Looking for a weatherproof camera for a year of time-delayed photos
December 3, 2012 11:32 AM   Subscribe

I want to take a year of photos from my balcony to capture views as the day changes, and to make a time-lapse videos of the view. Is GoPro the best bet for an inexpensive, weather-durable camera for prolonged use in the Southwest high desert?

There's a great view from my balcony, and I've taken a lot of photos of it, but I wanted to capture more and eventually make a video. I have a little point-and-shoot Canon camera, so CHDK is an option, except if the camera is outside there's the issue of rain, snow, and dust, if the heat and cold alone won't kill it. I could buy a weatherproof case, or I could stage the camera inside.

Unfortunately, there's only one window on the second story that opens onto the balcony side, and it's a sliding door to the master bedroom. While I could set up a tripod inside, there's still the issue of glare through the glass, not to mention the chance that the view could be blocked if we go out onto the balcony.

There are a few dedicated weatherproof timelapse "video" cameras, which take photos at intervals and make a video without user involvement, but I want to have individual photos, to be able to enjoy the individual "frames" and to be able to speed through the dull days by omitting photos that don't feature much change.

I recently found out that the GoPro has a "time lapse" option, but it sounds like I'd need to it up to run off of external power for a long-term shoot, which isn't a problem as long as it would be able to still be weatherproof.

I don't need anything super-compact like the GoPros, but the durability sounds great. Are there other options I've missed? Thanks!
posted by filthy light thief to Technology (4 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
The GoPro waterproof case is entirely sealed -- there's no easy way to connect a power lead with the camera in the waterproof case.
posted by Alterscape at 11:59 AM on December 3, 2012

If you want to connect a power lead to the GoPro, you'll have to use the skeleton housing.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 12:23 PM on December 3, 2012

Hello, you linked to my askMe. The TimelapseCam8 is what I ended up going with. It works pretty good. The only problem I have with it is that the lens focus is very narrow. The object I was taking pictures of was huge (house being built). I have the camera set up about 15m away and it is still not far away enough. However, for taking pictures from your balcony, it might be sufficient. If you want a wide angle, you might need something else.

You can set up your own time intervals as well. For example: 7am - 8pm or whatever.

You can set the camera up to take individual photos at various intervals (1min, 5min, 10min, 30min, etc) or assemble a video. You can select various resolutions for the photos as well.

If you have wifi, you can get a wifi capable card (eye-fi) and have it automatically send the pics to an off site server.

Like I said. I'm satisfied with it except for the lens angle. For a view out of your balcony it might suffice, but you should look up the specs to make sure.
posted by chillmost at 2:26 PM on December 3, 2012

Now I feel dumb. I thought TimelapsCam8 took photos and automatically made them into videos without the option to save individual images.

As for the GoPro, I realized that skeleton housing would be necessary for connecting a power lead, and I was hoping there was an easy way to seal up that case. But it sounds like a lot of mucking around to make the case weatherproof.

Looking around, I've seen a recommendation for the Pentax WG1, which has a wide angle lens and 5x optical zoom, and claims to be waterproof and dust proof. It was also mentioned in a prior timelapse question.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:41 PM on December 3, 2012

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