How Do Mini Cameras Work?

Simply put, these mini cameras work just like a normal camera. Do you know how a normal camera works? Well, if you don’t know how one works, then we can help you out and give you some basics.

Before you proceed, you may check this guide for the best mini cameras in the market nowadays!

This is how they work

mini camera

A mini camera creates pictures like any other digital video camera. The lens invites light, which is then focused on a cluster of light detectors. 

Black-and-white surveillance cameras have light detectors that gauge how much light there is in a specific place within the image. With a color camera, these same detectors specifically measure red, green, or blue light. Groups of three light detectors combine to display the color of light in a specific place. (1)

These individual detectors combine their powers and they make a full picture for us to see. Some mini cameras have motion detectors that allow them to stay dormant until motion is, well, detected. 

There are also mini cameras that have motors that allow them to follow movement in the room. Otherwise, the camera just focuses on the same spot day in and day out.

Where are the images stored? 

wireless signal iconIf the mini camera doesn’t have internal storage, it will have to send the video feed to a location either wirelessly or through a wire. 

If it’s wirelessly then it happens something like this: Small radio transmitters images are transformed into a radio signal to a receiver that is within its range. Which, most of the time, is one in the same building. 

The receiver does as its name would indicate, it receives the signal and transforms the signal back into images. 

How long can they record?

camera lensIf it’s based on energy supply, that matters if it’s a battery or needs to be plugged in. If it’s based on battery life, they can last as long as a few hours. But that changes if it’s about storage. 

If there is a mini sd card it stores on, then that can cut the mini camera off from recording any more when the card is full. You can upgrade the mini sd card to a bigger memory and then store more. 

There is also external storage, as was discussed with the radio transmitters. The mini cameras can, as well, be hooked up to a wire to a device that both keeps it charged and where its memory is stored. (2)

Some can store more and have longer times being left to their charge if they are based on motion. So the mini camera only records when there is motion detected. That way it only records the events that matter, instead of the events that don’t, such as how your sofa looks like when no one is around. 

Spoiler alert! 

It doesn’t look interesting, and it doesn’t do much other than just be a sofa. No point in recording it for long periods of time. 

It is a tiresome thing to delete unnecessary footage when you could just go through the footage that’s a little less boring. Especially if you have a cat that triggers the mini cameras to record. Cats are not at all sleeping when you are. 

Are mini cameras for me? 

That’s a good question. It depends on what you need. Mini cameras are in things such as a Ring doorbell. This tends to help with warding off unwanted guests that are messing around on your porch and may take things that do not belong to them. 

Mini cameras also can help in catching people that are doing things they shouldn’t at your business or inside your home while you are away. 

It is great to have evidence of what went on and who did what, but you must make sure there are no issues in choosing to put up mini cameras. 

It depends on your location, but in some places you need consent to do any recording of sound or video. Some places allow you to do video, but not sound. 

It all depends on what the laws are, and that’s something you will have to research because there are many different nuances in the law and it’s best you are familiar with what those are for your location. 

However, most locations will not allow you to film where there is an assumed right to privacy. Those locations are bathrooms, restrooms, and bedrooms. 

Hotels have security cameras, but those cameras are in public areas such as hallways, swimming areas, and the front desk. They are not located in bedrooms and restrooms. This would be the same with anyone that runs an Airbnb. 

Just because it’s your home, doesn’t mean you get to record anywhere. Legally you could get into lots of hot water. 

The Spy Tech that’s useful

We’ve all seen those spy films where they have mini cameras in this or that, and that’s pretty cool, but what’s cooler is if the mini cameras were an addition to the device. The device worked as it appeared to be. Like if it were a pen, the pen had ink and it was useful, but it also had a camera in it. 

Just saying, in case you ever wanted to find things that have a camera and you wanted to be a secret agent, find things that function, not things that are just a housing unit. 

They are a little bit expensive, but it’s worth it. Not only will people be unaware because the item functions, but you have an expensive functioning thing that most people don’t. How cool is that? 

And since you know already how this mini camera works, you may want to check how to hide a mini spy camera in your home and office! And you can also check the detailed Blink Mini-Review we’ve made! Until next time!


(1) light detectors –
(2) transmitters –

How helpful was this article?

Were Sorry This Was Not Helpful!

Let Us Improve This Article!

Please Tell Us How We Can Improve This Article.

About John Fox

ebbb364ee14268bd3b77496cab3d1d78?s=90&d=mm&r=gCertifications: Certified Alarm Technician (CAT)
Education: Denver Security Academy
Lives In: Denver Colorado

John Fox has worked as a security consultant in Denver for over 20 years.
With Safe Now, he's taken those two decades of experience and decided to share it to help people online make the right security decisions for their businesses and families.

John writes security tips and guides, product recommendations, and prevention guides.

| Reach Me