Sony launches security cameras that see in the dark

The exposure technology improves infrared footage

Sony's SNC-VB632D security camera uses infrared exposure to film in the dark.

Sony's SNC-VB632D security camera uses infrared exposure to film in the dark.

Sony on Friday began selling new security cameras that can operate in very low light conditions thanks to infrared exposure technology.

The cameras "can literally see in the dark," according to Sony, because they have infrared light that shines on objects up to 30 meters away.

When shooting in the dark, conventional infrared cameras can produce images with washed-out features and blurry details, but exposure-compensation technology in the Sony cameras can reveal features such as faces and vehicle license plates in darkened areas.

The system, featured on the SNC-EB602R and SNC-EB632R cameras, can render details of footage of people standing near the camera as well as vehicles parked in the distance even when the ambient light is less than 0.1 lux.

Another camera, the SNC-VB632D, available at the end of November, has an extra feature -- a white LED illuminator that is triggered by movement. When it senses motion within 5 meters, it shines a powerful light to deter potential intruders.

In a promo video for the camera, a man is filmed in infrared black and white as he approaches a door. When he gets within range, the LED light comes on and the footage changes to color.

"It's an industry first to have both these systems combined in a single HD network camera," a Sony spokeswoman said.

The SNC-VB632D also has image stabilization to dampen the effects of wind or traffic, a 2.14-megapixel sensor and 3x optical zoom.

The three cameras carry suggested prices starting at ¥120,000 (US$1,122) and are being targeted at security firms, warehouses, offices and other commercial users. They will be sold around the world.

Earlier this year, Sony unveiled the Alpha 7S, an interchangeable-lens consumer camera that can shoot 4K video. It also features a sensitivity range that extends from ISO 50 to 409600, meaning users can shoot clear videos in very low light conditions.

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Tim Hornyak

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