

In this feature, we’ll take an in-depth look at BWCs; how they work, how best to use them, what to look for when buying one and what their implications may be, both for the security industry and the wider society as a whole.

What is a Body-Worn Camera

In simplest terms, a body worn camera (alternatively known as a ‘BWC’, ‘body camera’, ‘body-worn video’, ‘BWV’, ‘body-cam’ or ‘body-mounted camera’) is any camera designed to be attached to a human body.

Some BWCs are worn as part of glasses, on helmets or other headgear, or simply as ‘head-cameras’. BWCs may also be mounted on the shoulder or chest.

The camera itself typically features a forward-facing viewable area and will often come equipped with a ‘time-stamp’ feature, as well as features such as infrared ‘night-vision’ capabilities, GPS location data, microphones for capturing audio, various security options (such as password protection and data encryption) and the basic physical protections required for technology designed for use outdoors (i.e., an IP rating of 65 or higher)

A body camera will also come with a method for attaching it to a person’s uniform or clothing (usually in the form of an adjustable harness or clip). 

BWCs are typically worn to record certain events, either on video or via still photographs. Civilian use of BWCs might include the capture of sporting or athletic achievements from a first-person viewpoint or gathering evidence in cases of domestic violence. Body cameras are also routinely used by police, as well as some emergency services.

In the area of security work, BWCs are used to not only gather evidence, but also to deter would-be assault and antisocial behaviour, as well as to disprove groundless claims of improper conduct made against security workers by disgruntled patrons.

How do Body Cameras Work?

A body camera is, essentially, the same as any other digital video camera. First, sensors translate light into images. These images are then converted into computer pixels and are stored, either on the camera itself, or else transferred for storage elsewhere.

Body Camera operators will not, in most cases, record their entirebody camera shift. Battery life varies from model-to-model, but even in the rare case that the claim ‘12 hours’ battery life’ turns out to be true, the camera will probably not be able to store that much continuous footage.

Instead, a body camera is usually activated just before a security operative begins an interaction with a member of the public, or immediately after noticing that an incident is taking place. In most cases, a small light will appear to indicate that the patron is being filmed.

It will also be possible, at least with models that feature a front-facing viewing area, for the patron to see the footage as it is being captured.

Many body cameras will save footage taken for 30 seconds or so before the ‘record’ button is pressed. This helps to gain a clearer depiction of the events captured on film.

BWCs capture footage in short intervals, usually ranging from 30 seconds to around 5 minutes (although this can be as high as 30 minutes). Despite storing footage in short clips, playback is usually continuous.

Some body cameras store data internally, or via MicroSD cards, while others employ cloud storage. Some also allow for real-time streaming.

Who Uses Body-Worn Cameras (& Why)?

UK police were among the first to adopt body camera technology, holding trials as far back as 2005. Today, body cameras are used by a great many professions, including healthcare providers, the armed forces, railway workers, the fire brigade, the secret service, undercover journalists and many more.

Occasionally even local politicians will use them to record their interactions with the general public.

body cameras are also used by extreme sports practitioners and other thrill-seekers, as well as YouTubers, athletes and anybody wishing to capture a first-person, ‘up-close-and-personal’ perspective of the events they film.

The exact reasons for using body cameras depend greatly on what they are being used for. In the case of skydivers, for example, a body camera is much easier to use and carry when leaping out of a plane – and there is far less chance of losing or damaging it. In addition, the footage will have an evocative, immediate quality that better translates the feeling of skydiving to the viewer.

In the case of police (or other emergency services), body cameras are used for two main reasons. The first is to accurately record the officer’s interactions with the public and the second is to ensure that police officers are doing their jobs properly.

In this manner, if a person should complain that an officer’s conduct was in some way unlawful or inappropriate, the video footage could be reviewed by the officer’s superiors and a judgement could be made as to whether or not the officer exceeded the bounds of propriety at any point.

When used in a professional context (such as by security operatives), BWCs are used to provide a greater degree of transparency and accountability, as well as being a superior form of evidence gathering.

In cases of criminal prosecution, such as assaults perpetrated against security workers, BWC’s can provide clear and direct evidence of the crime, bypassing entirely the usual defences of ‘your word against theirs’ and ‘mistaken identity’.

If a security worker is assaulted while their BWC is in operation, the high likelihood is that the perpetrator will be captured on camera and subsequently identified. This could lead directly to the prosecution of violent individuals.

Other key benefits can include BWCs working as a deterrent against would-be attackers and other criminals. Body camera usage may also increase the civility displayed by both the operative and the patron (the theory being that if both parties are aware that they are on camera, neither is likely to be rude or abusive).

BWCs also allow complaints to be explored in a much more efficient and expedient manner. In cases where an expensive (and extensive) investigation may have been required, now the relevant parties may simply review the footage and see if the operative in question acted correctly or not.

