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How Far Can Doorbell Cameras See? The Surprising Answer!

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finger to press doorbell with camera

With theft and vandalism on the rise, many homeowners are turning to doorbell cameras to help deter criminals and keep their homes safe. But how far can these cameras see?

Doorbell cameras typically have a field of view (FOV) of 180 degrees, which is wide enough to capture someone approaching your front door. And, generally speaking, doorbell cameras can see 5–50 feet. Here’s an overview of how far your doorbell camera can see and which factors affect this feature.

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How Far Do Doorbell Cameras See?

Doorbell cameras can see 5–50 feet, depending on their models. However, a longer distance is not always the best option. You have to consider your area’s local laws when choosing a doorbell camera to ensure you’re compliant with the allowed sight distance.

hand pressing doorbell

Image Credit: Forgem, Shutterstock

How Far Does the Ring Camera Detect Motion?

A Ring camera can detect motion up to a distance of 30 feet, beyond which the object will be too far away to trigger the motion sensor. However, remember that objects closer to the camera may appear larger and therefore more likely to trigger the motion sensor.

Moreover, the objects in front of the camera may block the view of objects behind them. Therefore, place your Ring camera in an area with a clear line of sight to the space you want to monitor.

You can also adjust the motion sensor’s sensitivity in the Ring app, which may help reduce false alerts if you are getting too many of them.

Do Doorbell Cameras Support Night Vision?

Yes, most doorbell cameras have night vision. However, they may use different types of night vision.

The most common type is infrared night vision, which uses invisible light to illuminate the area in front of the camera. It allows the camera to see in low-light conditions but doesn’t show color footage.

Some cameras also have white light night vision, which uses LED lights. They provide color and black-and-white footage.

video doorbel

Image Credit: Patryk Kosmider, Shutterstock

Can You Tell if Someone Is Watching You on a Doorbell Camera?

There’s no way to tell for sure if someone is watching you through a doorbell camera, but there are some things you can look for that signify someone is monitoring your movement.

If the camera is mounted in a place that doesn’t make sense for its intended purpose, it may be a sign that someone has installed it for other reasons. For example, if the camera is mounted at an odd angle or in a location with a clear view of your home but not the door, it could be a sign that someone is using it to spy on you.

What Determines the Range of a Doorbell Camera?

Two factors determine how far a doorbell camera can see. These are the field of view and the resolution. The field of view is the angle at which the camera can see. Meanwhile, the resolution is the number of pixels that make up the image.

The higher the resolution, the more detail you’ll be able to see in the image. For example, a 720p doorbell camera will have a clearer picture than a 640×480 VGA camera. However, the resolution of the image may not be great if the person is far away from the camera. For example, a person standing at the end of your driveway may not be captured very clearly on camera.

It’s helpful to compare them to other security cameras to understand better how far doorbell cameras can see. For example, bullet cameras have a much narrower field of view, typically between 30–60 degrees. It means that they can’t capture as wide of an area as doorbell cameras. However, they often have a more extended range to see further into the distance.

Similarly, dome cameras have a wider field of view than bullet cameras. But they’re not as clear at a distance and may have a shorter range.

Package thief caught on doorbell camera

Image Credit: RightFramePhotoVideo, Shutterstock

How Does a 90-Degree FOV Differ From a 180-Degree FOV?

A 90-degree field of view means the camera can see an area 90 degrees wide. Therefore, it is half as wide as a 180-degree field of view. At 90 degrees, a camera can only see things in its straight line. On the other hand, a 180-degree field of view allows the camera to see things that are off to the side. For example, a 90-degree camera can see someone walking up to your front door. However, it can’t capture someone walking along the side of your house. A 180-degree camera can see both. Therefore, it’s the standard for most doorbell cameras.

How to Position Your Doorbell Camera?

The proper positioning of your doorbell camera is essential for several reasons. First, you want to see who is at your door before opening it. Plus, the camera should have a clear view to record video footage correctly.

The best position for your doorbell camera will depend on the following factors:

  • Garden Layout: If you have a large garden or yard, you should consider placing the camera near the gate or fence. It will give you a clear view of who is coming to your property.
  • Door Height: Taller doors will require the camera to be higher up. For example, if you have a storm door in front of your main entrance, position the camera accordingly.
  • Sunlight: Avoid placing the camera in direct sunlight. Otherwise, it won’t be easy to see the screen when someone is at your door.
  • Distance Between the Street and Door: How far away is the street from your door? If it’s a long distance, place the camera closer to your property to see who is coming.

If you have a Ring camera, place it 1.2 meters above the ground. Anything above this height might result in a distorted image.

When it comes to the angle, most people position their camera to point directly at the door. However, you can play around with the angle to find the best view for your property.

If the camera has a 180-degree field of view, it will see 1–10 meters outwards. Some cameras are also more sensitive to a certain kind of movement, such as horizontal movement. In that case, it’s best to experiment with the positioning until you find the perfect spot.

When positioning a doorbell camera, it’s important to ensure you’re not invading your neighbor’s property. For example, if you live in an attached home, make sure your camera is placed high enough that it doesn’t have a view into your neighbor’s window.

white doorbell with camera

Image Credit: James Yarema, Unsplash

What’s the Best Sight Distance for a Doorbell Camera?

Typically, the best sight distance for a doorbell camera is about 10–15 feet. It gives you a clear view of the person at your door while also providing a wide enough field of view to identify them. If you have a large entryway or porch, you may want to consider a camera with a longer sight distance.

You can also opt for a longer distance or broader field of view if you want to see packages left at your doorstep or keep an eye on pets in your yard. Always check the local regulations before installing any security camera on your property. Some areas may not allow cameras in specific locations, such as near windows. You may have to pay a fine and take the camera down if found non-compliant.

Which Other Features to Look for in a Doorbell Camera?

Besides the distance a doorbell camera can see, you should also consider other features when purchasing a camera for your home. Here are some of them:

Motion Detection

Some cameras have a motion sensor triggered when someone steps onto your property. The sensor can be set to record video or take a photo, or both.

When the sensor is triggered, you will receive a notification on your phone or tablet. Then, you can then view the video footage or photo to see who is at your door.

Speaker

Cameras with speakers allow you to talk to the person at your door, even if you’re not home. It can be helpful if you want to deter a burglar or tell a solicitor to go away.

Night Vision

If you keep your porch light off at night, you can still see who is at your door with a doorbell camera that has night vision. The camera will use infrared light to illuminate the person or object in its field of vision.

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Conclusion

To sum up, doorbell cameras can see 5–50 feet beyond the front door, which can be helpful for homeowners. You should position the camera to have a clear view of your front door and the surrounding area.

It’s best to check the local laws to ensure you’re not breaking any rules by positioning the camera in a way that gives you a full view of the street or nearby houses. Plus, get a doorbell camera with a higher resolution to get a clear image.


Featured Image Credit: Forgem, Shutterstock

About the Author Jeff Weishaupt

Jeff is a tech professional by day, writer, and amateur photographer by night. He's had the privilege of leading software teams for startups to the Fortune 100 over the past two decades. He currently works in the data privacy space. Jeff's amateur photography interests started in 2008 when he got his first DSLR camera, the Canon Rebel. Since then, he's taken tens of thousands of photos. His favorite handheld camera these days is his Google Pixel 6 XL. He loves taking photos of nature and his kids. In 2016, he bought his first drone, the Mavic Pro. Taking photos from the air is an amazing perspective, and he loves to take his drone while traveling.

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