Thermal and Visible Long-Range Surveillance Camera Systems for Military Applications
Range PerformanceInfiniti Electro-Optics
"I need a camera that can see this far." It's a request we receive daily. The problem with this question is that there is simply no way to state how far a camera can see without more information.
To help explain, here is the 'technically correct' answer: our cameras can see more than 150 million miles. The reason for this answer is that cameras are a passive detector of light. This means the ability to see an object depends on light from that object reaching the camera, and not the camera reaching the light. If there is enough light hitting the camera's sensor, it can 'see' it.
So while a scene lit by candlelight may not be visible from 1km away (because not enough light is reaching the sensor), the sun is clearly visible from a much farther distance of 150 million kilometres (93 million miles) away.
Now, obviously our customers aren't asking for a camera that can see the sun. When someone requires a camera to 'see' a certain distance, they have a specific situation in mind. For example, one enquirer may want to recognise a person's face 5km away, while another simply needs to see an oil tanker at that distance.
The context is different for everyone, and a different camera is often required for each scenario.