Dark night scene of lake and trees

Night Vision Technologies for Long‑Range Surveillance

Infiniti Electro-Optics specializes in several different night vision technologies. The most common methods for nighttime surveillance are IR illumination and thermal imaging. Other methods include SWIR, light intensification and non-imaging technologies such as radar. Each method has specific advantages as well as certain drawbacks, which is why we build most of our custom camera systems with multiple technologies for a more comprehensive and versatile surveillance solution.

Thermal Infrared Imaging

Utilizing the mid-wave and long-wave (MWIR and LWIR) segments of the infrared light spectrum, thermal imaging uses naturally radiated heat to create an image of the scene. Everything on earth either radiates heat or reflects radiated heat, and thermal imaging sensors and lenses can pick up that heat and turn it into a viewable image.


  • No active illumination is needed, which means it’s 100% eye-safe and not limited to any distance
  • More covert than IR illumination as there is no visible red dot at the light source or visible beam if using infrared detectors
  • Low power


  • More expensive than IR illumination, requires a separate sensor and lens
  • Lower resolution than the sensors used for NIR imaging
  • Some things designed for visible recognition may be unreadable, like printed images and lettering
  • Unable to see through glass

Infrared (IR) Illumination

Infrared illumination uses a beam of invisible near-infrared (NIR) light to illuminate your subject. Because the wavelength of infrared light is outside that of human vision, this is a covert way to illuminate a scene in complete darkness. Our long-range ZLID™ technology can be used to illuminate scenes farther away than most of our competitors.


  • Relatively inexpensive, uses the same lenses and sensors already being used for color images
  • High detail, uses the same high-resolution sensors being used for color images


  • Distance is limited to power of infrared beam, distances longer than 5km are typically not feasible
  • Illuminator is not completely covert (faint red glow can typically be seen at the source or beam can be seen by infrared detectors)
  • More powerful illuminators (required for longer distances of 250m–5km) can be potentially harmful to eyes and must be implemented with care

Learn more about our ZLID Long-Range IR Illumination.