Ever wonder why a CCTV camera has LED lights? What is their purpose in the recording process? And are there different types of LED lights for camera?
Cameras are just as blind as us. Therefore, they need a way to illuminate their surroundings when it is dark, so cameras are like our eyes!
During the day, we use sunlight to see, however, if we did not have light bulbs and electricity we would be left in the dark.
A CCTV camera has LED lights as their own light bulbs to be able to see and record footage in the dark.
Meaning, most cameras nowadays are able to record footage in a pitch-black room! Which can be useful for various situations.
However, a lot goes into how these LED lights that surround a camera work.
How they work
Cameras are great at capturing details in high quality and even helping authority identify suspects.
However, what happens when the sun goes down? Can security cameras see in the dark?
To begin the LED lights are called infrared lights and are used for security purposes. This is because infrared light is invisible to the naked eye.
Therefore, we cannot see it, however, it allows cameras to see us, which can be especially helpful when catching burglars and thieves on camera.
Since infrared lights are silent and invisible, they can be very discrete in filming and do not need a large lamp to provide light.
These infrared lights illuminate the camera's surroundings, therefore allowing it to make out objects and people in a gray scale.
This is possible because the light that bounces off objects then reflects back to the camera is recorded.
This makes recording footage at night easy as cameras automatically turn their infrared lights on when they need better lighting to record.
The infrared lights are not achieved with any normal LED that you find around your home, they are called IR LED. And can be found around the lens of the camera.
Their placement is specifically to make sure that the rim of the lens is illuminated, therefore capturing good footage.
These IR LEDs give off the infrared light only when needed and turn off during the day when light is available and can be used by the camera to record.
LEDs are also superior to other solutions such as attachable light sources. Additionally, they also consume less energy, therefore being more Eco-friendly too!
Why is infrared light used?
Security cameras are usually used to monitor a place from being robbed or to guard someone against stealing something.
Criminals usually steal and rob at night. There are fewer chances of someone seeing them, cars passing by, etc.
Therefore, having your camera being able to see at night can be quite helpful.
This invisible light that allows the camera to capture footage at night is very helpful in catching criminals as it makes the area clear enough for details to come through.
The only thing is that the images could not be in color at night as the light is not as powerful as the sunlight.
If the color is important to you, some sort of external light can be installed to enable the camera to now see the color around
Cameras that see in the dark can be installed in multiple places such as inside a bank vault that never gets sunlight.
Stores, offices, and companies have cameras both inside and outside. Some of the cameras get light during the day, others might get it at all.
Advantages of using infrared light
A CCTV camera has LED lights for the simple reason of illumination of the area when there is a lack of light. However, there is more to it than that.
For instance, these lights help minimize pollution and are the most Eco-friendly choice to illuminate the surroundings to record with cameras.
Apart from that, the infrared lights are also very powerful. They can cover long distances and illuminate them very well.
Additionally, these lights that are found in cameras allow authorities to enter scenes without being blinded, and the subtle red color that the lights give off lets them know the cameras can be checked as evidence.
Keep in mind that the closer objects and people are, the more detail they will have as they are next to the light source of the camera.
However, Infrared lights are not the only option that is found around a camera lens these days. So, what else could you invest in?
Keep in mind that the placement of the camera can seriously affect the footage. Pay close attention to the position and reach the camera has.
You should be aware that the camera can only illuminate the area for a set distance, therefore, you should buy a camera depending on the distance you're hoping to cover.
The further objects are from the camera, the less detail will appear. Therefore, the position of the camera is fairly important.
Meaning, if you want to monitor an area, place the camera in a position in which the area is close to the camera, so it is illuminated by the lights.
Have you ever heard that angles are everything when it comes to pictures? Well, it is the same with surveillance cameras.
A CCTV camera has LED lights for illumination, but to properly light up the area, the camera must be positioned at a good angle.
For instance, do not pick a narrow-angle. This will cause a spotlight in the middle of the area, therefore not giving you a good quality image.
There are additional features that you should keep in mind when choosing which lighting id right for you. Such as instant start.
This allows your camera to quickly switch to recording with the LEDs on as soon as you turn off the lights. Keeping you from missing anything that happens.
You should also pay close attention to whether the LEDs will resist different climates. These are usually found in higher-end products.
Other features include superior quality illumination. Which evenly spreads the light around the area. Therefore, gets rid of dark/ bright spots.
It should also not consume that much power. Some cameras are known for lower power consumption. But overall LED lighting is the perfect solution to illuminate an area.
Infrared LED lights
There are many advantages to picking Infrared lights. For example, they provide a greater distance, are invisible to the human eyes, and are very Eco-friendly.
Additionally, they are the most commonly used LED lights for cameras and they do not contribute to light pollution, which is very crucial.
They are great to keep intruders from realizing they are being recorded. And allow you to capture vivid and clear images with great details. Therefore, optimizing camera performance.
You can also install Infrared Illuminators next to regular cameras to use them at night. These can be bought inexpensively in sites like Amazon.
The white light illuminates the path for pedestrians are mostly used outside the residential area. They can also deter intruders when detected.
Also, provide images in color thanks to the strong LEDs. Images come out with high-quality and are visibly clear.
Additionally, they optimize color camera performance. and work 24/7, making it a powerful feature to have.
These LEDs can also be equipped with motion sensors and have amazing illumination capabilities. As well as avoiding bright and dark spots.
You might not want to invest in a camera with LEDs as you prefer to leave the lights on regardless. Do not worry, you can use one of the following:
Though their light is not ideal, they illuminate the area, therefore allowing it to record day or night. As long as you leave it on, there should not be an issue.
For CCTV purposes, these live too short of a life. Therefore making them a bit inefficient as they must be changed frequently.
Additionally, they are usually expensive to keep running and maintaining. Typically 500 watts to run and around 3 bulb changes per year.
The bottom line
In short, there are two main types of LEDs that can be used to record at night. A CCTV camera has LED lights to illuminate its surroundings.
This allows the camera to "see in the dark" and monitor 24 hours straight. Keep in mind there are many night/ day cameras in the market out there.
What do you prefer? Infrared or white light LEDs? Let us know down below.
Claudemir Martins is a former Samsung Engineer with 16+ experience in the surveillance industry. He has been traveling around 17 different countries to teach people how to design, and install CCTV systems.