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10 Things You Need to Know about IR Cameras

When looking for surveillance cameras, here are some of the top reasons to consider infrared:
1. Perfect for covert applications. Infrared illumination is in a frequency range beyond what the human eye is capable of registering as light. Conversely, most video cameras perceive infrared light just as they would any other type of light. So if your goal is to catch a bad guy in the act – and they usually strike in the darkness, then infrared is an invaluable tool to obtain irrefutable evidence of a suspect who believes he is not being watched.
2. Never get left in the dark. The day/night capability of IR cameras provide the best of both worlds, delivering vibrant color images during the day and high resolution b/w images at night.
3. Save on energy costs. Video cameras equipped with IR capabilities typically use LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) to produce infrared illumination. In comparison to incandescent lighting (normal light bulb), LEDs use 80% or less energy while still producing the same level or sometimes greater intensity of light.
4. Save even more over time. Infrared cameras are usually equipped with photocells that turn IR lighting on/off, giving you IR lighting only when necessary and thus boosting the LED life. In addition to help of the photocell, LEDs simply last a long, long time. LEDs last between 20,000 and 25,000 hours of constant use, compared to the lifetime of a normal light bulb of 700 to 2000 hours. Some cameras equipped with advanced LEDs will even last up to 100,000 hours.
5. Suited for any application, outdoors and in. IR cameras are available in countless form factors, IR ranges, and feature sets, and most IR cameras produced today are rated for outdoor use. That said, it is common place to see IR cameras used indoors, especially IR dome cameras that can be mounted in such a way to be pleasing to the eye.
6. Got vandals? No problem. On the surface, IR dome cameras may appear to be vulnerable to the attack of vandals… but for the most part the opposite is true. Today's IR dome cameras use Polycarbonate clear domes that can withstand direct blows of a three pound hammer or more…now that's tough. What's more - most mounting brackets provide an enclosed channel to protect Ethernet, video and power cables - preventing the bad guy from snipping the cables. The same mounting brackets can withstand 5 tons of force without breaking, making disabling the camera a near impossibility.
7. Save time… Ready to go out of the box. In comparison to other types of cameras, the time required to install IR cameras can be dramatically less, because everything comes all in a single plug-and-play package. IR cameras typically come with the lens pre-installed and precisely focused for infinite viewing. You will also save time not having to install a camera into a housing, or cut and strip cable for the housing.
8. Save money at time of purchase. Along with time savings, there is usually a sizable cost savings associated with buying a camera that's ready to go out of the box - versus buying a separate illuminator, lens, housing, camera, extra cable and multiple power supplies.
9. Improve light penetration. A little known fact is that infrared light penetrates atmospheric haze better than visible light. Underwater researchers that use video gear have long been leveraging this unique benefit of IR to help cut through murky waters. Similarly, areas of the country with high humidity and pollution can experience better video quality using infrared versus normal illumination.
10. Decrease light pollution. In times past, security needs for homes and business that called for 24/7 visibility typically meant lots and lots of lights placed around houses, yards, parking lots, driveways, etc… This often does more than provide security… it annoys the heck out of neighbors. IR cameras offer you the perfect blend of surveillance with the twist of not having to punish your neighbors with glaring lights.

Above article released by S|C on 1/27/10


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