Last updated: August 10, 2021
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Welcome to our big endoscope camera test 2022. Here we present all the endoscope cameras that we have tested in detail. 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 endoscope camera 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 an endoscope camera.




Summary

  • Endoscope cameras are mini-cameras that allow you to view the smallest cavities through tiny openings from the inside.
  • Basically, we distinguish between "rigid endoscopes" and "flexible endoscopes", whereby the rigid models are used less and less.
  • Not only doctors, who can use them to look inside the body, but also craftsmen and more and more "curious people" are enthusiastic about how useful such an endoscope is.

The Best Endoscope Camera in the United Kingdom: Our Choices

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying an endoscope camera

What are the advantages and disadvantages of an endoscope camera compared to other cameras?

The biggest advantage is that it can be used in many different ways. If you buy a model with a lot of accessories, for example magnets or forceps, you can do everything with it that has to do with cavities in some way.

In addition, a pipe camera is very easy to use. If you still have difficulties, you can look in the manual, which is usually included, or on the Internet.

Advantages
  • Versatile applications
  • Easy to use
  • Fair price/performance ratio
  • Expansion possibilities with various accessories
Disadvantages
  • Technical failure
  • High acquisition costs
  • Flexibility sometimes too low
  • Poor image quality

Despite good quality, technical failure can occur when you use an endoscope camera. However, because most suppliers give a guarantee on the device, you will usually get it replaced.

With some videoscopes, the image quality suffers outdoors. The lens is then only suitable for macro shots and cannot focus on objects that are further away.

Which endoscope camera is suitable for me?

Are you a craftsman and want to look at pipes from the inside? Are you a hobbyist and want to know if the glue in your work still holds from the inside? Are you a doctor and can't see exactly what's hidden inside a person or an animal, or are you just curious and really want to get a picture of everything?

Then first of all distinguish whether you need a rigid endoscope camera or a flexible one. All in all, the flexible videoscope is more practical and recommended in almost all areas. You can use it anywhere you could use the rigid endoscope.

Endoscope cameras are versatile and easy to use (Image source: 123rf.com / Dmitry Kalinovsky)

Next, it all depends on where you want to use an endoscope, because there is also the distinction between endoscopes with or without a monitor. Here you have to decide whether you want to see the image directly as a large picture or whether you prefer a compact model.

If you want a compact device, an endoscope without a built-in monitor is more practical, as you can transfer the camera to a large screen either via USB or a wireless connection.

Next, consider the length of the pipe camera. Do you want to go really far into any cavities or do you just need to look "around the corner"?

Finally, the quality of the images you want is crucial. If you are just using the endoscope out of curiosity, the quality does not have to be quite as excellent as if you want to take professional pictures in cavities.

What features make an endoscope camera particularly good?

Since there are several different uses for endoscopes, it is not possible to make a general statement about which is the best or the worst camera.

According to tests, endoscopes with the following points are particularly good:

  • Handy
  • Robust housing
  • SD card memory
  • USB connection
  • Wi-Fi or other wireless connection
  • Built-in display
  • Colour screen
  • Good resolution images
  • Dimmable illumination
  • 360 degree image rotation
  • Tool attachments

Where is the endoscope camera most often used?

Because the cameras are used by craftsmen as well as by medical professionals or private persons, there is no general main use of the tube camera.

Endoscopes are typically used for inspections. Craftsmen use them, for example, to detect blockages in pipes or to make it easier to lay cables in walls. Doctors use them to perform gastroscopies or colonoscopies on patients.

In the household, a videoscope is used, for example, to reach lost objects with the help of attached pliers or a magnet. In other industries, it is used to find faults in machines or vehicles.

But you can also use the endoscope camera if you are curious and inquisitive, for example if you simply want to know what a mouse hole looks like from the inside or how a mole's burrow is constructed.

How much does an endoscope camera cost?

The prices of borescopes range from the low single-digit to the high three- or even four-digit range. Since quality always comes at a price, you should expect higher costs for very good endoscopes.

If you then take a model with a lot of accessories, you can expect the camera to cost three to four figures. There are good endoscopes for 1,000 euros or more.

