Identification vs IR Distance

Identification vs. Infra Red Distance

When selecting a security camera, it’s important to know at what distance the camera can identify a person. The main determining factor for this is what lens is being used.

What is the Identification Distance?

The identification distance is the distance from the camera that a person can be identified. There are lots of variables that go into determining this distance, however the biggest contributing factor is the focal length of the lens.

Here at Orange Security when we state an identification distance, we take a conservative view.

What is the Infra Red Distance?

The IR distance is the distance from the camera that the infra red LEDs can illuminate. It’s a largely useless number and you will never be able to identify someone at this distance.

All cameras that have on board infra red illumination will illuminate objects at the identification distance for the lens fitted. It is not uncommon for cameras with an identification distance of 20ft to have an IR distance of 80-100ft or even more.

Focal Lengths

Focal lengths are measured in millimeters (mm) such as 3.6mm, 12mm, 50mm and so on. The smaller the number, the wider the angle of view. The wider the angle of view, the shorter the identification distance.

This table gives you the angles of view and identification distances for some different focal lengths

Lens Focal Length Angle of View Identification Distance
2.8mm 103° 10ft
3.6mm 94° 20ft
8mm 42° 40ft
12mm 30° 50ft
22mm 16° 80ft
50mm 230ft

The Big Deception

It gets a bit tricky for the customer when the retailer mixes these two numbers up. Often a camera that should be sold with an identification distance of just 20ft is advertised with a range of 80ft. 80 is bigger than 20, sounds more impressive and is almost guaranteed to sell more cameras. Except you’re going to be disappointed.

Don’t feel too bad about this – the marketing for these products is designed to be misleading.

How to Avoid Being Disappointed?

All the cameras sold here at Orange Security are advertised with an identification distance, not an IR distance. The only way to be sure is to buy from a reputable seller who makes this distinction.

Don’t fall into the trap: If the retailer isn’t clear about the identification distance of the camera and instead states a range, the chances are you won’t be able to identify someone at that distance


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