Last updated: August 10, 2021

Welcome to our big camera dummy test 2021. Here we present all the dummy cameras we have tested. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the web.

We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best camera dummy for you.

You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should definitely pay attention to if you want to buy a camera dummy.




The most important facts

  • Camera dummies are basically intended to develop the deterrent effect of a real camera by being as detailed as possible.
  • Like their real counterparts, surveillance camera dummies also differ in the degree of their equipment. Some dummies, for example, offer additional fake LEDs or cable dummies.
  • Camera dummies are also subject to legal regulations. For the most part, these are the same guidelines that apply to real surveillance cameras.

The Best Dummy Camera: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a dummy camera

What types of dummy cameras are there?

Just like their "real" counterparts, dummy cameras are available in different types. The most common are classic camera and dome camera dummies.

Classic surveillance cameras are usually installed in a robust weatherproof housing, as they are often used outdoors and have to withstand environmental influences such as rain or strong winds.

This characteristic weatherproof housing is also used by classic dummy cameras, as they are clearly recognisable from a distance and usually cannot be distinguished from real surveillance cameras without closer inspection.

Did you know that dummy cameras are also subject to legal guidelines?

The same rules apply to dummies as to real cameras and, unlike real cameras, they may only be used in your own private sphere.

Dome camera dummies are probably even more difficult to distinguish from real dome cameras. The reason for this is the construction of a dome camera: the actual camera is located behind a stable dome housing, which is often darkened.

This makes it almost impossible to determine whether there is a real camera or just a dummy behind the darkened dome.

In general, there are also small differences among the dummy cameras in terms of "equipment". Standard dummy cameras consist only of a housing and a fake lens.

However, there are also dummies that offer some additional features. These give the dummy an even better camouflage and make it harder to distinguish from a real camera. Examples include dummy power cables, simulated operating lights, motion detectors or even infrared LEDs.

Kamera am Gebäude

Some dummy cameras look confusingly similar to real surveillance cameras - it is very difficult to tell the difference with the naked eye. (Photo: StockSnap / pixabay.com)

How much do dummy cameras cost?

Camera dummies are logically much cheaper than their original models. The price depends mainly on the level of detail of the replica, as well as any additional equipment that may have been installed, such as the "fake" power cables or infrared LEDs already mentioned.

The cheapest camera dummies can be purchased for about 5 €. Most of them are basic dummies that do not have any special equipment but only consist of a housing and a dummy lens.

Very detailed replicas can cost up to 30 €. In addition to the actual dummy camera, they contain further features so that it is almost impossible to distinguish them from an original surveillance camera.

What legal requirements do I have to observe when using a dummy camera?

Anyone who is thinking about getting a dummy camera often assumes that the legislator does not have any special legal requirements for this because it is "just a dummy" and no one can really be monitored with it. In fact, however, even dummy cameras are subject to legal regulations.

Essentially, these are the same legal provisions that also apply to real cameras (see also the guidebook section on surveillance cameras). The dummy camera may only "monitor" its own private area.

This means that it must be set up and aligned in such a way that neighbouring properties or public spaces such as pavements or streets cannot be covered by the dummy's viewing angle at any time. This was decided by the Federal Supreme Court.

There is an exception to real cameras for landlords of houses or flats. Real cameras may only be installed by landlords if all tenants of the property have agreed to this. However, if the landlord only wants to install a dummy, it is sufficient to inform the tenants that it is only a dummy.

Since the tenants then know that they are not really being monitored, they have no right to injunctive relief. However, this does not apply to postmen, tradesmen or other visitors who enter the house without knowing that it is a dummy camera. They still have legal injunctive relief.

In order to clarify the individual laws and regulations once again, I have summarised a table for you with the most important things.

What to look out for Explanation
Right to one's own image Everyone has the right to decide for themselves whether a picture of them may be published or not.
Privacy The right to privacy is very strictly controlled in Germany and must be observed.
Rights of third parties The relationship between the protection of property and the right to privacy must always be weighed up.
Public space Filming from public space is not permitted.
Neighbouring property The neighbouring property may also not be filmed, as the rights of the persons concerned are violated here.

Buying criteria: You can use these factors to compare and evaluate dummy cameras

In the following, we would like to show you which factors you can use to compare and evaluate surveillance camera dummies. This will make it easier for you to decide whether a particular dummy is suitable for you or not.

The most important criteria are:

  • Dimensions / Design
  • Operation
  • Infrared LEDs / operating light
  • Cable dummy

In the following, the individual criteria are explained in more detail so that you can gain an impression of what you should look for when comparing camera dummies.

