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Old 02-01-2012, 02:39 AM   #1
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Default Why Sony NightShot? DIY Night Vision Here

A few of you know that I am in the process of building a DIY night vision device. There a lot of factors that come in to play upon choosing a designated cam for my application as the differences in sensativiy to NIR vary camera to camera. One big factor is "low lux" & after researching, it seems like there is only 1 cam that is "notorious" for having such a low lux which is a Sony (NightShot.)

Switching to 'Nightshot mode' physically displaces the camcorder's internal glass filter called "IR Cut Filter (ICF)", which means that much more NIR light reaches the CCD. In-between the optical lens and the CCD, most camcorders have this special "ICF". It is there to compensate the colorings and the tones of the information reaching the CCD by blocking the NIR and ultraviolet rays. Since the CCD is originally more sensitive to NIR rather than the visible rays, it would be impossible to create a natural image on the viewfinder or LCD screen for the human eye without this ICF. However, this ICF, which blocks off the NIR, is the biggest obstacle in seeing-through and night viewing.


How Does Sony NightShot actually work?: (see below)

-The Internal Microswitch Method

This method involves opening your camcorder. If you open the camcorder you will see a small lever mounted on the lens that moves the ICF away from the CCD (when Nightshot is switched on). This lever also presses a Microswitch (attached to a flexible board) when Nightshot is engaged.

When this Microswitch is pressed 3 things happen. Firstly, the iris in the lens is forced open (this results in the "white-out" if there is too much light present) and second it sets the green tint added to the picture to give that "Night Scope" appearance. The 3rd thing the Microswitch does is to turn on the IR emitter on the front of the camcorder.

This small Microswitch is held in place with a small screw. By loosening the screw the Microswitch can be adjusted away from the Nightshot lever so that it is never pushed when Nightshot is engaged. Thus, the camcorder can have full control of exposure even in Nightshot mode like the Old Models. The images tend to take on a red tint (rather than a green tint). Although very effective, this method renders all other Nightshot functions inoperative - such as the Nightshot LEDs on the front of the camcorder and the HotShoe functionality


As stated in paragraph 2, most camcorders are equipped w/ ICF's. Does this also apply w/ stand still cameras? I am under the impression that I am not "limited" to just a Sony NightShot as long as I can find a cam W/ a removable ICF.

As stated in paragraph 4, when the mircroswitch on the Sony NightShot is pressed 3 times, a green tint will be added to the picture (lcd screen) to give that "night vision look." -Is this actually practical? I assume so as "green" is the most sensative color to human vision. However, does it make a difference that it is being applied "after" on an LCD Screen? I mean, this "feature" almost seems like nothign more than cosmetic.

If anyone has an alternative to the "Sony NightShot" to serve as a "view source" that would be awesome. -I'd rather go through all the work rather than just to buy a device. I mean, that takes all the fun out of DIY & learning.

-Thanks

btw, Sony also has a circuit to amplify NIR. -sounds similar to an IIT. If anyone knows any more additional info on this, that'd be kick butt. I am assuming Sony uses a CMOS vs a CCD? -I do not know how Sony would "amplify" W/out either an IIT or a CMOS

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Old 02-01-2012, 04:55 AM   #2
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Default Re: Why Sony NightShot? DIY Night Vision Here

I hate posting Kip crap, but this is a whole lot cheaper, and easier.

Total cost around $15.



I've owned 2 Sony camcorders with Nightshot, and neither of them had a green tint. They were black and white.
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Old 02-01-2012, 05:00 AM   #3
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Default Re: Why Sony NightShot? DIY Night Vision Here

All cameras are capable of detecting IR light, just that most of them don't allow you to remove the IR filter. If you want this camera PURELY for IR use, sometimes you can disassemble the camera and remove the filter yourself. It will be a small piece of glass with a red/blue tint.

If you can get a camera with a removable lens (Not likely unless you get a top of the range DSLR) the filter is probably lens specific and you have bare access to the sensor.
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Old 02-01-2012, 05:20 AM   #4
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Default Re: Why Sony NightShot? DIY Night Vision Here

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I hate posting Kip crap, but this is a whole lot cheaper, and easier.

Total cost around $15.



I've owned 2 Sony camcorders with Nightshot, and neither of them had a green tint. They were black and white.

^I have seen that & been through it. It's works great for distances @ 20 sq ft or so, but anything beyond that those cheap LED's do not do much good. The person who built that device has 3 different (known) DIY NIR night vision devices. Another is on "hackaday" & the other is on another wesbite where he used a scope, security cam & a 150mW IR laser diode.

There are 3 different versions of the "Sony NightShots." I believe the 3rd (newest) version applied a green tint to the "nightshot" mode.

I am focusing on the type of viewsource (cam) I will be using & checking what my options are. I will either be using a series of Single Mode IR Dodes (150mW @ 900ish nM) OR 1 single multi-mode High Power IR Laser Diode (500mW-1W) if I can find a way to evenly distribute the power to eliminate hot spots.

