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There are two types of full-color night vision (CNV) security cameras. One uses integrated spotlights, while the other uses starlight/low-light sensors.

Cameras with starlight sensors use ambient light to improve the CNV footage. They don’t use an integrated spotlight and relies on the external lighting conditions.

My top pick as the best CNV security camera with a spotlight is the Reolink RLC-811A Bullet Security Camera. It can record in 4K resolution and includes a 450 Lumen spotlight. 

My main recommendation as the best CNV camera with low-light sensors is the Annke 5MP Bullet Security Camera. This one’s a 4K turret-style camera with strobe lights for active deterrence.

I've excluded specialized cameras such as PTZ and Fisheye Cameras. Instead, I've mainly focused on general-purpose fixed-lens cameras.

Top 12 Full-Color Night Vision Security Cameras (2024)

Full-Color Night Vision Cameras with Integrated Spotlights

The first section of our list is security cameras that utilize integrated spotlights. These are not floodlights but smaller ambient light sources designed to aid the full-color night vision feature in capturing clear and noise-free footage. However, if you are interested in floodlight cameras, we recommend our list of the Floodlight Security Cameras.

Top Pick
RLC-811A
Awards
  • Only camera in this group with Optical Zoom
  • Highest rated camera in this group with DC Power option
  • Highest rated camera in this group with PoE data
Data Type
IP
Resolution
4K / Ultra HD / 8MP: 3840x2160
Storage Options
microSDNVRFTP

Our top pick for this section is the high-end Reolink RLC-811A Bullet Security Camera. The device uses an 8MP camera to record 4K footage at a maximum resolution of 3840x2160.

The camera supports infrared within a maximum IR distance of 98ft. However, it doesn’t need to rely on infrared alone, thanks to the 450 Lumen spotlight and full-color night vision sensors.

The camera includes multiple storage options such as MicroSD, NVR, and FTP. On top of that, it is also versatile due to its compatibility with RTSP, P2P, and Synology. Sadly, the device doesn’t support standalone cloud storage and only offers smart integration with Google Assistant.

Pros
  • Smart Integrations: Google Assistant
  • Storage Options: microSD, NVR, FTP
  • Power Options: PoE, DC Power
  • Night Vision Support: Infrared, Full Color (via Spotlight)
  • Integrated Siren / Alarm
  • IP Rating: IP67
Cons
  • Cannot automatically pan
  • No motorized tilt functionality
Runner Up
E896AB
Awards
  • Only camera in this group with Apple TV support
  • Highest rated camera in this group with Face Detection
  • Highest rated camera in this group with IP67
Data Type
IP
Resolution
4K / Ultra HD / 8MP: 3840x2160
Storage Options
NVR

Our runner-up is the Lorex E892ABW Bullet Security Camera. This camera is another high-end device that uses an 8MP camera to record 4K resolution footage. It also has a 98ft range infrared and spotlight-dependant full-color night vision.

Unfortunately, the storage options are limited to an NVR, and the camera doesn’t support any third-party interoperability protocols. Although, when set up using a compatible NVR, the device supports multiple intelligent detection features. These include person, vehicle, and face detection. (Along with missing/abandoned object detection.)

The device has an IP67 rating and can operate outdoors within a wide temperature range of -22F to 140F.

Pros
  • Data Transmission: PoE
  • Smart Motion Detection Features: Person Detection, Vehicle Detection, Face Detection
  • Smart Integrations: Apple TV
  • Integrated Siren / Alarm
  • Integrated Microphone
  • Night Vision Support: Infrared, Full Color (via Spotlight)
Cons
  • Cannot automatically pan
  • No optical zoom
  • No motorized tilt functionality
Solo OutdoorCam C24
Awards
  • Only camera in this group with Sound Detection
  • Highest rated camera in this group with AC Power option
  • Highest rated camera in this group with 2.4GHz WiFi data
Data Type
IP
Resolution
2K: 2560x1920
Storage Options
microSDNASCloud

The Eufy Solo OutdoorCam C24 Spotlight Security Camera is a somewhat affordable mid-range device. The magnetic mount and 20ft long cable make it very easy to install the camera.

