Day-Night and IR Surveillance Cameras 5

When it comes to recording overnight, there are several ways that cameras can do this.  Infrared is essential when recording overnight.  Day/Night recording is available on the dome, fixed dome, bullet, box, and PTZ security cameras.

The camera can be a true day/night (TDN) with a mechanical IR cut filter (ICR), digital day/night, which adjusts electronically without a filter, or it can have IR LEDs (light-emitting diodes).  Some cameras have IR LEDs surrounding the lens to provide illumination.  Black and white cameras can also record in low light settings.

True Day/Night Cameras

During the day, infrared wavelengths are transmitted to the camera, and without a filter, it can be construed as a color modification, reducing the image clarity.

Most true day/night (TDN) cameras, however, have a mechanical (ICR) infrared cut filter removable (Note: The industry jargon is usually “IR cut”). When the filter is put in place, it filters the wavelengths, improving the quality of the image by showing only the “visible” light, removing the “infrared” light from the spectrum.

Day/Night Cameras IR Cut Filter On/Off
Day/Night Camera IR Cut Filter Turns Off When It Gets Dark

When the camera senses low lighting, it automatically removes the filter that intercepts the infrared waves.  When the filter is removed, the camera starts recording in black and white.  Without color, there is no need for the IR cut filter.  The IR waves cannot be seen by the human eye, but advanced cameras can catch the infrared waves reflecting off objects.

True day/night cameras offer top performance in both day and night situations. The Veilux SVS-60CDNRD is a great example of a TDN.

Day/Night Cameras (Digital)

Digital day/night cameras allow for viewing in both day and night conditions, without the use of an IR cut filter.  During the day it records in color, adjusting electronically to offer similar benefits to TDN, but with a slightly lower cost.  Once it becomes dark, the camera digitally switches to black and white.

When the camera switches to black and white, it solely depends on the lighting and infrared waves reflecting off objects to capture the image.

The best way to see how digital day/night cameras perform is to check their LUX rating.  The LUX rating determines how much light is needed for the cam to see at night.  There are quite a few cameras available that only need a minimal amount of light to see at night.

For some cameras, the ambiance from the starlit sky is enough to attain a nice image at night.  When choosing a camera, be sure to check out the specification sheet and check what LUX the camera operates at.  Here’s an article where we mention LUX and the other important elements to look for in a spec sheet.

Cameras with IR LEDs

IR LED Example
Infrared LED Camera, IR Lighting

Some cameras come with infrared LEDs surrounding the lens.  These LEDs will emit their own light to illuminate an area.  These cameras are ideal for areas with minimal light available.  If you choose to, you can even place these cameras in a total blacked-out area and receive great coverage.

The best advice to give for these cameras is for you to check the distance that the IR LED beams can be shot.  The IR LEDs can range anywhere from 20 meters all the way up to 70 meters and beyond.  Once again look at the spec sheet and make sure the camera you’re considering will cover your required range.

The cameras will operate in color during the day and once the sensor detects increasing darkness the camera will switch over to night vision.  Traditionally at night, you can stand in front of the cameras and can see the IR LEDs giving off a faint red glow.

The Samsung SCO-2120R offers 230 feet of night vision range with IR illumination.

Some cameras offer an IR cut filter and IR LED illumination, such as the GeoVision GV-BL110D, resulting in a true image during the day and illumination at night.


  1. We are trying to catch a thief and thought an infrared trap camera would be a good idea. We went to purchase one and the sales person said it wouldn’t be good because it flashes a light when taking the picture. Is this true?

  2. Sounds like you are considering a trail camera type solution. The “infrared” in the description pertaining to this type of camera means an infrared sensor such as that used in home security “motion”, “PIR or Passive Infrared”, detectors. The way these work are the infrared detector detects movement that will fire the visible white flash of a standard digital camera that is built into this type of system and record the picture on an internal memory card . The reason for these, is that they take VERY little power and can be left for weeks unattended on a few batteries and capture hundreds of images.
    With the above said some manufacturers DO make non-scare or IR FLASH units. These work exactly the same as the above but will flash an infrared flash and record in black and white. They are build to install on wildlife trails to take pictures of animals and not scare them with a camera flash. Note they will only record in b/w .

  3. You have to decide if you want a color (visible white flash) or black and white (infrared flash). Also note that as for the security of a system like this all someone would have to do is smash or steal the whole unit if it was detected as the images are stored onboard…which brings me to this idea , someone should manufacture a “trail” type camera system that has onboard storage AND uploads captured images to a cloud based storage that could hold the images offsite and email you a copy. This could be done. It would maintain the security integrity of offline storage and keep the long unattended, and portability that is known for these systems lol

  4. Howdy! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if that would be okay. I’m definitely enjoying your
    blog and look forward to new posts.

  5. Hi everybody .
    Im looking for a night vision camera
    which will show colour resolution in darkness
    like day .
    Suggest me.

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