How smaller sites can ensure clear colour images at night

Hangzhou, China

Surveillance monitoring for small and medium-sized sites can sometimes be a tough challenge at night. Options are often limited to day/night cameras and low-light cameras. These devices continue to provide colour images when lighting levels reduce up to a point, but switch to black and white when they deteriorate further.

But to maintain color images in low light conditions with these cameras, other aspects of the image – such as noise and definition – are often compromised. Cameras trying to maintain colour images at night often struggle when there is movement in the scene, or when there’s a wide dynamic range (the difference between the lightest and darkest parts of a scene).

So how can we ensure clear colour images at night? Here are 3 tips to help combat these challenges:

1. Use a dual-lens camera

There is a gradual increase in the demand for various types of low-light cameras are gradually beginning to increase, and, according to an IHS Markit report in 2019, the number of video cameras equipped with advanced low-light functionality was set to rise significantly, from 4.75 million in 2015 to 51 million by 2022.

A dual-lens camera, as its name indicates, offers two lenses: one to capture lightness information, the other to capture colour information. The upgraded Dahua Full-color 2.0 network camera series is equipped with such a specification. With pixel-level frame-by-frame mapping, the dual-lens cameras of this series present high image definition and vivid colours even when the supplementary white light is off, thus reducing light pollution and attraction of insects that can adversely affect the monitoring of the scene. What’s more, these cameras also feature AA (Active Alignment) a process which is designed to perfectly align the incoming light with the sensor. Full-colour cameras are available in dome, bullet, box and eyeball formats.

Aside from dual-lens cameras, the Dahua Full-color 2.0 series also offers cameras with other intelligent features such as vari-focal lens and 4K resolution.

2. Use IR and white light together

IR light and white lights are common camera supplementary lights. Depending on how you use them, it can relatively affect the quality of images in low-light environments or during night time. Nevertheless, excessive use of white light contributes to light pollution, especially in urban areas.

Dahua’s TiOC (three-in-one camera) 2.0 – due to be launched in September – is equipped with Smart Dual Illuminators, which allow users to flexibly switch between IR mode and White Light mode (also referred to as Full-color mode) based on their monitoring requirements. Default illumination is provided by the built-in IR illuminator. When a person enters the monitoring area, the white light is triggered and full-colour mode is activated. When a target leaves the area, the LED turns off and the IR illuminator turns back on, significantly reducing light pollution in the area.

Moreover, powered by OPC (Optical Path Compensation) technology, the TiOC 2.0 cameras can correct the angle of refraction of different light rays, allowing Dahua IPCs to output brighter and clearer black & white images with F1.0 large aperture lens. It also has the addition of Voice-Catcher technology which is a dual mic array that enhances sound quality and pickup performance. Cameras in the TiOC 2.0 series come in 8MP, 5MP or 4MP versions.

3. Use automatic tracking

Automatic tracking is an innovative feature that transforms manually controlled PTZ cameras into automated tracking systems that keep a moving target in focus and centred in the frame. It automatically follows/tracks the target within its field of view.

The TiOC 2.0 series is equipped with Auto Tracking 3.0. It is based on a deep-learning algorithm using the camera’s pan, tilt and zoom functions to automatically track pre-defined moving targets even in environments with low illumination or during night time. It provides a smooth tracking process through deep fusion of intelligent and focusing algorithms, and can track targets up to a distance of 870 meters. With the Auto Tracking 2.0 algorithm as its foundation, the requirements for the tracking size of the target are further reduced, making the target size smaller and the tracking distance longer.


Difficulties in night-time monitoring have been alleviated, thanks to continuous technological innovations that have made colour monitoring in low-light conditions possible. Dahua full-colour cameras – whether standalone or as part of the TiOC series – are able to deliver enhanced images and surveillance whatever the time of day or night. By utilising low-light cameras with dual lens, smart dual illuminators and automatic tracking, users do not have to put up with poor, unusable images at night, making these devices ideal for small and medium-sized application scenarios such as villas, parking lots, and retail shops.

Further detailed information on night time surveillance can be found here.


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