Dimensions / Design

These criteria determine the visual appearance of the camera. At best, the dimensions of the dummies are naturally based on comparable dimensions of real surveillance cameras. The design of the dummies is also based on the latter in order to make them look as real as possible.

The size of the dummy camera is in the same range as the size of a normal surveillance camera. If you want your dummy camera to look obvious and prominent, you should of course choose a sufficiently large model.

Since the main function of dummies is to deter, most of the available dummy cameras are also relatively large and easily recognisable.

The design of the dummies is identical to the construction types of the real surveillance cameras. The most common dummy designs are based on the "classic camera" and "dome camera" types.

The reason for this is that these camera types are obviously recognisable as cameras and are difficult to overlook. They offer the highest deterrent function and are therefore the most suitable for a mock-up design.

Operation

The way the dummy camera is operated is only relevant if the dummy has artificial infrared LEDs or operating lights!

Of course, you can also set up the dummy without power supply at any time. In this case, however, you will logically have to do without the above-mentioned features that require energy.

The most common mode of operation for dummy cameras is batteries. These are already included with the purchase of the camera from some manufacturers.

In rare cases, dummy cameras are powered by a rechargeable battery. Finally, there are also a few dummies that draw energy from sunlight with the help of a solar panel. This is a particularly environmentally friendly method of operation.

Infrared LEDs / operating lights

Artificial infrared LEDs ensure that the dummy camera glows slightly red at night. This is to suggest that the dummy is a surveillance camera with night vision function. Operating lights are available in various designs.

Some are permanently lit, others flash at specific intervals. The infrared LEDs of dummy cameras are important if the dummies are to remain set up at night or in the dark and maintain their camouflage.

This is because practised burglars know very well that surveillance cameras can only provide a clear image at night if they have an infrared function - and it is precisely these infrared LEDs that emit an unmistakable red "glow".

On the subject of operating light, there is no clear opinion among buyers of dummy cameras. Some owners claim that it is unnatural for a surveillance camera to glow or flash continuously in operating mode.

In fact, a large number of surveillance cameras today operate without any discernible operating light. Nevertheless, the mere presence of an operating light does not automatically classify the dummy camera as fake.

If you do not want to use these functions, it is of course always possible to do without the above-mentioned operating means (batteries, rechargeable batteries, solar panel).

However, we recommend that you make use of the power supply, especially for dummies with infrared LEDs, as otherwise your dummy can be identified as a fake relatively easily at night.

When buying a dummy camera, make sure you know whether it has real infrared

LEDs or just red lights that simulate infrared LEDs. Real infrared LEDs are an important factor that contributes to the credibility of the dummy.

Wired dummy

Some surveillance camera dummies have a cable dummy. They are meant to add to the credibility of the dummy. The cable is meant to represent the power cable that most surveillance cameras are powered by.

It usually makes sense to install an additional dummy cable in classic dummy cameras, as they are not directly attached to the wall or ceiling. On closer inspection, it would then be noticeable that no cable runs from the dummy through the wall to which it has been attached.

With dome cameras, the power cables usually run "invisibly" anyway, as they are mounted directly on the ceiling and the cables then either run completely through the wall or along the ceiling through appropriate cable ducts.

It should be noted that there are also surveillance cameras that work without power cables. Anyone who believes that a camera is a dummy just because it does not have a power cable is taking a risk.

Facts worth knowing about dummy cameras

Can you build a dummy camera yourself?

This question probably interests most of the hobbyists who visit this page. In principle, it is of course possible to make a dummy camera yourself. However, we advise against this for several reasons.

First of all, from a purely financial point of view, it does not really make sense to build a camera dummy yourself. To make a credible dummy, at least a housing and a lens or lens dummy are necessary.

In most cases, the cost of these alone would exceed the price of five euros for standard dummies. In addition, there would also be the working time to make the camera dummy.

Furthermore, a homemade camera usually does not fulfil the purpose of a good camera dummy - the resemblance to a real camera. The reason for this is quite simply the need for craftsmanship and technical know-how, which are indispensable for a faithful reproduction of a surveillance camera.

It is often relatively easy for outsiders to unmask self-built cameras as dummies, either because of a lack of resemblance to the original or simply because of poor workmanship.

That's why we recommend buying a fake camera. You will not only save money, but also time and effort.

How do you recognise a fake camera?

If there was a reliable way to detect fake cameras, they would most likely disappear from the market. Because the truth is - there is no way to recognise a camera dummy with absolute certainty.

Of course, this also depends on the dummy that is used. A self-assembled box that only remotely resembles a surveillance camera is of course relatively easy to identify. However, if we restrict ourselves to the camera dummies that can be purchased, these are indeed not clearly distinguishable from originals.

Image source: 123rf.com / Sakarin Sawasdinaka

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