How Outdoor Video Cameras Work: Day Vs. Night

Posted March 27th, 2023 by SimpliSafe

When asked to describe a home security system, most people will point to outdoor cameras first – and for good reason! Smart outdoor cameras come with a myriad of features and can monitor your home for anything from break-ins and potentially damaging weather to your dog’s activity in the backyard.

No matter what you use your outdoor camera for, you likely need it to be operational both day and night, which can pose a problem for those who may not have night-vision capable technology installed. You may be asking yourself: Does my video quality change depending on the time of day? Are the camera’s features just as effective at night as they are during the day? Or are there specific features that are only accessible during daylight hours?

We’ve got all your questions answered! 

The Pros and Cons of a Day & Night Outdoor Camera

As will any home security technology, there are pros and cons to the devices you choose to add to your current security suite. The same goes for outdoor cameras that offer both day and night vision.


  • 2-for-1 technology, saving you from purchasing two cameras for two different times of day

  • No additional outdoor lighting is required to get clear nighttime video

  • Peace of mind that your camera will be able to capture unexpected activity 24/7


  • Some day/night cameras lack sufficient infrared technology meaning the night footage may not appear as clearly as day footage

  • As with night cameras, “orbs” – dust particles or water droplets – may appear in night videos and prevent you from getting a clear picture of outdoor activity

  • If they lack strong batteries or solar panel/outlet options, day/night cameras will lose power more quickly than cameras that only operate for part of the day

Luckily, there are plenty of day/night cameras (including SimpliSafe’s Wireless Outdoor Camera!) that have taken care to eliminate the above cons.

Daytime Features of an Outdoor Security Camera

Many outdoor security cameras have similar features, but they will vary depending on the company, price and available add-ons. You’ll have to do your own research to ensure you’re investing in the right outdoor camera for your home, especially if you’re looking for strong daytime video footage.

In general, look for a camera that includes the following features:

  • DIY installation option

  • Weather-resistant

  • 1080p high-definition video

  • Zoom up to 8x

  • Two-way audio

  • Smart Person Detection

  • Built-in spotlight and siren

  • 140º field of view

SimpliSafe’s Wireless Outdoor Camera includes all of these features and more, such as enhanced capabilities when you subscribe to one of SimpliSafe’s professional monitoring plans. 

Nighttime Features of an Outdoor Security Camera

If you are most concerned about monitoring the perimeter of your home at night, it’s important to select an outdoor camera designed specifically for nighttime watch or an all-day camera that has strong night vision. But never fear, there are plenty of cameras that address these needs. When shopping for a camera with nighttime vision in mind, look for the following features:

  • Color-night vision, so you have the clearest image possible

  • Motion-activated spotlight that will illuminate any movement

  • Extreme weather resistant, from  -4ºF to 122ºF, for those really cold nights or cloudy storms

  • Infrared light that can be adjusted under settings for night vision

  • Rechargeable battery with 3-6 months of usage per charge, so you don’t need to worry about your camera dying in the middle of the night

  • Option for a power cable that is weather and water-resistant for added power back-up

Whether you’re trying to ward off porch pirates, look after your kids outside, or simply monitor the wildlife that wanders near your property, an outdoor camera that can capture video both day and night will get the job done in more ways than one. Shop now to get started!