Do Indoor Security Cameras Work in the Dark?

by Cynthia White May 28th, 2019 | in Residential Systems, Business Security, Video Surveillance

home security

Do indoor security cameras work in the dark?

Answer: Yes

Indoor security cameras come in all shapes and sizes, with a variety of different feature depending on the camera you choose. Most modern video surveillance cameras will include night vision, which allows you to get a better view when no light is present.

How does this work?

There are two ways that cameras with night vision make the magic happen, although the second way is rarely used with security cameras.

The first method is using something called infrared. Infrared is a spectrum of light that is invisible to human eyes. Cameras with infrared lighting usually have several visible led lights around the main lens. When the camera detects that it is dark, these lights turn on, flooding the area with infrared light. While we do not see this light, the lens is able to, and therefore can create an image. A monochrome filter is usually applied to increase the contrast and make it easier for the human eye to see the image clearly.

A less common type of night vision (extremely rare with video surveillance)  is through the use of a tube intensifier. This device is able to take some light that is available, and use it to have electrons pass through a photomultiplier and then a phosphor screen. This creates some flashes of light which create a brighter image. You may have seen this type of night vision before, as it appears as a green image due to the phosphor screen. Cameras with this type of night vision work by having long exposure times and absorbing as much light as possible. Very few indoor security cameras use this method, as IR is cheaper and gives a better overall image.

So yes, as long as a camera comes equipped with infrared lights, then it will work in the dark and provide fairly good visibility and images. Make sure when you choose your video surveillance equipment that you go with cameras that have IR lights.


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