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The small red lights around CCTV cameras are infrared LEDs or IR LEDs. Those red lights are for night vision. It allows a camera to see in low light or dark conditions. And those are turned off at day time. So a camera with infrared capabilities can also be called a night vision camera.
Infra-Red light can be used to provide discrete or covert illumination for CCTV; to minimize light pollution; or to provide very long distance illumination. IR can be used with monochrome and day/night cameras.As IR becomes more covert it becomes more difficult for the camera to see and consequently distances are reduced.
940-950nm IR should only be used with highly sensitive cameras fitted with high performance lenses. Focusing is also more difficult at those wavelengths as lenses start to operate more inefficiently with 940-950nm.
Infra-Red light provides greater distance, a varying degree of invisibility (depending on the exact wavelength) and no light pollution. Infra-Red is light designed only to be used by CCTV cameras.In addition, the power consumption of IR LED illuminators used for CCTV cameras is low, thus helping to decrease power costs.
The more LEDs a camera has, the greater the viewing distance that the camera can see into the night or the sharper the image will be.
The LEDs are placed around the outside of the lens in order to illuminate as much of the camera’s view as possible.
Infrared is a type of light that is invisible to the naked eye. Although we cannot see it, we can feel infrared as heat.
This is what the infrared LEDs do- they create a black and white image of any object by detecting the heat given off. Infrared can still be detected through smoke, fog or dust no matter how thick they are.
They are a necessary feature of most CCTV’s because without infrared, your camera would only work in daylight!
It is important to note that although most CCTV cameras with night vision give off a familiar red glow, not all of them do.
Some of the most sophisticated smart cameras use infrared (they have night vision) but their LEDs do not glow.
For example: as you can see from those NYXCAM security cameras.Those comparison of the best indoor smart cameras provides details about their infrared capabilities.