This camera can record infrared footage from up to 32.8ft away and incorporates a couple of in-built spotlights to aid the full-color night vision feature. Unfortunately, the spotlights can only reach a maximum distance of 10ft, but they produce enough ambient light for the full-color night vision feature to record clear and noise-free footage.

The device supports 128GB of local storage on a MicroSD card with support for NAS and Cloud storage. It cannot interface with an NVR and instead relies on Wi-Fi for data transmission.

Pros
  • Night Vision Support: Infrared, Full Color (via Spotlight)
  • Smart Motion Detection Features: Person Detection, Animal Detection, Sound Detection
  • Data Transmission: 2.4GHz WiFi
  • Storage Options: microSD, NAS, Cloud
  • Power Options: AC Power
  • Smart Integrations: Alexa, Google Assistant
Cons
  • No motorized tilt functionality
  • Cannot automatically pan
  • Does not have an integrated siren
  • No integrated microphone
  • No optical zoom
Spotlight Cam Plus Battery
Awards
  • Only camera in this group with Solar Panel option
  • Only camera in this group with Fire TV support
  • Highest rated camera in this group with Battery option
Data Type
IP
Resolution
2MP: 1080P / HD: 1920x1080
Storage Options
Cloud

The Ring Spotlight Cam Battery Security Camera is a well-recognized high-end device with a slightly higher price tag. Unfortunately, this device does not support continuous recording because it strictly runs on rechargeable batteries. (With the option to attach a compatible solar panel.)

Also, the device is strictly cloud-based, so you will need to subscribe to a Ring Protect plan for this device to perform optimally.

The device will always switch on the motion sensors but will only start recording in short bursts whenever motion is detected. Users can customize if they want the spotlight to turn on and record using full-color night vision or if they want to keep it dark and keep recording via infrared.

Pros
  • Night Vision Support: Infrared, Full Color (via Spotlight)
  • Integrated Siren / Alarm
  • Smart Motion Detection Features: Person Detection
  • Integrated Microphone
  • Data Transmission: 2.4GHz WiFi
  • Storage Options: Cloud
Cons
  • Cannot automatically pan
  • No motorized tilt functionality
  • Low IP Rating: Weather-resistant
  • No optical zoom
  • Relatively Low Resolution: 2MP: 1080P / HD: 1920x1080
MTT8106-AISMD-DI-AD-S4-W
Awards
  • Only camera in this group with Ethernet data
  • Only camera in this group with Full Color (via Low Light Sensor / Tech)
  • Only camera in this group with HDD support
Data Type
IP
Resolution
4K / Ultra HD / 8MP: 3840x2160
Storage Options
microSDNVRNASFTPHDD

Montavue's turret camera is a no-spotlight, no-nonsense security camera with CNV.

The device is discrete, easy to install, and boasts a motorized setup for 0°–360° panning and 0°–78° tilting.

Apart from that, it’s got several active deterrence features. These include an alarm, two-way audio, strobe lights, and intelligent motion detection.

The camera usually records in infrared. However, when people and vehicles are detected, it will switch on the warm light. The camera will then record in color night vision until this object of interest moves out from the frame.

Pros
  • Integrated Siren / Alarm
  • High Resolution: 4K / Ultra HD / 8MP: 3840x2160
  • Motorized Tilt Feature
  • Integrated Microphone
  • Night Vision Support: Infrared, Full Color (via Low Light Sensor / Tech)
  • Smart Motion Detection Features: Person Detection, Vehicle Detection, Animal Detection
Cons
  • No smart home integrations
  • No optical zoom
SWNVW-800CAM
Awards
  • Only camera in this group with Google Nest Hub support
Data Type
IP
Resolution
4K / Ultra HD / 8MP: 3840x2160
Storage Options
NVR

Swann SWNVW-800CAM Bullet Security Camera is an affordable mid-range camera that uses DC for power and Wi-Fi for data transmission. This device is a well-recommended option for full-color night vision because it uses four in-built spotlights and can capture details up to 32ft away from the camera.

