Night vision cameras can significantly improve security when sources of visible light are low, making night vision essential to many uses for security cameras, including in baby rooms, outdoors, and in vehicles.
Looking for the best outdoor night vision security camera on the market or wanting to put an old phone to use in low light with a night vision camera app? Find plenty of great solutions below.
What Is a Night Vision Camera?
A night vision camera is a surveillance device that has the ability to ‘see’ in low-light or even in complete darkness. Surveillance cameras are generally placed in an environment where the light sources are subject to change, like outside our homes.
Night vision can help better protect your property by capturing video evidence of suspicious activities even in low-light conditions.
How Far Can a Night Vision Camera See?
The farthest a night vision camera can see is about 150 meters, or 492 feet, although devices with longer ranges exist. The range depends on the imaging technology, focal length of the lens, and location.
Infrared Vs Low-Light Filters
Infrared is a hardware based night vision technology. It produces an image using infrared light, which is invisible to the human eye.
Benefits of Infrared:
- Not overly expensive, depending on the effectiveness and range
- Infrared night vision cameras record without additional light
Low-light filters are a software based night vision technology. Using software image intensifiers, original RGB data (red, green and blue color – what the camera and the human eye picks up) into YUV.
YUV represents color slightly differently, based on luminance, (Y), and chrominance (U and V). It requires a moderate degree of visible light to work.
Benefits of Low Light Filters:
- Extra hardware is not needed
- Captures more detail in the image with little light
- Free, thanks to AlfredCamera
What is a Night Vision Camera Used For?
Not all security cameras necessarily need night vision to function adequately depending on how they are being used.
There’s three key uses for surveillance where night vision is not only useful, but more-or-less required for optimum surveillance.
Night vision camera for outdoor
Outdoor security cameras with night vision are essential. When night falls, maintaining a legible image can prove challenging without night vision.
Installing outdoor lighting is a potential way around the problem. While this will help create a clear color image at night, installing external lighting is rarely an option for apartment-dwellers and renters.
Not to mention, it can be a great disturbance to have light shine through windows.
Outdoor security cameras with night vision overcomes these difficulties, making it the perfect solution for those looking for long-term outdoor surveillance.
Night vision camera for baby room
There’s significant limits with the amount of lighting that can be installed in a baby’s room. Darkness is important for ensuring babies get a good night’s sleep, but there is also the need to keep an eye and ear on them throughout the night.
It’s not always necessary to have a high-end infrared night vision camera in this instance because night lights may provide a dim source of light. Software-based night vision that uses low light filters makes ample use of even the smallest amounts of visible light.
Night vision camera for car
With vehicle and parts theft on the rise, taking measures to improve the security of cars is as important as the security measures taken to protect the home. If you decide to install a small security camera in your car, it’s important to consider whether or not it has night vision.
Unlike the outside of the home, installing additional lighting isn’t an option when it comes to a vehicle. Hence, the only practical way to keep car security cameras useful at night time is to use infrared night vision.
How to Use a Night Vision Camera App to Transform Your Phone
iPhones and Android devices do not have infrared built into their hardware. While infrared camera apps may exist, they can only work by purchasing additional peripheries to add to the phone, which can be costly and impractical.
AlfredCamera’s Low-Light Filter makes it the most reliable night vision camera app on the market. It allows users to capture the shapes and outlines of objects in low light conditions without additional hardware.
Alfred achieves this by increasing the contrast, reducing the color, and emphasizing the outline of objects using unique algorithms, making a de facto night vision camera out of your smartphone.
Since no night vision camera app is able to add infrared to a phone’s camera, Alfred’s Low-Light Filter works best where some degree of light is provided. This makes it perfect for use as a nanny cam, since it can utilize the dim light provided by baby night lights to create a clear image.
Download AlfredCamera (App Store and Google Play) and find out how you can make the most out of your DIY night vision camera below.
Turning on Low-Light Filter
- Select a Camera device
- Tap on the “More” arrow in the bottom right corner of the screen
- Turn on Low-Light Filter by tapping on the “moon” icon
Auto Low-Light Filter
Auto Low-Light Filter works by automatically turning on the Low-Light Filter when Alfred detects that there isn’t enough light. To turn on Auto Low-Light Filter,
- Tap on the setting wheel in the Camera’s thumbnail
- Switch the Auto Low-Light Filter toggle on under Others
Visit our support center for a complete setup guide.
Which Camera is Best for Night Vision?
Available from within the AlfredCamera app. From $34.99.
