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Full-color night vision helps security cameras to record color footage during low-light conditions. This is thanks to modern sensors that are very sensitive to ambient lighting. 

These cameras can record color footage when the ambient light levels are as low as 0.005lux. Unlike infrared, the footage contains colors and other extra details.

My top pick as the best low-light security camera is the Annke 4K Bullet Security Camera. It supports face detection and also includes a spotlight for active deterrence. 

My runner-up pick is the Lorex 4K Turret Security Camera. It’s got 4x optical zoom and can record 4K footage at a smooth 30fps. 

Please note that I’ve only included general-purpose cameras.  Therefore, I've excluded devices such as PTZ and LPR cameras.

Top 10 Starlight / Low-Light Security Cameras (2024)

Top Pick
NC800
Awards
  • Only camera listed with Full Color (via Spotlight)
  • Only camera listed with Face Detection
  • Highest rated camera listed with DC Power option
Data Type
IP
Resolution
4K / Ultra HD / 8MP: 3840x2160
Minimum Illumination for Color
0.0005lux
Storage Options
microSDNVRNAS
Image Sensor Size
1/1.2"

The Annke 4K Bullet Security Camera is our top pick. It is a high-end IP-based PoE camera that can record full-color night vision with a minimum illumination value of 0.0005lux.

This device can repurpose ambient lighting from external sources for its full-color night vision and it works best when the included dual-spotlight setup provides ambient lighting.

It can also work off of infrared, thanks to the 130ft IR range, which is quite decent for a high-end bullet-type camera.

This Annke Bullet Type PoE camera has multiple intelligent features that include customizable zones, face detection, and abandoned object detection, to name a few.

Pros
  • IP Rating: IP67
  • Data Transmission: PoE
  • Power Options: PoE, DC Power
  • Storage Options: microSD, NVR, NAS
  • Night Vision Support: Infrared, Full Color (via Spotlight)
  • Smart Motion Detection Features: Person Detection, Vehicle Detection, Face Detection
Cons
  • Does not have an integrated siren
  • No smart home integrations
  • No optical zoom
  • Cannot automatically pan
  • No motorized tilt functionality
Runner Up
LNE9292B
Awards
  • Only camera listed with Optical Zoom
  • Highest rated camera listed with Full Color (via Low Light Sensor / Tech)
Data Type
IP
Resolution
4K / Ultra HD / 8MP: 3840x2160
Storage Options
NVR
Image Sensor Size
1/2.8"

Our runner-up is the Lorex LNE9292B Turret Security Camera. It is another high-end PoE camera that utilizes starlight sensors for full-color night vision.

The system does not include a spotlight. So if you find that the ambient light illumination levels are not high enough for full-color night vision, you will have to provide external lighting. Regardless, the infrared LEDs do a satisfactory job as they have a maximum range of around 98ft.

Unfortunately, this Lorex device is limited in storage, interoperability, and motion detection features. You can only use this camera by connecting it to a compatible NVR.

Pros
  • Night Vision Support: Infrared, Full Color (via Low Light Sensor / Tech)
  • High Resolution: 4K / Ultra HD / 8MP: 3840x2160
  • Storage Options: NVR
  • Data Transmission: PoE
  • Smart Motion Detection Features: Person Detection, Vehicle Detection
  • Motorized Optical Zoom Lens
Cons
  • Cannot automatically pan
  • No motorized tilt functionality
  • No smart home integrations
  • Does not have an integrated siren
AMC4KBC28-W
Awards
  • Highest rated camera listed with Coax data
  • Highest rated camera listed with DVR support
Data Type
Analog
Resolution
4K / Ultra HD / 8MP: 3840x2160
Minimum Illumination for Color
0.005lux
Storage Options
DVR
Image Sensor Size
1/1.8"

The Amcrest 4K Bullet Security Camera is a reasonably-priced high-end device. It uses a starlight sensor for full-color vision with a minimum illumination level of 0.005lux.

The device does not have an in-built spotlight. So depending on the light conditions, you will have to provide external lighting.

This Amcrest camera is an analog-based device with an NTSC/PAL video coding format. Therefore, you will need to provide a compatible DVR for the device to function. (Along with coaxial cabling and DC power)

Pros
  • Integrated Microphone
  • Power Options: DC Power
  • Night Vision Support: Infrared, Full Color (via Low Light Sensor / Tech)
  • Storage Options: DVR
  • High Resolution: 4K / Ultra HD / 8MP: 3840x2160
  • Data Transmission: Coax
Cons
  • Cannot automatically pan
  • No motorized tilt functionality
  • No optical zoom
  • No smart home integrations
  • Does not have an integrated siren
  • No smart / AI motion detection
N43BU82
Awards
  • Highest rated camera listed with Integrated Alarm
  • Highest rated camera listed with FTP support
  • Highest rated camera listed with Object Detection
Data Type
IP
Resolution
4MP: 2688x1520
Minimum Illumination for Color
0.003lux
Storage Options
microSDNVRNASFTP
Image Sensor Size
1/2.7"

The Dahua 4MP Turret Security Camera is a relatively expensive yet feature-packed high-end device.

