Low Light Camera Thread - RC Groups
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Aug 27, 2016, 02:37 AM
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Low Light Camera Thread


I think there should be a thread dedicated to the discussion and testing of video cameras made for very low light capture. All kinds: CCD, CMOS, EMCCD, image-intensification, thermal, etc..

It can be a good place for people to discuss brands, setup configurations, and to post comparison pictures and video.. such as pictures of a setting as it would look to the naked eye followed by pictures of how it looks with the camera. Also comparisons of one camera to another and different lenses.

When posting please include as much information you can, such as:
  • Camera name and specs
  • Lens configuration and specs
  • Link and price
  • Setting (ex: starlight, moonless, city, woods, indoor/outdoor, etc.)
  • Illumination used (if any. ex: 850nm/940nm LEDs)
  • Pictures and/or video

Note: Please don't use this thread to spam constant promotional vids or every-night's flying.
Let's keep the the video and pics significant for the purpose of testing. Thanks.
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Aug 27, 2016, 12:22 PM
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Looks like a great thread! I've been adding LED's and now night cams to my quads lately, to gain an extra few hours of flight time. So, this thread goes along with my recent projects quite nicely.
Aug 28, 2016, 04:07 AM
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nonoze's Avatar
Here are some tests i've made, day/night for the following cameras:
- Mobius C2
- 808# 16
- Starlight/Foxeer XAT800N (low light camera)
Aug 28, 2016, 06:10 AM
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nonoze's Avatar
And some lens tests using a Starlight/Foxeer XAT800N (low light camera)
From: f1.2 to f2 lens
Aug 28, 2016, 11:31 AM
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Foxeer Night Wolf Camera


Here is a quick video I took of one of my Foxeer Night Wolf camera's mounted in a quad of mine. I have been doing quite a bit of fiddling with the settings to tune it the way I like. I found it isn't very well setup out of the box, but looks great with a few simple adjustments. This camera is really nice for the money, and as an FPV camera for racing UAV's it is currently my favorite. I will let my video do the talking for now and post about my alterations later today. Enjoy!

https://www.dropbox.com/s/gi77d0yvz1...T0020.AVI?dl=0
Aug 28, 2016, 11:43 AM
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nonoze's Avatar
Picture is too yellowish, it's almost like black and white with a lot of yellow in it. The fact is that i've just ordered this camera 3 days ago: http://www.surveilzone.com/Foxeer-Ni...-Camera-g-1561
I hope i won't get that yellowish kind of picture!
Aug 28, 2016, 11:48 AM
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nonoze's Avatar
Here is a video i've made using a foxeer XAT800N (1/2 sensor) with f1.2 lens IR sensitive for 1/3 sensor. It was late a night, 1.30am, with full moon. I really love that XAT800N camera, only down-side, it's kind of big and flat for a plane, it creates unecessary drag.

FPV PLANE: incredible mid-night flight crash! Must see! (7 min 11 sec)
Aug 28, 2016, 11:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nonoze
Picture is too yellowish, it's almost like black and white with a lot of yellow in it. The fact is that i've just ordered this camera 3 days ago: http://www.surveilzone.com/Foxeer-Ni...-Camera-g-1561
I hope i won't get that yellowish kind of picture!
Firstly, I live in Maine, and in the summer here the sun is at an angle that lowers the color temperature of the light to a bright yellow. Luckily, the color is completely configurable on the Night Wolf. I have it set to a warmer hue, which has more yellow than blue anyways, but that's just my own preference. You'll be all set.
Aug 28, 2016, 11:52 AM
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When I walk into the room in the video i posted, that room was pitch black. Without my goggles I am unable to see my own hand in front of me, but the camera switches over to B&W instantly giving me clear video. This camera works great in the day & night. I will say though, that I live a few miles outside the city with no artificial lighting anywhere. Without a few bright LED's installed, the Night Wolf is still not sensitive enough to fly comfortably at night.
Aug 28, 2016, 04:57 PM
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nonoze's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by AILERON8
Without a few bright LED's installed, the Night Wolf is still not sensitive enough to fly comfortably at night.
Did you try with a f1.2 lens? that might make a huge difference! I guess default lens should be f2. From what i've seen on youtube, that foxeer night wolf is not the best in term of contrast subtlety.
Aug 28, 2016, 06:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nonoze
Did you try with a f1.2 lens? that might make a huge difference! I guess default lens should be f2. From what i've seen on youtube, that foxeer night wolf is not the best in term of contrast subtlety.
I think I will give that lens you're talking about a try. Thank you

