All the Sony camcorders
by boya84 - 10/16/11 11:43 AM
In Reply to: Sony Nightshot Plus by drummer132132
with NightShot, SuperNightShot, or NightShotPlus have a built-in infrared emitter. When in that zero-light capture mode, these camcorders generally record monochromatic (green/white - sometimes black/white) video. The same "video quality" issues will apply as with regular visible light video. Larger lens filter diameter and larger imaging chip size = more light (visible or otherwise) in to the camcorder for recording. This is not a "low light mode" which uses a very slow (1/30 second) shutter speed to allow more visible light in to hit the imaging chip.
When the subject is well lit (in this case, in zero visible light and illuminated by the built-in infrared emitter), things look good. The "throw" of the built-in IR emitter is about 8-12 feet and works best when the subject is within 5 feet of the camcorder. Beyond the 10-12 foot horizon, the video will be grainy or very little useful image is recorded. Sony makes an add-on IR emitter that will work with these NightShot camcorders that increases the throw to about 20 feet. The HVL-HIRL requires the camcorder to have a Sony-proprietary Advanced Interface Shoe (AIS) for power - be sure to get one or more optional high capacity rechargeable batteries from Sony if you go this route. There used to be an external IR emitter unit that did not require an AIS which did not use the camcorder's battery for power, but that does not appear to be available at Sony.com any longer. LitePanels might make an external IR lighting system that should work.
Not all Sony camcorders have the NightShot feature (and I *think* Bell & Howell makes a zero light capable camcorder, too) - it is normally listed in the specs as a "Convenience Feature" or "Exposure System" at the camcorder's product page at sony.com. The HDR-SR11 has not been made for several years. It is a hard disc drive camcorder that records highly compressed AVCHD format MTS files. In my opinion, the editing process is poorly defined for these sorts of camcorders (same for flash memory storage). As well, the AVCHD format video is VERY computer resource intensive (fast CPU, lots of RAM, external hard disc drive strongly recommended for the video editing project files) and a video editor that is AVCHD-capable is preferred.
Personally, I do not suggest hard disc drive camcorders for their known issues with high vibration and high altitude recording environments - among other undesirable traits. I *think* the only current Sony camcorders under $2,000 with NightShot is the HDR-CX560 and above, and HVR-A1 (the "pro" sibling to the long-discontinued HDR-HC1).
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