These are the best compact cameras for travellers in 2022


A stalwart of this article is the Olympus E-M1 series. This camera series has always impressed me with the sheer number of features it provides. Yes, you have a smaller size 4/3 inch sensor, but this allows for ultra-compact long lenses. The E-M1 Mark III brings various superlatives to the list: best ergonomics, best weather sealing, smallest super-telephoto lenses, and the best stabilisation system in the still camera industry.

These highlights are coupled with outstanding new special features such as hand-held high-res shooting (you can take 50 MP images out of a burst of 16 frames) and the Live-ND filter, which simulates a neutral-density filter. In addition, computational photography for handheld shooting emulates some tripod-based long exposure shooting (for example, blurred water of a waterfall). The slightly updated 20 MP sensor from the previous generation E-M1 camera leads to a small increase in sharpness and clarity. The pro line lenses have a high-quality build and sport features such as integrated lens hoods, smooth zoom and focus rings, and round bokeh visualisation (background blur). 

The fantastic ergonomics, excellent image stabilisation, all-weather durability, high-speed performance, and easy-to-use small lenses add up to a potent wildlife photography kit that won’t weigh you down. Note: The firm that bought the Olympus imaging division seems to be keeping its promises of continuing lens and camera development, so I can confidently recommend the brand. For more: Olympus  

Tip: The best lenses include the Olympus 12-100mm F/4 IS PRO (24-200mm kit lens), 40-150mm F/2.8 PRO (80-300mm pro zoom), 7-14mm PRO (wide-angle zoom), and 300mm F/4 IS PRO (600mm F4 equivalent). 



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How to spot hidden cameras in hotel rooms and Airbnb vacation rentals


Camera technology has advanced immensely in the past few years. They keep getting smaller and smaller, making it possible to conceal them any which way. Cameras have become really affordable, too, and it’s now feasible to blanket your whole property with surveillance equipment without breaking the bank.

However, this is actually turning into a big concern for vacation rentals as more people are finding hidden cameras where they’re staying. If this is alarming to you, well, it should be. Stumbling over surveillance cameras isn’t just creepy — it is a big deal involving your basic privacy rights.

Don’t think that it’s just rental homes and hotels you need to be concerned about, either. How about your own home? If someone manages to conceal a hidden camera inside your house, how would you know? Fortunately, there are ways to spot and detect hidden cameras, all without the need for any fancy equipment.

Run a basic scan with Nmap

First, for basic IP security cams, you can connect to your rentals’ Wi-Fi network (if the host allows you to connect, that is). Then, scan it with software called Nmap. Nmap is a great network scanning tool for open ports, services and known devices (including web IP cameras).

Even though Nmap is meant for IT network administrators and professionals, you can use it for basic scans to search for certain security cameras.

How to install Nmap

1. Visit Nmap’s official website and download the appropriate installer for your system:

Windows:

macOS:

2. Once the installer is downloaded, run it and allow it to make the appropriate changes to your system. Make sure you click yes to its user agreements and specify the folder you want it installed.

On PC:

On Mac: 

Note: On Macs, since Nmap is from an unsigned developer, you may have to visit System Preferences > Security & Privacy > General to allow it to run. Just click “Open anyway” on the prompt.

3. Once installed, locate the Nmap-Zenmap GUI launcher to run the tool:

On PC:

A shortcut for Zenmap GUI should have been automatically installed on your desktop. If not, search for Nmap then click the top hit.

On Mac:

Open your Application Launcher (shaped like a rocket), then click on the Zenmap icon. (Alternatively, you can do a Spotlight Search for the keyword “Zenmap.”)

How to run Nmap scan

IMPORTANT: Some ISPs prohibit unauthorized port scanning, so use Nmap with caution. While it’s not illegal, scanning network ports other than your own can put you in trouble. It’s highly recommended that you seek permission from your rentals’ owner before you run a scan. If they have nothing to hide, it shouldn’t be a problem. If they refuse, you’ll know something might be up.

The Zenmap user interface for Nmap is virtually the same for PC and Mac.

  1. First, you will need your rentals’ public IP address. To find it, connect to the Wi-Fi network with your provided quest credentials, then use a service like routeripaddress.com to see the public IP address. Jot that down.
  2. Next, enter that numerical IP address to Zenmap’s Target field.

3. For a full scan, select “Intense Scan” from the Profile’s drop-down box.

4. Ready? Now, click “Scan.”

5. Nmap will now do its thing and scan the selected IP address’s ports, services and known devices. You’ll see lines upon lines of commands on the output tab but don’t be intimidated. Just wait for it to finish.

Spotting a camera with Nmap’s results

Once Nmap is done scanning, the easiest way to see if an IP security webcam is connected to your rentals’ network is by going to Zenmap’s Ports/Hosts tab. Here, look for open ports and services or devices with the keywords “IP camera” or known camera brand names.

