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Old Apr 13, 2010, 5:53 PM   #11
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What exactly is happening with the Sony Nightshot?

With the tiny $15 camera, you open up the camera and take off the IR filter. Apparently, most of these cameras have sensors that can pick up infared light beyond 700nm. The infared filter blocks those wavelengths so they don't get to the sensor. If the infared filter is removed, those wavelengths do get to the sensor. In theory, if there is more light (whether it's visible or infared) getting to the sensor, there should be less noise, a better picture, but the colors wouldn't be accurate due to the infared light. On the cheap camera, a piece of glass or plastic which blocks visible light, and allows infared light to pass through can be placed
on top of the lens. You can then get interesting special effects photos.

Is that what's happening with the Sony Nightshot? Under Nightshot conditions, is visible light blocked and infared light passed through? Or is it something else?

I have a digital 8 camera with nightshot. One feature or element of the implementation of nightshot on my camera is that you can shoot video with
both visible and infared light. If you move the switch from normal to nightshot, there is a point that equates to normal + infared. People have documented this, wrote about it on the internet, etc., and those who want to use this "feature" have used pieces of rubber pencil erasers and sorta jammed them into the switch in the sony cams to keep the nightshot switch moved into the proper position to enable that feature. I would assume that the video from the sony nightshot with the "rubber eraser" would be similar to the video from the cheap camera with the IR filter removed.

Originally Posted by vwestlife View Post
The best IR sensitivity is on Sony camcorders with NightShot made before August 12th, 1998. After that date, Sony de-powered NightShot and locked it on maximum exposure, due to complaints that it was able to see through some kinds of clothing during the daytime. The newer NightShot is still very good at night, but during any brighter scenes the image will just wash out.

Here's my test of NightShot's ability to see through a black plastic bag, on an old analog Hi8 tape camcorder:

As far as I know, there is no inexpensive handheld camcorder made today with a true NightShot-type capability -- not even by Sony. Many have a so-called "night mode", but all this does is slow down the shutter speed in order to boost the low light sensitivity.
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Old Apr 15, 2010, 5:41 PM   #12
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your post was incorrect... kind of

sony's supernightshot mode slows down the shutter speed to let in more light, but the NightShot mode actually takes in Visible Light + Infrared Light. the sensor on the camcorder can see IR light.

it washes it out in full daylight because visible light overloads it, but you can get a filter that blocks visible light (~800nm), thus only allowing IR light to come in and be read by the sensor

but, you see, the camera/camcorder itself must be able to sense IR light

in terms of camcorders, i think only sony does this built-in
for hybrid cams, you would have to modify it, and i haven seen anything but poor quality mods

i'm not sure why the quality is so low when modded
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Old Apr 15, 2010, 7:49 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by kiyoshi_music View Post
it washes it out in full daylight because visible light overloads it,
That's only because Sony camcorders made after 1998 have NightShot mode locked to maximum exposure. On older Sonys, the automatic exposure remains functional in NightShot mode, so it will work fine even in very bright situations.

This web site explains how NightShot works and details the different revisions of it:

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Old Apr 17, 2010, 3:30 AM   #14
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the workout is just to get a filter for a sony nightshot camcorder

i haven't seen many hybridcam mods to capture IR light, but there was one for the jax dv 178

i suspect if i got my hands on a different hybridcam, i could remove the IR filter and it'd work fairly well. the sensor inside these camcorders is usually picking up IR light (it's just blocked by an internal filter).

sonys are sensitive up to about 1100nm, but i don't know about other manufacturers.... i'll certainly attempt a mod if i find a cheap cam!
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