Speco Technologies manufactures a line of exterior color surveillence cameras with DSP processing enabling low light level images of facilities without IR illumination, and of the night sky without external video integration.
Model HTINTD8 weatherproof camera
The spherical housing (they term it a "dome" camera) is clamped by the outer ring and can ge oriented in any direction. A cable with power, analog video, and motion detection relay closure exits the back of the ball opposite to the lens, and can be brought out under the ring. The camera is designed to operate looking down from an eave or ceiling, but the mounting can be reversed as shown to look up at the sky. Speco's website highlights these features:
This camera was available in March 2016 at about $260 through Amazon and other vendors. The smaller HINT71HW has similar electronic properties but is fixed focus without a zoom lens. It was $110 in June 2016. The HTINTT5H accepts C-mount lenses and at $160 is suitable for field of view monitoring.
In our uses primarily for sky cameras and telescope dome interior monitors the video is sent to an Axis video server where it is captured either live or single frame for website use. Speco cameras are currently located
Three of the cameras are exposed to the Sun directly during the day since they view the sky in the vicinity of the ecliptic, and they have handled the excess light without apparent damage. These same cameras respond with a blue sky and white clouds in the daytime, and stars fainter than 6th magnitude at night.
For low light operation the DSP has to be configured before installation. This is done with small button under a removable O-ring sealed cover that is on the same side of the lens barrel as the focus and focal length adjustments. After setting the focal length to the shortest possible (for the widest field) and focusing for infinity, the DSP settings can be observed with a monitor attached to the video output. Alternatively, a small pin connector is provided under the cover. An adapter from that connector to a BNC connector is provided with the camera so that a portable monitor may be used after the camera is installed. The settings for low light use in the domes and on the sky are
Under "Special" on the menu there are image adjustments allowing vertical and horizontal flipping as needed.
Cameras should remain powered on continuously to warm their interior in cold weather and prevent condensation.
Exterior camera windows may need replacement when they are exposed to severe weather. We machine spare windows from acrylic stock and keep extras on hand. In any case, windows may require occasional cleaning. We lightly lubricate the O-ring seals on the access port and windows after use.
Cameras have a long life with a MTBF in our applications of 2 or more years under exterior exposure.