In part 2, I showed you how I made my waterproof Flash housings, and to finish off in this final part I will go over how I built one for the camera.
This is what it looks like in action. The case itself is a used Pelicase 1300 (Black) which are readily available on ebay for 40-50 quid. It does not matter how beaten up it is, as they clean up well with a good wash and sanding down rough edges, and anyway, you’re going to spray it olive green! The important thing is to get one with the majority of the foam insert intact. For deployment in a public place, you can lock the case to a tree or fencepost etc using a cable lock through the handle, and a padlock through the holes for the purpose in the lid. There is a tube for the lens, made from a plastic tumble dryer vent attachment, which can be made interchangeable so you can fit different lengths for different lens lengths, and there is a 95mm UV filter on the end (cheaply available on ebay) to weatherproof the unit, as well as a hood above this made from a plastic gutter round to angular adapter section for rain protection. The housing can be mounted on your tripod quick release attachment if you buy a spare plate and bolt it to the base (I have not done this yet but will soon).
The vertical orientation of the box means that you can fit a DSLR in there with room for a battery grip and the flash transmitter on the hotshoe. It is possible to fit the camera at 90 degrees to this for portrait orientation without the battery grip. The PIR sensor receiver just sits in there, secured on a piece of velcro.
You need to decide what camera/s and lenses you are going to use. Don’t put out your best kit! If you have an old APSC camera and a kit lens, that’s perfectly adequate for camera-trapping. I’m using an old Canon 50D and a 10-18mm lens, but also I have put out my 5Dmk4 and 24-70 f4 lens in the garden where there are no security worries.
with a little sanding the 95mm filter will snugly fit on the end of the tube. You can glue the filter in position or use some pipe weld to soften the plastic before pushing the filter on. If you want the option of being able to remove the filter, then buy two filters. You can smash the glass in the first one and remove the glass, then screw the second one onto the filter thread of the first.
The rain hood now needs to be epoxied onto the outside of the case. Don’t have it too near the tube or the end of it will cause wide angle lens vignetting. You’ll need to remove some of the case plastic raised bits with a sharp chisel and sandpaper in order to get a flat surface to attach it to. Once done remove the tube and spray the case with grey acrylic primer then olive green acrylic (I used Humbrol acrylic spray cans). The tube was separately sprayed olive on the outside and matt black on the inside before attaching the filter.
if you use a longer lens or if you are putting your housing out in very bad weather, you can cut a length of black gutter and velcro it to the hood – vignetting will be less of an issue with a longer lens.
That’s all there is to it! actually it isn’t difficult and I made the whole thing for about 80 quid. Another benefit of using this housing is that the foam virtually eliminates shutter noise, which I find scares animals more than the flash potentially does.
I hope this has encouraged one or two of you to have a go at making one of these yourselves. Its very rewarding particularly when you see the fruits of your labours on your camera screen. I suspect that some of you who have taken the leap into mirrorless systems might have older camera kit lying around which could be repurposed for camera-trapping so if you have, have a go! Its great fun! Best of luck and show us your results!Published in