If you need a better range, you can switch to infrared, where the maximum distance is almost three times that of full-color night vision.

Unfortunately, the device can only interface with an NVR and doesn’t support any interoperability protocols. Surprisingly, it supports Alexa, Google Assistant, Chromecast, and Google Nest Hub.

Pros
  • High Resolution: 4K / Ultra HD / 8MP: 3840x2160
  • Integrated Microphone
  • Power Options: DC Power
  • IP Rating: IP66
  • Storage Options: NVR
  • Smart Integrations: Alexa, Google Assistant, Chromecast, Google Nest Hub
Cons
  • No motorized tilt functionality
  • Cannot automatically pan
  • No optical zoom
Ultra 2
Awards
  • Only camera in this group with 5GHz WiFi data
  • Only camera in this group with USB Flash Drive support
  • Only camera in this group with Object Detection
Data Type
IP
Resolution
4K / Ultra HD / 8MP: 3840x2160
Storage Options
microSDCloudUSB Flash Drive

Our final entry on this section is the Arlo Ultra 2 Spotlight Security Camera. Despite its compact design, this is a somewhat expensive camera with versatile and high-end specs.

This device includes a rechargeable battery that can last up to six months on a single charge. Fortunately, if you want 24/7 recording, you can hardwire it using your home’s AC wiring.

The device supports both infrared and spotlight-dependant full-color night vision. For storage, the device relies on cloud storage (with a subscription service,) but you have the option of plugging in a USB flash drive or MicroSD card.

A unique aspect of this device is the support for various automation platforms. The device is compatible with Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit, Samsung SmartThings, and even IFTTT.

Pros
  • Smart Integrations: Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit, SmartThings, IFTTT
  • High Resolution: 4K / Ultra HD / 8MP: 3840x2160
  • Smart Motion Detection Features: Person Detection, Vehicle Detection, Object Detection
  • Storage Options: microSD, Cloud, USB Flash Drive
  • Integrated Siren / Alarm
  • Data Transmission: 2.4GHz WiFi, 5GHz WiFi
Cons
  • No motorized tilt functionality
  • Low IP Rating: Weather-resistant
  • Cannot automatically pan
  • No optical zoom

Full-Color Night Vision Cameras with Starlight / Low-Light Image Sensors

In our next section, we will list out five of the best full-color night vision cameras that use advanced starlight sensors without the help of in-built spotlights. Therefore, all of the devices on this list do not include spotlights or do not depend on one to carry out full-color night vision.

Top Pick
NCA500
Awards
  • Only camera in this group with HDD support
  • Highest rated camera in this group with DC Power option
  • Highest rated camera in this group with Coax data
Data Type
Analog
Resolution
5MP: 2560x1920
Storage Options
DVRHDD

The ANNKE NCA500 is an analog-based security camera. However, it has many modern features that stand up to its IP-based counterparts.

This camera is IP67-rated for complete weatherproofing with a sturdy metal enclosure. As such, you don’t have to provide a separate shade structure when installing outdoors.

The camera supports color night vision and also includes a warm spotlight. This light turns on automatically whenever the ambient lighting is too low.

Also, the spotlight aids the color night vision in recording footage at a maximum range of 100ft.

