Each camera has night vision capabilities, using a sensor to detect low light situations. When external lighting is low, the camera will switch to night mode and record in black and white using infrared LEDs (IR) to illuminate the environment. If the IR is emitted improperly through the dome or reflected back into the lens it will negatively impact image quality. It is imperative that the dome remain free of debris and the camera is installed properly to achieve the best image quality.
Common issues with Night Mode
- Night mode active during normal lighting
- Internal reflection
- External occlusion
- Dust or debris on the dome
- Fingerprints on the dome
This image shows the location of the IR illuminators for each camera model
Night mode active during normal lighting
If a camera is operating in night mode when there is plenty of light, the sensor and IR illuminators are likely obstructed by the camera case.
To fix the obstructed light sensor and IRs, physically rotate the lens barrel assembly 180 degrees so the sensor and IRs are visible through the camera case.
Note: After rotating the lens barrel, the camera orientation my need to be changed in Command. See How to set a camera's orientation in Command
Example of a proper and improper orientation
Cause: When the camera case is not attached properly to the camera body, IR will reflect off the dome into the lens and back onto the dome
Solution: Properly attach the camera case to the camera body.
The picture on the left shows circular images caused by reflection. The picture on the right shows the image after the cameras case is attached properly.
Cause: When the protective film is not removed after installation it will cause IR glare.
Solutions: Remove the protective film from the dome. The camera may need to be refocused after removing the film.
The picture on the left shows the protective film making the image look blurry and out of focus with a unique mosaic pattern effect. The picture on the right shows the image after the protective film is removed.
Dust or debris on the dome
Cause: When dust or debris accumulate on the dome, the image will look fine in day mode. However, in night mode, the IR will reflect off the dust a debris causing bright spots and loss of contrast in the image
Solution: Used canned air to blow away dust and debris and then wipe down the dome using a microfiber cloth and rubbing alcohol. When wiping down the inside of the dome, remember to replace the desiccant pack.
The picture on the left shows the image with bright spots and loss of contrast while some portions remain in focus. The picture on the right shows the image after the dome has been cleaned.
Fingerprints on the dome
Cause: When fingerprints are on the dome, the image looks fine in day mode. However, during night mode, the IR will reflect off the fingerprints and cause the camera to go out of focus.
Solution: Wipe down the dome using a microfiber cloth and rubbing alcohol. When wiping down the inside of the dome, remember to replace the desiccant pack.
The picture on the left shows the image out of focus because the camera is focusing on the fingerprint. The picture on the right shows the image after the dome has been cleaned.
Condensation/Moisture inside the dome
Cause: When condensation or moisture is trapped inside the camera body you have a loss of contrast. The condensation circle may come and go as it evaporates throughout the day leading to the build up of mineral residues on the lens and dome itself . This is a form of water damage that can have catastrophic effects on the camera and will void the warranty.
Solution: Wipe down the dome using a microfiber cloth and rubbing alcohol. You will also need to let the camera dry out before putting it back into service. When wiping down the inside of the dome, remember to replace the desiccant pack. Please see the KB Prevent water damage to an outdoor camera for instructions on preventing water damage to you camera.
The video on the left shows the the condensation building up on the dome and the bright water drop reflections. The picture on the right shows the image after the camera dome has been cleaned, the camera is dried out, and a water tight seal is in place.