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Buying Spotlight Cameras: Top 5 Things You Need to Know

Buying Spotlight Cameras: Top 5 Things You Need to Know

With spotlight cameras on watch, you are able to enjoy peace of mind during nighttime even there is no lighting around your house.

When any suspicious events are detected, the spotlights for security cameras will shine bright and light up the dark areas, leaving no chances for intruders to hide or break into your property.

And that’s not all about outdoor security cameras with motion lights.

Continue reading and learn everything you care about spotlight security cameras.

What Is a Spotlight Camera: Definition & Types

A spotlight camera is a piece of surveillance equipment with motion lights that illuminates a dark area and starts to record when it is triggered by suspicious events.

Generally speaking, spotlight security cameras available in the market nowadays include battery-powered ones and plugged-in wireless security cameras with motion lights.

Battery-powered spotlight cameras: They are powered by quick-release rechargeable batteries so you can set up the cameras in a breeze without any cords. Normally, the spotlight camera battery life can last up to several months (depends on actual use).

Spotlight Security Camera with Solar Panel

If you prefer continuous power and don’t want to change batteries from time to time, go for the solar-powered spotlight cameras.

Spotlight WiFi cameras: They receive power supply via plugged-in adapters to power outlets and transmit data via WiFi signal. To ensure stable image and video transmission, make sure that you install the wireless spotlight cameras within your WiFi range.

You may also hide the wires of outdoor spotlight cameras to weather-proof electrical boxes. So, there will be no exposed wires and thus reducing the risk that power adapters are unplugged by intruders. Also, such wireless spotlight cameras look aesthetically pleasing as well.

WiFi Security Camera with Motion Spotlight

Reolink Lumus

Outdoor WiFi Security Camera with Motion Spotlight

Bright, Motion-Activated LED Spotlight, Instant Siren Alarm, and Remote 2-Way Audio to Ward off Would-be Burglars even in Dark Areas; 1080p and Full Color Night Vision.

Spotlight camera types Battery spotlight cameras Spotlight WiFi cameras
Power supply Battery/Solar panel Plug-in adapters to power outlets
Network connection WiFi WiFi
Brightness 300-400 lumens Up to 1800 lumens

How Does a Spotlight Camera Work

As mentioned above, a spotlight video camera is featured with built-in motion lights that are made up of LED lights with multiple brightness, from 300 lumens to 1800 lumens.

With default settings, the spotlight for a security camera is off in the daytime. At night, when its motion sensor is tripped by heat signatures of moving objects, an outdoor spotlight camera activates its lights to light up a dark area and record events.

Some top spotlight security cameras also allow you to customize the spotlight settings in accordance with your needs: turn on or off the motion lights at designated time periods, disable the spotlights manually or with voice commands, or expand or shrink the motion zone for the lights.

Also mind that the motion zone for spotlights is different from that for recordings. So, they may not cover the same area in default settings and you can alter their coverage in the settings as well.

Why Should You Buy Spotlight Security Cameras: Top 3 Benefits

Are spotlight cameras ideal surveillance options for your home? Will they be worth your investment?

The following benefits of security cameras with motion lights may give you some hints:

Benefit 1. Spotlight Cameras Introduce More Light to Images & Videos

When the night falls, spotlight security cameras outshine other security cameras with poor night vision: they are able to turn their own motion lights on and introduce more light to the images and videos.

Outdoor Lights to Illuminate Dark Areas

So, by using spotlight surveillance cameras, you can see every detail clearly in low light and leave no chances for the intruders to hide in the darkness.

Benefit 2. Security Cameras with Motion Lights Scare Off Unwelcome Visitors

With the default settings, motion lights for security cameras are activated when their motion sensors are triggered.

Events that may trigger motion spotlights include:

• Intruders like burglars attempting to break into your house

• Illegal dumping (learn how to stop here)

• Neighbors damaging your cars (watch video footage of car vandalism here)

• Trespassing kids on your property when you are not home (see how to get rid of them here)

• Mailmen driving on your lawn (learn how to deal with them here)

When the spotlight cameras shine bright upon motion events, these unwelcome visitors may get shocked and come to realize that they are under surveillance in the next second and flee away.

Even so, you are able to catch them in the act with a pre-buffered recording feature of outdoor spotlight cameras. And that’s what fake security cameras with motion detectors and LED lights can’t do.

Takeaway: Click here to learn more about motion sensor security cameras.

Benefit 3. Outdoor Spotlight Cameras Are Compatible with Smart Home Devices

Some top spotlight cameras are also able to work with voice-control systems like Alexa and Google Assistant, which allows you to turn on or off the motion lights of spotlight CCTV cameras with a voice command in a breeze.

Spotlight Cameras Work with Smart Home Devices

And that’s not everything.

The latest trend for security cameras with motion lights is that they will integrate with other smart home devices, like locks, smoke alerts and lighting controls, making your home a safer and more enjoyable place to reside in.

Spotlight Cameras vs Infrared Security Cameras

Wonder about the differences between a spotlight camera and an infrared security camera? Or consider which one to choose?

Here are some of the major distinctions of the two security camera types:

#1. Working Mechanisms of a Spotlight Surveillance Camera and Its Counterpart

As noted above, a spotlight CCTV camera activates its motion lights and records videos when the motion sensor is triggered at night.

In terms of an infrared security camera, it consists of certain numbers of built-in infrared (IR) LED lights around the lenses and an IR filter, which is used to detect daylight and block the light on the image sensor for clear images during the daytime.

