December 28, 2005
Setting up a Barn WebCam - Part 3
So you'd like to set up a webcam to monitor your expectant mares and jennets? Well, here are some tips on picking out a good camera.
In my first article in this series, I gave an overview of the different pieces you will need to set up your barn WebCam.
In part 2 I shared in more detail the differences between Internet WebCam cameras and CCTV cameras as they relate to being used as a barn webcam. In my experience I have found the CCTV cameras to be much better for this purpose.
When looking for good CCTV cameras to buy you will want to keep a few things in mind.
First, CCTV cameras are available in black & white and color camera models. I have chosen to use a black & white camera for my webcam. It works great for what I need, and because the pictures do not have to transmit the additional color info, the camera is much faster to watch on Internet. Also most B/W cameras can see in lower light and have higher resolution than color cameras.
Second, you will probably want your camera to allow for the attachment of camera lenses to adjust the view of your camera. I have put a wide-angle lens on my camera so that it will pick up more of the area in my pasture.
CCTV cameras come with two different types of lens mounts - C-Mount and CS-Mount. This is important to keep in mind when purchasing your equipment.
Modern cameras and lenses are generally CS-mount rather than C-mount. With CS-mount cameras both types of lenses can be used but the C-mount lens requires a 5mm adapter ring to be fitted between the camera and lens to achieve a focused image. With C-mount cameras it is not possible to use CS-mount lenses as it is not physically possible to mount the lens close enough to the CCD to achieve a focused image.
So it is preferable for you to purchase a CS-mount camera. You will have a much wider selection of lenses and lens sources available to you.
If you do a search on Google for "CCTV Camera" you can find many websites where camera equipment can be purchased new. Another good place where you can often find good cameras at an excellent price is eBay. There are a lot of used high quality CCTV cameras available out there for reasonable prices from businesses that are replacing their security cameras.
The camera I bought was a used Panasonic like the one in this photo.
If you are planning to mount your camera outside, you will also want to purchase an outdoor housing for it to protect it from the weather. I bought my outdoor housing on eBay. The outdoor housing is usually a metal case with a window in the front. Your camera mounts in the bottom of the case, and takes it's pictures through the window. Some outdoor housing units come with heaters and fans to control the temperature inside and help dissipate moisture that would otherwise cause fog on the window glass. Mine does not have these, but if you live in a climate where it is humid or if your camera is sensitive to hot and cold you may want one with this feature.
If you are mounting your camera inside your barn where it will not be exposed to wind, rain and snow, then you won't need an outdoor housing for it. You can just mount it on the wall or up on a rafter where it is out of reach of your critters.
Next time I'll tell you more about the different camera lenses that I find very useful for my webcam.
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Posted by Kristie Jorgensen at December 28, 2005 09:00 PM