top of page
  • Max The PI Guy

Surveillance Equipment - NEED VS WANT?

Updated: Jun 20, 2019

There is so much equipment out there tailored for PIs or ”spies”, and we will discuss what is needed and wanted.

Beginner Beware!!! You will be tempted to buy a lot of stuff that you don’t really need.

Items you actually need:

Vehicle with tint/Curtains



Portable charger



Disguises - Sunglasses/Hat/ Change of clothes

Power Inverter

Yep thats all you really need to do the job. To make the job easier and to get better results, it helps to also have the following:

Power Inverter

I have always used either whistler or everlast. These are good products however I prefer everlast. The whistler one will make a whistling type sound if plugged in for a while. The disadvantage to these is that you have to plug it in to your car. So either your car will need to have power when it’s off or you will have to turn on your car to use this. Most cars now a days don’t allow you to continuously chargewith it off. I recently came across a product that seems promising. It is a very powerful power bank that yoy can plug a laptop, phone, etc in to. Best part is it is the size of a coffee cup.

Everlast. Whistler. Cool Cup one

Covert Camera

Be very careful when picking one, some are just crap and some are just overly expensive. So far my favorite is the body camera attached to a button but the rolls Royce of these are rediculusly expensive. I bought a chinese one and it works well enough and is okay in terms of price. The only downside to it, is every time you use it and are done with it, you need to take the battery out because it will power down and will continuously use the battery and drain the power. It does comes with two batteries though. If you want one of these, you can buy it here. If you want the expensive one, you can buy it from Lawmate which is a company we are affiliated with. Law Mate is the Rolls Royce brand with prices to match.

Coffee Cup Camera

This is cool because it looks just like a Coffee cup and can stream to your phone while videoing. So you can actually see what is being recorded and adjust accordingly. If you want one click here!!

MCIS Lawmate Hyperlink


There are many types but my favorite is the flexible Tripod. This thing is amazing. Set your camera on this Tripod and wrap it around a head rest in your car or the steering wheel or just place it on the dashboard. I love it; when you have a subject do the same thing for hours you will be so happy you bought it. Plus it’s small, so you can keep the camera mounted on it even when you don’t need it: You will get excellent and stable footage. If you need it:

Flexible Tripod Link

Cannon Vixia HF R72 - Camera

This is the most important tool you will ever need and as many PIs use, I use the Cannon Vixia HF. There are many models but I am going to recommend this one, It’s an older model camera but I recommend this over the newer ones. If you need it.

Heres why:

The new models only record in MP4 and will create a new file every 15 minutes of recording. This might work for regular everyday recording but for me as a PI, I don’t like that. I want to be able to know when I actually stopped visiting versus it stopping. The distinction is in your report you can emphasize what happened more precisely. For example you would say intermittent video surveillance was initiated/resumed. To me this is important because if I am called to testify I will know that I did not have eyes on him the whole time or I did have eyes on him. With this camera you can actually switch it to MP4 if you want but I don’t recommend doing that for surveillance.


- 57x optical zoom

- image stabilization which allows for viewing from a distance while maintaining some stability in the image due to possible shaking, etc...

- Internal memory of 16 GB

- SD Card Slot that supports

USB Fan:

This is what it sounds like. It’s a semi small fan that can be charged through a portable USB charger. This is important because when you have your car off it does not have to draw power from your vehicle. A lot of vehicles now a days won’t even let it draw power while the car is off. If you need it:


Camera Charger

A Charger comes with the Cannon Vixia HF R72 but that charger connects directly to the camera. I have that one but I also have a stand alone charger to be able to charge one battery and use the camera. If you need it:

Stand Alone Battery Hyperlink

Extra camera battery

It is important to have an extra battery for those days where you video for hours. If you need:


Surveillance To Go Organizer:

I cannot stress how important this is. When you are conducting surveillance you should never have to look for anything. If your subject comes out to get the mail and it only lasts 10 seconds you don't want to look for your camera. It should always be in the same place so you can just grab it without thinking (muscle memory). I use to use a regular camera bag but honestly it sucked compared to this. If you need:

buy here.

SD Cards:

You will need an adapter to put the micro SD card into the Cannon. I use the samsung. If you need:


To Go Bag Options (Bundled)

20 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Obtaining Steady & Professional Video Footage

When getting video, there are two things you need to account for; speed and quality. Stability: Keep your hand steady. When zooming in, the sensitivity of the camera is a lot higher and a small vibr

Surveillance Investigator’s Job - Article only

Do you think it’s your job to just sit there? Think again, you are not a stationary camera. Your job is to investigate. What does this mean when your job is to surveil? It is your job to look at al

6 Aspects of Surveillance

1. Stationary surveillance:  Sitting there waiting for something to happen as you observe a stationary establishment. 2. Mobile surveillance:  When the subject of the investigation leaves the area e


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page