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PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 7:37 am 

I am a biologist who is about to initiate a study in Amazonia.
We'll have experimental platforms on which we wish to record some aspects of local monkeys behavior.

We wish to place a video camera that will record everything that's going on on the platforms for a couple of hours.

We are in need of a video recorder which would be robust enough to work a couple of months in a very humid environment and has enough battery life to work several hours non-stop.

I was thus wondering whether anyone has experience with the subject and has some tips regarding which camera we should consider.

Thanks a lot!

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 3:42 pm 
Hmmmm, you've got a number of interesting issues there.

Obviously the jungle environment eats electronics, rain and humidity are brutal. If your running research projects in that environment already your probably already aware of pelicases and the like. Combined with silica gel this could well prolong the life of any camera your planning to use.

Next problem will be the couple of hours your planning to shoot. Is this continuous footage? What resolution do you need? HD for a couple of hours is going to fill up in camera media storage pretty quickly. There are plenty of solutions for increasing the battery life of most cameras.

How far away is the camera going to be from the subjects? How much are you going to zoom in?

I'm a kayaker and have been using cameras around rivers for years. I swear by pelicases and only pelicases and not their cheap imitations.

I'd look at waterproof bag or case availability for whatever cameras you shortlist. At the very least you've got to protect against rain etc.

On some Canon DSLR's you can add the Magic Lantern software. This has a motion sensor option which may be handy if leaving a camera running to do its thing to get shots of wildlife. Not tried it yet with video.

Adventure phototgraphy has been changed radically by the likes if the Go Pro HD adventure helmet cameras. They do have wide angle lenses which could be a problem but they are incredibly robust. Maybe a cunning plan could be conjured up.

Back up, back up, back up would be a good motto for any plan you come up with. I'd use this for both equipment and data

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2011 6:55 am 
Thanks for the quick reply.

The recordings should take place several meters from the objects. Although picture quality is never bad, it's not crucial. Other aspects such as battery life and storage are probably more important.

The recording may be as long as 6-8 h, of which the vase majority is empty. So if motion detection is not completely out of hand it could be very useful. I was in some contact with a guy who does security systems but has some experience with such studies, but his offer for a self-assembled system is extremely high (4500€ ~ 6400USD).
So I thought that a cheaper solution would be to just let the camera run for some hours and then edit out the relevant moments.

So summing these up, my needs are for a camera that can run some good hours taking video in decent quality with no extreme zoom abilities.

Regarding the humidity - what exactly can you do with the silica gel? Is it useful only for storage or also for the working time (which is probably the most sensitive)?

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2011 1:46 am 
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Joined: Tue Dec 16, 2008 3:18 am
Posts: 1781
Location: Nova Scotia Canada
Have you looked at any "TRAILCAMERAS"?
Hunters use them for seeing what game is around.
I have several,some take still pics and video and they are triggered by motion so when nothing is there it's not running.
Some take infrared in the nightime so no light scares off game.
The quality of pics will be determined by what you are willing to spend of course.
Some take long clips some short it depends what you set them up for.
You will be restricted by the size of the storage,most use SD cards.
Some have solar panels to keep batteries charged up.
Most hunters et them up where they can be checked and changed as needed.
ALL are weatherproof,I have left mine out in some extreme weather,from rainstorms to blizzards,one I believe was out more than it was home in its lifetime.
All mine have been "tested" by bears and survived for the most part.
I'm sure your monkeys will investigate the cameras.
Mine are only used on still pics...

Not sure what model cam this is but it appears to be pretty good quality.

Pentax K-5
Pentax 18-55mm,Pentax 50-200mm,Sigma 17-70mm,Sigma 70-300mm, Sigma 50-500mm

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