There is also a great opportunity to use BWCs for training, not only among newly licensed operatives, but also for others undergoing training to view footage from certain incidents and see how the seasoned operatives handle difficult situations.

Guidance for Use

In order to maximise the benefits of body camera usage (as well as justify the expense), a proper procedure must be followed at all times.

This procedure should be decided upon by the company or venue before being written down and disseminated among all staff. Body camera procedures must also be created in full compliance with UK law (see the guidance below) and with the input of experienced security professionals.

All workers that are to be issued with BWCs should also receive at least some training regarding their use.

It would certainly be undesirable if a security operative were to become involved in a violent incident and fail to capture it on film due to a lack of ability with the camera. This would be especially problematic in cases whereby the operative was accused of professional misconduct, as an explanation like “I couldn’t work the camera” would simply make them appear to be guilty.

In cases where the camera is not voice-activated, the ‘record’ button should be pressed as soon as an incident begins. Incidents often escalate quickly. The operative should be instructed not to try to conserve battery life or memory space during these instances, but to leave the camera running right through until the culmination of the event. This allows for clear, uninterrupted evidence to be presented to police. Interrupted footage can lead to accusations of dishonesty on the part of the operative. This should be emphasised both by training and procedural guidelines.

Any footage taken should always be time-stamped and, where possible, easy to link to the person who shot it (many body cameras will also have this as a feature).

Again, it would be a problem if footage of an incident were taken, but that the identity of the person who shot the footage was contested for some reason. These are the types of ambiguities that often scupper criminal convictions.

Footage should be encrypted, protected, stored appropriately and accessed whenever needed. Where possible, it should be transferred to the police in an efficient and timely manner.

For security personnel, the best location for a body camera is the chest. The shoulder may offer a good perspective, but shoulder-mounted cameras are too easily blocked by an operative raising their arms. They are also easier to damage or block in instances of violence or use of force.

A BWC should easily blend in with the security operative’s uniform, both in terms of easy harness attachment as well as style. The appearance of a security operative is important, especially with regard to door supervisors. They must look smart and capable and the body camera should be seen as simply ‘part of the uniform’, rather than an overly obtuse and visible gadget.

Remember also that uniform requirements often change with the seasons, this should be taken on board when considering the deployment of body cameras.

Proper signage should also be deployed along with the cameras.

What to Look for When Buying

When buying a BWC, the first thing for the consumer to consider is what they are going to be using it for. For example, a camera designed for security use isn’t going to be particularly appropriate for a skateboarder – and vice versa.

 What follows is a list of features that are desirable in a body camera being used for security purposes.

‘Quick Record’ Button – Highly useful in instances of emergency, a ‘quick record’ button allows the camera to be activated in an instant, with minimal fuss or difficulty.

Night Vision – Most body cameras (especially those used for security) feature an infrared (IR) ‘night vision’ mode. IR night vision works by flooding the immediate area with infrared light, which is invisible to the naked eye, but can be picked up by the camera. The result is that footage taken at night looks as bright as the day. Be sure to get a good range if purchasing a body camera to use at night.

IP Rating – An ‘Ingress Protection’ or ‘IP’ rating essentially describes how much dirt, dust, grit, sand or liquid the device can be exposed to without being compromised and/or damaged. A camera with a rating of IP 11, for example, would resist objects of more than 50mm in diameter, but would be at risk from smaller objects and would be basically useless in the rain. An IP rating of 68 would be totally dust-proof and fully immersible in water. As stated above, the average BWC will have an IP rating of 65, which will resist all-but the heaviest downpours. Essentially, when it comes to technology designed for use outdoors, the higher the IP rating, the better.

Audio – Not all body cameras record audio. For security purposes, audio recording is highly recommended. Ideally, clear audio recording should be possible from distances of around 1 metre (3 feet) or more.

Password Protection– This feature is of paramount importance to security work. If the camera is lost or stolen, it means that the footage cannot be accessed or tampered with in any way.

Time Stamp/User ID – These are also useful security features, as they tell the viewer exactly when the footage was filmed and by whom.

Card Storage – Card storage is useful as it gives you direct control over how much footage your camera can record. Cameras with a built-in memory (and no options for card or online storage) are severely limited and must be cleared regularly, or else old footage will simply be recorded over, often with no warning. An SD card with incriminating footage on it may be removed and kept as evidence, ensuring that no harm comes to it. We also recommend signing up to a data plan, although this must be with a very security-conscious provider as it involves an unknown third party. 

Good Battery Life – Ideally, you’ll want a battery that will last for an entire shift (10 -12 hours). However, most batteries will not last this long (a list that includes most of those that claim to). It is, therefore, a good idea to buy a camera with a removable battery, that way one battery can be charging up, while the other is in use. In any instance, the longer the battery life, the better.

