Infrared security cameras are great for both day and night surveillance. Most infrared security cameras today provide a full color picture during the day then switch to B/W (black and white) at night. They use an array of infrared LEDs around the lens to provide a B/W image even in complete darkness. They should not be confused with thermal cameras which use radiated heat signatures to provide an image. They emit light only visible to the cameras sensor onto objects in dark areas or rooms. This results in very good image quality in low or no light that cannot be achieved by standard security cameras.

There are a wide variety of infrared security cameras. There are those specifically designed for indoor use, while others are suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. Outdoor models are more durable than the indoor models. They are built to withstand harsh external elements like rain, wind and the hot sun. They can also come in a variety of shapes and sizes with fixed or adjustable zoom lenses and even OSD (on screen display).

When shopping for an infrared security camera you want to consider the resolution of the image, size of lens provided and the infrared distance. Obviously the higher the resolution of the camera the better the image quality but that should not be your only consideration. The size of the lens will determine your field of view or viewing angle. While the number and size of the LEDs along with the lens will determine how far you can see in darkness.

Generally for nearby surveillance of 20 feet to 25 feet a 3.6mm to 4.3mm lens is good. This will give you a wide field of view and good detail out to 20 to 25 feet. If you need to see detail at a further distance of 30 to 50 feet you would probably want to go with a 6mm or 8mm lens. Keep in mind that the larger the lens size for any given distance the more detail you will see but your field of view will be smaller.

Most websites will state the maximum distance the infrared illumination will shine. You should always choose a camera that has more infrared distance than you need. This is because the illumination at its maximum distance will not be as bright. As an example if you need to see 80 feet in the dark choose a camera with 100 feet or more illumination.

Infrared security cameras make a good choice for video surveillance. They are not difficult to install and can give you a very good picture whether indoors or outdoors, with no light or daylight. They are also reasonably priced with many models starting under $90.00. Just determine the area you need to cover and nighttime distance you need to see. If the area is large you may want to consider using a couple of cameras with larger size lenses instead of just one with a wide angle, this will provide more detail in the picture.