What Does The Red Light Mean On A Security Camera? | Security Basics

Security cameras have become more accessible than ever before. Home and business security systems are available to consumers at wallet-friendly price points, and they’re easy to set up and use. But a lot of people may still not be familiar with how their security cameras work. One of the more common questions we get is, “what does the red light mean on a security camera?” Well, in this post, we’ll be talking about just that.

What Does The Red Light Mean On A Security Camera?

Looking right at your security camera, you might notice that it gives off a faint red light. It’s even more visible in absolute darkness, where you can quite clearly see it. So, what does this mean?

Interestingly, it’s not the camera itself that’s emitting the red light. Most consumer-grade cameras have miniature LED emitters that enhance the camera’s vision in low-light conditions. But, you might be thinking, how can such a dim light help the camera see anything at all?

Well, that’s where the magic of infrared illumination comes in.

How Infrared Illumination Works

Infrared light is part of the spectrum of light that is invisible to the naked human eye. It is, however, visible to security cameras. Those LED emitters are actually outputting infrared light. This means that at night, even when you can’t see anything, and it’s completely dark, your security camera can see what’s going on. You might have seen this when your security camera switches from day to night vision; you can see the infrared illuminator come on, perhaps with a little clicking sound.

But wait! What does the red light mean on a security camera, then? Shouldn’t infrared be completely invisible?
The light has a faint red glow because infrared light exists just under the red “edge” of the visible light spectrum. This means that even though most of the light emitted is infrared, a little bit of light exists around the beginning of the visible light spectrum, which happens to be red.

However, there are illuminators used by law enforcement and the military that are completely invisible. They operate in the “covert” illumination spectrum rather than being semi-covert.


So if you’re wondering what the red light means on a security camera, we hope this post has answered your question.
Iluminar specializes in the manufacture of superior, professional-quality LED lighting solutions for license plate capture systems, as well as video surveillance. To top it off, we offer unmatched customer service for all of our clients.

Our invisible and visible series of products all come in various form factors, with many angle choices, wavelengths, range, and power ratings available to choose from. All of our illuminators come with covert and semi-covert options capable of running off AC or DC power. Best of all, we offer weatherproof systems with exceptional build quality to survive even the most brutal deployment application.

Our product experts will personally guide you towards choosing the right product for your application. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at (281) 438-3500 today!

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