It’s a common issue for a CCTV security camera to show black and white images at day and night. This can be on live view and when the camera recorders. There are a few common reasons why a color CCTV security camera will give you black and white live pictures. This guide shows how to fix a security camera that displays black and white images.
Security camera shows black and white image (quick fix)
Why security cameras show black and white during night time?
Security cameras can “see” colors only if the ambient lighting level is high enough. CCTV Security cameras that are rated for night use (the so-called night-vision cameras) can record pictures in low-intensity ambient lighting conditions by illuminating the scene with infrared LEDs. However, they can’t distinguish colors under infrared light.
So even a color CCTV camera will get black-and-white pictures when it’s dark. Some high-end cameras have limited support for color output even in low ambient lighting conditions, but even that will only take you so far.
Night-vision IR security cameras have a sensor that measures the ambient light. This sensor determines when to switch the camera between color recording and IR / night vision recording. If there is not enough ambient light hitting the sensor, the camera will record in IR / night vision mode.
To clarify one more time, a camera that shows black and white during the nighttime is not defective. However, if a camera is recording black and white during the daytime, it is a sign that something is wrong and the camera is not working properly.
Moreover, there are high-end security cameras that don’t record full color at night, or they’re supposed to record in color at night but the picture just shows black and white. This guide doesn’t exactly cover the issues related to those cameras.
So, if you have a regular IR camera showing black and white then continue reading. If you have one of those cameras that are supposed to record in color at night, then it’s a different issue and you need to contact the seller.
Reasons and tips to fix the black and white issue in CCTV security cameras
As we mentioned earlier, regular CCTV security cameras are supposed to record black and white images when it’s too dark on the area where the camera is installed. But it should not record black and white during the daytime, it should be in full color.
Lack of Light or Powe Issue
Inadequate light or power may cause the camera to record in black and white. To ensure the camera displays in color:
Evaluate the lighting condition. If the camera is in shade or a dark area it may be displaying in night vision mode.
So, the area is dark and the camera switches on the IR LED flights to the night mode and thus showing black and white images. Adjust the sunshade and re-position the camera into different or brighter lighting.
Make sure the camera image settings are set on Auto mode. Many cameras can be set to record in night vision mode all the time or day time. It’s better to let the camera on Auto mode (which is usually the default mode).
That way the camera will check the environment and auto switch on/off the IR LEDs based on the lighting conditions.
Another suggestion is to bring the camera to the default settings. By erasing those settings you can bring the camera to the normal factory mode. Usually, the cameras are calibrated to record color at the day and black and white at night time.
The camera may be recording in night vision if it is not receiving enough power. To test the power:
➔ Uninstall the camera and place it in the location of a functional camera, if the camera image resumes color display, the power source (for example PoE or DC power adapter/supply) may have been the cause. Try using a different network cable.
➔ If using a DC power cable, connect to a different, functional power outlet. Surge protectors or power adapters may be overtaxed and not provide enough power.
- Ensure that the cable length is within range requirements. The maximum length of IP cables is 100 meters in a single run. For HD over coax cameras, the distance can be up to 1,500 meters.
- Make that the ambient lighting conditions match your CCTV camera’s requirements. If they don’t, you can look into installing additional light sources before changing the camera.
- If there’s sufficient ambient light, make sure the optical path is unobscured, and check the camera for damage.
- A cooler colored ambient light may also prevent the infrared (IR) cut filter from engaging, which can cause the camera to display in black and white. If your camera supports an IR cut filter, make sure that it is enabled.
- If your camera outputs analog (HD or not) video signals, make sure the input video type matches the output video type. Let’s say, plugging an HD-CVI camera on an HD-TVI DVR, or vice-versa can result in a black-and-white picture rather than a black screen.
- If you’re using an IP camera, update the firmware and reset the camera to default. In many cases, the image settings can get messed up and a factory reset will bring the camera to the default workable settings.
- The camera may be damaged or bad (especially the cheaper ones). In this case, you need to purchase a replacement or warranty the camera via the reseller.
The weather elements can affect the camera as well. Rain, snow, sunshine may deteriorate the image quality and mess up with the internal parts on the camera. That’s why it’s important to get an outdoor-rated camera and, if possible, use a visor.
Additionally, the animals may damage the wiring or even the camera itself. Watch out for rats, squirrels, birds, and other animals that like to chew the cables.
Take advantage of the warranty
If you tried the above suggestion and still the black and white issue on your security camera is no solved, that contact the manufacturer or the seller for technical support. If your camera is from a reputable company, they’ll try their best to help you fix the problem.
If it’s under the warranty, just replace it with a new one. Additionally, it’s recommended to purchase cameras from reliable and reputable companies that support their products. If you go with cheap cameras, you may save a few bucks now but lose more when those devices fail badly.
The black and white issue can be solved by following the tips above. Usually, it’s related to the wrong settings or some physical issue with the power line. If you still can’t fix it, reach the seller for a warranty or technical support (sometimes the camera is just bad and there’s nothing you can do about it).