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Best camera glasses: from video-shooting sunglasses to eyewear for spies

Best camera glasses: woman wearing Ray-Ban Stories
(Image credit: Ray–Ban / Facebook)

Looking for the best camera glasses? This guide looks at the main options available, and helps you get them at the best price.

Once Google was going to take over the world with Glass, but now there are many more (and more practical) options. 

The tech world was first excited about the idea of glasses with in-built cameras as Google followed a choreographed release of their smart ‘Google Glass’ in 2013. For a lot of reasons, it didn’t quite make it. The $1,500 price tag was probably a significant factor, and it’s fair to say that many felt the design (in which the display prism was certainly distinct, to put it mildly) was the first step toward Borg-like assimilation. 

The better part of a decade after that first effort, things are coming into place. Not only has time inevitably marched on for technology, but categories have emerged. It wasn’t that people didn’t want smart glasses, it turns out, but that they had different ideas of what they could do for them. Which, in turn, means devices could be built to do just what was needed well.

Once again, there is a lot of excitement around smart glasses, but this time from a mix of brands which will carry weight outside the tech world (Ray-Ban, anyone?), social media firms and exciting start-ups offering an exciting mix of possibilities for people capturing and sharing moments or influencers looking for new stand-out styles.

At the cheaper end of the scale, other firms have simply worked out how to squeeze small cameras into glasses frames to create fun spy glasses or hands-free cameras. For products like these important considerations will be resolution, how the video is stored, battery life and activation. Because it’s a growing issue, we’re also going to note if whether there is an active camera indicator (privacy light).

In retrospect, it’s easy to see why Google, so dependent on external developers and app store income, didn’t target niches, but now the world of enterprise is also looking for programmable smart glasses. Perhaps your future boss, rather than a Borg enslaver, will be a human-made software designed to enhance your efficiency.

Best camera glasses in 2021

(Image credit: Ray-Ban)

1: Ray-Ban Stories

The biggest brands in sunglasses gets smart

Megapixels: twin 5MP (2592 x 1944 px)
Field of view: 105-degree
Video: -1184 x 1184 px (square) 30fps up to 1414 x 1414 (cropping depends on stabilization)
Interaction: Audio +
Weight: 50g
Comms: Bluetooth
Charge: Magnetic charged via case
Privacy light: Small white LED
Reasons to buy
+Touch control +Charging case stores extra power+Available in 2 sizes as well as styles
Reasons to avoid
-Facebook partnership disappointing or suspicious for those less keen on the giant-No long recording option

Not only does Ray-Ban styling inspire confidence, but for some their partner Facebook will offer convenient social sharing. The result is a pair of glasses that look good, are built to a high standard, and perform the functions people use in their everyday life. Stylistically the camera almost disappears because there is one on either side, helping capture depth information for some effects. Videos are limited to 30 seconds for Stories. This duration, together with a tiny light and the button press (or option to say “Hey Facebook take a photo”) is meant to minimise privacy concerns. You can also take calls, play audio, and tap to skip tracks, though the speakers are audible by people near to you.

(Image credit: Snap)

2: Snapchat Spectacles 3

Super fun 3D effects for the visually social

Megapixels: 1728 x 1728 px
Field of view: 105-degrees (36: 86 degrees)
Video: 1216 x 1216 px @ 60fps
Interaction: Audio +
Weight: 56.5
Comms: Bluetooth 5, wi-fi direct
Charge: Via case
Privacy light: Rotated animated light
Reasons to buy
+More effects than Snapchat Spectacles 2+3D Viewer included
Reasons to avoid
-Can take a few moments to transfer to phone-These aren’t AR glasses, so you can’t see effects as you capture images. 

