As night falls threats become more imminent. One wrong move could spell disaster. With vision becoming increasingly impaired by deepening shadows and darkness the threat grows substantially. Is there someone waiting with ill intent in the shadows up ahead? Will shinning a light help illuminate suspects or will it just make them aware of your presence?

If these scenarios sound familiar it is vital for you to be well equipped. There are many solutions that attempt to solve this problem; however, they are not all created equal. Let’s take a look at a few key differences between traditional night vision and thermal imaging cameras. Which type of night vision would you bet your life on?

Traditional Night Vision

Traditional night vision, also known as NVDs (night vision devices) or green vision, use an optics based system to pick up small traces of ambient light. This light is filtered through an image intensifier tube. The light is then amplified allowing something normally imperceptible to the human eye to become visible.

There are a few limitation to this kind of night vision. Because it amplifies ambient light there must be a certain amount of light present. Traditional night vision is hindered in extreme low light and low visibility situations.

Thermal Imaging Cameras

Thermal imaging cameras read differences in thermal energy released from objects. Heat energy when released from an object produces high-end infrared light. This light is invisible to the human eye.

Thermal imaging cameras pick up this high-end infrared light that objects release within the cameras field of view. Through advanced algorithms the chips inside thermal imaging cameras turn different thermal energy readings into a visible image. This image is then displayed on a digital screen.

Being assisted in the ability to see at night or in the dark can turn a high-risk situation into a low liability situation. The lives of law enforcement officers may be at risk when using outdated technology. Understanding how the different kinds of night vision devices work can be vital in ensuring safety. Know the differences.
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This article was written by Joseph Daniel Lewin.
Staff Writer, Surveillance One, Inc.

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FLIR Expert Mike Carlow, BS
GSA & LE Sales

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