THOUGHT CENTER > Blog > Security Cameras

Can Security Cameras See in the Dark?

January 16, 2024

  • • Infrared technology in security cameras involves IR LEDs that emit infrared light. Infrared light is invisible to the naked eye but detectable by camera sensors. Infrared light is how cameras see in the dark when humans don’t.
  • • EXIR night vision enhances security camera performance by providing evenly distributed infrared illumination, reducing overexposure, and improving clarity at the edges for sharper images in low-light conditions.
  • • Thermal night vision in security cameras works by detecting temperature differences and translating them into thermal images, allowing the camera to see in total darkness and through obscurants like smoke and foliage.

When it comes to safeguarding your business or organization, understanding the capabilities of your security system is crucial both during the day and at night. After all, businesses are four times more likely to be burglarized than homes.

That may explain why a common question we hear is, "Can security cameras see in the dark?"

Our answer is, “Yes, yes, yes! They sure can!”

Security cameras have come a long way, and their ability to see in the dark is nothing short of impressive.

Businesses can optimize their cameras for night vision by strategically placing them in well-lit areas, performing regular maintenance, and choosing cameras with night vision capabilities suitable for their specific needs.

Keep on reading to learn how modern security cameras function in low-light conditions and how they leverage advanced night vision technology. Plus, we’ll share best practices for nighttime monitoring and monitoring in low-light conditions.

The Magic of Night Vision in Security Cameras

Most modern security cameras are equipped with night vision capabilities that allow them to capture clear images even in poorly lit conditions.

The Magic of Night Vision in Security Cameras

But how does night vision work, you ask? It's all about technology.

Infrared Technology

Infrared (IR) technology is the secret sauce that powers most night vision security cameras. These cameras have IR LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) surrounding their lenses.

When the light levels drop below a certain level, LEDs kick in and emit infrared light. This light is invisible to human eyes but works like a charm for camera sensors, which are very much able to see the infrared spectrum.

EXIR Night Vision

EXIR night vision is an advanced infrared technology used in security cameras. It stands for Extended Infrared, and it significantly enhances night vision quality.

Unlike traditional IR, EXIR provides more efficient and evenly distributed illumination. It also reduces overexposure in the center of the image and increases clarity at the edge—extended infrared results in clearer, sharper images in low-light conditions.

EXIR technology also extends the lifespan of the IR LEDs, making it a more durable and effective solution for night-time surveillance.

Thermal Night Vision

Thermal night vision captures images based on heat emitted by objects, thereby avoiding dependence on available light.

Thermal cameras detect temperature differences, which they then translate into clear images—even in total darkness.

This technology is ideal for security.

  • It can see through obscurants like smoke or foliage.
  • It can identify living beings or vehicles at significant distances, regardless of lighting conditions.

Color Night Vision

Some high-end camera models can even provide color night vision. These cameras have advanced IR technology and more sensitive sensors than standard night vision cameras.

Understanding the Limitations

While it's fantastic that security cameras can see in the dark, they're not all-powerful.

The quality of night vision varies based on the camera model and the environment.

Factors like the number of IR LEDs, the strength of these LEDs, and the camera's lens type and sensor quality play a big role in the quality of night vision.

Distance Matters

The effective range of a camera's night vision is a key factor. Some cameras can see objects clearly at great distances, while others might struggle beyond a few feet.

Therefore, it's important to choose cameras with night vision capabilities that suit the size and layout of your premises.

Environmental Conditions

External factors like fog or rain (or even a spider web on the lens) can impact the clarity of night vision. Regular maintenance and strategic placement of cameras help to reduce these issues.

Black and White

Most standard night vision cameras capture images in black and white. This is because black-and-white images require less light to maintain picture quality.

Best Practices for Optimizing Night Vision

To get the most out of your security cameras' night vision, follow these tips:

Strategic Placement: Position cameras in well-lit areas and avoid pointing them directly at light sources.

Regular Maintenance: Keep lenses clean and check for obstructions regularly.