But that doesn't mean that the cheaper videoscopes are very bad. It depends a lot on where you want to use them. For example, to be able to detect a blockage in your drainage pipe, a camera with a resolution that is not very good and which therefore falls into the lower price range of 30 to 50 euros is sufficient.

In between, there is a category with endoscopes that offer good quality but few accessories. You can buy such products for 100 to 200 euros.

Field of application Price range
Household 30 - 50 €
Do-it-yourself 100 - 200 €
Professional from 1000 €

Where can I rent a gooseneck camera?

If you only need an endoscope for one application and don't want to buy an extra device, you can borrow or rent a camera. There are often private individuals who will rent you an endoscope camera. So you can also ask around in your town first.

Otherwise, you can find a number of providers for renting endoscopes on the internet. Endoscope cameras are often rented via www.erento.com.

Decision: What types of endoscope cameras are there and which is the right one for you?

Basically, a distinction is made between two different endoscope cameras:

  • rigid endoscopes
  • flexible endoscopes

Depending on the manufacturer, type and size, you can look quite far into cavities and take pictures or videos.

How do rigid endoscopes work and what are their advantages and disadvantages?

A rigid endoscope is a mini-camera with an immovable "extension". This means that the camera is attached to a longer rod at the front and uses a lens system to send the images to the eyepiece. You then see these on the display of the camera, which is not attached directly behind the lens, but at the other end of the "extension".

Advantages
  • Very good image quality
  • Additional instruments can be inserted through the rigid shaft
Disadvantages
  • Not always the desired image recognisable

We will explain again how this works exactly, using the rod lens system as an example:

The rod lenses are made of quartz glass. The light is transmitted to them and refracted at the air lenses between the rods. Through the built-in glass fibre bundles, the light travels to the front of the endoscope. This way you get light through the rod and can see the images on the display.

Some rigid endoscopes are equipped with a reflective swivelling prism on the objective side, so that you can also look sideways in the cavities. By rotating the scope in different directions, you can examine more of your subject.

How do flexible endoscopes work and what are their advantages and disadvantages?

Flexible endoscopes are similar in design, but the key difference is that you can move the camera more flexibly.

Here, the lenses are attached to a movable, long object - a cable - and can therefore better adapt to the cavities. With the help of the fibre optic bundles built into the cable, the image and light are transmitted and you can view the images on your display.

Advantages
  • Many applications
  • Easy to control
Disadvantages
  • Poorer picture quality

There are several distinctions, such as cable length, light intensity, image or video quality, display or the cable itself. There are endoscopes that have a remotely controlled cable at the end of the camera so that you can steer the camera in the desired direction more easily.

Buying criteria: You can compare and evaluate endoscope cameras based on these factors

To make your decision easier when buying an endoscope camera, we have compiled the most important points you should pay attention to. This will make it easier for you to compare and evaluate them, even without experience.

In summary, these are the following points:

  • Dimensions / Weight
  • Illumination
  • Power supply
  • Waterproof
  • Temperature resistant
  • Monitor
  • Picture quality
  • Viewing angle

You can read more about the points in the following paragraphs.

Dimensions / Weight

The dimensions and weights are divided into different points that you should consider. In general, however, it always depends on what you want to use the pipe camera for and how flexible you are.

One criterion is the weight. Most endoscopes range from about 150 grams to 200 grams. It also depends on the length and diameter of the tube. Naturally, the shorter and narrower tubes are lighter. But there are also heavier endoscopes with 500 g or more. This is usually due to the built-in monitor.

Another point is the length of the tube. If you want to penetrate very far into cavities with the camera, buy an endoscope with a longer cable. Cameras with a tube of one metre up to 15 metres are available.

The dimensions of the camera head diameter are also a criterion. You should pay attention to how small your opening is through which you want to get into the cavity. The smallest cameras have a diameter of about 4.5 mm and the larger ones about 16 mm.

Lighting

Lighting is one of the most important things about endoscope cameras. If it's not right, even the best camera lens and resolution won't do you any good.

Most videoscopes are equipped with six white LED lights arranged in a circle around the lens. The advantage is that you can control their brightness. So when buying, make sure that the LEDs are dimmable.

