Night vision is one of the best selling points of Ring’s doorbells and cameras, but what happens when it just doesn’t work?
Ring cameras can struggle in low-light environments. You can take advantage of settings like Color Night Vision or the new night vision options in newer Ring cameras and doorbells. You can also make the biggest changes to your night vision footage by strategically adding, or removing, external lights.
We’re going to cover everything behind Ring’s night vision to make sure you can see in the dark!
Ring Doorbells And Cameras: A Quick Guide
Ring is most well-known for their doorbells, but this smart home brand is actually the leading consumer developer of smart cameras. Even the doorbell, at its core, is a smart camera with some extra features.
Ring’s cameras range from the Ring Indoor and Stick Up Cams which are their most basic options. They are both ideal for adding some in-home security or even as a pet monitor.
Things go up from there with the Floodlight Cam and Spotlight Cam as solid options for outdoor coverage. These cameras come packed with lights that help get better images and light up your yard or driveway.
Then there are the doorbells. These are the most popular Ring devices. Ring Doorbells also have audio and video communication features, notifications, and other features, but all of those benefits revolve around their ability to take clear pictures and videos.
Some people have remarked that Ring’s most advanced doorbell – the $250 Ring Doorbell Pro 2 – is actually the worst at night.
Is The Ring Doorbell Pro 2 Worse For Night Vision?
The Ring Doorbell Pro 2 is a solid smart doorbell backed by Ring’s otherwise solid reputation, but does it really have bad night vision?
As it turns out, the Ring Doorbell Pro 2 does have a notable drop in night vision quality. This is especially the case when compared with the original Ring Doorbell Pro and even with other Ring Cameras.
For example, this is the night vision from my Ring Doorbell Pro (original):
And this is the default from my Ring Doorbell Pro 2:
You’ll notice a sharp drop-off in overall night vision quality. The older Ring doorbells could keep the entire image clearly illuminated, while the latest model seems to struggle with contrasts and objects in the distance.
Note: To be fair, nearby objects like your porch are still going to be well-lit—just not as well-lit as you’d get with the previous model.
So, what’s causing this drop in performance?
Why Is The Night Vision So Bad On The Ring Doorbell Pro 2?
There are a few things to consider here, but it all comes down to field of view.
The Ring Doorbell Pro 2 has a larger field of view – known as ‘head to toe’. This means that you can see more of the area around the front of your home.
The larger field of view is mostly positive. Being able to see more means no surprises when a delivery driver sets a package off to the side. It also gives you more coverage if you’re using the Ring Doorbell for security.
However, this also means being able to pick up more light sources. There have been several posts discussing how the Ring Doorbell Pro 2 now picks up porch lights, street lights, and lights from neighbors that previous versions simply didn’t see.
This causes more light to enter into the camera which offsets the night vision. The camera simply thinks that it is brighter outside than it truly is.
Now, this doesn’t account for everything that is going wrong with the Ring Doorbell Pro 2. There just might be optimization problems at the code level or a change in components driving these problems as well.
Luckily, whether you have the Pro 2 or another Ring device with bad night vision performance, we’ve got fixes for you!
How To Fix Ring’s Night Vision Problems
The biggest thing working in your favor is that all Ring devices (even the Pro 2) have a solid camera when it comes to Ring’s night vision. You can usually make some simple changes to get better pictures and video.
Let’s take a look.
Adjust Color Night Vision
Color Night Vision is a feature that uses AI-backed image editing to add false color into your night vision shots:
The term “false color” is an old-school photography term that simply means someone has edited in realistic colors to a black and white image.
Your Ring camera shoots night vision in black and white, but it can sample available color to create a false color image. A good example would be coloring all of your grass green when the camera picks up some green in frame.
The downside is that Ring’s approach to false color often leaves some weird effects behind. Images tend to skew towards green or yellow since those are common night time colors. Images can also have incorrect colorings: let’s say if bright Christmas lights from the house next door are shining reds and blues onto your lawn.
Here’s how you can toggle Color Night Vision on or off:
- Open your Ring app.
- Open the menu.
- Tap Devices.
- Select your doorbell or camera.
- Tap Device Settings.
- Tap Color Night Vision.
- Toggle it on or off.
If you are currently experiencing poor night vision quality, it is worth toggling this feature on/off accordingly and seeing if that helps.
Black or Whitewashed Videos
A common problem is videos that are either totally black or videos that have large patches of glaring white. Here’s how to fix both.
Ring videos that are entirely black are either caused by badly-configured privacy zones, or a connection problem. This means that your Ring camera is not able to send video data back to the server and then to your smartphone.
You can fix a black Ring video by double checking the Wi-Fi connection to your Ring device. You can also add a Wi-Fi range extender to make sure that Ring has a constant and steady connection.
Whitewashed videos are caused by too much light entering into the camera’s sensor. This typically means the angle of your camera is picking up glare from a porch light or another light source.
The night vision sensors are quite sensitive. It can even pick up infrared from across the road, such as your neighbor’s Ring doorbell:
Some Ring devices come with mounting brackets that can adjust its angle (or these can be purchased from the Ring store). Try changing angles to reduce oncoming glare:
Check Your Night Vision Settings
Some newer Ring devices have their own night vision settings – starting with the Ring Doorbell Pro 2:
These are three quick options found in your Ring’s device settings (click Video Settings then Night Vision) that can dramatically improve your night vision performance:
- Your first option is “Standard” (the default). If you are happy with your night vision, Standard is the way to go.
- The next option is called “Wall Nearby”. This setting attempts to correct for glare that could be bouncing off of a nearby wall. If your images are full of glare, try “Wall Nearby.”
- The last setting is “Well-Lit”. This setting is ideal if you have a bright area you are trying to film. This could be bright street lights, a security floodlight that constantly goes off, or bright lights from your neighbors property.
I personally didn’t notice a major change with any of these settings, but this might partly be because my Ring Doorbell is installed near a road (the glare from car’s headlights often causes poor night vision performance, and while “well-lit” helps with this problem – it is then the wrong setting when cars are not passing by!).
Add—or Remove—Some Light
Night vision uses infrared lights to “see in the dark.” IR is a wavelength of light that the human eye can’t normally see. Your Ring camera might be being overwhelmed by other light sources that are outpacing its IR lights.
You can try to shut off some bright lights to give your Ring camera a better shot at using those IR sensors. These can be bright exterior lights, bright lights from a walkway, or even your neighbors holiday decor!
You might also need to add some strategic lighting here or there. These could be porch lights, flood lights for your yard, or some subtle accent lighting in particularly dark areas you want to get better coverage of.
This will take some experimentation on your part, but playing with your lighting will have the biggest impact on your Ring’s night vision video.
Reboot Your Ring Camera
There’s a good chance that your Ring camera might be bugged, or even have a setting ticked that you just can’t remember.
Rebooting your Ring device is the fastest way to get it up and running again. This will factory reset your camera, restoring it to the default settings and firmware.
This shakes out any bugs and cleans up any problems with firmware upgrades. Here’s how you can quickly factory reset your Ring Doorbell (many Ring cameras have similar steps).
- Locate the orange button on the back or side of your Ring Doorbell. You will need to remove the faceplate to locate this.
- Press and hold the orange setup button for up to 30 seconds.
- The front LED light should begin blinking.
- After 5 seconds, your Ring Doorbell will reset.
- Connect your Ring Doorbell to your app and start the set-up process again.