Lighting Is King – CCTV Lighting

No matter if you’re using an indoor or outdoor security camera, you are going to want to be able to have a clear and illuminated picture that can help catch and identify potential threats. The key to this is to make sure you have the appropriate accessories or built-in functionality in your CCTV camera to take advantage of your environments illumination needs. To this end we will go over various camera features and equipment that can be used in all kinds of lighting scenarios.

Low Lux Rating

Cameras that feature a low lux rating are capable of using small amounts of light to illuminate your cameras picture. The lower the lux rating that your camera has, then the better able it is to use the available light to its advantage. So if you have any source of light available, even if it’s a small amount; a low lux security camera could be a fantastic solution.

The downfall to this type of camera for some is that a lot of the models will switch over to a black and white picture when the lighting levels are lowest. This is done as it is easier to light in this fashion, but some cameras will have a sensitivity rating that can be adjusted to attempt and keep your color picture for as long as possible.

IR (Infrared) Illumination

A popular way to illuminate a cameras picture during the night or in dark places is to use IR LEDs. By buying a security camera with built-in IRs or by getting an external IR illuminator you can provide a well lit picture even in complete darkness. Most bullet cameras these days come with IRs already built into them, but if your camera doesn’t have them built in you can use an external IR source.

Two things to note with IR solutions is that if you use an IR illuminator, you will need to make sure your camera is sensitive to IR light; otherwise you won’t be able to utilize it. Additionally when using an IR solution, you cannot place the IR LEDs behind glass, as they will reflect and blind your camera; thus rendering your camera useless. In this scenario a low lux camera would be a better solution.

WDR Functionality

If you are using a camera that is shooting an indoor environment as well as through a window you may notice that you will not be able to get a clear picture of both environments simultaneously. The reason for this is the vast lighting difference between your facility and the outdoor lighting. The WDR (Wide Dynamic Range) feature however is a function that can automatically compensate for this discrepancy and provide a clear picture of both areas.

In the end by assessing your illumination needs and comparing them with these different lighting solutions, you should be able to come up with a good idea of what type of security camera will work best for your application.

Christian M Gillman has worked in the surveillance industry for over 6 years. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter, learn more about surveillance, and find great products at

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