Colors in security cameras are critical for a reliable and secure system. If the colors are off or washed then it will be difficult to identify any subject under the camera. That’s why having the right colors is basic in any security camera system.
Over time it may happen that the colors on the camera start to change, go off, get washed or too bright, or even shift to other colors. The green color may become reddish, or red colors may turn to pinkish, etc.
There are a lot of factors that cause these problems. It can be something wrong with the camera’s chip, or the software needs a refresh. Either way, there are few solutions if you think your security camera colors are off.
In this guide, we’ve collected a few suggestions and tips on how to fix a security camera with the colors off issue. The tips are applicable regardless if you have IP cameras or HD coaxial cameras. Before you call any professional try these methods to bring the colors back.
My Security Camera Colors Are Off?
The colors off in security cameras may be caused by hardware issues such as a bad camera sensor, insufficient power supply, improper installation, damaged Ethernet or coaxial cables, weak WiFi signal, etc.
Other reasons are related to software issues in the DVR/NVR or camera settings, incorrect color settings, infrared light that doesn’t work properly, ATW/ATB setting, Color correction, etc.
Here are some quick tips to fix color problems on security cameras:
- Check the wiring and cable connections of your camera system and make sure it doesn’t have splices or any other damages. Especially if the cables are exposed to the elements.
- Tightening the cables may also help reduce blurry, fuzzy images and other problems such as power issues, image flickering, and random blackouts.
- Adjusting the camera lens’ focus (and zoom) settings may improve the quality of the images. An unfocused camera may show discoloration and blurry images.
- In some cases, the camera is simply bad and cannot be fixed. If the cameras you purchased are super cheap or from unknown brands, don’t be surprised if the colors on the image look washed down.
- Update the whole security system. Sometimes the problems may be related to software bugs that can be fixed by updating the NVR/DVR and cameras to the latest firmware version.
Check the Color Settings of the Camera
Sometimes the colors are because the settings are incorrect. Each security camera regardless of being IP or coaxial has color parameters that can be adjusted by the user.
The security cameras are designed for outdoor or indoor use and these settings come in hand when adjusting the camera’s sensor. Many new cameras come with a feature called auto color setting that is supposed to automatically adjust the colors.
However, sometimes the color is messed up and needs to be adjusted manually. Simply locate the color setting of the camera and set them to “default” or adjust each parameter until you’re happy with the live view.
For IP cameras, these settings can be accessed via the NVR, usually located under the “Camera” section of the menu. For HD over coaxial cameras, the color settings can be found via the OSD menu (enter the menu using the camera’s pigtail buttons). If you’re not sure how, just google the camera’s model and read the user manual.
Check the IR LED lights
Another way to fix security cameras with color issues is to check if the InfraRed LED lights. These lights turn on automatically when it gets dark and the camera’s image shows black and white.
However, sometimes the IR block may be defective and affect the camera’s color scheme. You may try to disconnect the IR LED block from the camera’s motherboard and see if the color is fixed. If it’s daytime and the picture is black and white, most likely the IR block is stuck on the ON position.
Check ATW and AWB settings
Other things that you may need to check are ATW and AWB camera settings. ATW means the auto-tracking white balance, and AWB means the auto white balance. These are important due to their significance in creating the right colored picture and analyzing how deep things are.
Check if your camera supports both of these features. If not sure, consult the camera’s manual. If the camera is supporting these, then manually adjust them by checking the ratio balance.
Once you play around with the settings, you can determine if your camera’s colors are off or not. If the colors are not right, then check again and see the colors by positioning ATW and AWB simultaneously. Additionally, you may refer to the camera’s user guide which includes the right ATW and AWB parameters.
Check Night Vision Settings
Some users tend to turn off the default camera settings and adjust them manually. If the picture has no color at all during the daytime, it means that there’s something wrong with the night vision features.
By default the night vision is set to auto mode, meaning it will turn on and off by itself following the input from the built-in light sensor. If the camera is set to manual mode, the night vision will stay always on and the picture will be black and white.
In this case, return the backset to the auto mode and then check the live image. Your security camera colors should be back.
Reset the Camera
This tip does wonders. If you are not sure what the setting should be or why the colors are off, then resetting the settings or the whole camera’s software may solve the issues. Usually, the camera’s settings are adjusted by the manufacturer and saved as the default mode. If these settings are messed up manually by the users, you can bring them to factory default.
If you got an HD over the coaxial camera, you can reset it via the OSD menu. Access it using the button on the pigtail and then navigate to the Reset option. Once clicked, all the settings will revert to default. If it’s an IP camera, you can reset it via the NVR or by accessing the camera directly.
Update the firmware
Lastly, you may need to update the firmware of the NVR/DVR or the camera to the latest version. In many cases the color issues, especially if the image looks pinkish or reddish, are related to software issues. Contact the manufacturer (or seller) and get the latest firmware for your device. Update and see if the image problems are solved.
The reason why a security camera may show color issues is related to hardware and software issues. Start by checking the cables, wire runs, power supplies, and then ensure that the camera color settings are correct. You may rest the settings to erase any manually entered incorrect settings.
If you need to purchase a new security camera system, make sure not to go for super cheap cameras which may go bad quickly and show incorrect colors. For suggestions, check out our recommended security camera systems.