Weather Camera Buying Guide 2020

Weather camera is a device which is used to capture live changes in weather. Many meteorologists and weather enthusiasts use weather cameras to learn about weather conditions. As you are here now, I am pretty sure that you must be either interested in knowing more about weather cameras, or maybe you are looking forward to buying one. These devices are of not much different than the standard cameras, in fact, many use normal cameras as a weather cam. However, weather cameras are specially designed for this purpose, and no other equipment will be able to acquire precise accuracy.

Weather Camera

Weather Camera

As weather cameras come with many features, in different shapes and sizes, it becomes tough for a novice to select the best one. So I have created some guidelines to help you purchase the right weather camera. Given below are some significant factors that you must consider;

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Type

There are two types of classification of weather cameras;

Standard Weather Cameras: These are like regular cameras. You can use them to record live weather and then transfer the file to your computer or laptop to view, share and analyze.

Network or IP Weather Cameras: Network cameras are like webcams, they can be streamed live without the need of connecting to other devices like the computer or laptop. You can post your images to the internet directly by connecting the camera to the network router. These are IP addressable and allow you to continuously view configuration menus and live images from anywhere by just entering your weather camera’s IP address. Network camera also enables file transfer protocol, allowing you to upload pictures to free hosting services or your website.

Wired or Wireless

You can choose between a wired camera and wireless. Wireless cameras are mostly preferred as you don’t need to run the cables around. Also, a wireless camera is more comfortable to install. However, you will still have to run AC power to the camera, which minimizes flexibility.

Installation

Whether you are going to install the camera indoor or outdoor is another vital factor that you must consider while choosing a weather camera. If you have an excellent vantage point for your camera from inside the window, then you can save a lot of money and time. As weather cameras, for outdoor installation are more expensive. They require special mounts and have features such as waterproof or weather resistant. You’ll also have to buy a unique enclosure for the camera.

Power

Usually, most weather cameras operate on AC power. However, if you need a camera for a remote area with no power supply, you can get a camera that includes a solar panel.

Resolution

Resolution is measured in pixels. It is the amount of detail that a weather camera can capture. It is one of the most critical features as the quality of an image usually, depends on the camera’s resolution. The more the pixels a weather cam has, the better is its resolution and more details will it capture. You can enlarge images captured by a high-resolution camera without getting blurry or grainy.

Range of Exposure

The range of exposure is the amount of light that the lens aperture of the camera can gather and the speed of the shutter, expressed in seconds. A camera with a broad exposure range will provide excellent contrast during high as well as low light levels.

Frame Rate

The frame rate is calculated as a frame per second. It’s the updated speed of the image. A camera with a high frame rate will allow the streaming of live video seamlessly. But you cannot accomplish live streaming of video over the internet quickly. However, high-resolution live images are the most precise and most comfortable to upload.

Auto Iris Lens

Auto Iris lens ensures the image quality in continually changing light condition. The iris of the camera closes or opens depending on the light level. When the light is low, the iris opens up and allows maximum brightness for a precise quality image, and when the level of light is high, the iris closes to prevent the incoming light from affecting the camera and turning the image blur. If you are going to use the weather camera in this type of inconsistent lighting condition, then a camera with an auto iris lens is highly recommended.

Saturation and Auto Haze Subtraction

If you are looking forward to high-quality images, then you must also consider these aspects. Congestion is the amount of color that an image consists. The higher the saturation value of the camera, the more colorful the image captured by the device will be.

Auto haze subtraction feature of the camera automatically subtracts the contrast in the image to improve its quality.

Other Features

There are some additional features that you may want your weather cam to include;

  • Night Vision: A camera with night vision ability can also capture images during the night or immensely low light conditions. You will want this feature if you are interested in capturing night weather images.
  • Built-in video recording: Many low-end cameras come only with the ability to capture still images. Videos can be more useful and entertaining, so you can spend some more bucks and get a camera that can capture videos as well.
  • Motion Detection: This feature can be handy for many weather enthusiasts. Also, if you wish to use the weather camera for security purpose as well, then you might want to get a weather camera with motion detection.

Price and Warranty

Before going for the purchase, you must decide your budget. If you know your budget, you can purchase the best weather camera that is affordable in your budget. Good weather cameras come in the price range of $50 to $200 and more.

Warranty is a critical aspect. All reputed brands provide a warranty time of 1 year to 5 years with their devices to ensure the buyer’s investment. So always choose a unit with a reasonable warranty period.

Common Damages in Weather Cameras

Like other technical devices, weather cameras are also prone to some common damages, especially when the camera installed outdoors;

Damage due to Exposure to Direct Sunlight: If you expose the weather cameras to direct sunlight for prolonged periods, it may cause the images of the weather camera to fade. However, you can extend the sensor life can by setting the iris lens correctly.

Heat, Cold, and Humidity: Extreme heat, cold or humidity can cause damage to the internal parts of the device. Moisture can ultimately damage the weather camera. Although outdoor cameras have an enclosure to protect the camera from such condition, they still require an external enclosure for superior protection. For a cold state, the ring must be completely sealed to prevent damage due to condensation.

Conclusion

Weather cameras are beneficial units, and these are used by many. If you are a novice, buying the right camera could be a very tough task. Due to unlimited choices, many individuals get confused and end up purchasing the wrong unit. Before going for the purchase, you must do thorough research on what features you need and why you need the device. Once you are sure of your requirements, you’ll find that choosing a weather camera is not so tight after all. If you are still confused, going through the reviews provided by experienced buyers could be very helpful.

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