Yes, the Night Wolf's default settings are not very good, especially the contrast. However, the OSD is the same as the HS1177, but with a couple extra bells & whistles. I had to reduce the contrast a lot before I was happy with the picture. I also noticed the GAMMA setting was wayyy too high. I reduced the Gamma to 0.05, the lowest possible, and my night vision literally doubled! I used to own a RunCam Owl 2 that I destroyed in a crash last month, and that camera had great default settings. However, since the Night Wolf has such a versatile OSD both of my Night Wolf cameras are a little better at night than the Owl and MUCH better than the Owl in the day. I think the light transitions are better as well. In the video I posted I went from super bright sunshine to pitch black, and you can see how it immediately transitioned. Very impressed with these things overall. I'm definitely going to give that F1.2 lens a try though. My objective is to be able to fly my quad at midnight with no street lights around.
Sep 05, 2016, 10:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AILERON8
Yes, the Night Wolf's default settings are not very good, especially the contrast. However, the OSD is the same as the HS1177, but with a couple extra bells & whistles. I had to reduce the contrast a lot before I was happy with the picture. I also noticed the GAMMA setting was wayyy too high. I reduced the Gamma to 0.05, the lowest possible, and my night vision literally doubled! I used to own a RunCam Owl 2 that I destroyed in a crash last month, and that camera had great default settings. However, since the Night Wolf has such a versatile OSD both of my Night Wolf cameras are a little better at night than the Owl and MUCH better than the Owl in the day. I think the light transitions are better as well. In the video I posted I went from super bright sunshine to pitch black, and you can see how it immediately transitioned. Very impressed with these things overall. I'm definitely going to give that F1.2 lens a try though. My objective is to be able to fly my quad at midnight with no street lights around.
I hope so. I went with the Night Wolf for my try. It was cheaper, I wanted the OSD, and I was concerned about some of the Owl's workings (like the WDR).

When researching the comparisons between NW and O+ it seems the O+ does a little better in the dark... :S

Runcam OWL Plus Vs Foxeer NightWolf (3 min 38 sec)

Foxeer Wolf V Runcam Owl Night Run (21 min 39 sec)


IIRC, the NW has a CCD while the O+ has a MCCD (advanced cmos)(?).

AILERON8, are you in a position to post test picture comparisons between the two cameras AT NIGHT with the NW's settings tweaked? BTW, you said that the NW has an option to adjusts the shutter-speed, but I don't think I saw that in the video you posted above.
Sep 05, 2016, 11:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IdahoMan
I hope so. I went with the Night Wolf for my try. It was cheaper, I wanted the OSD, and I was concerned about some of the Owl's workings (like the WDR).

When researching the comparisons between NW and O+ it seems the O+ does a little better in the dark... :S

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NV522T8AKb4
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjY9k3nclT8

IIRC, the NW has a CCD while the O+ has a MCCD (advanced cmos)(?).

AILERON8, are you in a position to post test picture comparisons between the two cameras AT NIGHT with the NW's settings tweaked? BTW, you said that the NW has an option to adjusts the shutter-speed, but I don't think I saw that in the video you posted above.
Yes, I am able to do testing on the Night Wolf. I just confirmed to make sure I remembered correctly, and yes, the NW OSD allows users to manually adjust the shutter speed. I have found, using the OSD on the NW, that I am able to achieve considerably better results at night than the default settings allow. I am assuming the defaults are this way, because they are meant to balance between day & night usage. But, that may not be the case. Unfortunately, I no longer have a functioning RunCam Owl+ to do comparisons with, but I do have an HS1177, a few CMOS cameras, and a RunCam2 HD camera to act as a baseline for testing if necessary.

That's interesting the RunCam Owl+ is not a CCD, because they certainly advertise it as being a CCD... I know their new $80 Eagle camera is CMOS and has horrible latency issues. I wonder if the sensor in the Owl+ is the same?
Sep 05, 2016, 11:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AILERON8

That's interesting the RunCam Owl+ is not a CCD, because they certainly advertise it as being a CCD... I know their new $80 Eagle camera is CMOS and has horrible latency issues. I wonder if the sensor in the Owl+ is the same?
Well, I could be wrong. I read on a YouTube test that it was MCCD and I thought I remember reading on the RunCam website that it did not specify.

When you adjust the settings on your NW for better night viewing does it harm the quality at all? Is there more noise? Keeping things clear and identifiable at night is important for my use.
Sep 05, 2016, 11:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IdahoMan
Well, I could be wrong. I read on a YouTube test that it was MCCD and I thought I remember reading on the RunCam website that it did not specify.

When you adjust the settings on your NW for better night viewing does it harm the quality at all? Is there more noise? Keeping things clear and identifiable at night is important for my use.
It depends how dark it gets. In near zero light areas the NW switches over to Black & White mode, and if still setup for daytime use a bit of static as well.


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