The purpose of this thread was to go over options for devices that allows human eyes to visualize IR.

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Old 02-01-2012, 05:23 AM   #5
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Default Re: Why Sony NightShot? DIY Night Vision Here

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All cameras are capable of detecting IR light, just that most of them don't allow you to remove the IR filter. If you want this camera PURELY for IR use, sometimes you can disassemble the camera and remove the filter yourself. It will be a small piece of glass with a red/blue tint.

If you can get a camera with a removable lens (Not likely unless you get a top of the range DSLR) the filter is probably lens specific and you have bare access to the sensor.
I believe it was "Ablaze" that posted this a while back: Most newer camera's are equipped W/ IR stopfilters. Most older camera's are equipped W/ IR passfilters.

^From my understanding W/ just about any Digital Cam equipped W/ an IR Stopfilter, you can dissemble the CCD, but one must use extreme caution.
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Old 02-04-2012, 07:22 PM   #6
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Default Re: Why Sony NightShot? DIY Night Vision Here

Hi I have been lurking for sometime now. I joined the site last week, my main intention is also to build a IR illuminator. I to want this to work with a Sony Night shot camcorder. Im still in the process of putting a parts list together to build a IR laser, but Im thinking of something like 300mw / 500mw.
On the camera you choose, from what I have found out the sensor size also comes into play. Many of the sony range have night shot, night shot plus or super night shot. They also range in sensor size from 1/8 to 1/2 inch, and for night vision I believe bigger is better.

Im very interested in you progress so far.

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Old 02-06-2012, 03:22 AM   #7
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Default Re: Why Sony NightShot? DIY Night Vision Here

Btw, I asked my supplier about a 940nm laser that outputs somewhere around 100mw. He said that the diode based lasers that output 940nm are limited to 10mw.

Maybe those LEDs are the best way to go after all.
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Old 02-06-2012, 03:55 AM   #8
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Default Re: Why Sony NightShot? DIY Night Vision Here

980nm should work just as well.

LZGN - 980nm 200mW Focusable NIR Infrared Laser Pointer

Watch 'yer eyes round that though!
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Old 02-06-2012, 09:11 AM   #9
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Default Re: Why Sony NightShot? DIY Night Vision Here

^ Uh oh, I clicked on that link you gave me & scrolled down the page to read this:

WARNING: THIS IS A VERY DANGEROUR LASER PRODUCT. THE BEAM OF THIS 808nm INFRARED LASER IS ALMOST INVISIBLE. IT WILL DEMAGE YOUR VISION IN LESS THAN 1 SECOND WITHOUT YOU NOTICE THAT. MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A GOGGLES BEFORE YOU BUY THIS ITEM!!!


...almost invisible?
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Old 02-06-2012, 06:05 PM   #10
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Default Re: Why Sony NightShot? DIY Night Vision Here

lol, 808nm is almost invisible. This is (hopefully) a 908nm.
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Old 02-06-2012, 06:16 PM   #11
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Default Re: Why Sony NightShot? DIY Night Vision Here

Lazerer copy&paste's a lot on their website. Look at the 50 and 100mW 450nm lasers, the description is identical - even the tech specs, yet they are different output powers. Great service from them and safe to buy from, but don't try to learn anything from their website. Just be glad he warns of eye danger at all.

940nm is completely invisible to me, and I can see farther into IR than most. 980nm is DEFINITELY invisible.
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Old 02-06-2012, 09:04 PM   #12
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Default Re: Why Sony NightShot? DIY Night Vision Here

I've got a 980nm diode, and it is indeed completely invisible. If you look at the bare diode, you can see a tiny bit of red when in the dark (confirmed incoherent red with spectrometer), but the assembled module shows no signs of being "on."
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Old 02-07-2012, 04:02 PM   #13
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Default Re: Why Sony NightShot? DIY Night Vision Here

Is there a size requirement or something? Understandably you can't use an LED if you don't have enough space for the suitable optics required for long distance illumination..
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Old 02-08-2012, 01:33 PM   #14
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Default Re: Why Sony NightShot? DIY Night Vision Here

Heres a mechanically removable ir cut filter module.
It use to be available on ebay from hkcctv. I've been meaning to try one for awhile.
Product page & manual for it.
Attached are measurements from the hkcctv ebay seller.

Will you be using the IR camera around people? Spy cam like.
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Why Sony NightShot? DIY Night Vision Here-ir-cut-filter-module-day-night-cam-size.jpg  
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Old 02-08-2012, 09:55 PM   #15
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Default Re: Why Sony NightShot? DIY Night Vision Here

He's planning to use it to hunt foxes at night.

Brittany, I don't know why you switch sections of the forum every couple of weeks :P
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Old 02-16-2012, 04:03 PM   #16
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Default Re: Why Sony NightShot? DIY Night Vision Here

LOL, well I'm broke as hell thanks to college. -I really need to get going on FAFSA.