Despite its versatility, one thing it sorely needs is an in-built spotlight. Therefore, to maintain full-color night vision, you need to keep the ambient light level above the minimum of 0.003lux.

This device is one of the few PoE turret-style cameras on this list that offers an integrated siren and two-way communication. On top of providing these speakers and microphones, the device also includes the interfaces for connecting external sirens and intercom systems.

Pros
  • Smart Motion Detection Features: Person Detection, Vehicle Detection, Object Detection
  • IP Rating: IP67
  • Night Vision Support: Infrared, Full Color (via Low Light Sensor / Tech)
  • Integrated Microphone
  • Integrated Siren / Alarm
  • Data Transmission: PoE
Cons
  • No motorized tilt functionality
  • No optical zoom
  • Cannot automatically pan
  • No smart home integrations
Data Type
Analog
Resolution
2MP: 1080P / HD: 1920x1080
Storage Options
DVR

Hikvision’s 2MP ColorVu turret camera is a budget-friendly alternative for many homeowners.

However, it’s an analog-based device with a maximum resolution of 1920x1080p. That said, it's great for outdoor use as it features an IP67-rated watertight enclosure.

The device includes a built-in white light to help improve color night vision footage. So, under the right conditions, it can record in full color for a maximum distance of 131ft.

The camera also utilizes several post-processing features to improve the footage. These include 3D DNR for noise reduction and 130dB True WDR to improve clarity and contrast.

Pros
  • IP Rating: IP67
  • Integrated Microphone
  • Smart Motion Detection Features: Person Detection
  • Data Transmission: Coax
  • Power Options: DC Power
  • Storage Options: DVR
Cons
  • No smart home integrations
  • Does not have an integrated siren
  • No optical zoom
  • Cannot automatically pan
  • No motorized tilt functionality
  • Relatively Low Resolution: 2MP: 1080P / HD: 1920x1080
MTT8106-AISMD-DI-AD-S4-W
Awards
  • Only camera listed with Ethernet data
  • Only camera listed with HDD support
  • Only camera listed with Animal Detection
Data Type
IP
Resolution
4K / Ultra HD / 8MP: 3840x2160
Storage Options
microSDNVRNASFTPHDD
Image Sensor Size
1/2.8"

Montavue cameras face a heavy emphasis on active deterrence. This 8MP turret camera is no exception.

The camera includes the signature red and blue flashing lights. It’s also got two-way audio and a siren.

You can configure the camera’s color night vision feature in several ways. You can disable it in favor of infrared or go full-color night vision. There’s also a middle ground where the camera turns on color night vision only when motion is detected.

I recommend the latter. It’s more effective at active deterrence and promotes energy efficiency. Until then, you can leverage the 120ft range of infrared night vision for wider coverage.

Pros
  • Power Options: PoE, DC Power
  • IP Rating: IP67
  • Data Transmission: PoE, Ethernet
  • Night Vision Support: Infrared, Full Color (via Low Light Sensor / Tech)
  • Motorized Tilt Feature
  • Integrated Microphone
Cons
  • No smart home integrations
  • No optical zoom
Data Type
IP
Resolution
5MP: 2880x1620
Minimum Illumination for Color
0.003lux
Storage Options
microSDNVRNAS
Image Sensor Size
1/2.7"

The Uniview 5MP Bullet Security Camera is a great budget option for anybody looking to integrate spotlight-free full-color night vision.

This device utilizes a 1/2.7 inch CMOS image sensor on a 5MP(2880x1620) resolution. The camera also has starlight sensors that record clear full-color night vision footage as long as the ambient light levels do not fall below 0.003lux.

Despite the affordable price tag, this camera processed footage using True WDR and incorporates three separate streams for storage and remote viewing.

For storage, the camera supports MicroSD, NVR, and NAS. It also supports S, G, T, and API-based ONVIF profiles with RTSP.

Pros
  • Storage Options: microSD, NVR, NAS
  • High Resolution: 5MP: 2880x1620
  • IP Rating: IP67
  • Night Vision Support: Infrared, Full Color (via Low Light Sensor / Tech)
  • Power Options: PoE, DC Power
  • Integrated Microphone
Cons
  • No motorized tilt functionality
  • Does not have an integrated siren
  • No optical zoom
  • No smart home integrations
  • Cannot automatically pan
  • No smart / AI motion detection
RLC-810A
Awards
  • Only camera listed with Google Assistant support
Data Type
IP
Resolution
4K / Ultra HD / 8MP: 3840x2160
Storage Options
microSDNVRFTP
Image Sensor Size
1/2.49"

Reolink takes the cake when it comes to smart home integration. As such, the RLC-810A brings color night vision to Google Assistant and Alexa.

With smart home integration, you can issue voice commands to your Reolink camera. This allows you to check the live view and control the camera hands-free. Additionally, you can pull up live-view through devices such as Chromecast and Fire TV.