Wide-Angle Lens – Generally speaking, a wide-angle lens (that is, a lens with a smaller-than-average focal length and therefore a wider field of view than the human eye) is better suited for security work than any other. This is because it can capture a wider view (and therefore a more complete image) than the average camera lens can. Wide angle lenses typically have a focal length of 40 – 58mm on a full frame camera.

1080p or Better – Image quality is important, especially with regards to footage that shows people’s faces. The better the image resolution, the higher your chances of obtaining a conviction should you ever need to.

If you are buying online, we strongly recommend reading some of the customer reviews for the product you wish to purchase. Not only will this give you a better idea of how well the device functions in specific circumstances, it can also provide a more realistic perspective than that of the manufacturer. It is also advisable to Google the cameras you are wishing to buy and read several independent (and therefore more objective) reviews of them.

Collecting & Storing Evidence

Many BWCs, especially those designed for use by security or law enforcement, have built-in internal memory that cannot be removed, overwritten or even deleted until it has been uploaded and stored somewhere. In terms of evidence gathering, this is definitely preferable to a removable SD card that could theoretically be stolen, overwritten or simply destroyed.

Whatever journey the footage takes to get from point A to point B, it should always be stored on a secure system that can only be accessed by specific personnel. UK police have gotten into trouble in the past for simply storing footage on an insecure cloud provided by their camera’s manufacturer.

It’s also worth noting that, with regard to CCTV footage, UK law states that only a nominated data controller should be allowed access to CCTV. Although not a legal requirement for body cameras, this law should still govern the working practices of any security firm or venue using BWCs, as it respects privacy and demonstrates clear and transparent working practices.

Access to body camera footage should be handled and treated the same as CCTV footage is – i.e., restricted to a nominated data controller, or the subject of the footage once legal permission has been gained (as dictated by the terms of the Data Protection Act 2018). This not only does a lot to mitigate the possibility of evidence tampering, it could potentially also increase the likelihood of conviction, should the footage be used in court.

Additionally, any footage that is not incriminating should be deleted within 30 days or less. While there are no specific laws governing how long security footage may be kept, the ’30-Day Rule’ (if indeed it can be called that), is standard practice for companies that operate CCTV (this includes the police).

This ‘rule’ harkens back to the days of VHS security tapes, when such policies were necessary due to the limitations of the technology. Nevertheless, there is functionally no reason to keep footage that is not of any use for longer than a period of one month. Not only is it expensive to store, it also could be construed as an invasion of privacy. From a legal standpoint, keeping footage for no purpose, or for a purpose other than that for which it was initially taken, can land a company in hot water.

Of course, privacy is a key issue here. People have a right to privacy – and several British laws acknowledge and enshrine this. BWCs are more invasive than standard CCTV cameras for a few reasons. In addition to being less strictly governed than CCTV presently is, body cameras also take footage at a much closer proximity than most other forms of surveillance, capturing facial features in considerable detail. body cameras also record audio, which means that what a person says is recorded as well as what a person does.

Privacy is important – and not only because individual privacy is protected by law. Privacy laws (sometimes referred to as ‘data protection’ laws) benefit everyone and protect our personal information from being violated, taken without permission or otherwise misused.

Personal information is defined as any information that can be used to identify the person in question, this can include a person’s name and address, bank details, login codes, browser history, phone data (including call and text message history), social media activities, employment history, qualifications and much more besides.

Theoretically, if any of the above information could be taken by an unscrupulous person, the victim of that theft would potentially find themselves at risk from numerous types of harm, including physical.

Privacy laws, therefore, govern what specific pieces of information may be stored by any party (for example, an online business) regarding an individual, as well as how that data may be stored and what it may or may not be used for. Therefore, privacy laws, like security workers, exist to keep people safe.

Body-Worn Cameras & The Law

There are no specific laws governing the use of body-camera technology, although use of any camera in a public space does fall under the purview of a number of privacy laws (specifically the Data Protection Act 2018).

A code of practice specific to body cameras was created by the Surveillance Camera Commissioner and the Information Commissioner. It is somewhat similar to the Surveillance Camera Code of Practice, published by the government in 2013 and both should be consulted before any use of BWCs in the context of professional security.

For general reference, remember that it is legal for anyone to take photographs or record video in public places. The only time this becomes illegal is when said photographs or footage are being used for illegal purposes (e.g., taking pictures of a building in order to plan a robbery or commit a terrorist act).

Privacy laws are breached when a person’s photograph is taken without their consent, especially in a place where they should reasonably be able to expect privacy (for example, on their own property).

To cite another example, if a private citizen films their local town centre on market day, this would not be considered to be violating the privacy of the vendors or people walking past the camera, as they are not the subject of the footage. This is a completely legal activity.

If, however, the person was to film or photograph an individual (or individuals) specifically and without consent, that person would be in violation of the individual in question’s privacy – and the individual in the footage has every legal right to request that the images be destroyed or deleted.