This project is kind of on the back burner, but I figure the more research I do, the better

Idk man, I'm getting all sorts of answers. ...regardless of focus, an IR Laser won't work for "illumination" .....IR LED's are the way to go, but eh' how good at 1k + yrds?

I'm studying Camera's right now. A 'standstill' cam was the way to go due to the optical zooms, but now I am getting a lot of feedback that the "Sony Handycam" is by far the better option thanks to the "low lux"
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Old 02-16-2012, 04:23 PM   #17
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Default Re: Why Sony NightShot? DIY Night Vision Here

As suggestion ..... get an old b/w ccd security camera (not color cmos ones), for better results ..... they are more sensitive and defined, and cause almost all now are passing to "color megapixel day/night" models, the old b/w ccd ones had a dramatic price fall ..... also, usually some of them have much better lenses than a pinhole camera

Being ccd, they require more current, but the results are at least the double.

Also, half of them have the IR blocking filters directly glued on the ccd module (is a piece of "greenish" glass) that can be took away very easily, and lot of them, being planned for night survey, don't have any IR filter at all

And, if someone of you is lucky enough to know peoples that work in security system fields, maybe they have old units (used or obsolete) that you can get for few money ..... also in ebay sometimes these can be found (only check that they are complete with lenses and working)
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Old 02-16-2012, 04:42 PM   #18
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Default Re: Why Sony NightShot? DIY Night Vision Here

b/w? cmos? -black and white I am assuming

btw, just how clear are they? LOL some of the older security cam's are basically 1 big pixel

I was leaning towards either a stand still cam or video cam because of the "zoom" in hopes that this device would also act somewhat as a scope
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Old 02-16-2012, 05:26 PM   #19
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Default Re: Why Sony NightShot? DIY Night Vision Here

Well, indicatively, the "cmos microcamera" in that video is probably a 330 lines like this one or similars, with a very dark lens (3 lux min or worse) ..... a decent ccd camera is, usually, a 420 lines unit with 0.2 or 0,3 lux sensitivity and at least the double of the contrast than the equivalent cmos ones ..... this for microcams ..... also much more, if you find one of these big, old "boxes" style cams with "C" mount lenses threads .....
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Old 02-16-2012, 06:18 PM   #20
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Default Re: Why Sony NightShot? DIY Night Vision Here

Personally, I think that IR LED bank that you were talking about earlier would be more than enough illumination. After all, you don't need to light up a football stadium.

I think that if you got as bright as you might be thinking it would be so much IR that you could feel it on your skin.. like a bright, invisible, ray of sun at night.
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Old 02-29-2012, 03:50 AM   #21
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Default Re: Why Sony NightShot? DIY Night Vision Here

A little off topic, but Ive always been tempted to take a decent quality medium range security cam with IR LEDs and mount it in the front grill of my vehicle and then pipe the feed into my iPad mounted in the vehicle to make a sort of pseudo-FLIR. FLIR is installed on military vehicles of all sorts and most recently on high end luxury cars. Im not sure how it would look with headlights on but thats not the point.. this is for covert driving haha
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Old 02-29-2012, 04:05 AM   #22
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Default Re: Why Sony NightShot? DIY Night Vision Here

Well... you could mount a visible light filter on the camera to filter out the light from the headlights. Around here people are always concerned with damaging people's eyes, and having a bright but invisible flood light mounted on the front of your car sounds like an excellent way to damage people's vision to me.

Perhaps I'm just being ridiculous.. worrying about other people's well-being and all..
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Old 02-29-2012, 02:40 PM   #23
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Default Re: Why Sony NightShot? DIY Night Vision Here

I really have no intention of using it on the road or with head lights on, seems pointless to me. The only reason real FLIR is useful on road with headlights on luxury cars is because those systems actually detect the thermal IR radiation emitted from objects in their path and translate it to gray scale giving you the ability to see through fog, smoke, and see further then your headlights allow you to see. Whereas a security cam with IR LEDs illuminates the things in front of you like a flashlight and the camera is able to see in that spectrum. this set up would have the same limits of visual light to look through fog and such but it would allow me to drive with all visible lights turned off except the iPad.. and all of this off road of course. As for the "bright but invisible flood light mounted on the front of your car" I do not believe that a factory build night security cam would have enough IR radiation to damage peoples vision, seeing as how its a factory build security cam made to be used to watch humans..
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Old 02-29-2012, 05:48 PM   #24
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Default Re: Why Sony NightShot? DIY Night Vision Here

Anyway, remember that you cannot have a "thermal" image with IR cameras, no matter what camera you use ..... IR cams works in 800/980 nm range (usually), and requires iluminators, where instead FLIR cams works in 8000/12000 nm range, and don't require illuminators .....
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Old 03-01-2012, 04:16 PM   #25
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Default Re: Why Sony NightShot? DIY Night Vision Here

Thank you for reiterating exactly what I just explained more clearly in my post as a response
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