How Well Can You Tell A Real Camera From A Dummy Camera?

Jumping off the discussion about the man who had a camera pointed at his neighbor's hot tub, a lot of you work with cameras on a daily basis so I'm wondering: How well do you think you can tell a real camera from a dummy camera in the wild? The camera below is mounted outside of a club in DC in an area known to be pretty rowdy at night. The place was closed when I took the picture, but I plan to go back some other time to find out if it's real or not. To me, it looks a lot like a UniquExceptional, but considering the area, I can believe it might be real.


I'll just get this out of the way now: Was there a red blinking light on it?

That would have been helpful in discerning, but no blinking light on this one.

And that's probably, ironically, a positive sign that it is a real camera.

Can you see cabling running out and through the wall? No cabling means either a very clean install or it's a dummy. Do you have a picture of the back/other side of the camera? That would help.

I didn't see any cabling either. When I go back over there I'll get more picture of it during the day. That should help. It was raining out but I had to stop and get the picture because it looked so much like the dummy cameras.

Honestly looks like a real camera to me. Though I will say I have used 'Real (broken) Cameras' as dummies by simply just mounting them without wiring them.

When today and got some daytime shots of this camera. The owner wasn't there to tell me more about it.

Here's what I know now:

  • There is red sensor, but not a blinking red light.
  • There is a single wire coming out the back of the camera
  • The camera says "Nuvico Day/Night" on the side.

It is (or was) a legit camera. The red sensor is a CDS cell for turning on the IR LEDs in low light.

Nuvico? That's a real camera, just not a very good one :)

I think the main way to tell if it's a dummy or not is by the cabling.

Enrique, see our Dummy Camera Shootout, which shows that dummy camera manufacturers have gotten more sophisticated with realistic 'dummy cabling'.