How Do Security Cameras Work At Night

How Do Security Cameras Work At Night?

Could you imagine a world where thieves, burglars, or other intruders only trespassed during daylight hours? Or, at the very least, only brightly lit places? Sounds sort of comical, doesn’t it? Especially because the idea behind taking what you have means not getting caught. And, nighttime hours or otherwise dark spaces are the best way to get in and get out, unseen.

Thankfully, those who manufacture security cameras understand this need. They have found a way to create security cameras that work at night – in the dark – so that you and your home or business can be protected no matter what time of day it is.

But, how in the world can a camera do that? How can this little lens know to distinguish between light and dark? And where did the technology come from?

We are going to explore the answers to these questions and more – keep reading.


What Does Night Vision Look Like?

Have you ever viewed footage from a night vision camera? If you haven’t, that does not mean you have not seen what it looks like. There are many times on television that it has been used – and you may not have actually realized it. For instance, have you ever watched ghost hunting shows? Filming in the dark with night vision can give the recorded footage a black and green sort of tint to it. And, those beady, piercing eyes are not soon forgotten.

That is night vision. And it allows you to see what is taking place without using any light at all.


Two Types of Night Vision

It is crazy to think that you can use your eyes to try to see something and all you will see is pure darkness. However, look through the lens of a camera using night vision, and you can see everything going on around you. This is precisely why night vision is imperative to have on your security cameras.

It is important to know that not all night vision is the same. In fact, there are two types to choose from: thermal imaging and low-light imaging.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these, shall we?


Infrared Technology

Infrared technology – also known as thermal imaging – is perhaps the most well-known type of night vision. Truth be told, it is the type of technology that most security cameras use in the dark. And, this entire process rests in the strength of small LED lights that are on the front of your camera. Have you ever noticed them before? They don’t look like much – just little lights. But, when the space goes dark, these small LED bulbs allow your camera to see.

Infrared technology is so powerful, it is regularly used by NASA. It was discovered that, on the spectrum of light shades that we can see, infrared – the farthest to the right – is one we cannot see. In fact, it is invisible to the eye.

Here’s what happens: When the camera determines that it is dark, the room gets flooded with infrared light. That’s right – all those little LED bulbs begin filling the room with light. But, remember – it is impossible for us to see it. So, we have no idea that the room is lit up.

And, that’s how these cameras are able to record in the dark. Pretty amazing stuff, right?


Intensifier Tubes

Another type of popular night vision security cameras are those that use intensifier tubes. Also known as low-light imaging, this type of technology grasps on to any little bit of light it can and then intensifies it to brighten the space. Hence the name.

Let’s get a bit technical for a moment: Intensifier tubes work by allowing any bit of light in, which consists of photons. These then get turned into electrons, allowing light to be converted into a sort of electronic signal.

What happens to the electrons? They begin multiplying, thanks to a photomultiplier, and pass through a phosphor screen. The result? Flashes of light – and a brighter image for the camera. Just like infrared technology, the final images will be bathed in a green tint.

And, before you try to justify that some rooms or outdoor areas do not have any light, think again. It is never completely dark. Incredibly dark, yes. Pitch black, no. Outside, you will have the moon, street lamps, nearby porch lights, headlights, and more. Inside, you will have the clock on the microwave, reflected light from your own porch light, and so forth. This is all the light your cameras with intensifier tubes need.

Another amazing bit of technology.


Putting Night Vision to Work for You

If you are installing security cameras around your home or office, then you will want to make sure that they are capable of providing you with footage even when the lights go off. Typically, night vision is a common feature on security cameras. And, when you buy then, more than likely, they will offer you the capabilities of recording at night. Keep in mind, however, that this is something you want to confirm before you make your purchase.

Leaving extra lights on at your home or office – whether indoors or out – can cost you money and waste energy. But without night vision, this is what is necessary all hours of the day. By investing in cameras with night vision, you can turn those lights off, save the electricity, and rest assured that your space is being recorded.

Install night vision cameras outdoors, securing the perimeter of your home or office. Or, place them throughout the inside of your home or office to monitor any activity. They will protect you as they go to work for you.


Having cameras with night vision capabilities means that you can see things clearly no matter what the setting. When it comes to your security needs, being left in the dark can lead to many opportunities for those wishing to do harm or commit crimes.

Don’t allow the opportunity. Be sure to install security cameras so that you are always protected.

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