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Night Vision: General Information and Tips

The following terms are used throughout this guide:

  • LED: Light Emitting Diode. A semiconductor source that emits light. This light can be in a range of color visible to the eye (such as the LED on a PC monitor which indicates that power is on), or can be invisible to the naked eye, such as infrared LEDs on a camera or remote control.
  • IR: Infrared Light which is invisible to the naked eye, with a wavelength longer than that of red light. Infrared light is used for night vision LEDs on cameras and accessories, and in remote controls.
  • LUX: A unit measurement of the intensity of light. For example, the light of a full moon is about 0.1 Lux, while bright sunlight is about 100,000 Lux. Cameras rated for 0.0 Lux are considered to be night vision cameras.

Can I see an image in pitch-black conditions?

Yes. The infrared LED illuminators act as an additional light source for the camera, giving you an image even when natural light sources are absent. The amount of light needed to see a picture is referred to as Lux. The lower the Lux the better the camera can see in low light. Infrared LED cameras are considered to be rated 0 Lux, meaning they can see with zero light.

What is the maximum distance I can see?

The distance you can see will greatly depend on the quality of the camera lens, the lighting conditions, and the number of IR LEDs. Check the camera's Specifications Sheet for the night vision range. It is important to note that depending on the camera application, objects at or beyond this range may be partially or completely obscured.

Can I see an image in color or just in black and white?

This will depend on the amount of light emitted from sources other than the infrared LED illuminators. The more the camera has to depend on the infrared LED illuminators to see, the more color will be lost in the image. With most cameras, once the infrared LEDs are illuminated the camera will automatically switch to black and white to deliver better clarity.

Are infrared LED illuminators safe?

Yes, Infrared LED illuminators are harmless.

Are infrared LED illuminators invisible?

Almost. A low red glow is visible, however most people would not notice the infrared LEDs on a surveillance camera.


What is an IR Cut Filter?

An Automatic IR Mechanical Cut Filter blocks infrared light but allows colors visible to the naked eye to pass through. During low/no light conditions, the IR Cut Filter moves away from the lens to let in100% of the infrared light for maximum night vision performance. This results in the camera image changing to Black and White for better image quality.

NOTE: Not all Day/Night Cameras have an Auto IR Cut filter.

During the day, the IR cut filter blocks any infrared light from entering the lens for true color reproduction.

Last Updated: 4/18/2012