Black cat in a dark room. Infrared camera illumination becomes more efficient.

By Dailyfinreport - October 10, 2020

 Man, unlike nocturnal animals, cannot see in the dark. But technologies allow, if not to see, then at least to record on video what is happening in an unlit room. Many modern cameras are equipped with infrared illumination. Is it necessary for a camera installed in an apartment, or can you do without a backlight? 

How to choose a camera for video surveillance?

It is worth noting that all cameras are more or less capable of shooting in the dark - the image quality depends on the light sensitivity of the matrix. However, infrared illumination is often required to obtain a sufficiently clear picture to assess the events that fall into the camera lens. Before the advent of modern LEDs built into cameras, external infrared emitters were widely used. External illuminators of the IK6 series, manufactured in St. Petersburg, are widely used in our country. The products were of a plate or bolt design. Illuminators IK6 were used both separately and as emitters in the assembly of powerful infrared illuminators. But unlike modern LEDs, these illuminators required a heat sink - they were installed on massive radiators, but the plates could still overheat and fail. In addition, the installation of external illuminators required considerable care, since the emitters were made of brass - they could be bent.

Also, infrared plates were made that simulate the apartment number: the illuminator is mounted on the door instead of the usual number plate, and a camera is mounted near the door. However, all these solutions were not very convenient for domestic use - they required installation, were quite bulky and noticeable: infrared illuminators were often damaged by intruders.

Practice has shown that a different technological solution is required for apartments and small private houses - a camera with built-in infrared illumination.Such solutions began to appear en masse on the market in the 2000s and quickly gained popularity.

Benefits of built-in backlight

Compared to infrared illuminators, the illumination built into the camera has several advantages:

  • Low power consumption and the ability to work from a DC source (usually 5 V) - just connect the camera and the backlight is already on.
  •  Significant reliability. Manufacturers typically guarantee a device to run for 50,000 hours or more.
  • Compact dimensions of the camera itself: additional separate devices are not required when connecting.
  • Relatively low cost of very high quality cameras.

You can be followed. But not everywhere

Cameras with separate infrared spotlights are of course still found. In some cases, they are more effective than household cameras with built-in backlighting (for example, when shooting moving objects at a distance). But in the vast majority of cases, the built-in backlight capabilities are enough to get a fairly high-quality video recording in low light.

The above advantages were immediately appreciated by both large companies and consumers. Cameras with built-in lighting are available from dozens of manufacturers. Devices in domed and cylindrical housings exist in both indoor and outdoor versions. Cameras with built-in support in anti-vandal housings are very popular.

Inexpensive and high-quality solutions for home video surveillance are offered, among other things, by Internet providers. OnLime subscribers can activate the Video Surveillance service and receive a high-quality camera with built-in IR illumination. The device can be controlled using a mobile app, and the video archive is stored on cloud servers.

The future of infrared lighting

Of course, technology is improving, and infrared illuminators are gradually getting better quality. In recent years, cameras with pulsed infrared illumination have appeared. The use of pulsed illumination makes it possible to increase the power of the emitter while maintaining the small physical dimensions of the device. In an apartment or a small house, the difference will not be too noticeable, but when observing moving objects (for example, cars arriving at the parking lot in the evening), the pulsed illumination allows you to see even small details in low light.

In addition, since the mid-2010s, cameras with built-in illumination with variable angle illumination began to be produced. Simply put, the angle of illumination depends on the angle of view of the camera. The spotlight and the camera are synchronized quite accurately, and this allows you to get a sufficiently high-quality image in the dark in those cases when the camera automatically rotates, fixing the situation in the room.

In short, technology makes our lives safer even at night. How will surveillance camera manufacturers surprise us in the coming years? Wait and see.

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