Pros
  • Power Options: DC Power
  • IP Rating: IP67
  • Data Transmission: Coax
  • High Resolution: 5MP: 2560x1920
  • Storage Options: DVR, HDD
  • Night Vision Support: Infrared, Full Color (via Low Light Sensor / Tech)
Cons
  • No smart / AI motion detection
  • Cannot automatically pan
  • Does not have an integrated siren
  • No motorized tilt functionality
  • No integrated microphone
  • No optical zoom
Runner Up
LNB9282B
Awards
  • Only camera in this group with Ethernet data
  • Only camera in this group with Optical Zoom
  • Highest rated camera in this group with PoE option
Data Type
IP
Resolution
4K / Ultra HD / 8MP: 3840x2160
Storage Options
NVR

My second pick is the Lorex N3. This device isn’t as “actively intimidating.” However, it boasts 4x optical zoom and can record 4K footage at 30fps.

The camera has an IP67-rated enclosure. This makes it ideal for outdoor installations. It includes powerful low-light sensors for color night vision. However, you must provide additional lighting separately for this.

Otherwise, the camera will switch over to infrared. The infrared system has a 98ft range in pitch-black darkness.

Pros
  • IP Rating: IP67
  • Storage Options: NVR
  • Power Options: PoE
  • Night Vision Support: Infrared, Full Color (via Low Light Sensor / Tech)
  • Motorized Optical Zoom Lens
  • High Resolution: 4K / Ultra HD / 8MP: 3840x2160
Cons
  • No integrated microphone
  • No smart home integrations
  • Does not have an integrated siren
  • No motorized tilt functionality
  • Cannot automatically pan
AMC4KDM28-B
Awards
  • Highest rated camera in this group with Integrated Microphone
  • Highest rated camera in this group with 4K / Ultra HD / 8MP: 3840x2160
Data Type
Analog
Resolution
4K / Ultra HD / 8MP: 3840x2160
Minimum Illumination for Color
0.005lux
Storage Options
DVR

The Amcrest AMC4KDM28-B is a moderately-priced turret-style security camera. This is an analog-based device that requires coaxial cables (along with DC power) for data transmission.

The camera records at a resolution of 3840x2160 on 8MP. It uses a 1/1.8" CMOS sensor which doesn’t need to switch over to infrared as long as the ambient lighting is more than 0.005Lux.

The camera utilized two infrared LEDs which can record IR footage from a maximum range of 164ft. Depending on the ambient lighting it can also record full-color night vision thanks to advanced starlight sensors. Nonetheless, the camera does not include an in-built spotlight.

Pros
  • IP Rating: IP67
  • Power Options: DC Power
  • Integrated Microphone
  • High Resolution: 4K / Ultra HD / 8MP: 3840x2160
  • Storage Options: DVR
  • Night Vision Support: Infrared, Full Color (via Low Light Sensor / Tech)
Cons
  • No smart home integrations
  • No optical zoom
  • Does not have an integrated siren
  • No smart / AI motion detection
  • Cannot automatically pan
  • No motorized tilt functionality
IPC2125SB-ADF28(40)KM-I0
Awards
  • Highest rated camera in this group with NAS support
Data Type
IP
Resolution
5MP: 2880x1620
Minimum Illumination for Color
0.003lux
Storage Options
microSDNVRNAS

The Uniview IPC2125SB-ADF28(40)KM-I0 is a budget-level bullet-type camera that requires DC power and a PoE/Ethernet transmission network.

The device records True WDR processed footage at 5MP on a maximum resolution of 2880x1620. Also, the device sends out three separate streams, with configurable resolution and fps, for storage and remote viewing.

The camera does not incorporate a spotlight, but its starlight sensors are powerful enough to record full-color night vision footage in environments where the ambient lighting is as low as 0.003lux. Regardless, infrared night vision is also top-notch and can record at distances of up to 131ft.