If you have already bought the endoscope, first check whether all the LEDs work and whether they are dimmable. If this is not the case, but was promised, you should definitely send it back and have it replaced or repaired. You will only be annoyed with the pictures and the quality will deteriorate a lot.

Power supply

Tube cameras that have a built-in monitor have a built-in battery or batteries that power them. The battery should be included in the delivery, but you will usually have to get the batteries yourself.

For cameras without a built-in monitor, there is a distinction between models that only have a USB port and those that can connect wirelessly. The former draw power from the device to which they are connected.

This is then either the smartphone, a monitor or a laptop. You can connect these through the USB port to an included battery that supplies power to your endoscope. The voltages here are usually 5 volts.

drei silberne akkus

Sometimes it is also possible to view the interior from the outside via an integrated monitor on the battery instead of from a smartphone. (Photo: eak_kkk / pixabay.com)

Waterproof

The fact that your endoscope is waterproof is an important criterion.

Your videoscope should be waterproof to extend its range of use, but also to prevent damage to the lens. Often the cavities are damp and so that you don't have to be too careful during your examination, specify this point when buying your camera.

Nowadays, almost all endoscopes are waterproof, otherwise the risk of a defect would be too great.

Temperature resistant

Equally important is the fact that not all endoscopes work at all temperatures.

If you are not planning anything special with your tube camera, the temperature requirement usually fits. If the area to be examined is too cold or too hot, the endoscope may be seriously damaged. In the worst case, it will no longer work at all. It is therefore essential to follow the manufacturer's instructions.

Most cameras can work in a range of approx. - 10 °C to + 50 °C. However, there are also models for - 20 °C. However, there are also models for - 20 °C to + 85 °C.

Monitor

As already mentioned, there are endoscopes with built-in monitors and those without. Both variants have their advantages and disadvantages, which you must weigh up before buying.

The advantage of an endoscope with a built-in monitor is its flexibility. They are also usually waterproof and very robust. A big disadvantage is that you can only see the images on a rather small display, which might not be enough for you sometimes.

For smaller examinations it will probably be enough for you. To store the pictures or videos, there is usually an SD card slot or a USB port.

If you don't have a built-in monitor on your tube camera, you can display the images on your smartphone, screen or laptop via a USB cable. The disadvantage is that you have to find the necessary accessories and compatibility yourself.

However, you can view the images much better on the large display. You will see details more clearly and the resolution is also better than on an integrated monitor. You can save the pictures and videos directly on your device.

However, there is a second way to view the images if your camera does not have a monitor: wireless connection. Using an app, the endoscope can be connected via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to your smartphone or tablet, on which you can then see the images or videos. Direct saving is also possible here.

Image quality

Depending on how many megapixels your lens has, the quality of your pictures will be good or bad. If you want better quality, you have to expect higher prices.

Most endoscopes come with a 2-megapixel lens. However, the live transmission of the images or videos looks better than the stored data afterwards.

If you don't care so much about the quality of the images, a lower resolution will suffice. There are endoscopes with only 0.4 megapixels, which are then also considerably cheaper. Basically, we found that videoscopes with a built-in monitor deliver poorer image quality than models with a connection to an external source.

Viewing angle

Flexible endoscope cameras also come with a wider viewing angle. This makes them even more flexible. You can make it easier for yourself to examine cavities if you consider before buying that the lenses have different viewing angles.

You can see the most with the omnidirectional endoscope, which gives you a 360° viewing angle. This saves you searching and moving the camera and you can see everything in the cavity.

Most videoscopes have a viewing angle of 60 to 70°. This is quite sufficient, as you can turn the lens of the flexible endoscopes in the desired direction.

You can extend the viewing angle with the right accessories. There are mirrors that can be attached to the front of the endoscope so that you can easily look in the other direction of the cavity.

Facts worth knowing about endoscope cameras

How long has the endoscope camera been around?

Originally, endoscopes were made for medical use. Later, craftsmen and hobbyists also discovered the practical use of these cameras.

Phillip Bozzini built the first endoscope in 1807 in the form of an illuminating apparatus. It consisted only of a concave mirror, a wax candle and a specula that was adapted to the orifices of the body. The cystoscope of the time was inserted into the patient's bladder for examinations.

