Outside Web Cam

Current Progress

My current google keywords while looking for a suitable camera:

  • wide dynamic range
  • Double Scan CCD

I'm looking at:

Image examples of technologies:

Resulting Image

Below is an image taken from the currently installed camera. The second photo was taken using my digital camera as a comparison.

Web cam Digital camera
flickr:2076801867 flickr:2076802073
flickr:2077670692 flickr:2076881955

I'm not impressed with its performance for outside images. While playing with it though, images with less contrast were much better although the colour was never great. It is possible that an auto-iris lens will help.

Camera Specifications


The specs for the currently installed camera are:

Camera 1/4 CCD
Effective Picture element 582 (horizontal)*628 (vertical)
Resolution 420 Lines
Back light compensation BUC start/close option
Picture MLR start/ close option
Increment control age start/ close option
Automatic aperture lens VIDEO
Power supply DC 12V 200MA
Size 55*55*50mm

I'm now looking at getting another camera as the results from this one are not good enough for my outdoor use. I've collating my notes on camera selection here.

Camera Selection

These are my notes on how I came to select the camera, and what I've learnt as I go by trial and error.

The ideal would be a wireless IP camera, but suited ones are very expensive. I did buy a CMOS wireless IP camera but the picture quality was very poor for outside use. The range of lighting conditions was just too much for it. I'm not interested in IR night vision, but being able to get a reasonable colour picture across a wide range of light conditions (sunny, cloudy, smoky) is important.

So, I think I need a camera with:

  • CCD image sensor (I understand they have better dynamic range).
  • Control for an auto-iris lens. Prefer DC drive as they seem to be more common and less expensive that Video drive auto-iris lenses.
  • Box style so it can be mounted in an outdoor enclosure.
  • 12Vdc supply. I can do 24Vac but I prefer to use 12Vdc if I can as I use my 24Vac supply as a 'dirty' or 'field' supply.
  • Low current consumption would be good but I will probably only switch it on when required anyway as my control system needs to run off 12Vdc batteries.
  • I do require sound, but I can get this off the computer anyway.
  • There are a whole lot of other technical specs that I may need to research. I'm unsure of required resolution, etc.
  • CS lens mount.
  • 4mm lens on this camera to give a wide view.

Summary of CCD box cameras I'm looking at:

Current DF2018
Price $60
Camera 1/4" CCD 1/4” CCD
Effective Picture element 582 hor *628 vert
Resolution 420 Lines 420 Lines
Back light compensation BUC start/close option
Picture MLR start/ close option
S/N ratio >=48db (AGC off)
Increment control age start/ close option
Automatic aperture lens VIDEO
Illumination 1.0lux
Power supply 12Vdc 200MA 12Vdc
URLs Specs

Sites I'm looking at:

Reading sites I'm getting the impression that the Sony and Panasonic CCD image sensors are considered to be better than others.


The outdoor enclosure has a metal plate for mounting the camera. The plate, with camera, then slides into the enclosure.

Note: Great range of enclosures on the CameraFx site.


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