You may have seen that there have been more and more CCTV cameras on the market listing Starlight technology as one of its main key features, but what is this technology and how should it influence your buying decision?
In a nutshell Starlight technology in CCTV cameras enables the camera to display and record a colour picture in low light level conditions. This means during the early evening when the sun starts to set a Starlight CCTV camera would still produce a colour image whilst IR cameras have switched on their infra-red and are producing greyscale night vision images. Even with very little ambient lighting (such as the light from the stars) it’s still entirely possible for a Starlight camera to produce a full colour image, but in practice these cameras will switch and use its IR when it gets too dark. Unless there is ambient light, like a streetlight or a patio light, then the Starlight camera will eventually produce a greyscale image.
How does it work?
So how do Starlight CCTV cameras work and why can’t all cameras use this technology? In order to be able to pick up the colours of objects the sensors within the camera need to be extremely sensitive. With the extra sensitivity more information can be captured by the sensor and this is then translated by the camera and the picture transmitted to the DVR/NVR. Some manufacturers also try to reduce the shutter speed so that more information is captured by the camera but this can result in a blurry picture and trails behind moving objects.
As this technology is relatively new the costs of it are still quite high. This has prevented this technology being integrated into all CCTV cameras as at the moment CCTV cameras without Starlight technology come in at a very reasonable price.
So what is the difference between Starlight cameras and low-lux cameras?
Generally a Starlight camera is a brand of low-lux camera that uses a Starvis sensor that was developed by Sony. It’s the Starvis sensor that sets it apart from other low-lux cameras as the sensitivity, quality of the picture and the reliability of the sensors are high.
Should you upgrade your CCTV system to use Starlight technology?
We would like to say “absolutely”, but at the end of the day a CCTV system is designed for specific purposes. If it is important for you or the system owner to capture colour images at night then it would be worth investing in. At the moment the cost of a camera that uses IR is significantly less so if cost is important then it would be worth sticking to IR cameras as they use a proven technology and are available at a relatively low in cost.
If you are interested in buying Starlight CCTV cameras we have 4K SPro cameras available with this technology.