- Extremely affordable
- Strong color night vision that allows users to see colors in low light
- Super responsive camera feed
- Sudden light shifts can falsely trigger motion detection
- No voice assistant support
- Indoors only
AlfredCam is a 1080p indoor hardware camera designed for use with the AlfredCamera app. While the app itself cannot provide true night vision, AlfredCam provides excellent night vision that can automatically turn on when light is insufficient. Contrast is balanced and images are clear and detailed.
Users can also enjoy a wide 130 degree field of view, two-way audio, and super responsive motion detection features, including the option for AI-based person detection with a Premium subscription.
What others are saying…
‘On the back of its namesake app’s continued success, AlfredCamera has taken its first steps into the world of hardware camera releases with AlfredCam, a remarkably affordable and thoughtfully designed security option that gets the basics just right.’ – AlfredCam review
Google Nest Cam
Available on BestBuy. From $129.99.
- Beautiful design
- Strong night vision produces well-balanced images
- Excellent person, object, and animal detection features
- No microSD support
- No siren
Though the live camera feed is prone to bugginess and signal dropouts, Nest Cam’s motion detection features excel. AI built into the camera itself (rather than the app) can tell the difference between people, objects, and animals, which makes the camera much more useful.
The 1080p camera captures super smooth, high-quality night vision footage using six infrared LED sensors. Footage is well-balanced and occasionally achieves up to 30 FPS when using motion detection.
What others are saying…
‘The Nest Cam Battery is definitely a worthwhile investment, especially if you already have other Nest cameras, Nest doorbells, or the (discontinued) Nest Secure security system’ . – Aliza Vigderman & Gabe Turner for security.org.
Reolink E1 Pro
Available on Amazon. From $54.99.
- Super high 2K image quality
- Fast push notifications
- Decent night vision
- No motion tracking despite motorized panning
- No USB cable
- Some latency issues on camera feed
The Reolink E1 Pro is a motorized panning camera that, for some reason, doesn’t have motion tracking. There’s no denying that this is a case of wasted opportunity, but the camera makes up for this oversight with super high 2K image quality.
Naturally, its infrared night vision is also super high quality, although it occasionally struggles with white balancing objects that appear very quickly and close to the lens. But for 50 bucks, it’d be hard to find another camera that has better image quality than this.
What others are saying…
‘The Reolink E1 Pro impresses with its user friendliness and astounding video quality. It was a cinch to set up, and, a couple of nitpicks aside, a delight to use. If picture quality and price are your top considerations, the E1 Pro is a very good choice.’ – Michael Ansaldo for TechHive.
Kasa Spot Pan Tilt
Available on Amazon. From $29.99.
- Motorized 360 panning with motion tracking
- Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT, Samsung SmartThings compatible
- Clear image quality
- No built-in siren
- Noise when rotating
- Works best from a ceiling
TP-Link’s Kasa Spot Pan Tilt is a polished budget security camera designed for long-term indoor use. Motion tracking allows it to follow moving subjects even in night vision mode. It works best installed at a distance from its subjects to monitor larger spaces and maintain white balance.
It is particularly apt for baby monitoring, with strong night vision, decent two-way audio, and the ability to detect and notify baby cries. The recently redesigned app is another plus, making automations easy.
What others are saying…
‘The TP-Link Kasa Spot Pan Tilt (KC115) is an indoor security camera that can spin and tilt, so you’ll be able to point it towards any spot in the room through the app. It produces clear footage at 1080p HD resolution and stores it locally for free. It’s not quite as speedy as a more expensive camera but it’ll be reliable for the most part.’ – Yasmine Crossland for T3.
Do night vision cameras exist?
Yes, night vision cameras exist. There is no singular ‘night vision’ capability, but a range of different ways to create images out of darkness. The most common and ‘traditional’ method is through infrared, since these images won’t require any visible light.
Find out more about how night vision works in the video below.
Do night vision cameras work in complete darkness?
Yes, an infrared night vision camera will create an image in an environment with no light source at all.
Can you turn your phone camera into night vision?
It is possible to turn a phone camera into a night vision one, but it would involve buying peripherals, like heat detecting lenses, to add to your phone. These peripherals can cost hundreds of dollars.
AlfredCamera is able to observe low-light environments with relatively strong detail without the need for buying any extra peripherals, so long as there is some form of light.
Night vision cameras aren’t a made-up fantasy device, but for many of us, dropping thousands of dollars on infrared cameras is a fantasy. There are a number of different options for ‘night vision’, and it isn’t a singular technology.
For those of us on a budget, AlfredCamera’s Low-Light Filter feature provides a great means of replicating the abilities of night vision in an environment with low level light sources. That’s what makes it so great as a baby monitor, as well for keeping an eye on the porch.
How Far Can A Night Vision Camera See?
Why You Need Night Vision for Your Car?
Flying Bugs on your Night Vision Camera? Here’s How to Remove Them