What is a Thermal Security Camera

Security camera systems have trouble seeing in the dark. Even with image enhancement and infrared light, you won’t be able to make out everything. But being able to make out what is going on in the darkness can me the difference between catching a criminal and letting one get away. So how do you see in the dark with your security camera?


Enter thermal security cameras. These cameras work wonders for those looking for enhance security.

What Are Thermal Security Cameras?

A thermal security camera uses heat in front of the sensor to allow the camera to identify objects. The camera then converts the image from a heat map to a visible image that you can watch. Security cameras with thermal imaging use the same kind of technology that was designed for use in professional thermal imaging devices such as FLIR rescue cameras.

Thermal cameras used to be a technology that was only used on government properties or those with a lot of money. While these cameras are still more costly than your traditional security camera, they are no longer so far out there that a regular person cannot have thermal cameras. All of the benefits of these cameras has helped to make them pretty popular.

Can You See A Regular Image?

When many people hear of thermal images they think of fancy images that you see in video games or in movies of glowing red images in thermal goggles. Instead, what you get is levels of gray and white. Objects that emit heat energy appear white. The whiter they are, the hotter they are. With most thermal cameras you see this black/gray/white image when viewing it.

On the other hand, you can get security cameras that have dual lens. One lens shoots a traditional security camera image while the other shoots thermal imaging. Then, the system stitches the two together. You end up with a traditional image enhanced by thermal vision.

Why Use Thermal Vision?

We have already mentioned the fact that thermal imaging is great for the dark. When there is absolutely no light in a room, even an IR system/EXIR will have a hard time illuminating what is happening. Thermal imaging; however, does not rely upon the light spectrum and thus will work in a wide variety of conditions. It will work also when other cameras won’t work at all. Thermal imaging is able to penetrate fog, rain, snow, and more in order to produce an image.

Thermal imaging can come in a number of options, including zoomable options. One of the major constraints of IR illumination is that it can only stretch so far. Thermal imaging is capable of reaching out even further. It should be noted that thermal imaging with zoom costs a fair amount more.

You will also find thermal imaging a good option if you have a need for precise alarms. Instead of requiring movement to set off the alarm, the simple act of a heat signature entering the view of the camera can be used to set off your alarm. Just like with traditional motion based alarms, you can set zones and other filters to help reduce the number of false alarms.

If you think that people might attempt to camouflage themselves in order to enter your property. Such as wear dark clothing to prevent a camera operator from being able to spot them, thermal cameras are a great option. The only way to get around a thermal camera is to mask your heat completely. Even a little bit of exposed body surface can be used to pick up on motion and alert the operator to the presence of a trespasser.

As time goes on we will start to see more thermal security cameras enter the market. These cameras offer too many benefits to not be adopted by security camera companies. And with the innovations in technology that we are making every day, the prices will only start to come down. Remember, it is important to consider each area of your property to determine the right camera, a thermal camera might not be right for every application.

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