Difference between low light imaging and near infrared illumination

“Night Vision” mainly refers to a technology that provides vision in complete darkness and improves vision quality in low light environments. The two main methods that this technology is implemented in are low light imaging and near infrared illuminators. These two methods differ from each other in many ways. They both work in different ways and different equipments are used while implementing them.

ImageLet us observe a few main differences between them.

  1. The Low light imaging technique makes use of Image Intensifiers and On chip gain multiplication cameras for the entire process. Whereas, the near infrared illumination technique requires the usage of IR illuminator that help in obtaining a finer and sharper image.
  2. As the low light imaging method makes use of the amplification method, it needs at least some amount of light in order to capture an image. The near infrared, on the other hand can perform well even during the night time mist, fog, rain and also snowfall.
  3. The low light imaging technology is usually used in the objects such as night vision goggles and night scopes that can be used for a better vision in low light. Near IR is used in the form of filtered incandescent lamps, LED type and the laser type illuminators. These are used along with night vision cameras to capture images even in the dark.
  4. An advanced feature that may not be observed using the low light imaging method is eliminating shadows and identifying letters, numbers and objects. All this is possible with the use of near infrared illuminators.
  5. Finally, speaking about the cost, the near infrared illumination method is the least expensive method that can be used for night vision.

The above mentioned points have clearly stated a few basic differences between the two methods. The main ones being the way they work, the results they give and cost of implementing each of them. The quality of the image intensifiers used in low light imaging can be further improved by using a near infrared illumination lighting. Thus we know that the image intensifiers and the latter method when installed together will deliver a better performance and a sharper image quality. Thus, no matter how well the low light imaging works, an additional near infrared light will always enhance its quality.

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