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Will IR Illuminator work with any CCD Camera?

Discussion in 'Electronic Basics' started by [email protected], Dec 31, 2006.

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  1. Guest

    I want to setup some night surveillance cameras. I notice that some
    CCD night cameras have the IR LEDS right on the camera. Do these
    cameras have anything special about them that makes them work well with
    IR illumination (do they have circuitry to switch to B/W etc). The
    reason I ask is that I would prefer to use standard CCD cameras and a
    separate IR illuminator, and am wondering if they will work together
    properly. Thanks.
  2. Skywise

    Skywise Guest

    wrote in
    You need to make sure the cameras do not have an IR cutoff filter.
    Being color, they most likely do. But check to be sure. If they
    don't have one, then they will work. If they do have the filter,
    you will need a LOT more IR to make it work.

  3. Unless you have a real need for obscurity, there's a much simpler (and usually less expensive) approach to covert CCTV. Speco makes
    a standard motion detector light with two flood lamps that come on for a couple of minutes any time someone walks by after dark.
    Most people are so accustomed to seeing these lights that they don't give them a second thought.

    What the subject won't know is that there's a camera mounted inside the motion detector. One advantage of this approach is that
    you'll get a much better, more detailed image with white (well, close to white) light than with IR. Another advantage is that when
    most people trigger those lights the first thing they do is look up directly at them. This will give you an excellent chance at
    recording the person's face.

    I might be a little biased in favor of Speco since I sell it online. However, I've used their cameras with good results on several
    of my own installations.


    Robert L Bass

    Bass Home Electronics
    4883 Fallcrest Circle
    Sarasota · Florida · 34233
  4. ray

    ray Guest

    Simplest way to find out if a particular camera is IR sensitve: look at
    the lcd or evf while someone holds a TV remote and punches a few buttons
    for you - see if you can see the signal.
  5. Guest

    Thanks for the answers, that was quick. Looks like a had better not
    assume the camera will work with the illuminator, and had better check

    Just to elaborate...I'm trying to keep a sleek look on the house with
    no wall mounted lamps etc. I don't even want a small IR dome camera
    sitting under the soffit. I'd like to use bullit cameras and just have
    the tip sticking through a small hole in the soffit. Otherwise I'd use
    wall mounted motion lamps, or purpose-built IR daynight dome cameras
    mounted under the soffit.
  6. I'd like to use bullit cameras and just have
    You may find it difficult to aim the camera preciselt where you want it unless the hole is over sized. The other issue will be the
    illuminator. Anything powerful enough to give good video from more than a few feet away will require a fiarly large IR array. One
    of our vendors, Extreme CCTV, has a very informative website. They make a wide assortment of cameras and IR illuminators. Their
    hardware is about as good as it gets in this industry. Prices are not cheap. Here's their URL. I think you'll find it an
    interesting browse. There are sections of the site dedicated to IR illuminators, cameras and combination camera/illuminators.
    Being mostly a commercial / industrial CCTV maker, many of their products will your aesthetic requirements. If the range is
    satisfactory, you might want to consider their WZ series day/night cameras.

    I mentioned Speco in an earlier post. In addition to "covert" cameras, they make a number of bullet style cameras. One which you
    might find interesting is the HT-INTB2. This is an "intensifier" type of camera, designed for extremely low light operation. URL

    These are just a couple of examples. There are lots to look at. Let me know if I can be of assistance.


    Robert L Bass

    Bass Home Electronics
    4883 Fallcrest Circle
    Sarasota · Florida · 34233

    Otherwise I'd use
  7. Shuckey

    Shuckey Guest

    What hath ray wrought:

    How is the remote's infrared light changed (modulated?) into visible light?

    [FuT sci.electronics.basics]

    Hrvoje Bratanic AKA Shuckey AKA Crtowat AKA No-Fun
  8. B Fuhrmann

    B Fuhrmann Guest

    Simplest way to find out if a particular camera is IR sensitve: look at
    "Shuckey" wrote ...
    It isn't actually converted. just slightly "mis" displayed.

    IR is a color, just past red in the spectrum. The red filters on the sensor
    chip let it pass through.
    Video cameras don't actually see individual colors. They let three wide
    bands of colors through and calculate the color by the proportion of the
    colors through each filter.

    Many "unexpected" things happen in our recognition of color. Our eyes can
    see a pure frequency of the spectrum (lasers are the most common ones we
    see) or with the brain can process multiple colors into one equivalent.

    If the camera sees a 510nm orange light both the Red and Green filters will
    pass it to the chip and it displays bits of red (~650nm) and green (~530nm)
    because the display does not have an orange material. Your brain sees the
    two colors next to each other and lies to you that it sees one color.

    If the red or green filters had a 510nm notch in it's transmission, the
    picture from the camera of the spectrum would show a smooth spectrum except
    it would have the pure other color replacing that section.

