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Getting to the bottom of night vision security camera myths

Getting to the bottom of night vision security camera myths
There are a number of myths when it comes to night vision security cameras. Here we address some of the most common misconceptions.
When it comes to night vision security cameras, there are many misconceptions that could lead to choosing the wrong camera and, therefore, being disappointed by the results. In this article, we clear up some of these misunderstandings.

Night vision cameras only see in black and white

Max Fang Hikvision
Max Fang, Director, IP Products,
Hikvision Digital Technology
The idea of “night vision” usually conjures up monochrome images in black and white or that greenish-hue we’re used to seeing on TV. This is obviously no longer the case.

Today, low light and ultra-low light technologies, along with advances in camera components and related technologies, allow cameras to see in full color in the dark. Many companies have been working hard to improve their low light technology to provide more realistic and clearer color video at night.

While many night vision cameras now offer color, these cameras still require sufficient light to provide color images. These cameras are also equipped with some form of infrared (IR) light which allows the camera to cut to black and white if the lighting is insufficient for the color mode to be effective.

Companies such as Dahua Technology have launched full-color products, which advertise 24/7 full color monitoring in low-light conditions. “Compared with the starlight camera, there is no need to worry about the loss of image details/color information caused by the screen switching to black and white,” said Eaden Xie, IPC Product Director of the Overseas Business Center at Dahua Technology.

Night vision cameras see better in the daytime

One common misconception of night vision security cameras is that it can see more during the day than at night, according to Max Fang, Director of IP Products at Hikvision Digital Technology.

“The daytime imaging performance depends on many aspects, such as depth of field, wide dynamic range (WDR), resolution, etc., which needs to be comprehensively evaluated. The main factors affecting the quality of daytime images are the aforementioned. Low illumination technology does not obviously improve the daytime effect,” explained Fang.

It’s all about specs and data sheets

Another common misconception is equating figures with performance. There is a tendency for end users to rely too heavily on data sheets when deciding what camera solution to implement. In fact, users are often led astray by data sheets and make decisions based on metrics rather than how the camera actually performs.

Unless comparing models from the same manufacturer, data sheets can be misleading and give no indication of the quality of the camera or how it will perform in the scenario, according to Andres Vigren, Global Product Manager at Axis Communications. Also, by limiting the choice of camera to a certain range of specs, other suitable high quality camera options may be excluded from the selection process, leading to substandard outcomes.

“Based on figures alone, end users may purchase the solution that they feel will perform as expected, but fails in the long term as the written specifications are not met. The only way to avoid this is to see the camera in action before making the final decision,” Vigren explained.

Vigren believes it is worth investing the time in doing a “shoot out” where prospective cameras are evaluated to see how they perform in the area during day and night. “In this way, end users can make their decision based on concrete performance evidence,” he said.

Product Adopted:
Surveillance Cameras
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