Convert a Webcam to Work Outdoors in Bright Light.




Web cams work fine indoors, but using them outdoors (especially when the sun is shining brightly) is nearly impossible.  To much sunlight washes out the image.  This instructable details my solution for this problem.

Warning:  This modification will probably invalidate your warranty and make it useless indoors.

Step 1: Disasemble the Camera

The reason web cams work so poorly outdoors is because there is such a large aperture.  Sunlight floods through the lens and the web cam cannot handle all that light.

Dissembling a web cam is simple.  Just a few screws.  Make sure to put all of the pieces in a small container. 

Step 2: Make a New Aperture

As you can see the aperture is way to big for outdoor use.  Using the cardboard that came with the camera, cut out a small square that will fit into that small box area above the lens.

With a needle place a pinhole EXACTLY in the center.

Put a drop of glue on the cardboard.  With your finger spread it around and avoid moving glue over the pinhole.

Place the cardboard next to the lens and resemble.

Step 3: Before and After Photos

These pictures were taken outside the college when the sun was shining really bright.  I hooked up my first attempt and then the camera for this instructable.

As you can see from the pictures from the modified camera, placing the hole in the center is extremely important.  Otherwise you will lose some of the Image.



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    5 Discussions


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I didn't try gray, but I did try several polarizing filters and diffraction gratings. They were useless. I also tried several color filters (green, red, blue. the colors I had on hand). Red did reduce the amount of light, but still nowhere near the results I received here. Plus everything was red. Wouldn't gray translucent plastic remove the color and make everything black and white?


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    If you have two polarisers (or a broken pair of polarised shades), put them in front of the lens and rotate one relative to the other - that would give you a polarising variable ND filter. A properly balanced ND filter wouldn't affect the colour, just the amount of light. That's why they're called 'neutral'. Grey plastic would be close enough.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I suspect it would- given how small the webcam aperture is anyway, you could probably use an ND-grad filter to be able to vary the darkening for different light conditions.  

    Cardboard and a pin are easier to come by than proper ND filters, though...