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Do You Need Night Vision Cameras?

What Is a Night Vision Camera?

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
AlfredCamera’s Low-Light Filter feature in action

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. 

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

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. 

Turning on Low-Light Filter

  1. Select a Camera device
  2. Tap on the “More” arrow in the bottom right corner of the screen
  3. 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,

  1. Tap on the setting wheel in the Camera’s thumbnail
  2. Switch the Auto Low-Light Filter toggle on under Others

Which Camera is Best for Night Vision?


Available from within the AlfredCamera app. From $34.99.

AlfredCam on a glass table


  • 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.

Google Nest Cam

Available on BestBuy. From $129.99.

Nest Cam (battery) in magnetic stand


  • Beautiful design
  • Strong night vision produces well-balanced images
  • Excellent person, object, and animal detection features


  • Expensive
  • No microSD support
  • No siren

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.

Reolink E1 Pro

Available on Amazon. From $54.99.

The front of Reolink E1 Pro


  • 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

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.

Kasa Spot Pan Tilt

Available on Amazon. From $29.99.

The front of Kasa Spot Pan Tilt


  • 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

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.


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.

Credit: The Hook Up
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.