    I the case of IR, the camera sees light that only comes in through the red
    filters and very correctly says it is seeing red. If the red filter was
    made with a limit that mimicked a typical human eye's sensitivity, it would
    block the color frequencies from remotes.

    Some color cameras have IR filters so that an IR rich light source will not
    swamp the red pixels and mess up the picture.
  9. This is not a good test. The IR from a remote control is very bright.
    It can be seen by cameras with an IR filter installed.

    Just check with the camera manufacturer that there us no IR filter

    Please visit my web site at
  10. How is the remote's infrared light changed (modulated?) into visible light?

    It isn't. The camera picks it up and treats it as normal light, converting it into an electrical signal which, like those from
    visible light, is viewable on the screen. However, as another poster mentions, this may not be a definitive test. The best way to
    be sure is to contact the camera manufacturer.


    Robert L Bass

    Bass Home Electronics
    4883 Fallcrest Circle
    Sarasota · Florida · 34233
  11. Tom Matigan

    Tom Matigan Guest

    B+W surveillance cameras generally see very well with infrared. I use
    Sony SSC M383's and am pretty impressed with their IR performance.

    The one thing you will find is that many people who sell IR illuminators
    tend to flat-out lie about their performance (think used car salesmen).
    For example, they will tell you that illuminator X has a range of 50 feet.
    When you plug it in, you find the useable range is less than 15 feet.

    Before buying, get *written* performance info so that you are on the same
    page as the salesman. If they say the range is 50 feet, force them to
    tell you exactly what the exact performance is at that range.

    My best performer is a forced air-cooled 500 watt flood with an opaque IR
  12. The one thing you will find is that many
    One source of confusion is that the camera manufacturers' literature often cites as range the maximum distance for "usable video."
    The problem with this is usable video equates to "you can see something happening out there." If your only purpose is to know that
    something is happening but you don't care what it is or whjo is doing it, that would be ok.
    Sunlight also works well. :^)


    Robert L Bass

    Bass Home Electronics
    4883 Fallcrest Circle
    Sarasota · Florida · 34233
  13. redbelly

    redbelly Guest

    If so, one could aim the remote at the wall or a sheet of paper,
    instead of directly at the camera. If the camera sees a bright spot on
    the wall, then it can see IR.

    Just tried this with my own camera, which I'm pretty sure has an IR
    filter. It sees a bright flash when a remote is pointed directly at
    it, but nothing shows up when both the camera and remote are pointed at
    a sheet of paper.
    That also works, unless you get some sales yahoo that doesn't know
    anything that's not listed in the general camera specs.
    It isn't. The camera either can or cannot detect the IR from the
    remote. If it can, a person will know it by looking at the camera's
    LCD monitor.

  14. Don

    Don Guest

    you've read posts from rlb too?
  15. As I understand it, the reason for including an IR filter is that the
    focal planes for IR and visible light are different enough that there's
    a noticeable blur in the image if both sources are present, as in

    I don't know to what extent this can be corrected by an achromatic
    lens as is used to correct for chromatic aberation on quality visible
    light cameras.
  16. There is another basic reason to filter out IR. What color
    do you assign to its signal? It represents illumination
    you can't see, so no matter what you do with it, it distorts
    the visible representation of the scene. The more
    expensive the camera (assuming it is designed to capture
    visible images), the more likely that it will include a
    short pass filter to block light that silicon can see that
    you cannot. Cheap cameras that have none usually show the
    IR as green, for some reason. Possibly an artifact of the
    non-ideal bandpass characteristic of the narrow band green
  17. jasen

    jasen Guest

    ask for it in writing.
  18. Good point!!!
  19. J. Clarke

    J. Clarke Guest

    In the days when manual focus was the norm, any decent lens had markings
    on it for IR focus as well as visible light. There wasn't a huge
    difference usually but it was there. At the time the filter wasn't an
    issue--most film didn't have much IR sensitivity--if you wanted IR you had
    to use IR film. With digital cameras it's not that simple because you
    can't change the sensor--the manufacturer either has to put in the IR
    filter and remove most of the IR capability from the camera or he has to
    leave it off and field the complaints from the people who don't understand
    that using an IR blocking filter on their lenses is the price they have to
    pay for an IR-capable camera.

    I don't know the best solution to that problem or even if there is one--a
    built-in filter that can be easily field-removed would be one option but
    that has its own issues.
  20. redbelly

    redbelly Guest

    Don't know which group "rlb" refers to. No, it's just my general
    experience that if you want technical details that aren't listed in a
    product's published spec sheet, they often aren't known by either the
    first person (receptionist) or second person (sales or other "customer
    interface" person) whom you talk to on the phone.

    Maybe I'm wrong in this case, and decent sales people know which of
    their cameras have IR filters and which don't.

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