In the case of people who film and photograph others without consent for the purposes of sexual harassment, intimidation or gratification, this can carry a sentence of up to 2 years, as well as the possibility of the perpetrator being registered as a sex offender.

Police cannot seize a camera unless the person using that camera is suspected of committing a crime with it (such as the examples listed above) and, unless a venue or event has specific rules about the use of cameras and recording equipment. The same holds true for security operatives.

Police have no legal power to stop private citizens from filming them at work, or to prevent members of the public from filming potential crimes as they occur.

Security operatives, being essentially private citizens, could potentially ask that footage specifically detailing them be deleted. The only grounds for refusing this request would be if the patron doing the filming had caught the security worker in an illegal act (such as using excessive force), in which case, the footage would probably be considered as evidence of a crime and forcing its deletion would also be a crime, as no person has the right to do this, for fairly obvious reasons.

In general, BWCs do not conflict with general data policy regulation (GDPR). Provided that footage is only ever used for the reasons for which it has been collected, complies with data protection guidelines, can be accessed only by a limited number of qualified people, is stored safely and securely and is deleted within a reasonable period of time (approximately defined as 30 – 31 days).

Former Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe was an early advocate of police using BWCs. As he pointed out, the police are often the only people that aren’t recording, and as such, it’s important to get an official police perspective for plurality’s sake.

“The two big advantages [of BWCs]; one is that it produces the best possible evidence – compelling evidence – for a criminal prosecution, and, as importantly, it holds us [the police] to account. It’s a way of showing how well the officers do the job. On the other hand, if we don’t do our job properly, it will capture that evidence too”

 Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, former Metropolitan Police Commissioner.

A British-American study, conducted in 2013, validated Hogan-Howe’s faith, demonstrating that instances of police using force dropped by 87% when police were equipped with BWCs.

From these results, it is possible to suggest that security operatives could potentially see a similar drop in incidents requiring force if body cameras were rolled out in greater numbers across the industry. As stated in the introduction, this technology could have a markedly positive effect regarding the reduction of instances of violence against security workers.

Lastly, the Home Office has published a list of technical guidelines for anybody using a body camera. The latest edition of this document (created in 2018) places heavy emphasis upon the integrity of evidence and the secure storage of data. It is strongly advised that every security worker who uses a body camera at work familiarise themselves with this document.

Using Video in Court

When it comes to the courtroom, video footage always takes precedence over witness statements or testimony. This means that any spoken or written account of events during a criminal trial must corroborate, not contradict, the video being shown.

Imagine if a person’s account of events was contradicted by direct video evidence. That person would appear to be foolish at best – and an outright liar at worst. In all but the most unarguable of cases, this would likely scupper any chance of a conviction.

It is advisable to never prepare a statement or give evidence without first reviewing all footage relevant to the event. Memories can be very unreliable and it is best to rely on hard evidence (such as video), whenever it is available.

The person responsible for the footage will likely be asked to prepare a statement to go alongside it, as well as to be rigorously questioned regarding its contents.

It is important that the statement include environmental factors not evidenced by the footage, as well as any supplementary details that the footage may have omitted.

It is advisable also not to shy away from the reality of the events that are depicted on camera. For example, if the video contains the camera operator using foul or abusive language, the court will see this. The accompanying statement may provide a brief explanation for this (e.g., “it was said in the heat of the moment” or “the person was presenting a serious threat”, etc), as well as an apology. Whatever is detailed in the footage will be the source of questions, so proper preparedness is of paramount importance in such cases.

Body-Worn Cameras & Society

The widespread use of body cameras is just one thread in the wider tapestry of the increased surveillance and scrutiny that is being placed on all of our lives. For all the benefits of BWCs, there are any number of foreseeable drawbacks.

For example, it is theoretically possible for a police officer or security worker to behave inappropriately (for example, by goading or provoking a member of the public to an angry outburst), but then only switch the camera on once that person responds to the provocation. The argument goes that cameras record not only events, but perspectives and viewpoints as well.

It will not have escaped anybody’s attention that different news outlets cover the same news stories in accordance with their specific political bias. Coverage of an event by one news source will likely not match coverage from all news sources, for example. To some degree, the same is true for body-cam footage. The events are witnessed from the point-of-view of the authority figure, thus enhancing the viewer’s pre-existing tendency to side with them.

Additionally, when body camera footage is not properly catalogued, stored and accounted for (as physical evidence is), it can render these benefits effectively moot.

A recent nationwide freedom of information (FOI) campaign found that, in many areas, police did not know how many complaints were being made against them and had no official figures to that effect. Among the reasons for this was the relative inaccessibility of the data. This has prompted some critics to suggest that the claims that BWCs limit complaints against police officers (and other professions) are tenuous at best and unreliable at worst.

