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What is the best Colour night vision camera?

Choosing the right colour night vision camera can be tricky with so many options on the market. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the key factors to consider when selecting a colour night vision camera for security or surveillance use. We’ll also provide recommendations on some of the best colour night vision cameras available based on performance, features and budget.

How do colour night vision cameras work?

Colour night vision cameras use additional light sources beyond the infrared illumination used in traditional black and white night vision cameras. There are two main technologies that enable colour night vision:

  • Low-light CMOS sensors – These sensors are extra sensitive to light, allowing them to pick up colour details even in very low light conditions like moonlight or starlight.
  • Supplementary illumination – Cameras use LEDs or other light sources to illuminate the area with some visible light. This allows the camera to pick up colour details at night.

With either approach, colour night vision cameras allow you to monitor an area in full colour 24/7, even when it’s totally dark to the naked eye. The video footage looks similar to daylight video, making it easier to discern details and identify people, vehicles and objects at night.

Benefits of colour night vision cameras

Here are some of the key benefits of choosing a colour night vision security camera:

  • Better detail – Colour night vision provides much more detail than traditional black and white video, especially at longer ranges.
  • Easier identification – It’s much easier to identify people, vehicles, clothing, and other objects when you can see them in colour.
  • Reduced motion blur – Colour night vision cameras tend to have less motion blur than comparable black and white cameras.
  • Wide dynamic range – Colour night vision cameras can often handle challenging lighting conditions like strong backlighting better than black and white cameras.
  • Future-proof – Recording in colour today allows the footage to be used effectively for years to come as display and video analytics technologies continue to advance.

Key factors to consider

Here are some key factors to keep in mind when selecting a colour night vision security camera:

Image quality

Pay close attention to sample night time video footage when evaluating different camera models. Key image quality factors to look for include:

  • Resolution – 1080p colour night vision provides good detail while 4K offers excellent clarity if within your budget.
  • Colour rendition – The colours should look natural, especially skin tones and vegetation.
  • Low light performance – Less noise, accurate colours and good detail in very low ambient light conditions.
  • Dynamic range – The ability to see details in both bright and dark areas of the scene.

Night vision lighting

If the camera uses integrated IR illumination, pay attention to:

  • IR wavelength – 850nm IR penetrates fog and smog better than standard IR wavelengths.
  • IR LED quantity – More LEDs provide a wider, more even IR illumination area.
  • IR intensity adjustment – Being able to adjust the IR strength prevents overexposure.

Lens quality

A high quality lens improves image clarity, captures more light, and provides a wider field of view:

  • Large maximum aperture (f/1.6 or lower) to gather more light.
  • All-glass elements for sharper focus and reduced distortion.
  • Varifocal lens (2.8mm-12mm for example) allows zooming the field of view without moving the camera.

Video management software

Confirm that the camera will work with your preferred VMS software for monitoring and recording. ONVIF compliance allows interoperability between most camera brands and VMS platforms.

Other features

Consider additional features like motion detection, smart motion tracking, remote focus and zoom, built-in analytics, Two-way audio, PoE, wireless connectivity, vandal resistance, and weatherproofing.


Colour night vision security cameras range in price from around $100 to $500 or more depending on features and capabilities. In general:

  • Under $150 – Basic 1080p colour night vision, limited features.
  • $150 to $300 – Good 1080p models suitable for most applications.
  • $300 to $500 – Advanced 4K colour night vision cameras.
  • Over $500 – High-end models with large sensors and robust feature sets.

Best colour night vision cameras

Based on the criteria above, here are some of our top picks for the best colour night vision security cameras in different categories and price ranges:

Camera Key Features Price Range
Hikvision ColorVu 2MP 1080p, 100′ IR range, Smart motion detection, IP67 weatherproof, Vandal-resistant, Budget option $120-$180
Dahua Starlight 5MP 5MP sensor, 120′ IR range, Smart tracking, Remote focus/zoom, Solid mid-range choice $200-$300
Axis Q1659 4K, Wide dynamic range, Zipstream compression, High-end performance $400-$500
Hikvision DarkFighterX 4MP 4MP resolution, 250′ IR range, ColorVu+ Low light color, Excellent night vision $300-$400
Vivotek FE9391-EV 2MP, Starvis+ low light, 180° panoramic view, Vandal-proof, Outdoor security $400-$500

How to choose the right placement

Proper camera placement is key to getting the most out of your colour night vision security camera. Follow these tips:

  • Mount the camera where the lens is aimed straight at the priority coverage area, not angled up or down.
  • Avoid aiming the camera directly into light sources like streetlights or spotlights which can cause issues with the imaging sensor.
  • For large open areas, position the camera elevated with the lens tilted slightly down to extend the effective lighting range.
  • Use corner placement to cover two intersecting fields of view with one camera.
  • If using integrated IR illumination, ensure no extremely reflective surfaces are too close to the camera at night.

Also take into consideration areas with no ambient lighting at all, foliage or other obstructions that may partially block the camera, and any applicable local regulations for security cameras in public places.


A good colour night vision security camera allows round-the-clock surveillance while delivering far more detail and context than traditional black and white video, especially at night. Just be sure to match the camera capabilities with your specific requirements and budget. Pay close attention to night time video quality, IR illumination performance, lens specifications, and features like smart analytics that provide added value.

With their superior low light capabilities and full colour imaging, colour night vision cameras are a smart choice for modern video surveillance and security applications. Provide clear instructions during installation for optimal placement and coverage. Taking the time to find the right colour night vision camera for your needs will provide effective 24/7 monitoring and meaningful recorded video evidence when you need it.