Posted on

850nm vs. 940nm, IR Wavelength Comparison for CCTV Applications

There are two common IR wavelengths used in CCTV applications today. IR or Infrared wavelengths are measured in ‘nm’ or nanometers, which are used to specify the wavelength of electromagnetic radiation near the visible part of the light spectrum. Visible light ranges from about 390 to 700nm. The IR in CCTV applications take over from there, commonly 850nm and 940nm, which allow us to see images that would normally fall outside of our visible range, thus IR Illuminator. These IR LED’s are used to produce, or improve ‘Night Vision’ capabilities for security cameras.

visible-light-wavelength

 

Although the IR wavelengths 850nm and 940nm, respectively, are fairly similar in performance, there are a few important differences worth noting. The use of IR LED’s in security cameras has become commonplace as technology has improved dramatically and cost has come down. Generally, the great majority of security cameras or CCTV Cameras are sensitive to the 850nm wavelength. Although the IR light is invisible to the human eye, the IR LED’s will produce a faint red glow when looking directly at the camera or source.

The main advantage of the 940nm wavelength is that the IR LED’s do not produce any visible glow. In other words, they are completely invisible and can be used in applications that are required to be more covert. In fact, many people refer to them as ‘Covert IR’. This type of IR is also useful in places where a red glow may be mistaken as a signal and can not be used. The disadvantage of 940nm is that they are about 30-40% less effective and will illuminate less distance.LUMI-390

When using a separate, or stand-alone IR Illuminator such as the LUMI-240 IR Illuminator , it is important to make sure your CCTV camera is sensitive to the same wavelength as emitted by the illuminator. In other words, if the illuminator is 850nm, your security camera must be sensitive to that wavelength. Most cameras are sensitive to 850nm. Security Cameras that are 940nm are available as well, but much less common.

Most Security Cameras with built in IR LED’s, use an IR Cut Filter in order to maximize different lighting conditions during the day or night. During the daytime, the filter is on in order filter out Infrared Light, that way, color images are not distorted by IR Light. During the nighttime, the IR cut filter is automatically switched off to allow infrared light to enter the camera. The camera switches to IR Mode (Black and White) which is more sensitive to Infrared light.

IR technology has made great strides in recent years which is a great benefit to consumers and commercial CCTV users. SMART IR, Black Film Technology and STARVIS Sensors are among the exciting new Night Vision improvements in the surveillance industry. It is now possible to see extreme distances during day and night with high powered IR LED’s and IR Illuminators. If you are planning a CCTV Installation that requires night vision, it is certainly beneficial to understand the options that are available to you. At Ellipse Security, we are always ready to assist with your planning and design needs.

Have questions?

Call us Toll-Free at 877-880-7728

We Love to Talk to People about Security Cameras!

 

Posted on

SmartIR and How to Avoid Issues

At least a few times a week we get a call that normally goes like this:

Customer: I love the cameras in daytime, but at night I can’t see anything at all.

Tech Support: Are you able to send a screenshot for me to take a look at?

Customer: Sure. *Sends photo*

Tech Support: It looks like there’s a bit too much of the wall in your frame. I’d recommend moving the camera to the left just a bit to get rid of the reflection from the wall.

Customer calls the next day to tell me that just getting the wall or other reflective surface out of frame cleared up their issue. I should mention that these calls aren’t ever a bother. We completely understand that this isn’t something that the majority of people would even consider to be the cause of an issue.

A majority of newer CCTV cameras use Smart-IR, or some variant. Essentially it’s an adaptive IR that will adjust the focus of the IR to either foreground or overall image. If you have someone walking up to an older camera in IR mode, there was a chance that the image could be blown out from the over-saturation of light. Smart-IR solves this by adapting the intensity depending on what’s in the frame of the camera, and where it is.

In our first example we have a fairly balanced image. There are a few things in the foreground that are a bit more reflective, but it’s not disrupting the image too much.

 

In this next image, I’ve inserted a piece of paper into the frame. You can see that it’s beginning to affect the image, and the way the camera is picking it up.

 

Here I’ve placed the paper even further in frame, and now the entire background is pitch black. Granted, this is really a bit of a silly demonstration. So let’s go to something more practical.