Pros
  • High Resolution: 5MP: 2880x1620
  • Power Options: PoE, DC Power
  • Integrated Microphone
  • IP Rating: IP67
  • Night Vision Support: Infrared, Full Color (via Low Light Sensor / Tech)
  • Data Transmission: PoE
Cons
  • No optical zoom
  • Does not have an integrated siren
  • No motorized tilt functionality
  • No smart / AI motion detection
  • Cannot automatically pan
  • No smart home integrations
N43BU82
Awards
  • Only camera in this group with Integrated Alarm
  • Only camera in this group with FTP support
  • Only camera in this group with Object Detection
Data Type
IP
Resolution
4MP: 2688x1520
Minimum Illumination for Color
0.003lux
Storage Options
microSDNVRNASFTP

The Dahua 4MP Turret Security Camera is our final starlight-only option. It is a significantly expensive high-end camera that relies on PoE with a DC power option.

The device uses a 1/2.7 inch CMOS sensor and records True WDR processed footage on a 4MP 2688x1520 resolution.

For infrared, the device uses a single IR LED with a maximum distance of 98.43ft. The camera doesn’t have a spotlight but can record full-color night vision when the ambient lighting isn’t lower than 0.003lux.

Pros
  • Data Transmission: PoE
  • Smart Motion Detection Features: Person Detection, Vehicle Detection, Object Detection
  • Integrated Siren / Alarm
  • Integrated Microphone
  • Power Options: PoE, DC Power
  • Night Vision Support: Infrared, Full Color (via Low Light Sensor / Tech)
Cons
  • No motorized tilt functionality
  • No smart home integrations
  • No optical zoom
  • Cannot automatically pan

About Full Color Night Vision

Almost every security camera on the market incorporates infrared night vision for recording footage in low-light environments. It is an essential feature, but it suffers from significant flaws. For starters, the range is limited, and it can only record black and white footage. Therefore, lacking a considerable amount of information in the footage.

This is where full-color night vision comes in. As the name suggests, this feature allows the camera to record color footage even during low-light conditions. Despite this, full-color night vision requires advanced sensors and a smidgeon of ambient light.

Decision Factors when Choosing a Full-Color Night Vision Security Camera

IP rating

The IP rating is a significant factor that will decide if your camera can endure the great outdoors. Fortunately, most cameras with full-color night vision are built for the outdoors and will always include at least IP66 protection. However, it’s always best to do your due diligence when picking out a camera, especially when picking out one for an unfamiliar brand. 

Night Vision Features

Night vision cameras that consist of an in-built spotlight will never need to rely on infrared. However, ones without a light source will need to rely on infrared. You can provide ambient lighting to kick off the starlight sensors, but we recommend checking out the IR specs, such as the maximum IR distance. 

Power and Storage

The power and storage options will determine how smoothly the initial installation plays out. Setting up wired power and transmission networks tends to be more difficult. They also require extra hardware such as a PoE switch or NVR. While on the other hand, wireless setups will not afford you the luxury of 24/7 recording, and you will have to pay extra for cloud storage. 

Audio-Based Features

These are important features that can deter intruders or even allow you to greet a visitor. For night-vision cameras, an integrated siren or alarm is always a plus. So, if you are serious about intruders, you should look for a camera that includes this. On top of that, you can also go for a device that allows two-way communication. Most cameras already have in-built microphones for recording audio, so it’s already a given.

Motion Detection

Another important element for improving security is motion detection features. These allow you to automate the monitoring aspect so that the camera will only notify you under certain conditions. For Night vision cameras, we recommend picking out a device that supports vehicle and human detection as the bare minimum. Additionally, features like customizable motion zones and sensitivities can help save time while improving security.

Conclusion

You can pick a security camera with or without a built-in spotlight for full-color night vision.

Generally, CNV cameras with spotlights tend to be more reliable. This is because they’re less dependent on external lighting conditions. However, the spotlight can sometimes be unnecessary and add up the cost of the camera. 

My primary choice for a CNV camera with a spotlight is the Reolink RLC-811A Bullet Security Camera. It’s got optical zoom and a 98ft IR range if you want to be discreet. 

As for one without a spotlight, I recommend the Annke 5MP Bullet Security Camera. This one has several intelligent object detection features and local storage via MicroSD.

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