If you’re in the Snapchat world (about two-thirds of 18-29 year olds, as of 2021) you’ll understand the benefits of a look that stands out and, straight from the box, the styling is unique. The images stand out too; Spectacles 3 added a second camera and assorted visual effects before Ray-Ban/Facebook thought of it. Actually the price and tech (these even have a charging case) compare closely with so your preference in glass style is key (images can, after all, be exported from Snapchat). Snapchat also offer cheaper single-camera glasses, Spectacles 2 (link), these seem more chic. Expect to capture about 70 videos or 200 photos on one charge before putting in the case to top up; the case is USB-C charged. 

(Image credit: Bear Grylls)

3: Bear Grylls BG-GLS-1

Waterproof action camera in glasses form

Megapixels: 2 MP
Field of view: 90
Video: 1080p @ 30fps
Interaction: Button, vibration
Weight: 60g
Comms: USB
Charge: USB
Privacy light: -
Reasons to buy
+ Wider field of view than some+One hour of record time+Straightforward to use
Reasons to avoid
-No image stabilization-Higher frame rate would be preferable

Including U400 polarized lenses and clear alternatives, these are designed for all kinds of outdoor activity, and explorers will appreciate that IP66 certification has been achieved. The glasses come bundled with a strap and case. We must admit we raised an eyebrow at the marketing material’s reference to ‘solar technology’; we’re guessing that means UV filters in the shades as there certainly isn’t a solar panel! Charging (and downloading) is via a supplied USB cable. Storage is via 16GB internal space meaning regular downloading will be needed, though that will balance with the charging assuming they are done together. One plus, in a market with many unknown Chinese brands, is Gryll’s personal brand being attached to this .

(Image credit: Sheawasy)

4: Sheawasy Camera Glasses

Cheap spy glasses with replaceable MicroSD

Megapixels: 2 MP
Field of view: 70
Video: 1080p @ 30fps
Interaction: Button
Weight: -
Comms: USB
Charge: USB
Privacy light: Led flashed then goes out at start of recording
Reasons to buy
+A fun toy or way to remember lectures+Up to 90 minutes recording time
Reasons to avoid
-Image quality isn’t stellar, especially in low light-No image stabilization

There are situations where it’d be handy to record and video quality is less important than discretion and price point, which is where these unisex-styled glasses come in handy. With a CMOS tucked behind one of four holes in the front they don’t scream spy, though it doesn’t do anything for the image quality. The Micro USB charge socket is positioned in the left arm, above the ear, and the switch is on the inside too. Unlike some of the big-name models, there is no internal memory, which may be useful – a TF (Micro SD) card up to 32GB can be slid into the end of the arm when the glasses are open (not supplied).

(Image credit: OhO)

5: OhO 4K Ski Goggles

Ski goggles with wi-fi live streaming

Megapixels: 24 MP
Field of view: 70
Video: 1080p @ 60fps (default) or 4K @ 24fps
Interaction: Button, wi-fi
Weight: 199g
Comms: USB, wi-fi
Charge: USB
Privacy light: LED flashed then goes out at start of recording
Reasons to buy
+Adjustable camera angle +High-res stills via separate button+Wi-fi version makes it easier to angle camera
Reasons to avoid
-Image shows strong compression artefacts-Micro-USB feels old-fashioned

It’s a pretty specific use case, but ski goggles with a built-in camera involve fewer straps than a separate action camera and get the lens closer to your eyes. OhO have some traction in the camera sunglasses market, and these video ski goggles seem to incorporate the same tech, right down to the 70-degree field of view. That doesn’t feel quite enough but it’s very useful that it can be tilted to suit your natural head position, if you remember to do it, and if you opt for the wi-fi version you can check the video on an app. Though it’s 4K-capable at 24fps (change via a text file and USB link), it defaults to 1080p at 60fps which for most will be better for the slopes.

