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What are Night Vision Drones, Where are they used?

By: Richard J. Gross
Updated On: December 30, 2021

Photography is much more fun at night, and when you have a camera drone, you will enjoy night photography even more; almost all drones come with night vision cameras. Night vision in a drone is a must-have if you love going out at night and capturing aerial photographs.

Nighttime photography can be beautiful. Just imagine how good it would look when you add the moonlight to your shot, or what about taking some dramatic long exposure shots of the moonlight shining through clouds?

Also Read: What is Headless Mode and How they Work on Drone?

What is a Night Vision Drone, and how do they differ from Regular Drones?

Night vision drones can operate very well in low light conditions, and they come with a Night Vision Camera which allows you to take really good photographs even in pitch darkness. Night vision cameras aren't very expensive, and many regular drones today come fitted with Night Vision Cameras as well.

However, Night Vision Drones are built for nighttime use, and they usually don't have FPV (First Person View) Night Vision Cameras because when you are flying at night, the last thing you would want to do is fly in low light conditions with Night Vision.

"If you want to get in on the aerial photography scene in the world of night sky shots, you will need a Night Vision enabled drone. Night vision drones are equipped with special sensors that allow them to take high-quality photos at night when light is scarce. Night vision for your drone allows it to see accurately in complete darkness giving you better control over your Camera."

Night vision or low light sensors enhance your drone's awareness in the dark. Night vision-equipped drones can better avoid obstacles and see animals, people, and places when it is dark out. Night vision for drones works by using infrared LEDs to allow objects to be seen in total darkness.

Where are the Night Vision Drones used?

Night Vision Drones are becoming more and more popular as they find new uses in many different areas, from law enforcement to entertainment.

They allow users to take better photos and videos at night time, monitor forests fires in remote areas, and even use them for racing. It won't be surprising to see drones becoming a staple part of many people's lives in the future because of their increasing uses.

night vision drone


Night Vision Drones are equipped with Night Vision Cameras, which can capture high-quality images in low light conditions. This is a great advantage if you want to monitor sensitive areas at night. Night vision drones have been known to spot criminals and poachers in the dark of the night.

Law Enforcement and Security

Night Vision Drones are commonly used in Law Enforcement and Security; many police departments all over the world use Night Vision Drones for nighttime surveillance. Once they spot suspicious activity or person, they can notify the patrol units immediately without wasting much time.

Search and Rescue Missions

When it is dark outside, flying a regular drone can become very difficult because of the lack of visibility. Night vision equipped drones are the only way you will be able to take good quality images at night time when light is scarce. This makes them really useful for Search and Rescue missions at night time because rescuing people in the dark is very difficult, but with the help of night vision drones, it doesn't have to be.


Night Vision Drones are also used in Agriculture, and Night Vision Drones can monitor crops and livestock at night time. This saves a lot of time for farmers because they are able to keep track of their herd even when it is dark outside; they will also know when to expect rainfall.


Firefighters can use Night Vision Drones to monitor forest fires at night time. A fire can become really dangerous and hard to control in the dark of the night because of the smoke and heat emitted from it, but with Night Vision equipped drones, firefighters can monitor a forest fire from a distance and see what is going on.


Night Vision Drones are also used for things like Drone Racing, where you can race your drone at night time to your heart's content without worrying about losing control over it because of the low light conditions. Night-flying drones are really popular right now, and most big drone manufacturers are coming out with Night Vision Drones to meet the increased demand.

Video and Photo Shooting at Night

Night Vision Drones are really useful for Aerial Video and Photography, and you can capture high-quality images of landscapes at night time because Night Vision equipped drones to give you more control over the Camera.

If you want to get in on the aerial photography scene in the world of night sky shots, you will need a Night Vision-enabled drone. Night vision drones are also being used by people who want to take pictures of the stars at night; without a Night Vision drone, most of your images will be blurry due to lack of light.

How To Use Night Vision Drone For Best Result?

Using drones at night is a very easy task; you just have to add or adjust a few things in the settings of the drones. The easiest way to capture photographs at night with a drone is by adding lights to the scenes, such as heavy flashlights or car headlights.

But if you want the best results and don't want to add extra light sources, you can simply turn on the Night Vision mode in your drone's camera app. In order to use Night Vision mode with a DJI Drone, just go into Camera Settings and switch from Video to Photo mode, then tap "Night" under the Mode section, then take off.

When you land your drone, turn the Camera back to video mode, then collect the images or videos that you just captured.

If possible, try flying at night with an experienced pilot who knows how to fly during low light conditions properly. This is because if you are not used to it, flying a drone at night can become very dangerous for both yourself and others.

night vision drone

Find a Stable Drone

The drone has to be extra stable in order to be able to take good photos at night because even a little disturbance in the position of the drone will ruin the photo entirely. Drones like Phantom and Mavic pro come with excellent image stabilization, which helps in taking better photos in low light.

