Installing a security camera is one of the most effective ways to protect our homes, businesses, and families, keeping them safe and secure even in dark areas where you may have a concern about how far can a security camera see at night.
The short answer is, a security camera can see from around 10m to 150m at night depending on the model. Some basic consumer products have infrared LEDs that are designed to work within short distances while professional cameras can reach much further. Let's understand a little bit more about this topic...
Factors to consider when buying a security camera to monitor dark areas
But acquiring a security camera does not mean just buying one and installing it. You need to check out several things first before you purchase one and installing it in your home or property,
- What factors should you consider when getting a security camera?
- What are the the camera’s features?
- Does it capture and deliver clear images and videos?
- Do videos come with audio?
- What about its coverage?
- Can it record 24/7?
- Does it have night vision?
These questions need to be answered first, hence before you get a security camera. This post, however, will try to answer the issue of how far a security camera can see at night and that depends on lenses, infrared illumination and other things.
Different Ways on How a Security Camera Can See At Night
Not all security cameras can see at night. Therefore it is essential that when acquiring one, make sure that it can see at night. There are two ways on how a security camera can do that.
Infrared security cameras
One is the night vision feature. Night vision enables a security camera to see at night with the help of infrared LED lights. These are tiny red lights that are found in your security cameras. With the help of night vision, security cameras can capture and record images and videos during night time, or when it is dark.
There are different types of Infrared cameras and some of them have better quality than others, I suggest you to check the cameras specs before buying To make sure you know how far the camera can see at night.
You can also buy cameras with different IR LED technologies.
Thermal security cameras
Another way for a security camera to see at night is through thermal vision.
Thermal vision uses heat to see. In other words, the security cameras can detect heat and captures images and footage via the heat sources that it can sense and detect.
The ability of a security camera to see at night is one vital factor to consider.
Factors That Influence a Security Camera’s Field of View
Remember that you are getting a security camera to keep your establishments and homes safe, not only during the daytime but especially at night.
This is the time when everybody is resting and is in a deep sleep, the most common time for burglars and intruders to strike. That is, aside from when the owners are away, of course, hence leaving the property unattended and empty.
How far a security camera can see is influenced by several factors. In other words, this is not only applicable at night, but even during the day. Among the factors that affect how far a security camera can see are mentioned below.
Security Camera Quality
An important factor is the quality of a security camera. Make sure you get one with the best quality. These types come with excellent features, and ones that are modern and updated, too. They can deliver better images and videos, making surveillance and monitoring smooth and effective.
Not all security cameras are created equal. Therefore, be meticulous and curious when getting one. Make sure that it meets up with your needs and preferences. However, the best way to be sure that you are getting the right security camera is by getting one from reputable, top-security brands.
Yes, it is imperative that security cameras can see at night. But it does not end there. It must be “security cameras can see CLEARLY at night.” It will be of no use if your security camera can see at night, but delivers poor quality videos and images.
It is very important that you be aware of such things as resolution, too, and not just the brand and cost of a security camera. High-resolution cameras are best.
Today, HD security cameras are becoming much affordable. Therefore, you can get the 4MP, 5MP, and even 4K security camera systems so you can have video surveillance with vivid details.
Focal length refers to the size of your security camera’s lenses. This is the most essential factor to consider when acquiring a security camera. The focal length is responsible for determining how far a security camera can see.
The focal length is measured in millimeters (mm). It may be classified into:
- Variable focal length – which is available in varifocal IP cameras.
- Fixed focal length – which are found in the fixed lenses of security cameras.
Important: Larger focal length means a narrower field of view. A smaller focal length means a more extensive field of view.
For instance, for a field of view of 40 feet max, a 4.0 fixed lens security camera is what you should get. However, if you want your security camera to have a wider field of view, then you should get the PTZ security cameras or zoom cameras.
These types can see beyond 40 feet from the point of its installation. Therefore making its field of view wider.
Now, this is a simple thing to understand. What is needed here is common sense.
Location plays a significant factor when we talk about the field of view of your security camera. Yes, you have a security camera with excellent quality.
Yes, your security camera’s resolution is the best. Yes, its focal length suits your needs and preferences. And yes, it has night vision.
But wait! How come it still has a limited field of view? In cases like these. Check its location. Yes, it is as simple as that.
We are only humans, and we are prone to mistakes. There are times when giving too much attention to focus on essential and intricate things.
We end up neglecting the “simple” factors. And one of these “simple” factors is the location where your security camera is set up.
A simple tree or wall obstructing the view of your security camera can affect its field of view. Therefore the location of your security camera must be free of obstructions.
The direct glare of light is also a factor that can affect the field of view of your security camera, especially at night.
Therefore, you must choose the location of your security camera correctly. Make sure that it is positioned in an area where it will have a full field of view.
Types of Night Vision Cameras
Night vision cameras come in three types:
- Less expensive, low-range cameras – as the name suggests, they cost less. However, they also have limited features and are low-range, at that. Meaning, they usually have poor quality.
- Mid-range security cameras – when talking about night vision, these types can see at night. However, it has a limited field of view. In other words, it cannot see far.
- High-end security cameras – This refers to HD security cameras. These types have excellent quality. The images and videos they capture are as bright and vivid both during the day and at night. They might be a little expensive, but at least you are assured of the best equipment when it comes to quality, reliability, and durability.
Take a look at the picture below, this is an example of a professional security camera from Samsung that can see up to 150m in the Dark.
This professional PTZ camera from Samsung has powerful IR LEDs that can illuminate people and objects that are are far away.
Of course this is an expensive camera but this answer your question about how far a security camera can see at night (up to 150m).
Seeing Far and Monitoring at a Distance with Vivid Details
It is essential that your security camera can see at night. And that it has a broader field of view. However, your security camera must deliver bright and vivid videos and images, too. To make sure that your security camera does just that, it all depends on the type of security camera you purchase.
Make sure you get one with high resolution. It must also have the ability to zoom in, but with vivid results. Getting a security camera from reputable manufacturers is also important.
Although they might cost a little more than unknown brands, you are guaranteed of the best quality. Besides, these types come with warranty and technical support.
See to it that your security camera is installed in an area where there is no obstruction. If the field of view of your security camera is obstructed, you will not be able to enjoy its full benefits.
Remember that a wall, a tree. A tall bush, a post, and an improper angle are factors that can contribute to and affect the performance of your security camera.
These may be just simple factors to consider, but if neglected, it can compromise the security of your home and property.
To Wrap Up
It is but typical for us to want to keep out property and homes secure and safe. Thanks to technology, there are a lot of ways to do just that. And one of the most popular ways to protect our family and properties is by installing security cameras.
But, installing security cameras does not mean you are 100% sure that everything will be well protected and safe. As property owners, we also have to do our part.
For instance, be responsible for security camera owners. In other words, make sure you understand what it takes to install a security camera. Be aware of existing laws about the matter, as you might be violating the rights of other people by doing so.
Also, make sure that you are equipped with enough knowledge and information about such a device so you can enjoy the full benefits that such devices can offer. Choose wisely. And with that, stay safe.
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Claudemir Martins is a former Samsung Engineer with 19+ years of experience in the surveillance industry. He has been traveling around 17 different countries to teach people how to design, and install CCTV systems. He is currently working for Axis Communications as a Technical Services Engineer and living in the United States with his family.