A short time later, an improved version was presented by the Royal Academy of Science in Paris. This too used wax candles and concave mirrors, but the illumination still left much to be desired.

A few years later, Dr. Desormeaux used a gasogen lamp in 1853, which improved things a little. The light was collected on a condenser and directed to the other end of the endoscope via an aperture with the aid of a reflector. In 1868, the first gastroscopy was performed on a patient and a 43 cm long elliptical tube was inserted into the stomach.

In 1879, a cystoscope with prism and mirror technology was introduced, followed by the first gastroscope with irrigation and illumination in 1881. In 1905, there was the first rigid endoscope with a rubber tube consisting of an open tube with which secretion, mucus and foreign bodies could be aspirated.

In 1910, with a backward tilting prism, physicians were able to view the cardia of the stomach for the first time and in 1928 the first photographs of the stomach were taken.

The endoscope had its breakthrough in 1931, when a system of lenses made it possible to perform the first gastroscopy with a semi-flexible endoscope. In the following years, the angle of view was improved more and more.

Then, in 1958, a fully flexible glass fibre endoscope was introduced. The invention of cold light by the manufacturer Wolf solved the still existing light problem.

But the development did not stop and until today there are always improvements like the USB connection or the wireless connection.

How can I use a videoscope on my smartphone or iPhone?

Videoscopes are now so advanced that you can even control them with your smartphone or iPhone.

With the option of wireless connection, you can buy an endoscope camera without a monitor and operate it via your smartphone or iPhone. To do this, you download an app, which you then use to connect to the camera. You see the image of the camera on your smartphone or iPhone. One such app is CameraFi.

But not every smartphone is able to do this. It always depends on the manufacturer and the provider of the app. But if you have a newer device, there should be no problems.

What accessories can I buy for my endoscope camera?

Depending on what you want to do with your endoscope camera, a lot of accessories are available. These include, for example, extension cables, hooks or inspection mirrors. Inspection mirrors make it easier for you to observe your target object by widening the angle of view.

For example, if you want to remove dirt from drain pipes, you can attach a hook to your pipe camera and easily remove the dirt.

A telescopic mirror can be used to examine very high or low targets. You attach the mirror to a long telescopic pole and can then easily look behind cupboards, into the chimney or into machines.

If you have lost a metal object, simply attach a magnet or, in the case of other objects, a pair of pliers to your endoscope. You can then easily retrieve it.

To keep your endoscope safe at all times, you should use a carrying bag. This is usually included in the delivery.

Where can I have my endoscope camera repaired?

It is not uncommon that you accidentally damage the cable when using your videoscope or that the monitor no longer works.

Before you take the camera to a workshop, first check whether there is still a guarantee. This is offered by most manufacturers. However, if you no longer have a guarantee on your device, contact an electrical workshop. The costs depend on the extent of the damage.

Can I build an endoscope camera myself?

It may be that buying an endoscope camera is too expensive because you only want to use it once. You can build one yourself with a little electronic knowledge. You need a camera lens, a monitor and a cable.

It's self-explanatory: you attach the camera lens, which you can buy for a few euros, to the cable. The cable must of course have the right connection for the lens.

Then you attach your smartphone to the other end and the cheapest version of a tube camera is ready. But be aware that the cable is not quite as weather and temperature resistant as a bought endoscope camera. In addition, the quality will be much poorer. However, it is always sufficient to detect pipe blockages.

How do I care for or clean my pipe camera?

To ensure that your endoscope camera does not lose its quality after a few uses, it should be cleaned regularly.

If your videoscope is not very dirty, simple cleaning with a damp cloth or sponge is sufficient. Dirt residues should be removed completely, however, so that they do not dry and penetrate the camera lens.

If there is more dirt, you can clean the camera with water if your endoscope is waterproof. Otherwise you will not be able to use it afterwards. Make sure, however, that you do not immerse the entire device in the water bath.

The same cleaning agents are suitable as for cleaning PCs or tablets. The cleaning sprays are also best here, as you can distribute the agent evenly over the device by spraying.

The control buttons should be kept free of dust. You can also disassemble the product to make it easier to clean. The LED light source and the lens must also be cleaned. Do not use aggressive disinfectants or similar chemicals.

Image source: Pixabay.com / rawpixel

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