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What Type of Night Vision Camcorder Do You Need?

As technology improves, more and more people are finding new uses for the capabilities of their night vision camcorder. And those looking at their first purchase or upgrading an older model are looking for more information on what can be recorded and how the performance in low light and very low light  situations can be improved.

People have many different ideas when you talk about taking video using what they call ‘night vision’.

Usually they are really asking if the camera will perform well in low light situations. If you’ve ever tried filming at a wedding dance, at an outdoor function in the evening or in a bar or pub, you know very well how difficult it can be to capture decent footage. (And how painful it is watch later.) The performance of the newer night vision camcorders can really make a huge difference in the quality of the video you can capture.

A night vision video camera equipped with a built in infrared emitter can do an excellent job of capturing good quality video in these types of situations. Sony’s line of camcorders with their built in NightShot technology is probably the best known of this type of unit. But the built in emitter on most cameras falls short quickly if you try to capture footage more than a few feet away.

Infrared Illuminator Accessory

If you are thinking about doing ‘serious’ filming in the dark, the built in IR light source on a typical night vision camcorder will usually leave you very disappointed. The range and intensity of the light is good for only a very short range and you quickly run out of (IR) light at longer distances.

Without spending a lot of extra money, there are two options to increase the amount of IR you can put on the scene.

The first is an add on infrared light that is made as an accessory for camcorders. These usually range in cost up to approximately $50 US and give a great deal more illumination than the typical built in source. They will increase the range that you can record up to 30 feet or so. Because you are providing your own IR light source, you can film in otherwise total darkness. In a way it is somewhat of an unusual feeling since everything is in darkness except your LCD viewing screen on camera and while you can’t see a thing in the darkness, you can see the scene clearly on the screen.

night vision camcorder image intensifier

If you need more light than this, separate battery powered infrared lamps that are tuned to work in the same IR frequency as consumer or pro-sumer camcorders are available that can light an area out to 100 to 200 feet or farther. Of course the more powerful the lighting system, the more it will set you back. However, if you want to get the best results with your night vision camcorder and if you need something that will work well in the 100+ foot range, the cost of a lamp kit or dual lamp kit can be found for under the $200 US range.

The stand alone battery powered IR lights work very well for doing night nature photography of wildlife. And the advantage of separate lights is that you don’t need to be in the same spot as you have your lights set up. So you can set your lights closer to an animals den or feeding area for more illumination, and you can stay back and use the zoom on the camera while still getting the full effect of the lights.

It seems like new products and technologies are being released almost daily. Night vision is going to continue to become more readily available and we will find more uses for it constantly.

What Can We Do to Make Our Night Vision Camcorder Perform Better?

We’ll be looking at many different options and setups that might allow you to enhance the capabilities of your night vision camcorder here. If there is something you are interested in that you’d like to have us check out, just let us know.