Should You Use A Low Lux Or An Infrared Camera?


I would like to know what would provide a better picture at night… a low lux WDR (Wide Dynamic Range) camera with an external light source, or an infrared camera with no light source?


This is a great question and one that I get all the time. The answer is, of course, “it depends”. For short range (10-30ft) and zero light it would probably be better to have an infrared camera. At that range the light would be projected directly on the area you are focused on without much chance for fading light. A single outdoor light, like a porch light, with a low light camera can tend to get either washed out close (10′) or dark further (30′) because of the multiple levels of lighting.

However, if you have multiple lights that are strong enough to light up an area at least as large as the area to be monitored then a low light camera would do well there. Infrared cameras may tend to get overpowered by the natural light or the sensor that turns the infrared LED’s on may see bright lights as no reason to engage the night mode.

Posted in Articles, CCTV FAQs.


  1. I have a problem, I have a 4 camera system 3 of the cameras are mounted on the house with 100′ lines, never had a problem with them, the other one is about 600′ to a metal pole and I’m running cat-5 line to them with 2 Model VB1S video transceiver on the ends. The problem is that I keep knocking that channel out, the camera and the video input go bad, this has happen 4 times. The last time I ran a separate power source in a complete different cable, and it still did the same thing,
    It does seam to happen during bad weather, with a lot of lighting in the area,I am using infrared cameras any suggestion.
    Thanks for any help
    James Moore

  2. I have found that nothing will totally stop a voltage spike from lightning except fiber optic cable. If your camera is getting knocked out through the video connection this would be the fix. Another option would be to go to a wireless video set up. Either way, it will be an expensive fix. If the spike is coming in through the power connection then some type of isolation power supply could be used.

  3. A low lux camera will “see” infrared lights so if you get a low lux camera and put it in a room and get a couple infrared night light style lights to put on the far side of the room you’ll take advantage of the best of both worlds.

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