Suppose that you want to take a long-term time-lapse of the passing the the seasons. The weather will most likely change over the period with periods of rain and snow.

We already have a question about long-term time-lapse in general with a very good answer but this is for taking a time-lapse from indoors, so no mention of weather issues.

Weatherproof cameras have a rubber seal around the battery compartment but A/C couplers usually somehow power the camera through the battery compartment which makes me wonder whether this compromises the weather-sealing?

So the questions is: How to power a camera long-term if it is subject to adverse weather? Do any particular cameras and couplers or A/C adapters preserve weather-sealing?

  • 1
    I had always assumed weatherproofing was more of an instantaneous thing rather than a long term solution. Figured all the rubber seals and maybe even the plastic housing would break down over long term exposure to elements. Maybe I was wrong? Jun 27 '18 at 18:58

Most commercial 'outdoor' cameras with external power supplies are made to fit inside protective domes or other types of sealed enclosures to protect them from the elements.

Many use protective conduit to route the cables to the camera.

enter image description here

The most sophisticated ones even have 'self-cleaning' features, such as 'windshield wipers' or air jets to clean the surface through which the lens views the scene. If the cables are not protected by conduit, the ports where they enter the enclosure tend to be weather hardened.

enter image description here

I doubt even most "weatherproof" cameras without such enclosures which are normally intended to be used in the elements but stored away from the elements when not in use would last very long when exposed to the elements 24/7/365.

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    How do you think the BBC does it? I doubt they use street cameras for filming passing days and months.
    – Itai
    Jun 28 '18 at 5:00
  • How the BBC does what, exactly? You can get enclosures for just about any camera (other than old-style studio broadcast cameras). But you might be surprised what some of the cameras broadcasters use look like. For enough money you can pack lot of quality into a small package. And remember, even 4K is only 8MP.
    – Michael C
    Jun 28 '18 at 10:50
  • I don't know anyone who works for the BBC, but I do have several friends and acquaintances who work for broadcasters in the U.S. What they use for permanently placed outdoor cameras in different areas that show "downtown" or traffic on major roads looks exactly like the stuff pictured above, other than the fact that most have a WiFi antenna now, rather than cables for the signal from the camera.
    – Michael C
    Jun 28 '18 at 10:54
  • For example, in Planet Earth II, they show the entire passing of seasons in various places. It is only 4K but very high quality with noticeable depth of field and much more color detail than a traffic camera. I considered enclosures but didn't find any with power input port.
    – Itai
    Jun 28 '18 at 12:38
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    Most stationary surveillance cameras are industrial vision systems. Some are integrated and some are piecemeal'd together (top image above is the former and bottom is the latter) As such it's understandable one would assume that all weatherized enclosures host industrial cameras. But plenty are designed for pro video or DSLR installation Jun 28 '18 at 20:05

DIY isn't unreasonable.

  • Pelican case. They come in various sizes, and are warrantied up to 30 foot water depth, and against everything but sharks and small children.

  • compression wire fitting. This allows the power cable to pass through the case.

  • Large filter. Cut opening in case, and silicone the filter into place. Filter should be 15 mm larger than lens. Don't cheap out on the filter: since it will be further from the camera, any flaws will have bigger effects on the final image quality.

  • T-nut. This allows the case to be mounted on a platform. May be better to mount the case onto a chunk of marine grade plywood with multiple t-nuts. Make the holes 1/8 larger than the bolts, and fill with silicon seal.

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