Despite the many undeniable benefits of portable camera technology, criticisms and issues of privacy remain. In some cases, concerns over privacy raised by the presence of BWCs may be mitigated to some extent by drawing awareness to the pre-existing CCTV presence within these venues. The argument being that patrons are being filmed in the venues anyway, why should they object to the cameras being a little closer?

These privacy-based concerns nevertheless do carry weight in some cases and should not simply be dismissed. There is a noticeable difference between cameras mounted in the venues that are filming a large group of people and cameras that are focused tightly on one specific person – and the law would seem to apply this distinction as well.

Concerns that newer BWCs may contain facial recognition software are also to be taken seriously. As is often the case with technological innovation, this could prove a ‘double-edged sword’. Cameras that automatically scan for previous offenders and/or wanted criminals would be useful and help to keep venues and streets safer but would at the same time seriously infringe on the public’s right to privacy.

BWCs are also expensive, costing a lot of money not only to initially purchase and maintain, but also to store footage. Even entry-level subscription packages or regularly cleared SD cards (the cheapest storage options), can cost a fair amount.

BWCs can do a lot of good for the security industry, as well as many other areas, but they are not perfect – and it would be prudent not to rely too heavily upon them.

Today, Western societies have become so used to being filmed, photographed, catalogued and processed, that, perhaps in a curious mass outbreak of Stockholm syndrome, we have begun to broadcast ourselves, taking ‘selfies’ wherever we go, proudly displaying every life event on social media and filming ourselves every chance we get. We’ve taken on starring roles in our own peculiar life-long psychodramas – and we’re ready to perform for the world, whether it demonstrates an interest or not.

What implications these developments will have for our collective culture, good or bad, remain to be seen.

best body camera review

BOBLOV T5 1296P Body Camera

The BOBLOV T5 is a really nice size. It’s small enough to be discreet, yet large enough to have a good quality screen.

The ‘one-key’ operation system is also avowedly user-friendly and smartly laid out. Using just a single button, you can take photographs, record video and even switch the LCD screen on and off. This makes the T5 easy to use in a hurry, especially in instances whereby something needs to be recorded quickly.

The other buttons offer easy access to any footage or photographs you take and are stiff and reliable, meaning that you won’t end up pressing them by mistake.

This camera is also largely weatherproof (garnering an IP65 rating) but could not be called waterproof. Using it in the rain should be fine though.

The T5 boasts full HD 1296p video quality, which is honestly quite stunning. Even better is the still image resolution, which renders photographs in glorious 4K. The picture quality is basically as good as it gets.  

The user even gets to choose between automatic and manual night vision, which always works well. The night vision (achieved via an array of high-performance infrared LEDs) is powerful enough to capture clear images from almost 10 metres away.

As always with infrared LEDs, the footage quality will likely depend on how many light sources are near to the body camera when you’re filming in the dark. In pitch black conditions, this camera won’t be much use at all, so you’ll need some sort of light source (such as streetlamps, torchlight or a campfire). Nevertheless, the quality is there if the body camera is used properly.

The camera also has the ability to automatically shift between its ‘night vision’ and ‘regular’ modes. This means that if you pass from a light area to a darker one, the body camera will continue filming without missing anything.

The audio quality is also very good. The camera’s in-built microphone can easily pick up background chatter from a reasonable distance away.

Video can be recorded in intervals of 5, 10, 15, 20 or 30-minutes, at the discretion of the user.

So, the body camera itself is generally very good. It isn’t perfect, however. One issue we have concerns the lens. At 140°, the lens can be considered ‘wide angle’, but isn’t as wide as it ought to be for a camera of this size. A 170° lens would serve this camera so much more comprehensively. 

We were impressed also by the inclusion of a second battery. After all, you don’t always get the chance to charge the device in between uses. However, with a second battery, your only job is to keep the spare one charged at all times. This is a very convenient and useful addition.

The battery life is sufficient, if not overly generous. The two batteries will offer an estimated 12 – 13 hours of usage, which makes the additional battery very useful for longer shifts.

Some users may not care for the external SD card method of data storage – and that’s understandable. This body camera does not come with any in-built storage options, nor does it include an SD card, which means that you’ll have to procure one at your own expense.

Generally, however, we prefer external storage methods. The T5 can accommodate a range of memory cards, namely 32GB, 64GB and 128GB.

Pros

✅The Spare battery is great, allows you to carry on your long shift

✅Automatic night vision changes depending on the light level

✅Stealth mode – allows you to be covert if you don’t want anyone to know you are recording

Cons

❌ NOT waterproof can be classed as rain proof though

❌ Would be better if it was 170° not 140° angle

Because of this versatility, you won’t be dependent on whatever memory the camera comes with, instead being able to customise the body cameras memory according to your own specific needs.

The T5 is also full of useful features. Not least of these is the camera’s ‘stealth mode’. This function, when activated, mutes any sound that the camera may make when in use, it also disables any visual recording indicators and stops any external lights from coming on.

