Rain Camera Shootout

By Ethan Ace, Published on Nov 26, 2014

Rain can ruin surveillance video, and your housing choice might be making it worse.

In this test, we shot out the five most common form factors of outdoor housing: box, full size dome, minidome, full size bullet, and compact bullet. We placed them at about 12' against the side of a building to simulate real mounting locations and observed them over the course of a 3+ hour rain storm.

We look at these key questions:

  • Which housing performed worst in these conditions?
  • Which shed water the best?
  • What can I do to improve existing housing performance?
  • ********* ***** *** ********* from **** ****:

    • ******** ******* ******* **** to ******** ***** *** far **** ***** ** raindrops ********* *** ***** than ***** ******.
    • ***** ******** **** **** about ******* ************ ****, ******* ********* negative ****** ** ***** quality.
    • ************************* *** ****** ***** possible (*** *** ****** form *******) **** ***** best *** ****** ******* droplets ******* **** *** camera, ******** ***** ******** size *** ****** ** image *******.

    ***************

    *** **** *********** ** rainy **********, *** ** bullet **** ******* *** recommended. *** ****** ******** with ********** ****** *** be *** **** ****** in ***** ************ ******** rains.

    ** ******** ******* *** used *******, *** ******* mounts ** ******** ** reduce ******** ******* ** the **** *** ******** past *** ****. ** cameras **** ** ******* flat ** *** ****, locate **** ***** ** overhang ** ********.

    Test **********

    **** **** *** ********* over *** ****** ** 3-4 *****. ***** ******** during **** **** *** about */*". ****** *** heavy, ******** *** ****** throughout *** ***.

    ****** *** ******** ********* similarly ** **** ****, heavier ****, ****, ** sleet *** **** ********* effects. **** ***** ********** may ***** **** ******** onto ****** ********, ******* more visibility ******. ******* ** this, ***** ******* ****** be ***** ** **********, not ***** *** *** conditions.

    Poor ******** ***********

    ******* **** ******* * surface, ******** ******* *********** rain ** *** **** in * ****** ** minutes ** *** ****. This ********* ********** *** test ****** (*-* ***** of ****** **** ******** off ** * *******) with ***** ***** ********* the *** ** **** here:

    ******* ** **** **** performance, ********* ******* *** shields ****** *** ** mounted ** **** *********** if ** *** ********. If **** **** ** used, *** **** ** aesthetic ********, ******** *** following:

    • *** * ******* *****:****** *** ********, *** full ***** **** ** our ****, ***** *** mounted *******, *********** **** little ******** ** *** dome, **** ** *** effects.
    • ****** ******* *********:** ********, ****** ********* beneath *******, *****, ** other ********* ** *** building ********* ** ****** shield **** **** ********.

    Sunshields **** *****

    ** ******** ***** ******** them, ************************ ** **** **** from *** *******. ******** outward **** *** ****, they ********************** **** ******* *** enclosure ****** *** ***** falling ******** ******* **** the ****, ******** ***** size ******** ** *** FOV.

    * ******* ******* *** be **** **** (** only *** ***** ** video) ******* **** ************** *** ****** *** camera *******. 

    Relative ***********

    ***** **** *** ********'* notably **** ***********, **** housings **** **** ***** equally. *** *** ****** housing *************, **** **** ****, and **** ***** ** bullet ****** *** *** not ********** ********* ****** from ***** ******** ** dripping ** ***** ** the **** ** *** camera ****** *** ****.

    * ********** ** *** cameras ** **** ****. ****** FOVs **** ******* ************ where ********, **** *** exception ** ***** **** models (******* ****** *** minidome).

Comments (9)

It would be interesting to test IR and visible light illumination in rain and snow. With different positions of illuminators relative to the camera. I suppose cameras with integrated IR will be worse than side IR lighting.

Hi Ethan, thank you for a very useful report. One point of intrique to me is why the mini dome and full-sized dome were mounted on different orientations? On the one hand, this is probably the typical way these models would be mounted. On the other hand, they are being tested under different conditions so I don't believe the results are directly comparable. Would it be possible to retest with one mini dome and one dome mounted vertically, and one mini dome and one dome mounted horizontally? Thank you.

Hi Luke, we tested with the minidome mounted flat to the wall because overwhelmingly that is how they are mounted. Most do not have pendant mounts available, so mounting them in the horizontal orientation isn't an option. By contrast, full size domes generally do have pendant mounts, and that is how the vast majority of them are mounted. It's only in the past couple of years that vertically mounting them has become an option at all, with manufacturers like Axis and Panasonic releasing domes made to be mounted that way.

Ideally we'd like to do the test again in heavy rain, but since we're heading into winter, it may not be til spring. If we do get to it we could maybe do both orientations.

Thank you Ethan, I knew there had to be a logical reason why the cameras were tested on different orientations. Now all you need is an industry standard rain storm for consistent testing of the cameras!

Snow

Snow would be a good test too Ethan. When we had the storms a few weeks back many of our AXIS cams got build up like this. The snow curled over the front of the cam and partially blocked out the image on a number of them. When cameras are mounted out of the wind or sheltered from gusts, build up like this will happen quickly.

It kinda looks like that camera has a giant pompadour. I've never seen snow build up quite that far!

Maybe help: 'gravity friendly' housing, sprayed slickly with silicone?

One issue that may occur on the domes is that as the water dries up, it could leave a residue of some sort on the bubble which could cause IR reflection on domes with integrated IR. Assume it is not an issue when they are pendent mounted as the residue would be at the bottom and lens is usually not pointed towards the bottom in a typicla install. Is this a common issue?

It can be an issue over time. A rain storm or two, likely not, but I have seen deposits left on domes which have caused this issue. Even without IR, it can cause clouding and haziness, or cause issues if lights reflect toward the camera, simply obscuring the view.

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