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.
Larger pixels gather more light — so Sionyx equipped the Aurora with a large 1-inch sensor but keeping 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 10x 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.
Creating larger pixel sites, however, means the Aurora only shoots in 720p, not the 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.
The company is aiming to launch their first action camera through a Kickstarter campaign — but the Aurora reached full funding in the first four hours, suggesting the low-light capabilities is enough to justify spending more for a 720p resolution action camera for a least a few buyers. If successful, the camera is expected to retail for $799. Kickstarter backers could get the camera for pledges starting at $559. The camera is expected to ship to early backers beginning in July.
Funding continues through May 25.