NDCS See Cannon, ultra low lux boat cam
The name “See Cannon” doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, but the concept is interesting. Encase a new generation ultra low lux camera in a small aluminum housing sealed to IP66 standards, offer a variety of 12v/video cable and marine mounting options, and market it as night vision for the many boaters who yearn for true thermal vision but can’t quite afford it. That seems to be the strategy of newcomer Night to Day Camera Systems, and I suspect its success turns largely on just what “ultra low” means…
The See Cannon is rated to 0.000
03 lux or what NDCS calls a “starlight camera” and I don’t think I’ve ever seen such low lux in action. When I tested the dual payload FLIR M-626L last season I saw how its low light camera could see through heavy rain better than its thermal sensor, but the latter was much, much better in pitch dark. But I notice that FLIR rates that cam at 100 micro-lux, or 0.001 lux (corrected thanks to comments below, like the cross outs). And when you Google “ultra low lux camera” you’ll see all sorts of numbers, with very few claiming that extreme 0.000 03 sensitivity. But does the $2,000 See Cannon see appreciably better than, say, a $240 Sony “lipstick” cam with “astounding 0.0003 lux low-light performance” (one decimal place)? Is low light technology really getting to thermal cam performance? I’m curious if any readers know more about what seems to be ultra ultra low light sensors? And maybe NDCS will let me take a Cannon out to a very dark area of the Bay where I took some photos of the FLIR in action? (Turns out the See Cannon is 0.0003 lux, not 0.00003, so much of the above is moot.)
Incidentally, this sort of low light technology is quite different from what’s sometimes bundled in boat cameras like the Raymarine Cam100 I started testing last fall. That cam offers beautiful color daylight views (which I’ll illustrate eventually), but when it auto switches to b&w night mode it’s only sensitive to 0.1 lux except for the nearby area illuminated by its IR LEDs. This is how it looks in “dark as a pocket” conditions…useful for keeping an eye on my Weaver bracketed rowing tender when running at night, but not much good beyond.