Do Attractive Housings Exist For Box Cameras?

I am going to mount a box camera (Samsung SNB-5004) on the outside of my house but the outdoor housings I've seen are very ugly. They are almost all boring rectangles with equally uninspiring brackets to attach to a wall.

Does anyone know of some nicer-looking housings for box cameras for indoor or outdoor use? I'd love to see something with really good industrial design.

I found a few cylindrical housings on the B&H website from Bosch, Pelco and American Dynamics. These look better to me but most of them were much more expensive as they contained heaters and fans which I don't need. I just want a housing that looks more elegant and protects the camera at least as well as traditional box housings. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


Why not get a dome then? There are lots of outdoor dome models and, in general, people find domes more attractive.

Hi John, the domes do indeed look nicer and I will also do that. However I specifically want to use the box camera for greater flexibility of testing, such as changing lenses or even mounting it on a tripod for portable tests.

I've been looking at more box camera installations and just keep shaking my head at the lack of inspired housing design. It reminds me of the past when all computers were beige rectangular boxes. Has anyone used the cylindrical housings and do they work as well as the rectangular ones? There's something about rounded circle or ellipse tube designs which appeals to me over rectangular box housings but I don't know if there are any technical downsides given the enclosed cameras are square or rectangular shapes. Are there any other nice designs?

These box housings are the 'non-rectangle' shape, and even the snobbiest architects grudgingly approved their use in my experience. This one is branded Vivotek, but I think VideoTEC produces it:

Pros:

  • Tube Shape, not boxy
  • Paintable
  • Die cast metal (aluminum), very well sealed
  • Removeable IR LEDs

Cons:

  • Weighs like 30 pounds!
  • Costs ~$200
  • The hinged hood is secured with screws that are difficult to reach atop a ladder or lift.

Thanks Brian, these do look nice except for the price. I'll see if they've got a lower cost model without the IR LEDs.

I personally like the look of the Moog Fusion housing:

And the small housings Arecont resells, but I haven't been able to figure out the original manufacturer of these:

Videotec is generally a little more aesthetic, too.

Hi Ethan, that's not bad at all. I like the Arecont model you've shown although I'd wonder if rain would sit in the "dimples" in the top of the cover. That would only matter if that top cover was made from a corrosive material. I'll check it out.

I've used the Advidia B-33 before, which is best described as a 'self-enclosed box'. 4MP and 18x remote zoom, as well. A little more residential-friendly than the traditional 'bank housings' of old.

Advidia B-33

ACTi has exactly that same model

Thank you Michael and Mark, I'll check them out!

This is a housing that is made by a small little Taiwanese company that's been making that same basic design for about 12+ years, and they OEM to ACTi and a bazillion other Taiwanese OEMs. If you're even in Taiwan and you visit the electronics mall, pretty much every store that sells CCTV has variants of that housing. I've never been impressed by it other than the fact that it's fairly compact.


That said, there's a TON of attractive box camera housings out there, you just have to be willing to look around.

I would suggest at the next ISC-West (if you can attend) you go into the Chinese/Taiwan/Korean pavilions and just look for a housing you like or get the housing catalogs of any of the manufacturers there. There's nothing really controversial or differentiating about housings these days, for the most part one is about as good as the next. But you do get what you pay for, so don't expect a $29 housing to perform as well or be as elegant as a $200 housing.

Thanks for your tip!

The Veilux housings could be considered attractive (Veilux Housings and Mounts)

They are known for this...

Hi Carl and Undisclosed A,

These housings do look much nicer. I see they are made of Nylon and Fiber Glass. Do you have any experience as to how well they weather when mounted outdoors? Thanks very much.

I've used the Pelco EH25xx series in the past, they do the job fine, but they're a pain to work with since you have to slide the camera out the back to zoom and focus it (usually means taking it out entirely), the seal around the back panel is really tight (which makes the job a hassle), and I've seen a number of them leak after several years in the elements. The last two issues can be mitigated with a thin bit of petroleum jelly or similar product on the seal before assembly. On the whole, not a real fan of these... but they do look a little nicer than the standard boxy boxes.

net/net: good looking but bad personality...

Hi Matt, these housings do look niceand thank you for also letting us know about the hassles working with them. That's very useful information.

I think there is a Red Dot Design Award just waiting for anyone who develops a box camera housing which is pleasing to the eye, durable and easy to use. It could transform the look of box cameras around the world.

The Linear Designer Series is nice looking, but too small. I tried it with an Arecont "hockey puck" camera and it was like a half millimeter too tight.

Thank you Luis. It's great that they have a designer series. Hopefully they will expand their range to include a few, extra sizes for different cameras.

We use a lot for these housings for cameras. Messoa Housing, Arm & Sunshield, SAH725HB-2, SAB754, SAS725. They are very weather resistant and hold up nicely. The sun shields do fade in the sun but the housings are aluminum so they hold up good.

Yes we've used a lot of those Messoa housings too, but they are End-of-Lifing some of them at the end of March, particularly the SAH725 line, so we have to find a new supplier. So far we're very interested in the ALSO/Kevis line of housings, you should check them out. A tad more pricey than the Messoa enclosures, but also better specs.

These "also" look very good. Hopefully I'll be able to source some in Australia. Thank you for posting.

Hi Mike, these look very good! Thank you very much for posting.

Pelco's EH1512 low cost series looks ok and better that the ol' EH3512 range. Watch the internal size to make sure the cam fits...

EH1512

Alternatively I always thought these AD1314 enclosures looked good on jobs I did in the past as well...

AD1314

Thanks Syd. I particularly like the look of the AD1314. Regards, Luke.

They must of been ahead of the curve. I was using this housing in the late 90's ....apparently back to the future is contempory!