The Blink Mini does have night vision. It uses one infrared sensor which is situated at the front of the camera above the lens. It is positioned at about 2 o’clock on a clock face.
The infrared sensor uses a 850 (nm) nanometer sensor. 850 is the length of the infrared wave. Lots of home security cameras use a 850 nm sensor because they can detect objects which are some distance from the camera and the infrared light cannot be seen by human eye.
Although as you can see by looking at your Blink Mini in total darkness there’s a red glow around the infrared sensor itself.
What’s the range of the Mini’s night vision?
I cannot find accurate information anywhere about the range of the infrared sensor and about how far away from the camera can it detect an object?
And so I ran a few tests using myself as the guinea pig.
The tests were taken in a room which was completely dark- or very nearly so.
Before I go into any more detail, I will talk about what the controls for night vision are in the app.
Can you turn off night vision?
Night vision can be turned off. It can also be turned on permanently or just set to auto. This is all done via the app.
Let me show you how before I explain these settings in more detail.
These night vision settings are in a sub menu of device settings.
From the homepage locate the Blink Mini that you want to adjust. Tap on the menu button (three horizontal blue lines) found in the top right of the thumbnail. On the next page tap on video and photo settings.
The layout of the app has changed. It seems bigger and clearer, which is great.
At the bottom of the page you can see the night vision option. If you tap on it three options appear on screen: auto, on and off.
Just tap on any of the options.
If you change the option you will need to tap on “save” in the top right hand corner of the app.
Night vision control
But what do these options mean?
Let’s start with the auto option because this will allow me to explain things a bit more.
The Blink Mini is fitted with an infrared sensor and a light sensor.
During the day and in bright conditions the Blink Mini uses its colour lens to record images and clips.
When the light sensor detects that it is getting dark, the colour lens is shut down and the infrared sensor is started up.
Any clips or images produced in low light or dark conditions will be black and white because they have been created with the infrared sensor.
If “off” is selected, this refers to the infrared sensor. When it gets dark, the light sensor will stop the colour lens from working but since the infrared sensor won’t operate no motion clips or motion alerts will be sent.
If night vision is set to off you won’t get alerts or clips in low light or dark conditions.
If “on” is selected, the opposite is true. The colour lens will be stopped from working and all clips will be black and white (no matter what time of day) as they have been created with the infrared sensor.
But those aren’t the only control that you have over night vision with your Blink Mini.
There are a further three options which allow you to control the intensity that the infrared performs at.
- IR Intensity
This option allows you to change the sensitivity that the infrared sensor works at- low, medium or high.
If the infrared sensor is set to low, the sensor is working at its weakest level. This means that it will only register objects that emit the strongest amounts of infrared such as large animals or humans or objects that are closer to the camera
Setting it to high means that the sensor is operating at its most powerful. It can detect smaller objects that are further away from the camera (relative to the low setting.)
The medium setting forces the infrared sensor to perform somewhere in between the low and high positions.
In that sense, it is very similar to what the sensitivity option does to the motion sensor.
I took two photos when the IR intensity was set to high and a further two photos when it was set to low.
High infrared intensity
These are four photos taken with the infrared settings set to high.
The first photo was taken when I was 8 metres from the camera
In the next photo I’m 6 metres away.
This photo is taken when I’m 4 metres from the camera.
And the second photo was taken when I was 2 metres from the Mini camera.
Low infrared intensity
These four photos are taken with the infrared settings set to low. The first photo is taken when I’m 8 metres from the camera.
The next photo has me standing 6 metres away.
This photo was taken from 4 metres away
And the last photo was when I was standing 2 metres away.
Although I’m not moving in these photos I can be quite clearly seen in most of these photos- I think that 6 metres seems to be the limit of Blink Minis night vision range- no matter what the IR intensity level.
At six metres a human shape can be seen whereas I can’t be seen at eight metres away- when the IR sensor is on a high or low setting
And I think that the images taken with the IR set to low are better quality- they are clearer. And the details from the rest of the room aren’t bad either. I mean you can clearly see how much crap there is on the bed.
Does the Blink Mini detect motion at night?
I ran some more tests in the same dark room with the IR level either set to high or low.
My test involved standing in front of the camera and then walking in a straight line towards it. I started six metres away and I ended up 1 metre away stopping every metre or so in order to give the camera time to detect motion.
My Blink Mini didn’t detect any motion until I was just over one metre from the camera- regardless of whether the IR setting was on high or low.
At one metre away, I then started walking backwards stopping every metre in order to give the camera time to detect any motion.
Once again there was very little difference between the high and low setting.
With the setting on high, my Mini detected motion at two and three metres away whereas when the intensity level was set to low, it only detected me at two metres away and lost me as I moved back.
How does the Blink Mini detect motion?
The Mini detects motion by using software to compare individual video frames and checking for differences. This process is called pda or pixel difference analysis.
In my little test it seemed that my Mini was much better at detecting movement whilst I was moving away from the camera than when I was heading towards it?
It was as if it needed a sample frame (the frame when it detected movement at 1 metre) and once it had that sample it was better at comparing the frames and detecting motion as I moved backwards.
5 minutes after I ran this test, my wife turned a light on in an area about 5 metres away from the camera and started walking around. My notifications went nuts as with this little piece of light my Blink Mini detected several bits of motion!
What is the motion detection range in daylight?