Most of the time, you will want people to be aware that you’re recording their activities (as this can be a very effective deterrent). However, should you need to film something covertly or pretend that the camera has been deactivated for any reason, this mode of operation completely obscures the fact that the body cameras still recording. It can be a useful way to keep yourself safe while still gathering evidence – and that alone makes it a very welcome feature.

REXING P1 Body Worn Camera

Definitely one of the coolest looking body cameras we’ve reviewed so far, the Rexing P1’s design combines flash and functionality in a way that’s impossibly appealing. But is it as cool to use as it is to look at?

The camera’s highest resolution setting is 1080p, which is good, but not quite as good as many others on the market. Having said that, the P1’s ultra wide-angle lens with 170° field of view definitely helps to make up for it.

The camera’s night vision function, however, is excellent, with the P1 easily capturing clear images from up to 15 metres away, even in pitch-black surroundings.

A built-in memory of 64GB is very welcome indeed, although the P1’s insistence on encoding all files in the .AVI format is very annoying (if your computer can’t run AVI’s, then a file converter will be needed. This can represent an unnecessary tech-headache for many consumers).

Also worth noting is the fact that, once the body cameras memory reaches capacity, it will automatically record over the older footage. This function can be useful, but it can also present the user with an inconvenience. It would be better if this were an optional, rather than automatic function.

As a security measure, the P1 will only allow footage to be deleted by the user if said user first connects it to a device via USB. This is a fine security precaution, but it clashes somewhat with the camera’s automatic policy of deleting its own footage in order to save space.

The length of video clips is defaulted to 5 minutes, but can be manually changed to 30 minutes if this is preferred.

All footage filmed by the Rexing P1 can be viewed on the body cameras rear screen, which is beautiful. It’s a great size and offers superior picture quality. This adds hugely to the P1’s overall appeal.

The battery life is good, offering users up to 10 hours of continuous video recording and lasting for around 20 hours in standby mode. A weatherproof rating of IP67 is brilliant, as is the intensive shock proofing of the case itself (which makes use of the same materials as some firearms). All of this helps to make the Rexing P1 one of the toughest body cameras out there right now.

The P1 even comes complete with built-in lights and sirens that can scare away would-be attackers and criminals.

Pros

✅ Has an External memory card (comes with a 64G Memory Card) that can be extended

✅ Police Panic Mode with one button press which plays a loud audible siren sound and flashes light

Cons

❌ Video files come in AVI format only, makes it difficult to read on a computer.

This camera has a lot of great features, including a 64GB external memory card (which can be extended if necessary), external flashing lights and sirens, a cool-looking outer case that feels exceptionally tough and a rear-screen that is simply beautiful to look at.

On the downside, this body camera uses AVI format which is notoriously difficult to play on some Microsoft software programmes, compared to other body cameras that use MOV format which is much more acceptable, it also deletes its own footage, whether you want it to or not. It also comes with a manual that fails to explain all its features and the camera itself cannot be attached vertically to the user. Additionally, the white light (designed to work alongside the body  camera and aid its function) is so dim as to be almost useless.

Probably the toughest camera around, with easily the coolest case, the P1 is all about appearances. However, when it comes to body cameras, like people, it’s what’s inside that counts – and by that yardstick, the Rexing P1 body worn camera has got a little bit of catching up to do.

Guardian G1 Body Camera

The Guardian G1 body camera offers superb 1296p full HD recording. This high quality footage is captured by a 32-megapixel body camera and runs at a super-smooth 30fps. These exquisite specs ensure that the G1’s video playback is never less than great.

Although it only features a 140° field of view lens, this is still considered ‘ultra wide angle’ and is still wide enough to see every lane on the road if the G1 is used as a dashcam. The lens could be better, but that definitely doesn’t make it bad.

Additionally, the camera’s night vision mode can pick out clear details from up to 10 metres away, even in pitch-black darkness – and that’s before the infrared function is activated.

The Guardian G1 body camera comes in a tough looking case that definitely seems able to take a few knocks. The casing is also emblazoned with a written warning that audio and video are being recorded. Legally speaking, this can be very useful indeed, although it does mean that the Guardian G1 isn’t the most covert of cameras.

The G1 is also quite cumbersome, being both larger than many of its contemporaries, as well as weighing it at an unwieldy 175g.

This camera boasts a generally good battery life, being able to last for up to 10 hours on the second-lowest resolution setting (720p), but only lasting 6-and-a-half hours in 1290p mode. It’s also worth noting that the camera will survive for around 240 hours in standby mode. It takes 4 hours to fully charge the battery, which feels reasonable when offset against the run-time.

The camera’s menu system and basic functions are smartly laid out and easy to understand. Footage can be rewound and fast-forwarded at speeds that vary between 2x and 64x.

