Picture of the Front of an Infrared Camera

How Does Infrared Work?

A few weeks ago I posted on the topic of infrared cameras behind glass. Since then I have received questions of what exactly infrared is and how it works on surveillance cameras. The simple answer is it is a high intensity light built into the camera that sends out light in a frequency the human eye cannot see.

Picture of the Front of an Infrared Camera

Front of an Infrared Camera

Looking at the front of an infrared camera you would see small LEDs or Light Emitting Diodes. Each of these puts out light in the infrared range of the electromagnetic spectrum. Much lower than visible light we see every day. When they are on the camera is projecting this light. We can’t see it but it’s there and the camera does see it. In fact, if you look at the face of the camera when the LEDs are on you will see the faint glow of little red dots.

When the camera is in infrared mode it will most times be in black and white. There are times that some color is visible but most times it is the exception rather than the rule. The fact is that colors such as blue, purple, and black appear to be the same color at night (in color). The grayscale of b&w is more sensitive to shades and is more useful in lower light conditions.

When you want to get a picture at night with low or no light without flooding an area with visible light an infrared camera can get it done. Since the camera is acting as your night watchmen shouldn’t you make sure he has a flashlight?

Be sure to check out our line of infrared cameras on our website.

Posted in Articles, CCTV FAQs, Introductions & Overviews and tagged .


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