The Sionyx Aurora is the best GoPro alternative you’ve never heard of

Action cameras are designed to capture action anywhere — but what if that action is happening in the dark? What if action cameras were equipped with night vision? That is the idea behind the Sionyx Aurora, a camera that can shoot day or night thanks to an ultra-low-light sensor and night vision. After originally launching with a Kickstarter earlier this year, the company says the camera will be available in August, without the crowd-funded risk, from the company’s website.

Sionyx uses a patented design that increases the sensitivity of the CMOS sensor by as much as 10 times compared to traditional sensors. That increased sensitivity allows the camera to capture low-light images in full color. While the company hasn’t shared full specifications, during the earlier Kickstarter campaign, the company listed the camera with a one-inch sensor and an f/1.4 lens.

Larger pixels gather more light — so Sionyx equipped the Aurora with a large 1-inch sensor but kept the megapixels in the single digits. Because the sensor isn’t crammed with megapixels, each megapixel is larger, allowing the sensor to let in more light than a camera with a higher megapixel count under the same settings and conditions. That sensor, the company claims, is capable of capturing images that are 10 times brighter than a standard sensor.

The sensor isn’t the only reason the Aurora can capture low-light shots — the 16mm lens is also a bright f/1.4. An adjustable aperture with the option for an f/2.0 and an f/5.6 helps the camera adjust to daylight shots.

With the sensor and bright lens, the Aurora offers three different shooting modes — daylight, twilight, and night. The camera uses two different night modes, a black-and-white night vision and a color night vision.

The camera appears to be one designed more for the flexibility of shooting all day and less for the image quality. Creating larger pixel sites means the Aurora only shoots in 720p, not 1080p high definition (not to mention 4K). That footage is captured at up to 60 fps. Stills shot from the action camera are just nine megapixels.

Wi-Fi is built in, with an Android and iOS app for sharing shots from the camera.

While the camera is waterproof down to three feet, the Aurora looks like a mix between an action camera and a traditional handheld consumer video camera because of the camera’s oblong shape. The Aurora integrates a GPS and accelerometer, along with a compass that can overlay the data over the footage. Weighing about eight ounces, the body also integrates several physical controls, including switches for adjusting the camera mode. Shots can be previewed at the back of the camera, using that night vision video to see what’s in the dark around you. The camera records to Micro SD cards and is rated for about two hours of battery life.

The Aurora comes from a Massachusetts-based company founded in 2006. Sionyx produces several different camera sensors, all designed for low-light performance.

After reaching a fully-funded Kickstarter in four hours, the camera is expected to launch at retail for $799 in August. Pre-orders are available now with a 10-percent discount. The action camera will be available directly from the company’s website.

Updated on July 26 to include the official launch outside of Kickstarter

Product Review

Brutal and emotional, 'God of War' is everything a blockbuster game should be

In a new land, on a new journey, God of War evolves beyond the button-mashing action of its youth into an action game with engaging combat and an engrossing story.

These point-and-shoot cameras make your smartphone pics look like cave paintings

If your smartphone camera just isn't giving you the results you're looking for, maybe it's time to step up your game. The latest and greatest point-and-shoot cameras offer large sensors, tough bodies, and long lenses - something no phone…

Starting a vlog? Here are the best cameras to buy

Any camera that shoots video can be used to vlog, but a few models stand out from the crowd thanks to superior image quality, ergonomics, and usability.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Netflix in August 2018, from ‘Blue Valentine’ to ‘Jurassic Park’

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, subdued humor, or anything in between.

The Nixplay Iris might just make digital picture frames cool again

The digital picture frame's popularity has fizzled because of time-consuming updates and low quality -- but can a Wi-Fi connected frame change that? The Nixplay Iris is an 8-inch smart digital picture frame that wireless updates photos.

8 easy ways for you to transfer photos from an Android phone to a PC

If you haven't already, you should back up your photos to a computer. Here's how to transfer photos from an Android phone to a PC using third-party services and a wealth of storage devices.

A turn for the better: Loupedeck+ adds custom dials, more to Lightroom console

The Loupedeck+ improves on the original Lightroom console by adding welcome customization options and introducing support for Skylum Aurora HDR. What's even better is that it does this all at an even lower price.

These are the best camera straps you can get your hands on

Choosing the right camera strap for your needs can be a tough decision. To help sort through the junk, we've rounded up the best camera straps on the market for you to choose from.
Social Media

How to use Adobe Spark Post to spice up your social media images

Images are proven to get more likes than plain text -- but only if those images are good. Adobe Spark post is an AI-powered design program for non-designers. Here's how to use it to take your social media feeds to the next level.

18 seconds of fame: Giphy’s quirky new GIF film festival has a $10K prize

Have a knack for creating GIFs? Someone is going to win $10,000 for a video that's 18 seconds or less at the Giphy Film Festival. The new contest is set to recognize the top creator for the short micro-films in five different categories.

Google One subscriptions offer more cloud storage for low prices, other perks

Can't get enough storage on Google Drive, Photos, or Gmail? Google One is the new way to boost your cloud storage. But it's not just about more space -- Google One comes with a loads of benefits.

Sorry, DSLR, but Sony mirrorless is now the best-selling full-frame camera

Four out of every ten full-frame cameras sold in the United States during the first-half of 2018 had the Sony name. That makes Sony's mirrorless full-frame cameras the best-selling models.
Emerging Tech

Meet the Mantis Q: A drone you can control by yelling, waving, or even smiling

"Mantis, take a picture." Yuneec's new consumer drone, the Yuneec Mantis Q, responds to voice commands along with gestures and smiles. The 4K drone also integrates several different flight modes and safety features inside a one-pound…

Capture life in every direction with the best 360 cameras

While 360 cameras are still a new technology, that doesn't mean there's not a few that are worth a look. Whether you want to shoot from the middle or just need a simple, affordable option, here are the best 360 cameras on the market.