The camera is well-rounded in other aspects as well. For instance, it records in 4K resolution and has 100ft IR as a backup solution. On top of that, the camera is IP67-rated and supports MicroSD cards for local storage.

Pros
  • Data Transmission: PoE
  • High Resolution: 4K / Ultra HD / 8MP: 3840x2160
  • Storage Options: microSD, NVR, FTP
  • Smart Integrations: Google Assistant
  • IP Rating: IP66
  • Integrated Microphone
Cons
  • Cannot automatically pan
  • Does not have an integrated siren
  • No optical zoom
  • No motorized tilt functionality
Data Type
IP
Resolution
4MP: 2688x1520
Minimum Illumination for Color
0.008lux
Storage Options
microSDNVRNASFTP
Image Sensor Size
1/3"

The Dahua 4MP 2.8mm Starlight Eyeball is a mid-range PoE camera with a DC power option. There is no spotlight, but the camera can record full-color night vision footage with a minimum illumination value of 0.008lux.

This camera has a 1/3 inch CMOS sensor with 4MP 2688x1520 resolution footage. The camera system has True WDR features and outputs two separate video streams at 20 or 30 fps.

There are several storage options. These include MicroSD, NVR, NAS, and FTP and a maximum onboard storage capacity of 256GB. This camera supports several interoperability protocols that include P2P, CGI, RTSP, and ONVIF. (Profiles S, G, T.)

Pros
  • Integrated Microphone
  • Data Transmission: PoE
  • Power Options: PoE, DC Power
  • IP Rating: IP67
  • Night Vision Support: Infrared, Full Color (via Low Light Sensor / Tech)
  • Storage Options: microSD, NVR, NAS, FTP
Cons
  • No smart home integrations
  • Cannot automatically pan
  • No optical zoom
  • No smart / AI motion detection
  • Does not have an integrated siren
  • No motorized tilt functionality
Data Type
IP
Resolution
4K / Ultra HD / 8MP: 3840x2160
Storage Options
microSDNVRFTP
Image Sensor Size
1/2"

The AvertX HD458 is a professional option where the clarity of the CNV footage is a high priority. The IP-based camera can record in 4K resolution at 20fps (15fps with WDR turned on).

It can record in CNV at 0.01Lux and switch over to infrared if the lighting gets any darker. The device has a maximum infrared range of 98 ft.

Also, it includes 120dB True WDR. This helps keep night vision footage consistent despite changes in range and focus.

The camera is IP67-rated for outdoor use, and one of the select few that’s NDAA compliant.

Pros
  • Integrated Siren / Alarm
  • Data Transmission: PoE
  • High Resolution: 4K / Ultra HD / 8MP: 3840x2160
  • Storage Options: microSD, NVR, FTP
  • Night Vision Support: Infrared, Full Color (via Low Light Sensor / Tech)
  • IP Rating: IP67
Cons
  • No motorized tilt functionality
  • No smart home integrations
  • No optical zoom
  • Cannot automatically pan

Decision Factors when Choosing a Starlight / Low-Light Security Camera

IP rating

Since these starlight cameras will most definitely be used to record outdoor footage, you have to consider the IP rating of the enclosure. As always, we recommend a minimum of IP66 for outdoor applications. 

Minimum Illumination for Color

For starlight cameras, the most important spec you need to worry about is the “minimum illumination for color”. This spec is measured in lux, a standardized unit for measuring light intensity. If the ambient light intensity is lower than this value, the camera will stop recording at full-color night vision and switch to infrared. The lower the minimum illumination for color, the better the starlight sensor is going to be.

In-built spotlights

Another spec important for starlight cameras is the in-built spotlights (or lack thereof.) Some cameras need the in-built spotlight to properly carry out full-color night vision, while others (with more advanced starlight sensors) can rely on ambient lighting. Regardless, we recommend going for a device that includes spotlights so you won’t have to worry about the ambient lighting. 

Audio-Based Features

Intruders (and even animals) are more likely to break into your premises at night. Therefore, audio-based features can help deter intruders and alert anybody nearby. Most general-purpose cameras consist of in-built microphones for recording audio but may not include integrated sirens or two-way communication features. So check for these features before committing to a device. 

Storage

For 24/7 continuous recording, at full-color, you will need more storage space. Most cameras on this list will offer the option for both local storage (MicroSD) and remote storage (NVR, NAS, FTP.) Nonetheless, if you are using more than one camera (or hoping to expand in the future) we recommend purchasing a compatible NVR so you can store footage in a central location. A decent NVR also opens up the chance to manage cameras via third-party applications. (For remote viewing, changing settings, etc..)

Conclusion

Starlight or low-light security cameras help improve the readability of low-light footage. Unlike infrared, these cameras can output in full color.

Therefore, starlight cameras are the better option. This is especially useful if you need color footage from a short-distance region.

My main recommendation for a starlight security camera is the Annke 4K Bullet Security Camera. It’s got an IP67-rated enclosure and can record up to 130ft in color night vision. 

My second pick is the Lorex 4K Turret Security Camera. This one has 4x optical zoom and 98ft infrared as a backup.

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