Re: the mag the Sony 4 lux camera is capable of seeing

From: Willie Koorts (wpk@saao.ac.za)
Date: Wed Jun 04 2003 - 05:19:19 EDT

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    On Tue, 3 Jun 2003, Tom Wagner wrote:
    
    > So that I may know what to expect when trying to record flashing satellites
    > etc. I did some starlight magnitude tests with my Sony digital video camera
    > [DCR TRV 340]. Following are the results.
    <snip>
    > Using the so-called "NightShot" mode I could barely see a star that was mag.
    > +3.
    > Using the "Super NightShot" mode I could barely see a star that was mag. +6.
    
    Hi Tom
    
    Interesting tests!
    
    I don't know anything about the new digital models but a few years ago a
    friend asked me about the technicalities behind the Sony "NightShot" mode
    on the older model cameras - Sony even bragged about ZERO lux abilities.  
    
    I looked into it a bit and found that two things happen when these older
    models were put into NightShot mode - the IR-blocking filter in front of
    the CCD gets removed and IR LEDs gets switched on to illuminate the scene
    with IR light - hence the so called zero lux ability.  For astro/satellite
    imaging the latter obviously does nothing for you and the absence of the
    IR-blocking filter does gain you perhaps up to a magnitude.
    
    It sounds like the Super NightShot mode now adds some on-chip integration 
    as well.
    
    Cheers
    Willie
    	                        Willie Koorts 
    
           Cape Town,  Observatory   33d 56' 03"S   18d 28' 36"E   GMT + 2h
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