The Guardian G1 also features 32GB of built-in memory. This is definitely OK, but could also be better. Additionally, the lack of options to increase the camera’s memory capacity represents another minor disappointment.

Pros

✅ Rewind/forward at x2-x64 speeds and the menu function is easy to navigate around.

✅ Optional ClickFast attachment available

✅ Comes with charging dock which takes 4hrs to charge for upto 10hrs record and play

Cons

❌ A bit larger than expected

There is quite a lot to recommend about the Guardian G1, all told. For starters, it is quite tough and durable. It also features an integrated GPS system (although this only works outdoors) that functions very well. The G1 is also mostly weatherproof (with a rating of IP65).

Elsewhere, the picture quality is brilliant, the battery life is good and it also has a ‘password lock’ function, as well as an ID stamp that appears on the screen at all times (so you can easily see who shot the footage). It even comes bundled with its own charging dock.

On the downside, the outer casing, although solid and hard-wearing, is also cumbersome and a little too heavy. The lack of a headphone jack is also a minor annoyance, as this makes quiet, discreet playback somewhat difficult. The G1 is also only compatible with Windows (excluding Vista) and will not work with any Apple technology whatsoever.

On the whole, this is a very good, reliable model. It may fall short of being ‘top of the range’, but the Guardian G1 is more than worth checking out. 

D5 MINI BODY CAMERA

The D5 Mini body camera has the look of a device that’s uniquely designed for use by security professionals. Not only does the casing itself emphasise functionality over form, it also comes emblazoned with the words ‘WARNING VIDEO/AUDIO RECORDING’ in bright yellow letters.

Clearly, the D5 Mini was not designed for covert use. Instead, this body cam is designed to actively ward off those who might present a challenge to the wearer. It is, in effect, a wearable CCTV cameras – and it’s designed like one too, as we’ll see.

So, if the D5 Mini has indeed sacrificed some versatility in pursuit of a specialised application, was it worth it?

The D5 Mini’s 30 MP camera is capable of capturing excellent full HD (1440p at the highest setting, with options for 1296p, 1080p, 720p and 480p) footage with a smooth frame rate of 30fps. The image resolution of this footage is, quite frankly, stunning.

Also, due to its ultra wide-angle 160° field of view lens, the D5 Mini can reliably capture a vast cross-section of its immediate environment – all in gloriously full HD.

The D5 Mini also works just as well at night. Even without the use of infrared, this body worn camera can clearly capture details such as human faces from a distance of up to 10 metres away. When the 4 infrared lights are activated, the picture quality improves still further, allowing the camera to pick out details as far as 40 metres away. The camera even features a bright LED light that you can use as a torch.

The infrared mode is automatic, but can be manually switched off if necessary. The only downside to the automatic mode is that, in automatic mode, the infrared can be switched off by any light source that is shone directly at the camera (for example, a handheld torch).

Of course, all of this makes the D5 Mini a great choice for those wishing to gather evidence with it.

On this note, it is definitely worth praising the audio quality, which, in close quarters, is crisp, clear and generally excellent. However, this is only in close quarters. The microphones are not especially sensitive to sounds that are further away, with recordings becoming effectively inaudible after a distance of around 10 metres.

The battery life is great also, giving the camera up to 14 hours of continuous usage on a single charge (that’s with 480p resolution. On the highest resolution, the battery will still last over 9 hours – 6 in ‘night’ mode). Even better is the fact that this immense battery takes less than 4 hours to fully charge, even when it has been totally depleted.

This camera also has a built-in GPS system and is fully compatible with both Windows and IOS operating systems (excluding VISTA). It has a weatherproof rating of IP66, which will protect it from all but the most inclement weather conditions and it can be mounted on either the shoulder or the chest. The built-in memory card can store up to 64GB of data, which is useful as the user is given the option to encode all footage in the H.265 format.

The D5 Mini lives up to its name by being significantly smaller and more compact than many of its competitors. However, it is quite heavy for a body cam, weighing in at a hefty 147g.

PROS

✅ Well built and should take the knocks & drops associated with its intended use

✅ IR mode is very impressive at around 40m

Cons

❌ Picking up speech. anything over about 10m is practically inaudible

Keeping in mind that this camera is obviously designed specifically for security work, it also features password protection, as well as an ID stamp that appears on the screen at all times, allowing viewers to see who is using the camera at any given time.

Yes, the D5 Mini is emblazoned with a massive warning sign, but this tough little cam can actually be switched to run in total silence and, because it’s quite small, it can be hidden fairly easily. In effect, this means that the first, most obvious criticism we offered is not even particularly valid. It can be small and discreet or loud and proud – and the choice is totally yours.

The D5 Mini is a genuinely superb security camera. One of the best we’ve seen. It’s the kind of camera a professional deserves.

