Very low light optical cameras, IR illumination, and thermal cameras are options for seeing in the dark.
It was a dark night with just a small sliver of the moon shining through the trees. The mouse nosed its way through the underbrush using its nose to find small nuts and berries. Unknown to the mouse there was something watching from a tree limb high above. The owl was able to see the mouse clearly even though there was hardly any light. Poor mouse. He had no idea he was in trouble.
How does the owl see in the dark? This article describes the various ways that animals, and more importantly, video cameras can see in the dark. We discuss how cameras make use of the limited light available, IP cameras that use IR illumination and thermal cameras that use thermal imaging technologies.
Do you want to be able to read a license plate over a mile away? You can do it with the latest very long range PTZ IP camera systems. There are long range camera systems that are best for daytime operation and others that can be used day or night.
Be careful about low priced systems that claim long range capability. They don’t have the high quality zoom lenses or laser illuminators that are used in professional camera systems.
In our previous article How Far Can We See with the PTZ IP Camera, we reviewed the difference between detecting a person or vehicle, recognizing the type of object, or identifying who the person is. Each criteria requires a different amount of resolution on the target.
This article reviews the components that make up a long range camera system, and shows how total system performance determines the price.