When the sun sets, the IR LED lights turn on to light up the dark areas while the IR filter removes automatically. In this way, the infrared IP security camera is able to see clearly in the darkness even without external light sources.

Security Camera Types Spotlight Cameras (with default settings) Security Cameras with IR (with default settings)
Illumination units Motion LED lights Infrared LED lights
Daytime Spotlight is off IR lights are off & IR filter is on
At night Spotlight is on when triggered IR lights are on & IR filter is off

So, if there is ample outside lighting around your house, the spotlight feature, a bonus though, is not something that you exactly need and have to pay for. In this case, an infrared security camera is a better surveillance option for your security needs.

When it comes to a totally dark environment, both security cameras with motion lights and infrared IP cameras are able to capture crisp images and record clear videos without missing a single detail.

#2. Night Vision Performance of Outdoor Spotlight Cameras & Infrared Ones

Generally speaking, more than half of the spotlight cameras in the market come with 1080p resolution. When its spotlight lights up the dark surroundings, a security camera with motion lights is able to record videos clearly within the lighting range (depends on mounting height and angle, about 30 to 60 feet).

However, if you deactivate the motion lights, the night vision of outdoor spotlight cameras may decline to a small range and the security camera can only record objects clearly when they are close enough.

In comparison, infrared security cameras in the market are able to record videos with a higher resolution like 4MP, 5MP and even 4K ultra HD. Those IP security cameras are able to see every detail clearly from about 100 to 190 feet and capture crisp images in low or no light conditions.

Security Camera Types Spotlight Camera Infrared Security Camera
Illumination units Motion LED lights Infrared LED lights
Resolution 1080p 1080p, 4MP, 5MP, 4K
Night vision distance 30 – 60 feet 100 – 190 feet
In ample light condition ★★★★★ ★★★★★
In low/no light condition ★★★★★ ★★★★★

The video sample below is recorded by a 4K infrared security system Reolink RLK8-800B4, showing the whole process that a bike theft took away the home owner’s bike in the middle of the night.

Reolink RLK8-800B4

4K 8-Channel PoE Security System

4 pcs 4K Ultra HD Security Cameras; 2TB HDD 8-Channel NVR for 24/7 Recording; Person/Vehicle Detection; Plug & Play; 2 Network Solutions.

Editor’s Tip: Before making a purchase, it is best to watch security camera video samples during daytime and nighttime.

#3. Price of Spotlight Cameras & Infrared Security Cameras

After searching the price of a spotlight camera and that of its counterpart, we find that the price range of the two security camera types overlaps in most cases.

The chart below may give you some hints about the security camera price:

Security Cameras Price Range
Battery spotlight cameras $110 - $400
Spotlight WiFi cameras $60 - $300
Wired spotlight cameras $100 - $500
Battery infrared security cameras $80 - $450
Wireless infrared IP cameras $50 - $200
PoE infrared CCTV cameras $60 - $300

Note that all the figures above don’t include installation fees or other hidden fees. Check this post to learn more about the secret of security camera price tags.

Spotlight Cameras in Actual Use: Concerns You May Face & How to Avoid

In actual usage of outdoor security cameras with motion lights, you may encounter these concerns: vague night vision, motion lights are on but nothing is captured and so on.

To help you get rid of such problems, we have collected some useful quick fixes for your reference:

Concern 1. Spotlight Turns on Without Any Events Recorded

Several Redditors find that the motion lights of spotlight video cameras are on but no events are recorded. They even believe it can be a supernatural phenomenon and post it on the group discussion for paranormal issues.

But, in fact, it is not ghosts captured by CCTV cameras or anything like that.

There are mainly two causes to this problem:

#1. The motion alert zone is smaller than the light triggering zone.

#2. The spotlight camera is set up too high or too low.

Quick Fixes:

Set up the motion zone for the lights and motion recording at the same size.

Mount the outdoor security cameras with motion lights to the proper position (around 3 feet high from the floor) and angle it at eye-level, or a little bit higher.

In this way, the spotlight cameras will be able to light up a large area and capture activities clearly within its motion zone.

Concern 2. Spotlight Turns on Due to Changing Lighting

In some cases, the motion lights for security cameras are triggered but the spotlight cameras only capture changing lights or moving branches.

Quick Fixes:

A feasible solution to prevent such problems is to customize the spotlight settings to turn on the spotlights at dusk. As the sunlight diffuses, the spotlights are already on and thus, no motion is detected.

Note that you are allowed to define the motion detection zone as well. By expanding or reducing the spotlight coverage, you will be able to reduce the chances of receiving unimportant alerts.

Concern 3. Night Vision of Outdoor Spotlight Cameras Is Vague

If the night vision of outdoor spotlight cameras is vague and blurry, it is possible that you deactivate or simply forget to enable motion lights for security cameras.

Quick Fixes:

To ensure the good image quality during evening hours, it is best not to disable the motion light, especially when there is no other external lighting available.

Don’t forget to check if there are any spider webs around your lenses as well. Insects are really fond of outside lights so you have to wipe the outer lens covers with a microfiber cloth every few weeks (check this post for more useful methods to protect outdoor security cameras).

It’s Your Turn Now!

Are you planning to buy a spotlight camera? What are the factors that you are considering before making a purchase? Share your ideas in the comment below and we would love to hear!


All Comments Are Welcome

Lorenz is an independent writer who is keen on security industry. She also loves to share new ideas and information of security life with readers.