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December 8, 2015

Tech Tuesday: SPI X27 Sensor – A Revolution in Night Vision Cameras

Soldiers work with night vision in desert hills at night

U.S. Army photo by Master Sgt. Michel Sauret

 

A New Contender

Just to highlight how quickly technology is advancing, back in September, I highlighted Canon’s ridiculously high ISO camera, the ME20F-SH, featuring a 4 million+ ISO capability, and already there is a new contender! Meet Las Vegas based imaging company, Sierra Pacific Innovations (SPI). Though mostly a military contractor, they are offering their new X27 color night vision sensor that can be integrated into night vision sights, scopes, monoculars, binoculars, drones and UAVs. I have to say, the footage looks promising.

 

 

Gone is the Green

Allowing for full color reproduction, SPI claims to capture day-like imagery with as little as 1 millilux low light levels. The 10 megapixel sensor produces a RAW high definition output, and unlike current Image Intensifiers, it can be used in day light or with intense light sources without damaging the sensor.

 

Soldier covers for striker at night

Example of current Image Intensifiers (night vision) from a video I shot with the Army

 

[T]raditional color night vision low light cameras and sensors image have presentable image quality when there is ample light sources available. True color low lux imagers require much more powerful passive sensors that can produce day like images in the darkest of nights such as moonless cloudy nights. The x27 real time high definition, high sensitivity color low light sensor offer day like bright defined images with very low noise. These parameters make the X27 sensor ideal for military night vision imaging, low light operations, digital night vision goggles, night vision color image fusion, digital weapons mounted, uav, uas, drone and a wide array of military imaging color low light applications.

 

 

Though they don’t specify their camera system, the company claims that it will accept “a wide array of standard off the shelf commercially available lenses”, and with a RAW output, you would probably need an external recorder or laptop to record the video.

 

 

Small Firm, Big Tech

Overall, I think advancements in night vision are really the next step in sensor development. Since every camera manufacturer has been pushing for higher, cleaner ISOs, it is great to see a small firm thinking outside the box, pushing sensor capabilities and revolutionizing the industry. I hope to see this adopted by documentary filmmakers, science and nature series and reality shows, aside from the DoD.

 

December 1, 2015

Tech Tuesday: Behind the Scenes of Discovery’s Brinicle Timelapse

Diver sets up underwater camera

History in the Briny Deep

If you missed the viral video, in 2011 dive photographers Hugh Miller and Doug Anderson captured the formation of an underwater brinicle under the thick Antarctic ice for the series Frozen Planet. This was the first time a brinicle has ever been filmed and took amazing engineering and determination! Here it is below:

Though the footage is amazing, the ingenuity and persistence of the photographers is what I find truly astonishing. Here is the behind the scenes of their exploration and how they accomplished this amazing feat:

http://www.discovery.com/tv-shows/frozen-planet/videos/filming-the-icy-finger-of-death/

November 24, 2015

Tech Tuesday: What Are Mirrorless Cameras and Why Are They So Awesome!

Sony a7 rII

Tech Tuesday Meets Youtube!

Welcome to my very first Tech Tuesday video! In this episode, I explore one of my favorite technologies; the mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. It is hard to believe they have been with us for over a decade now! To celebrate, I talk about how they came to be, show some of the spectacular underwater footage from a recent dive trip and discuss which is the best mirrorless camera for you!

Check it out and thank you for watching!

 

November 10, 2015

Tech Tuesday: Is The New Canon C500 Mk II Going To Be 8k Resolution?

Canon C500

 

Virtual Expo

Back in September, Canon announced that they were developing an 8k resolution cinema camera to be released with an 8k workflow and display unit. Canon Rumors had a wonderful write up here.

Canonvirtualtour

 

  The Cinema EOS System 8K camera being developed will be equipped with a Canon Super 35 mm-equivalent CMOS sensor that makes possible high-resolution 8,192 x 4,320 pixel (approximately 35.39 million effective pixels) imaging performance even at a frame rate of 60 frames per second with 13 stops1 of dynamic range and a richly expressive wide color gamut.

 
Canon8kcamera

 

Canon 8k camera specs

 

Big Resolution With A Purpose

Additionally, for those that couldn’t make it to New York for Canon’s Expo 2015, the expo’s website had virtual walk-through with the new camera on display. Most likely to be the Mk II update to the C500, the new 8k camera will provide cinematographers the ability to record subtle changes in light to give a more realistic perspective. I would expect that this new camera is going to push the limits of film making even future with more realistic, engaging imagery.