RELATED: HIDDEN CAMERAS EVERYWHERE – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Searching for hidden cameras manually

Nmap’s network scan, powerful as it is, can only reveal generic IP cameras with ports that were manually opened through the network. It won’t readily reveal most proprietary-branded cameras (Ring, Wyze, Nest, etc.) that use their own secure network services to punch through your network.

To search for these types of cameras, you have to be extra creative. Here are ways to spot and detect hidden cameras without the need for any fancy software or equipment.

1. Physically check the room

This is the first order of business if you suspect that a room is bugged — a complete sweep of the surroundings.

Think like a spy and come up with areas where you can hide a bugging device. Check for microphone transmitters in possible hiding places like lamps, light fixtures, vases, flowerpots and inside smoke detectors or air filters.

Examine the room for unusual decors, like out-of-place picture frames and random fixtures. Look for pinholes that may be used for a camera lens.

Don’t forget to check under chairs, tables, shelves and couches, too. These are all excellent hiding places for hidden microphones. Also, check objects including books, stuffed toys, pillows, couches and electrical outlets.

It’s also a good idea to examine and trace wires that don’t seem to go anywhere. Although wireless surveillance gadgets are the norm now, wired devices are still in use to this day.

2. Use your ears

Most motion-sensitive cameras emit low-noise clicks and buzzes when they’re on. Prop up your ears and listen carefully for these almost-inaudible sounds as you examine the whole room.

Motion tracking cameras will often have little motors that hum when activated, so you should also listen for those sounds.

3. Turn off the lights

Here’s a direct way of checking for security and surveillance cameras. Turn off the room’s lights and check for small green or red LEDs. Night-vision security cameras in particular use these kinds of lights, and they typically blink or shine in low light.

To check for one-way mirrors that might be hiding cameras, shine a flashlight through them. These mirrors need one side of the mirror to be brightly lit compared to the other side.

You can also spot pinhole cameras with the lights off by putting a tube over one of your eyes (like a telescope) while keeping your other eye closed. If something shines back while you’re sweeping your flashlight across the room, then there’s a chance that’s a camera lens.

4. Use a signal detector

If you travel a lot and rent rooms and houses all the time and you’re dead serious about privacy, you can invest in a professional RF signal detector. These gadgets are small enough to take with you, and most of them are relatively cheap.

These typically detect the frequencies that wireless cameras and voice recorders use, and some even have infrared lights for detecting pinhole cameras. Here is a great option that you can get from Amazon for less than $50.

5. Use your phone

Did you know that you can use your cellphone to detect hidden wireless cameras or microphones? Wireless cameras and microphones emit specific radio frequencies that can interfere with your cellular signal.

Just make a call on your phone, then move around the room. If you start noticing interference or clicking noises in a specific section of the room, examine that area carefully for hidden bugs.

What to do if you find a camera

If indoor surveillance cameras were not disclosed to you, the answer is simple: Pick up the phone and call the police. Tell them you have direct evidence that someone is spying on you, without your knowledge or permission, inside your rental. Use this exact phrase.

While you’re waiting for police to arrive, document the situation with video and photos on your smartphone. If you are traveling with others, ask them to be witnesses. Remind them they are about to be victimized too.

Once you have the police report, contact the rental site.

By clicking our links, you’re supporting our research. As an Amazon Associate, we earn a small commission from qualifying purchases. Recommendations are not part of any business incentives.





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Middlewich councillors fighting to save tip call for ANPR cameras


COUNCILLORS who are fighting to keep Middlewich’s tip open believe that doing more to stop Northwich residents from using it could help their cause.

Cheshire East Council is considering plans to close the household waste recycling centre, in Croxton Lane, in 2023 when its current contract ends.

Residents have already responded to a consultation on the matter and now Middlewich Town Council is vowing to keep up the pressure to save the site.

 

A key issue for the recycling centre is its proximity to Cheshire West, with Cllr Parry telling Monday’s meeting that CEC is paying a ‘significant amount of money’ to get rid of waste from other mid Cheshire residents.

He suggested number plate recognition cameras could be used to stop this from happening.

Cllr Mike Hunter, chairman of Middlewich Town Council, pointed out that this was a major issue during the first lockdown due to restrictions at Northwich’s tip.

He said: “Northwich residents were only allowed to visit the tip once, so they were taking one lot of rubbish to Northwich and then the next trip they would be coming to Middlewich.

“It stopped eventually because we were taking names and addresses, but it placed a lot of pressure on the recycling centre.

“Anybody that was waiting to get in would notice because cars were coming from the Northwich area and indicating right to get into the tip – before realising they had to go round and get to the back of the queue.”

If the tip in Middlewich is closed, the town’s residents would have to travel to Crewe.

Cllr Gareth Williams said: “We have made a really good start, a really good case to keep our tip.

“We want to really keep up the pressure, ramp up the pressure on [CEC].”





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