(Image credit: Epson)

6: Epson Moverio BT-200 or BT-300 FPV Glasses

Is it a tablet? Is it some goggles? Read on…

Megapixels: 5
Video: 720p x 2
Interaction: Audio +
Weight: 113g (inc. cable)
Comms: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Miracast
Charge: USB
Privacy light: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Augmented Reality with 3D capability+Up to 6 hours battery life
Reasons to avoid
-Processor and OS aren’t the latest-Not a subtle design in public

Epson is known for projectors as well as printers, and these glasses tuck tiny projectors in the arms which, via prisms, augment your view with video. That video is, to all practical intents and purposes, the display of an Android tablet – the tablet itself is a box the size of a small phone with a touch surface which acts as a track pad. Together these can be used for all kinds of purposes; a teleprompter, a floating 80-inch display, and anything else you can do with (the admittedly slightly behind the times) Android 5.

They are often marketed as a display for DJI drones, and they are great for a number of now discontinued drones, but since there hasn’t been a new version recently while drones and their software progress very rapidly compatibility issues rule the newer crop out. 

Look out, by the way for the long awaited update, the Epson Moverio BT-40s which will bring 1080p resolution, a 13 megapixel display, USB-C connections and Android 9. These are available to pre-order at B&H Photo

(Image credit: Google)

7: Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2

Google Glass’s future could be changing the way we work

Megapixels: 8-Megapixel,
Field of view: 83-degree
Video: Records at 1080p
Interaction: Audio + Screen +
Weight: 46g
Comms: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5
Charge: USB-C
Privacy light: Yes, green LED by camera
Reasons to buy
+Ideal for delivering data to employees +Rich feature set 
Reasons to avoid
-Excess tech for most purposes-Required dedicated IT time 

Whether it suggests they never abandoned their ambitions, or simply feel motivated to support product lines longer than some, Google adapted Glass into an Enterprise edition and updated it to USB-C charging. The device is comparable in power to a smartphone. There is the Glass’s iconic 640 x 360 RGB display (reflected in a prism) which you can quickly view above the right eye, as well as a built-in microphone and mono speaker, powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon XR1. It can be developed for using Android Open Source so if you can do phone apps if should be a breeze, and the 8MP camera can even stream worker’s point-of-view to remote assistants – perhaps not Google’s original objective with Glass, but a useful niche.

(Image credit: iVue)

8: iVUE Vista Action Camera Glasses

An action camera alternative with 4K resolution

Megapixels: 8 MP
Field of view: 70
Video: 4K (or 1080P@60fps, 720P@120)
Interaction: Vibration
Weight: 54g
Comms: USB
Charge: USB
Privacy light: -
Reasons to buy
+Vibration to indicate power on or off +Generous internal storage+Up to 120fps 
Reasons to avoid
-Settings changed via editing init.txt file over USB-No image stabilization system -Camera angle set slightly above horizon

The Vista glasses have a single camera mounted centrally, just above the nose, and capture H.264 video to built-in 64GB of storage. The IP44 resistance is enough for rain, but not swimming and. Cinema fans won’t mind that the 4K video is 24fps, but some might be frustrated that even 30fps means going down in resolutions. Moreover you’ll not want to change settings too frequently as the method is via changing the init.txt file and laptop (no app!). Video quality is good, if not stellar. You will need to plan both when you’ll shoot (there is about an hour’s recording time on one charge) and to using stabilization in your editing software for high action.

Read more:
Best night vision goggles
Best spy cameras
Best hidden camera detectors
Best action cameras

Adam Juniper

With over 20 years of expertise as a tech journalist, Adam brings a wealth of knowledge across a vast number of product categories, including timelapse cameras, home security cameras, NVR cameras, photography books, webcams, 3D printers and 3D scanners, borescopes, radar detectors… and, above all, drones. 

Adam is our resident expert on all aspects of camera drones and drone photography, from buying guides on the best choices for aerial photographers of all ability levels to the latest rules and regulations on piloting drones. 

He is the author of a number of books including The Complete Guide to Drones, The Smart Smart Home Handbook, 101 Tips for DSLR Video and The Drone Pilot's Handbook