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Night Vision Cameras and Camcorders – What Makes Them Work?

Photography has often been compared to painting with light. But now new technology allows us to see in the dark with night vision cameras and camcorders. 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. What we call dark is a condition where we as humans have difficulty seeing. 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 animals eyes have evolved to have better night vision, we can use technology to see in conditions that most people would consider to be 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. The second type uses thermal imaging. 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. Night vision is now built in to not only cameras and camcorders, but also to binoculars, gun and rifle scopes and night vision goggles. 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.