Raytec Criticizes Integrated IR

With integrated IR now offered by literally every IP camera manufacturers in offerings ranging from $100 consumer models to $1000+ long range options, it has certainly become a threat to external IR manufacturers.

However, we have seen very little marketing from Raytec about / against this.

And now this video from them:

It's a great visual with Raytec's caption: "Cameras using integrated infra-red generate more heat, causing insects, like spiders, to make their home right in front of them - meaning the cameras view is often completely obscured, causing false alarms and rendering footage unusable."

The main issue though is how common this problem occurs. It definitely does occur. It's no myth. But industry people continue to debate how common and what cameras designs and environmental conditions cause this.

Btw, I don't buy the 'heat' theory. There are a lot of very hot non IR cameras and bugs/insects don't seem to be a problem for them?

I suspect it's the visible light / glow from the LEDs. However, the amount of light / glow does vary with the higher end models using fewer higher powered LEDs having much lower / less glow.

Hi John,

Its all about the application. If I need one camera for my home then I might go with an integrated (good quality) bullet camera. Its neater.

But if I am doing a professional large scale system, especially if its remote monitored then separate cameras and IR illuminators all the way. The spiders not only screw the pic but they cause multiple false alarms.

I'm actually not sure why spiders are attracted to IR. I don't think they can see IR. So then it comes down to either they are attracted by the heat or because some insects can see IR they see it as a good location for capturing food.

But it is a problem with integrated cameras. Check this guys problems out.

Their helpful solutions range from turning off all the cameras to covering the lens with vaseline to putting a fan in front of the camera.

Better to buy separate cameras and IR illuminators.


I am disappointed. Your response fails to disclose that you are from Raytec, adds little and concludes with an amazingly self serving conclusion - "Better to buy separate cameras and IR illuminators."

There's no doubt that sometimes spiders are an issue with integrated IR cameras. I've already acknowledged that. Linking to a single random guy's complaint does not strengthen your case.

While you are here, let's more seriously get at the pros and cons of integrated IR vs external IR:

Integrated IR Pros

  • Far less expensive: many integrated IR cameras (including camera and IR) are less than the cost of even a low end Raytec external IR illuminator.
  • Easier setup/install: quicker, less expensive and less space to install a single all in one device.
  • Adaptive option: many higher end integrated IR cameras automatically adjust to eliminate overexposure common in near field external IR illuminator use

Integrated IR Cons

  • Distance in range: even the 'top' integrated IR illuminators only cover 30 to 50 meters while external IR illuminators can cover hundreds of meters
  • Bugs / insects: in some conditions, integrated IR cameras draw bugs that obscure the image.

It's pretty obvious that in most instances, bugs and insects are not a problem. Why? Because the use of integrated IR cameras is exploding and there's very little negative feedback.

Again, I am not saying it is not an issue, but it does not appear to be an issue for most. Moreover, and this would be very useful, is to figure out if the bug issue is more prone to certain camera designs and certain environmental conditions.

Hi John,

Yep all - I am from Raytec. I thought that would come up on my account?

My honest opinion is horses for courses. If I put up a camera at home, in front of my door I will use an integrated IR camera from one of the big brands because its small, neat and I dont need 100% performance. I am more concerned with havign some security and maintaining the style of my house. I think a lot of the big camera brands want to chase the mass market for volume so that means chasing the domestic customer and small scale systems. That isnt where IR illuminators are typically deployed.

If I'm designing a security system or monitoring a perimeter then I would use stand alone cameras and IR iluminators. There are even guidelines in place in the UK and China (I dont know if there are others) that prehibits the use of integrated IR cameras on remote monitored sites because they products so many false alarms.

I know you picked up on our video which we circulated for awareness but we are going to pull together a more formal comparison that will look into the pros and cons in depth.

I would also like to add a point which covers both the price advantage of integrated IR cameras and their distance limitations:

Yes, their price is low. But lighting is goverened by the inverse square law which makes it easy to achieve short distances and hard to achieve long distances. Let's say a top end integrated IR camera will see 40m. To double that distance to 80m it would need 4x the light power. That would significantly bump up costs and helps explain why stand alone iluminators are more expensive - considerably higher power output. Also integrated cameras have space constraints. To get x4 power you would need to move to an integrated unit thta has a seperate area for the camera and a seperate area for a large lighting panel - like the old Bosch units.

Raytec will soon be launching a "Vario Lighting kit" which combines VARIO lighting and a camera housing that allows integrators to fit their own camera. It will need more work than an integrated IR camera to set-up and install but will allow much longer distnaces, be camera neutral and offer a more attractive visual installation for the end user.

Finally, we often see integrated IR cameras that have some internal light reflection that affects the image quality. This is normally dependant on the lens position but is a common issue - even more so with fixed domes


I added your website link to your name so people can click it. That said, it is useful to explicitly say where you are from up front when the discussion is about your company (as this one is).

I am also looking forward to seeing what other comparison you release and the upcoming lighting kit.

As for your analysis, confining integrated IR to homes, it's damnation by faint praise.

I am curious. Your good friend and strong partner Axis is now making professional integrated IR cameras, like the P3364-LV and the Q1765. Are those home only cameras? :)

And how about Avigilon's new integrated IR offerings? They work very well and are a great option for people needing mid-range nighttime coverage.

There's clearly quite a number of professional, high quality integrated IR cameras that have recently come out, that even have some benefits that Raytec lacks (like adaptive IR illumination).

While I am certainly with you about the physical limits of 100m, 200m, integrated IR, it seems pretty clear that integrated IR cameras have matured far beyond the home market.

My biggest issue with integrated IR has been dirt on the domes (for dome cameras) not spiders or other insects. Or the IR LED's being positioned in such a way that they are blocked by the housing and do not penetrate the dome, there for causing a "hazing" effect where you can't really make out any picture.

Spiders and insects have very rarely been an issue for me personally, but I have found them in non IR cameras as well. Especially up here where a large majority of outdoor cameras have heaters in them.

Forget about warm IR LED's attracting sSpiders I just want to know how to get these Golden Orb weavers from spinning these really large webs on our housings down here....

Golden Orb weaver

Golen Orb Web

Hikvision's EXIR system solves the dome IR reflection issue. But you cannot get IK10 vandal proofing with this design.

If you need to have vandal domes and IR night vision, and CAN afford the extra costs of the IR illuminator AND the extra labour, then yes what Raytec says is true.

For us mere mortals who still have trouble selling Axis P3364s due to cost, integrated IR is unfortunately a necessary compromise.