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Guide to Lighting and Security

The following guide will help you learn about the different types of lighting, and give you some general security camera lighting tips. For more information on Lighting & Security, please refer to the following guides:

Color Temperature

Color temperature refers to the color of the light source and is measured using the Kelvin (K) temperature scale. A color temperature between 2700-3600K is generally recommended for home, office, and security applications, as it will provide a good amount of contrast for your daily visual tasks and be flattering to skin tones and clothing. A color temperature that is too warm (below 2600K) may make objects appear to be more orange, while a color temperature that is too cool (above 4000K) may make objects appear to be more blue or green.

Use the following charts to compare the different types of lighting based on the information above:

  Lighting Type Color Temperature (K) Indoors / Outdoors
Standard "A" light bulb Standard "A" Light Bulb 2700-2800 (warm) Both
Reflector Reflector 2800 (warm) Both
Tungsten Halogen Tungsten Halogen 2900-3200 (warm to neutral) Both
straight tube Straight Tube 2700-6500 (warm to cold) Both
Compact Florescent Compact Florescent Lamp 2700-6500 (warm to cold) Both
High-Intensity Discharge      
Mercury Vapor Mercury Vapor 3200-7000 (warm to cold) Outdoors
Metal Halide Metal Halide 3700 (cold) Both
Similar to above High-pressure Sodium 2100 (warm) Both


NOTE: The color displayed from a Day/Night Color Camera may appear differently under Incandescent or Florescent lighting conditions. Adjusting the camera settings in the DVR or Observation System menu may help to improve the quality of the video image.

Lighting Tips

  • For best results do not point the camera towards a light source
  • Pointing the camera at a glass window intending to see outside may result in a poor image because of glare depending on the lighting conditions inside and outside.
  • Do not have the camera in a shaded area looking out into a well lit area as this will display poor results. The light to the camera sensor in the front of the camera needs to be the same as the light at the focal target for best results.
  • For night vision, additional IR LED lighting should be placed above the camera to ensure everything within the camera view is illuminated. See the Night Vision Guide for details.

Image and Lighting Conditions

Due to differences in lighting conditions, the image quality may vary. Make sure to consider the lighting conditions at different times of day/night when choosing a location for your cameras.

It is also important to adjust the Brightness, Contrast, Color and Hue on your Observation System or DVR for optimal image quality.

Outdoor Lighting

Outdoor security lighting provides you with the feel of protection, as intruders can be easily spotted and deterred from entering.


  • Outdoor security lighting should be placed high and out of reach of intruders
  • Outdoor security lighting should preferably be vandal resistant
  • Outdoor security lighting attached to motion detectors will save on electricity and immediately alert you, or others, when someone is on the property
  • Consider using solar lighting for easy installation
  • For best results do NOT point the camera towards a light source such as the sun or light
  • Do not have the camera in a shaded area looking out into a well lit area

Last Updated: 4/18/2012