Better stabilization directly ensures better Night Vision capabilities. Night vision on a drone is not something that applies by default, and you have to turn it on; night vision mode allows the drone to fly in complete darkness.

If in case your drone is not as stable as you need it to be, you can buy carbon propellers and install them to your drone for better stabilization. Nighttime photography also tends to require longer exposure, which makes the need for a stable drone even more important.

In order to make the Night Vision in your drone work properly, you will have to install a special Night Vision camera gimbal, and this gimbal will allow the Camera to move around and keep its Night Vision abilities intact throughout all movements of your drone.

Night camera gimbals are used by Night Vision enabled drones to keep the Night Vision mode working. Gimbals are one of the most popularly used camera accessories for drones.

Adjust Camera Settings

Night vision cameras are set up specifically to be able to capture photos at Night-Time; it is always active for capturing images. However, manually changing the Night Vision settings gives you better control over your photograph.

Night photography is especially done on very low ISO and longer exposure time so that the photos can be more clear under low light. Night shots are taken with shutter speeds around 15-25 seconds, depending on the surrounding light conditions. Some photographers also recommend using higher F numbers in Night Photography as it helps them get rid of unwanted noise from their photographs.

Make sure you know how to use ND filters. ND stands for Neutral Density filter, which is used specifically during Nighttime shooting or Night photography. During nighttime shooting, there is a lot of light in the scene. An ND filter can be used to decrease the amount of light entering the lens. ND filters also help in reducing banding and ghosting from Night Photography.

In Night Vision mode, what you need is a circular ND4 or above, depending on how much Night vision you want in your drone photography. You can get ND filters for any camera range, but it's better to invest in high-quality ND filters so that they don't affect the image output too much.

Use Thermal Camera

You can also use a thermal Camera for Night vision in drones. It will help you find animals, people, or other living beings at night. A thermal camera can be added to your normal DSLR too. Night Vision Thermal webcam is the best solution if you want an affordable addition of Night Vision capabilities to your existing camera gear.

Night Vision technology in drones has become quite popular among Drone users all over the world, and it's one of the most important factors in determining how well a drone performs at night time, especially when flying without any lights on.

Make sure that your Night Visibility settings in your drone are set up properly. Drone Night vision is widely used among researchers, scientists, security personnel, and even photographers to capture Night time shots with their drones.

Thermal cameras also need gimbal stabilizers to avoid shaking of Night vision photos. Night Vision gimbals are an important part of Night vision capabilities in drones.

Night cameras also need a lot of light to work, so buying lighting equipment for your Night Photography drone is necessary. The gimbal stabilizes the camera motion on 3-axis and ensures Night shots come out perfect.

Proper Lighting

Lighting plays the most important role in nighttime photography. Night Photography requires a huge amount of light for night shots to come out clear. Night vision cameras capture raw images in large amounts of light.

Night Photography is also done on very low ISO and longer exposure time, so make sure you provide enough lighting for your Night Vision camera to capture perfect Night time images.

You can add additional lighting to the drone or just add lights to the setup. You can stick or install a flashlight on your drone. You can also use modern light sticks, which come in various sizes and colors.

Lightsticks are very efficient and low cost, and you can get a pack of 10 sticks for less than 15$. You can also use High CRI LED lights for the Drone lighting systems. High CRI LED Lights provide brighter light compared to regular LED lights.

CRI means the Color rendering index, which defines how color appears under a particular light source. Most of the regular LED lights have low CRI, which distorts the color of objects under these lights. High CRI LED light produces the natural and accurate color of the objects under these lights.


This article covers almost everything there is about night vision in a drone, capturing nighttime images using drones, camera settings, and lighting for drone photography.

All the tips and tricks for night photography and night vision in drones and quadcopters are covered in this article. All the methods mentioned above will increase the quality of your photos.

So go ahead and practice your nighttime drone photography; make sure you have a good lighting system in place. Be careful while flying your drone at night time, make sure you are well aware of the surroundings, and always give priority to safety. Always fly your drone within the visual line of sight(VLOS) and always keep the drone in the line of sight.

And, don't forget to add lights to your drone for nighttime photography. It's also important to mention that you must have a good knowledge of the rules and regulations in your country regarding flying drones at night time or in low visibility conditions. Some countries might require special permits to fly drones at night or when visibility is below a certain threshold.

Thank you for reading this article; if you like it, please share it with your friends. We will be here soon with another article. Stay tuned.

Richard J. Gross

Hi, my name is Richard J. Gross and I’m a full-time Airbus pilot and commercial drone business owner. I got into drones in 2015 when I started doing aerial photography for real estate companies. I had no idea what I was getting into at the time, but it turns out that police were called on me shortly after I started flying. They didn’t like me flying my drone near people, so they asked me to come train their officers on the rules and regulations for drones. After that, I decided to start my own drone business and teach others about the safe and responsible use of drones.

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