Tradeoffs In Outdoor Housings? Material Choice

I have seen select cameras from Honeywell and others use Polycarbonate Housing. The majority however still use steel/aluminum. My questions:

  • What are the benefits and drawbacks of using Polycarbonate Housing?
  • Is there a specific type of Polycarbonate material that is preffered over another for camera housing use
  • Is there a type of certification for the Polycarbonate material so you know that you are getting in fact real polycarbonate versus cheaper ABS
  • Any idea on rough price differences between ABS, Polycarbonate, Metal and Aluminum for a typical outdoor dome camera

Thanks in advance!


Benefits? Fabricating metal is more expensive than molding plastic. Plastic is often less expensive than metal as a raw material. For the end user, polycarbonate will not corrode, can be molded into a variety of colors (no paint needed) and is lighter.

I don't know specific polycarbonate material blends used in camera housings, but I do know that raw materials are typically furnished to manufacturers with CoA papers - 'certificate of analysis' - that confirms material of a certain lot maintains a certain composition. For outdoor housings, I'm sure that UV stability is fairly important.

I am curious to what degree recycled or 'reground' material is used to make housings. 'Virgin' material is more costly, and I wonder if when I read a cameras 'Green Compliance' branding if I'm really reading 'Made of reused plastic'.