When we think about photography or recording with a video camera we usually are considering doing it when it is light. For most of us filming in the dark could not be considered until now when it is becoming a very viable option with the new night vision camcorders and cameras. There are many situations where you might want to be able to take a picture or film in the dark or when there is not enough light for a regular camera. Those who camp or hunt have many situations where night vision technology would be especially useful.
We all have heard about the military’s use of night vision equipment but have always thought that it is out of reach for the average person. New technology and mass production has now put this technology in the price range that anyone can afford.
Understanding how night vision works requires that we have a definition of what seeing in the dark means. Once we can’t see well without the help of artificial lights we think of it as dark. But many animals can see much better in the ‘dark’. That is because there is always some light at all times of day and night. It might come from the moon and stars, or from distant street lamps or other man made sources, but the problem is that our eyes can’t gather enough of the light rays to be useful to us like an animal can.
While the eyes of animals have evolved to have better night vision, we can use technology to see in conditions that most people would consider being totally dark. There are two different methods that night vision cameras use. The first type uses all available light, and also some infrared light from the lower end of the spectrum that we cannot see. That is why these types of cameras are called ‘infrared’.
The sensors are much more sensitive than our eyes are, and it is amazing the images that these cameras can record. Thermal imaging cameras are the second type. This type of sensor records the heat given off by a body or an object. These heat readings are converted in a thermal scale to images that we can comprehend.
Both types of imaging have many different uses and applications. You can now find night vision technology built in to night vision goggles, binoculars, gun and rifle scopes as well as camcorders and cameras. The cost of these items varies, but consumer priced models that have excellent performance are now available for all these types of night vision equipment. And there are also many types of accessories such as an infrared illuminator or infrared floodlight that can be used in addition to your equipment to add more ‘light’ but still keeps everyone else in the dark.
If you are thinking about getting your feet wet with a night vision camcorder or camera, it looks like the time is finally here where you can do it without breaking the bank while getting excellent quality results.