Night vision has been around since before World War II. It was first introduced by the German army and has since improved significantly.
Today, night vision is an essential feature in many devices like security cameras and military weapons.
In today’s article, we’ll tell you all there is to know about night vision and technology.
Why Can’t We See At Night?
When compared to other animals, humans have a lesser ability to see in the dark.
The reason is that humans never evolved into nighttime hunters as many predators did. Instead, humans became daytime hunters and therefore didn’t need nighttime vision.
In the past, humans would spend the night in caves and other shelters as a way of protection from nighttime predators. This method led to us developing other necessary tools, but no night vision.
Mammals with night vision have developed a layer of tissue over the eye to increase light, increasing their night vision capacity. The tissue is called Tapetum Lucidum and is present in many carnivorous species and nocturnal animals.
What Is Night Vision Technology?
Humans created night vision technology to allow us to see the world during the night. It is used for many different purposes but can be found mostly in military and security devices.
The technology uses different methods to allow users to see when there’s no light in the environment. You can find night vision in cameras, binoculars, goggles, and even mounted on helicopters.
Types of Night Vision
At the moment, there are many night vision technologies and types that you can use for different purposes. However, the main types are digital night vision, infrared night vision, and thermal imaging.
Digital Night Vision
Digital night vision works by collecting all possible light through the lenses of the camera, binoculars, or other devices. Once the existing light is collected, the device enhances the image using digital tools.
The process works by collecting all the possible light and converting the image into an electric signal. The signal goes through the device’s sensor. It then is transferred to a micro-display screen inside the camera or other device.
The technology works similarly on digital night vision binoculars, cameras, and other hunting or military use devices.
Here are the advantages of using digital night vision technology:
- Price: What stands out more about digital night vision technology is that it is considerably cheaper than infrared or thermal imaging. Keep in mind that digital night vision devices are relatively new to the market.
- Performance: Digital night vision performs better than previous devices when it comes to image distortion. Earlier models would compromise the image’s height, size, and distance for clarity. This is something that the digital night vision does not do. Even though digital night vision requires a bit of light in the environment to work, the devices can outperform infrared night vision in almost every situation.
- Image Quality: Night vision cameras can record high-quality videos, even in pitch-dark places like caves or underwater. It is the technology that most wildlife documentaries use to explore the earth at night. Digital night vision is the only technology capable of producing color night vision in low light situations.
- Design: Digital night vision devices are easier to set up because they work similarly to other digital products. Cameras and binoculars are also more resistant than other night vision technologies.
Infrared illuminators work as a flashlight for night vision devices. The technology emits light in the infrared spectrum that the apparatus (camera or other) can process as an image. Its most significant advantage is that it works with no visible light, making it excellent for exploration.
Night vision devices need the illuminators to provide infrared light in dark places, which process the light into a clear image. Without the infrared illuminator, most night vision devices wouldn’t be able to work.
Infrared illuminators are a superior night vision technology that can help you see in the dark with either a camera or binoculars. However, it is not used in military operations. Any night vision device can spot someone using infrared illuminators.
Here are some of the advantages of using infrared illuminators for night vision:
- Infrared night vision allows you to see in the dark even without any trace of light.
- Infrared cameras are cheaper than other night vision devices.
- Infrared cameras use less energy.
- Infrared technology is the most efficient night vision technology now. That’s why it is so popular and the standard for many devices.
Thermal cameras are night vision devices that process different infrared light levels that are invisible to the human eye. All objects can produce heat and infrared radiation. What thermal imaging does is allow you to see that heat and radiation as an image.
Thermal imaging cameras have a much lower resolution than infrared cameras or digital night vision devices. The maximum resolution you’ll get with a high-quality thermal imaging camera is 640×480.
The difference between a thermal imaging camera and other night vision technologies is that, although you can use it to see in the dark, thermal imaging is mostly used to detect objects or people. It can also see further than infrared or digital night vision, making it perfect for military use.
In other words, thermal imaging is too much technology for a security camera, and it’s a lot more expensive. So, if you just want to see in the dark or capture video for security footage, it wouldn’t be the ideal choice.
Here are some of the advantages of using thermal imaging for night vision:
- Thermal imaging cameras are immune to anti-CCTV devices like infrared laser glasses or visors.
- The cameras are also weather-resistant and can withstand smoke and dust.
- Thermal imaging is perfect for eliminating false alarms that are common in motion detection devices.
What Type Do Home Night Vision Cameras Use?
Night vision cameras can use digital night vision technology or infrared illuminators. Night vision security cameras do not use thermal imaging because it would be a lot more expensive to produce.
Digital night vision cameras are a good option. Still, the technology is reasonably new and won’t give you the farthest reach. Digital night vision is more affordable, and it has the best image quality possible. For that reason, it is not the night vision technology most security cameras use at the moment.
Infrared illuminators are the standard in the home night-vision camera market. The reason is that most cameras come with an in-built LED infrared illuminator that allows for infrared detection even without any light available. Infrared is the most used type of night vision in outdoor security cameras.
Is It Possible to See in Night Vision in Color?
Color night vision is now a possibility, but it is a far more expensive technology. The technology was developed by Lorex technology, one of the world’s leaders in home security.
The CNV cameras or Color Night Vision cameras are an exclusive product that works as an IP (Internet Protocol) or as an MPX (Megapixels Over Coax).
With the CNV, you’ll be able to record videos in full-color thanks to its new state-of-the-art technology and design. The camera’s sensors are highly sensitive to light, making it easier to process color even without light. However, it is essential to note that CNV cameras need some sort of ambient light to work.
Like normal black and white night vision, CNV works with infrared illuminators but with a much more powerful source. The LED illuminators provide the necessary light for the camera to record at 2K or 4K resolution in full color during the night.
The camera also has a good night vision reach, making it perfect for the outdoors. Another defining feature of CNV is its digital noise reduction feature. The feature allows you to clean an image from low-light grains and motion blurs, giving you a more accurate and precise image.
Color night vision cameras are an excellent choice for outdoor security systems. The devices are of great help for police investigations on theft and car accidents. If it is part of your budget, we recommend this technology for a home night vision camera.
Night vision is possible for many nocturnal animals, some mammal predators, and underwater creatures. However, as it is impossible for men to naturally see in the dark, humanity has created different technologies to achieve night vision.
Used in security surveillance, filmmaking and photography, military operations, rescue teams, and nocturnal hunting, night vision technology is already part of our lives. It can help police investigations and be the defining factor for rescue teams looking for survivors using thermal imaging.
At the moment, you can find three types of night vision technologies in most night vision devices: infrared illuminators, thermal imaging, or digital night vision. Digital night vision is the only one of the three capable of recording color in low-light ambients.
Overall, night vision allows us to explore the world during the hours of no light. Night vision technology can help us protect our houses and businesses and help us find lost people in difficult situations.Back to Top