Choose Wisely: Invest in cameras with strong night vision capabilities and the right range for your specific needs.

Wrapping It Up

In a nutshell, yes, security cameras can see in the dark, and they do a pretty darn good job at it, too! It's all thanks to advancements in infrared technology and the dedication of companies like Mammoth Security.

outdoor security cameras and point-to-point antenna with Mammoth Security logo

At Mammoth Security, we're committed to helping businesses and organizations like yours stay secure, day and night, and we do it by picking and installing the right gear to monitor different spaces.

For a free site survey and consultation with an expert from our team, just click to contact us and fill out the short form.

Let’s keep your premises safe no matter the time of day or night!




Yes, security cameras can see in the dark using night vision technologies like Infrared (IR) and EXIR, which allow them to capture clear images in low-light conditions.

The limitations of security camera night vision include varying quality based on the number of IR LEDs, their strength, and the camera's lens and sensor quality, as well as environmental factors like fog or rain.

Most night vision cameras capture images in black and white because black-and-white images require less light than color images to maintain footage clarity.

IR LEDs in night vision security cameras emit infrared light that illuminates the camera's field of view in low-light conditions, enabling the camera to capture images even in the dark.

While night vision cameras can see in low-light conditions, their clarity can be impacted by environmental factors like fog and rain, which may obscure the camera's view.

The effective range of a security camera's night vision varies depending on the camera model and can range from a few feet to significant distances.

When choosing a night vision security camera, consider factors like the number and strength of IR LEDs, camera lens and sensor quality, and the camera's effective range for night vision.

Color night vision in security cameras differs from standard night vision by providing color images in low-light conditions. Color night vision uses more sensitive sensors and advanced IR technology compared to standard night vision.

Yes, regular maintenance is important for night vision security cameras. It’s important for all cameras. Regular maintenance for night vision security cameras includes checking lenses for cleanliness and checking for obstructions.

Depending on the camera's resolution and the quality of its night vision capabilities, security cameras can identify individuals in the dark.

Advancements in night vision technology for security cameras include the development of EXIR technology for more efficient illumination, thermal imaging for detecting heat signatures, and color night vision capabilities.

Businesses can effectively monitor security cameras through multi-monitor displays, smartphone and desktop apps, remote monitoring services, and video storage and management solutions. These methods enable comprehensive, uninterrupted CCTV monitoring both on-site and remotely.

You can view your security cameras remotely by using smartphone and desktop apps. These apps enable live video access from your phone or computer, offering detailed surveillance footage anytime, anywhere, with user-friendly interfaces and automatic alert functionalities.

Remote monitoring services provide continuous surveillance, with guards accessing footage via the Internet to monitor distant sites. These services utilize AI-based video analytics for superhuman attention to detail, which reduces the need for numerous personnel, thereby cutting costs.

Multi-monitor displays in surveillance command centers enable a comprehensive view of all security camera feeds simultaneously. This setup allows for real-time oversight that helps security personnel make immediate decisions and respond swiftly to unwanted activities.

The Command Center Approach in security camera monitoring involves dedicated security rooms with multi-monitor setups. This approach provides real-time oversight and enables security personnel to observe live footage and enact swift responses to security incidents.

To view security cameras online, use IP (Internet Protocol) cameras with smartphone and desktop apps that support remote access. These apps provide a detailed view of surveillance footage, enabling monitoring tools and functionalities like live video access and automatic alerts for preprogrammed triggers.

Artificial intelligence plays a significant role in remote monitoring services by applying video analytics to incoming footage. This enables enhanced monitoring that misses no detail, spotting unusual events and behaviors and reducing the need for extensive personnel in remote monitoring command rooms.

Video Management Systems (VMSes) are useful for advanced surveillance monitoring as they combine live monitoring with features like video analytics and smart search filters.

A Network Video Recorder (NVR) functions as a centralized repository for surveillance footage in a surveillance system. It stores high-quality digital video streams from IP cameras and facilitates quick access to recorded footage, making it essential for efficient security management and incident review.



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