BRIFIELD BR3 Body Camera

The basic, perfunctory outer design of the Brifield BR3 body camera may prove misleading to some. What looks like a run-of-the-mill body camera is actually a high-spec, high performance model, full of cutting-edge innovations and clever design choices. It may not be overly showy, but the BR3 is definitely worth a second look.

The Brifield BR3 body cam is capable of capturing clear full HD images at the impressive frame rate of 30fps (conventional film is 24fps). Video may be recorded in 1296p, 1080p, 720p or 480p, all at the discretion of the user.

The automatic night mode also functions very well indeed. It is capable of capturing details such as facial features from distances of up to 10 metres. Automatic night vision can also be changed to manual in another example of the BR3 being highly customizable.

Predictably, the image quality (whether night or day) is excellent, as is the sound captured by the body cameras in-built microphone (which can be muted or used independently of the camera). The camera can also capture still images and features a bright light that can be used like an LED torch.

The camera lens represents a slight let down, however, as the Brifield BR3 only sports a 140° field of view lens. Wider, perhaps better, lenses are readily available for body cameras of this type. This is not to say that the BR3’s 140° lens is bad, only that it could be better.

Elsewhere, we find a veritable ton of other welcome features, including a water ingress rating of IP65 (making it suitable for use in most weather conditions), a built-in battery that can run for 8-hours without needing to recharge and a 32GB memory card.

The camera even comes with both a chest harness and a shoulder harness, which lays yet more options at the feet of the user.

The Brifield BR3 is also surprisingly easy to use. In fact, it works more-or-less as soon as you take it out of the box. Setup is easy, with no drivers or discs required. There’s basically nothing to run except a very straightforward and easy start-up process.

The camera’s small, lightweight stature means that it can be worn comfortably for extended periods of time, while the overall design feels tough and durable.

Once taken, footage can only be deleted from a computer, not the device itself. This is intended as an anti-tampering measure, although a foreseeable downside could emerge from filling the memory card to capacity by mistake and not having access to a computer in order to free up memory. Footage can also be password protected – another feature that is designed to prevent tampering.

PROS

✅ Made of good durable compound and comes complete with a chest harness & shoulder harness

✅ Picture and sound quality are great

CONS

❌ Not able to increase the size of the memory

A minor knock comes as a result of the user’s inability to improve the camera’s memory. The built-in memory card offers only 32GBs of memory. It cannot be removed or replaced by a bigger card. This seems a puzzling choice for a body camera that is otherwise so very versatile and offers the user so many options.

One or two minor quibbles notwithstanding, the Brifield BR3 is an exceptional body camera, as customizable and high performance as almost anything else out there, with a slew of other great features and a user friendliness that makes it hard not to like.

In conclusion: don’t let the slightly boring ‘no frills’ look of this device fool you; this is a sports car engine in the body of a rental.

Summary

The BOBLOV T5 is a very good security camera. The extra features are well thought-out and work nicely, the image quality is excellent, and the design is easy to use in a pinch.

The lack of internal storage, which could be a problem for some, actually empowers the user willing to buy a decent SD card and the addition of an extra battery more than makes up for the exclusion of a memory card.

On the downside, the camera could definitely have a better FOV. It could also do with being a bit more weatherproof, as this would increase its versatility somewhat.

The Rexing P1 has 64Gb internal memory that can be extended with an additional memory card, it also includes external flashing lights and a siren, a cool-looking outer case that feels exceptionally tough with solid shockproof material that offers water and shock resistance along with a rear-screen.

On the downside the camera uses AVI format, which is a difficult format to use and isn’t as easy as MOV format, which most other cameras use.

The Guardian G1 body cam comes in a tough looking case that definitely seems able to take a few knocks, Footage can be rewound and fast-forwarded at speeds that vary between 2x and 64x and features an integrated GPS system.

On the downside the Guardian G1 body cam comes in a tough looking case that definitely seems able to take a few knocks, it features 32GB of built-in memory, but the lack of options to increase the camera’s memory capacity represents another minor disappointment.

The D5 Mini body camera is capable of capturing excellent full HD, 1440p at the highest setting.  The IR can clearly capture details such as human faces from a distance of up to 10 metres away and the battery life is great also, giving the camera up to 14 hours on 480p resolution

On the downside the audio quality, which, in close quarters, is crisp, clear and generally excellent. However, the microphones are not especially sensitive to sounds that are further away.

The Brifield BR3 body camera is a high-spec, high performance model with full HD images at the impressive frame rate of 30fps (conventional film is 24fps). Video may be recorded in 1296p, 1080p, 720p or 480p and comes with both a chest harness and a shoulder harness, which lays yet more options at the feet of the user.

On the downside the built-in memory card offers only 32GBs of memory. It cannot be removed or replaced by a bigger card.

Our Winner though is the Rexing P1, with its expandable memory, flashing light and siren and shock resistance really lifts it above the rest.