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.