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6 Helpful Tips for Best Night Vision CCTV Cameras

Don’t forget! This coming Sunday is the end of British Summer Time, meaning the clocks go back an hour, and everyone is blessed with another hour’s sleep. Unfortunately the downside to this is that night falls much quicker in the evening. Because of this we thought it would be the ideal time to update one of our more popular posts from back in March this year, about how to get the best results from night vision CCTV…

By their very nature, most of the incidents you’ll need to record in a home CCTV system are going to be happening under the cover darkness.  Because of that, setting up effective night vision is vital to getting the best results from your security equipment. There are however some easy traps to fall into when choosing and installing your cameras that can greatly impact the quality of the image that they will record. Because of that we recommend keeping these helpful tips for getting the best from Night Vision CCTV cameras.

Choosing the right cameras is vital to getting the best night vision

1) Make sure the IR is powerful enough
This is probably the most important thing to keep in mind when comparing night vision cameras, but it can be deceptively tricky to get right. All IR CCTV cameras will have a quoted maximum range, from 5m to 50m and even longer. Remember though, this figure is an absolute maximum range, and image quality will not be ideal at these extremes. We normally recommend measuring how far you need to see, and then adding on a third, so if you want to see 30m, then it’s worth investing in a 40m camera.

2) Make sure the IR is not too powerful
Many people overlook this, but having IR that is too powerful can also be just as bad for the image quality. This is because most CCTV cameras cannot adjust the IR brightness, so a subject standing right next to a camera designed for long ranges will simply look washed out and too bright.

Despite their size, our compact 20m HD domes are more than powerful enough to watch a doorway

3) Be careful with Wide Angle lenses
IR LEDs are designed to brightly illuminate the centre of the image in order to focus their power. Because of this, the night vision on most CCTV cameras will not have a very wide angle of view. This is not usually a problem, but some cameras will have varifocal lenses that can zoom out. In these cases, just be aware that at the wide end of the zoom, the corners of the image will not be covered by night vision.

4) Make sure the field of view is clear
It’s important that no objects are sticking into the field of view near the camera. This is because most CCTV cameras will try and adjust exposure in order to give the best image. If there is an object like a tree branch or leaves jutting into the frame, this will be very brightly lit by the LEDs (so point #2 above). The camera then makes the image darker to try and compensate. The knock-on effect of this is that the rest of the image then becomes far too dark to see any detail.

5) IR needs something to reflect off of
Much like light from a torch, the light from IR CCTV will not be visible unless it is reflected off of something. Customers sometimes point a camera into an empty field, and are alarmed when there is nothing but darkness in the image. This does not mean the IR is not working however, and a subject will still be visible when they move into range

6) Remember the mounting height
When considering how powerful your night vision needs to be, it’s important to bear in mind the height your cameras will be mounted at. For example, if your car is parked 4m away from your house, and your camera is mounted 3m from the ground, the actual distance from camera to car is 5m. This is especially important to remember when mounting cameras above ground floor height.

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