Google Pixel 3 may only have one rear camera, but it relies heavily on Google’s promising AI to deliver high-quality images. The latest feature Google launched for all three generations of Pixel lets you shoot clean and bright images in near darkness – even when you can barely see anything with your own eyes. It works on both front and rear cameras, and you don’t even need a tripod or a flash.
One of the biggest problems with action cameras today is their ability to deal with very low light. Or, to be more accurate, a lack of ability to shoot under very low light conditions. The new Aurora from US-based night vision company SiOnyx is a new action camera that claims to be able to shoot under light levels as low as moonlight.
Photographer and videographer Mathieu Stern is known for his passion for weird lenses. He recently repurposed a Russian spy lens Cyclop h3t-1. It comes attached to a night vision device, and it was used by the Russian army and even the KGB. However, Mathieu tested how it performs for shooting portraits- and the results are surprisingly good.
Being able to see with a camera in complete darkness is a challenge. For stills we often have to resort to long exposures. For video it can be virtually impossible. Thankfully, the megapixel race is all but over, and camera manufacturers are focusing on high ISO capability. There’s a couple out there now that can get fairly decent results in near black conditions, but they’re not cheap.
The folks over at N-O-D-E, however have another option. Hacking a cheap action camera to give it some basic night vision ability. The cost in the video says it can be done for around $40, but this will depend where in the world you are. The particular camera he used seems to be much less expensive in the UK than it is in the USA. But, I’m sure pretty much any action cameras can be modified the same way.
I’m a huge fan of old and weird lenses. They have unique qualities to them that can be difficult or impossible to achieve in post. So, when I see new a new video from Mathieu Stern, it always piques my interest. His latest video shows off a very strange lens. Designed for military and police night vision systems, this rare C Mount 75mm f/1.3 manual focus AstroScope lens produces some pretty wild results.
Lenses for night vision cameras aren’t exactly optimised for the visible colour spectrum, so they have some very crazy aberration and colour distortion. The sensors used in night vision cameras are also generally quite a bit smaller than those found in APS-C or full frame cameras. This means there’s also a fair bit of vignetting. But the results have a strange dreamlike quality to them that I think is very cool.
Documenting nature isn’t always as cute and fluffy as we’d like it to be, and when it comes to the law of the jungle, the judge occasionally dons his black cap.
I would imagine that this video isn’t quite what Tan Nguyen expected to capture when he setup his GoPro pointed at this American Robin nest in his front yard, hoping to capture eggs hatching and chicks getting their first taste of life.