 

Here we have a camera mounted in a pretty normal position. There’s a bit of the wall in the frame, but nothing that’s really causing the image to be affected. Let’s move the camera a bit to the right and see how the image changes. 

 

I do know that this is an extreme example, but this is exactly how reflective surfaces can affect your CCTV cameras in IR mode. Flooding the foreground with light, and basically removing the background.

As stated in a previous entry, it’s always good to plan your system layout before you start drilling and running cables. Consider where you’re mounting your cameras, and make sure that there aren’t going to be any obstacles you need to plan around. Gutters, soffits, light-colored walls, etc… If you have any of those in frame, adjust your camera and you’ll most likely be in good shape. If you’re still having issues, you’re always welcome to give us a call. If you’re in the market for some new security cameras with Smart-IR, we have a wide selection. Just let us know what your needs are.

We Love talking to People about Security Cameras.

Posted on

Seeing Color in Extremely Low Light Levels with STARVIS!

Starvis Compare

Starvis CCTV Security Cameras

I’ve been in this industry for a while now, and there have been a handful of innovations that have really grabbed my attention. STARVIS, certainly is one of them. For quite some time, a major drawback to to having CCTV cameras in a low-lit area like a restaurant or bar, is that since the light levels are below the IR threshold, cameras stay in IR mode (Black and White) all the time. In IR mode (night vision), you sometimes lose detail that may be important later on, especially color. In a situation where we need detailed images from our CCTV Cameras, like what color shirt someone is wearing, having a Security Camera that can see in color in low light can be very beneficial. In addition, there are unforseen times when something may cause the IR to bounce wrong and ruin a picture. I know it sounds far fetched, but we don’t have CCTV systems because we’re complacent.

Like I had mentioned earlier, Starvis is one of the few new things in CCTV (well… relatively new) that has really grabbed my attention. It allows for very low-light footage to be captured in color. The Starvis Back-Illuminated sensor, made by SONY, is incredibly sensitive, and since its introduction, they’ve improved upon the technology. You may very well be asking yourself what practical application would this have for you. Check out this comparison below and pick which image you would rather use as evidence or as a way of determining what color shirt a person was wearing.

Starvis

With Starvis technology, not only are images captured, but the footage would also have extra information for the police to possibly make an arrest. Can’t see the color of a car when your cameras are in IR mode? What about a home intruder? The ability to be able to show the police exactly what they looked like is something that could be incredibly beneficial. Business owner? Maybe a restaurant or bar? Being able to keep all footage in color would help identify troublemakers should they start making a scene, or worse. Detail is better preserved in color. Beyond capturing detailed evidence, viewing your live CCTV images and recorded footage can be much more productive when in color. Imagine trying to explain to an employee in training: “Hey, when you served that woman with the, well I’m not sure what color hair she had but on my footage it looks…grayish?”

So Starvis Low Light CCTV Security Cameras are quickly becoming popular with Bar’s, Restaurants, Poker Rooms, Internet Cafe’s and a multitude of other business’s that operate in low light conditions. One Internet Cafe owner exclaimed “Wow, it’s great to be able to finally see everything in color, all the time! It always bothered me that when we were closed during the day, everything was in color but as soon as we opened, and the lights went down, my cameras were in black and white.”

Starvis

So you’re with me up to this point, right? I’m sure you’ve asked yourself, “Which cameras are offered by Ellipse Security that have Starvis Capabilities?”. I’m glad you asked. Our STOiC Technology Line of Cameras feature many Starvis Models for your needs. Here is a quick list:

The STH-B3271 with not only StarVis, but an incredible 270 feet of IR range

https://ellipsesecurity.com/product/sth-b3271b/

The STH-D5561W Dome

https://ellipsesecurity.com/product/sth-d5561w/

The variable focus STH-D2100W Indoor Dome (2.8-12mm zoom)

https://ellipsesecurity.com/product/sth-d2100w/

The STH-B3181 with an IR range of 180′ and a 2.8-12mm Variable Foucus lens (also available in charcoal color)

https://ellipsesecurity.com/product/sth-b3181w/

And the author’s personal favorite, the STH-B2061W. Quite possibly our most well rounded camera, as well as one of our most popular. SmartIR, Starvis, a compact size, and also has built in audio. This camera could have an article all on its own.

https://ellipsesecurity.com/product/sth-b2061w/

And adding new models every day!

