Heard about the talking of starlight cameras? Sounds rather high-tech and seems to be a big leap forward in the night vision, doesn’t it?

However, after hours of Google search for starlight Wiki or buying guide, you may still confused about what exactly is the starlight IP cameras, how does the starlight security cameras work, what’s the difference between the starlight and IR night vision, and the cost, of course.

Here, we will share with you the most exhaustive and leading insights into starlight CCTV cameras from a senior hardware engineer, Daniel, who has been in the industry for over 20 years and knows all ins and outs of the starlight cameras.

After months’ waiting in line and hours’ interview, finally, here is what we got. Click the sections below to see what the expert has to say about starlight CCTV cameras.

What Are Starlight Cameras

As the name suggests, starlight cameras could see objects clearly even with the weak illumination of mere starlight – normally above 0.01 Lux, by using the specialized starlight standard sensors, like the Sony Starvis and Starlight sensors.

What does that mean to you?

You know, human eyes could hardly identify anything when the illumination goes below 20 Lux. Well, the starlight cameras, with its 0.01 Lux super night vision, could give you sharper and clearer images than your eyes could see in the dark night. And that means “see things clearly that your eyes can’t see”!

Generally, you will find two types of starlight cameras on the market: the one that records with black and white images with high clarity, and the one produces color images just as your eyes could normally see in the daytime. The key lies in the sensor that the CCTV camera uses.

How Do Starlight Night Vision Cameras Work

The starlight standard sensor is just like the retina of your eyes which is sensitive to its ambient light, and the image quality is determined by how much light the sensor could use, together with the camera lens.

And thus, it becomes a challenge for most security cameras to remain the high quality images in the complete dark night – How could the sensor produce clear images with only the “starlight”?

The starlight camera technology uses larger and highly sensitive sensors, wider aperture and reduces the shutter speed to collect enough light for sharp monochrome/color images, even when human eyes couldn’t identify a thing. So the starlight camera can see right through the darkness, even when it is challenging for your eyes.

Just imagine you are collecting water from a water tap, you will definitely get more if you open the tap for longer time with a larger container.

Starlight Cameras

What’s the Difference Between IR and Starlight Night Vision

These two types of cameras are mainly different in the way they produce images, night vision distance and the image colors. Actually, the starlight cameras win in all rounds.

As I mentioned above, the starlight cameras could make the most out of natural light to produce superior images with the specialized sensors. And the night vision could be either b/w or color according to the specific sensor you use and the light conditions.

By contrast, the IR night vision relies on the emitted infrared light to “see” the objects around them, with limited night vision distance. And since the IR light is not the natural light that human eyes could catch, the images will be black and white in this mode.

Beside these two kinds, there is another way you can enable night vision: To use a security light with camera. In that way, the light will illuminate the scenes and the security camera could then monitor the area that is lit up.

At the present, the IR night vision is most popular among the security cameras due to its relatively low cost, while the starlight camera gains more and more attention nowadays and becomes a new trend with its incomparable advantages in night vision.

What’s Special About Starlight Cameras: Pros & Cons

Yes, you could simply interpret starlight cameras as excellent night vision. But do you know on which aspects exactly do starlight cameras win other types?

Let’s find out below.

Pros of Starlight CCTV Cameras:

#1. Starlight Security Cameras Gain Great Clarity

Just as I mentioned, starlight cameras carry super sensitive sensor and specific lens to guarantee exceptional night vision with HD resolution, like the most popular 1080p on the market.

That means you will be able to see the plate number and people’s face in distance clearly day and night, and you don’t need to worry about the possible IR reflection of the license plate.

Editor’s Note: To guarantee real high quality night vision, meaning that all details you need could be identified, the starlight cameras will use its own smart algorithm to best represent the images, either color or black & white according to the environment light conditions.

Actually, whether it’s black or color doesn’t matter that much for a security camera, from my own perspective. After all, the security camera is used for collecting crime evidence and the evidence will not be more convincible because of its color.

#2. Starlight IP Cameras See Much Further

Compared with the IR cameras which rely on the IR light reflection to produce images, the starlight camera collects the natural lights comes from other objects, just like your eyes.

And therefore it could see further, like the people across the street and the sign board of far away buildings, than mere the illuminated area with IR or white enhanced light.

As most technologies, there is some inconvenience you have to bear with for starlight cameras, whether it is PTZ, bullet, dome or other types.

Cons for Starlight CCTV Cameras:

#1. Starlight IP Cameras Come with Higher Price Tag

There should be no surprising that the high-tech starlight cameras with superior sensors will cost more than the non-starlight – usually twice (or more) the price according to their specific sensors.

However, the starlight security cameras could be more cost effective in the long run.

Just think about it in this way: By using the natural light, the starlight cameras are actually much more durable than other types. And at the same time, it saves your cost of nearly 12 hours of electricity a day for IR or external light.

#2. Starlight Surveillance Cameras Have Light Trails Effect

Just as what I put it earlier, the starlight cameras will slow down its shutter speed to gain enough light for night vision. And therefore the pictures it takes per seconds will be reduced, resulting in blurry images of moving objects.

This could be a great damage when you want to recognize the plate number of the leaving cars. To avoid such issues, you’d better choose the starlight CCTV cameras from some reputable brands, such as Reolink. And also ask the camera producer for the starlight camera’s video demo and read some reviews before purchase.

Where Should You Use Starlight CCTV Cameras

With the great improvement in night vision, the starlight security cameras could be used in expanded situations, like enhancing your home security to a higher level, capturing the activities in your bar with color, and etc.

There are even starlight cameras meet the standard for military and national geographic research use. For example, the starlight cameras used in underwater are once reported to capture bioluminescence.

And they will have more advantages in the open fields for their far-reaching night vision, including the back yard, front yard, meeting halls, street, airport, highways and tourist attractions monitoring.

Some of you might take the starlight cameras as overkill in home security, while it’s definitely worth the investment and will prove its value if you feel unsafe during the night for the repeated burglars in your area – some wire-free mini starlight cameras are also available to make the surveillance more secret and effective!

Decided to give starlight cameras a try?

The golden rule applying to all purchases is to buy from the reputable brand, like Reolink. Our wire-free solar powered starlight camera is coming out soon, with affordable price and high quality night vision that will never let you down. Keep tuned on our Facebook or subscribe to our newsletter to receive the latest information.

  • Joe Oliver

    I hope the wire between the cam and solar panel is long enough for placement – other then – right next to it. Also including the fixed base wouldn’t hurt future sales.

    • Hi Joe, thank you for sharing your concerns! Generally, the cable for solar panel could reach 4 meters, which could satisfy most monitoring needs. And you may also use extension cords for more flexible placement.
      If you have any further question, please do not hesitate to reply to the comment directly 🙂