So, now that you’ve seen what Starvis can do for you, and have some ideas as far as practical applications for the home and business, give it a shot for your CCTV camera system. You’ll be able to see the difference for yourself. Still have questions? No problem! Give us a call!

We love talking to people about security cameras, and StarVis!

Toll-Free 877-880-7728

 

Posted on

IR (Night Vision) Application Issues and Concerns in CCTV Dome Style Security Cameras

SCV-6083R

Dome style Security Cameras are a large segment of the CCTV, Surveillance Camera Market. Due to their flexibility and popularity,Vandal Proof Domes are a commonly used form factor. Although they are popular for good reason, there are also some issues and/or drawbacks that could affect performance, Image Quality and Night Vision Images. We will attempt to address some of the more common ones below.

 

Dome Camera too close to reflecting surface

Mounting an IR dome camera underneath an eave or overhang, without enough vertical clearance between the dome and the eave, may cause the IR LEDs to reflect off of the bottom of the eave and bounce back into the lens, ruining the shot. This same effect can be duplicated in a variety of mounting scenarios. Keep the angle of projection of the IR’s in mind when mounting your security camera. Bounce back from objects too close to the IR is extremely common.

Scratches on Dome Camera Outer Cover May be hard to detect

We performed many test’s with Vandal IR Dome Cameras to see how anything from minor scratches to more significantly visible ones impacted images during day and night. A variety of CCTV dome cameras were tested with light and heavy fingerprints, dust and dirt as well. To the eye, some of these issues were not very noticeable unless carefully inspecting the camera and could easily go overlooked in the field. Even slight smudges, dust, or scratches had significant negative impact on image quality at night with IR on, reducing details and blurring portions of the FOV (Field of View), even if these issues were not present during the day, or visible on the dome camera cover itself. Very little force was required to scratch the polycarbonate dome. Never let the dome cover dangle against the wall during installation. It may sound obvious, but is a problem that we run into too often.

Fingerprints on the inside or outside of Dome Cameras Cover

Again, these may be very difficult to actually detect but will cause significant issues. Fingerprints can get on the inside of the dome camera cover during installation just as easily as the outside. Make sure the inside of the dome cover is clean before re installing. After placement, angle of view and focus is set, a final cleaning should be done before closing the cover.

Placement of Black O-Ring around lens is not correctly seated or off center

When reinstalling the dome camera cover, make sure the O-Ring that surrounds the actual lens is placed so that it keeps any IR from bleeding through. This will cause a glaring effect on the image. The ring should be snug against the dome cover all the way around. This is the inner ring that surrounds the lens.

Dust or Dirt, etc, on Dome Camera Cover

Sounds like we are beating a dead horse but, dirt builds up on the dome cover but is barely visible to the naked eye. This may happen a little bit at a time. The image will still be great in the daytime but as soon as the IR’s kick on you will see a plethora of issues. Be careful cleaning the cover as well. Use a scratch free cloth or you will do more damage than good.

Shooting IR Camera through glass is not optimal

Rather than ‘Not Optimal’ we should probably say ‘Inoperable’. IR LED’s will bounce back when going through glass. IR Cameras that are observing an external (outside) area should be installed outside. Installing the camera indoors and shooting through a window will not work. Alternatively, we have seen people put IR Night Vision Security Cameras into housings with glass covers. Same principle applies. Do not do this.

Use a Scratch Free cloth to clean your CCTV Dome Camera

Cleaning your dome with a rough or dirty rag may do more harm than good. The poly dome cover will scratch easily and should be cleaned gently with the appropriate material. I think we may have already mentioned this but it is worth repeating.

Wrong Camera Selection

In many areas, a problem can be solved by switching to a Bullet style Security Camera. ‘Turret’ Style Dome Cameras are another option. Some areas are not optimal to the profile of a Dome style Security Camera. Check with your Dealer or Distributor for options. IR Dome Security Cameras are extremely popular due to ease of installation and rugged form but may not be the best choice for all CCTV Camera applications.

Whatever your questions or concerns, we are happy to help! Give us a call anytime! Toll Free 877-880-7728

We Love to Talk to People about Security Cameras!