The Sony A7Sii is already the king of low light cameras.
Ours has been modified for full spectrum shooting, permitting infrared night vision filming and photography.
|Sensor||Full Frame (35.6x23.8mm)|
|Resolution||Photo - 12MP (4240 x 2832)
Video - 4K UHD (3840x2160)
|Maximum frame rate||30fps @ 4K UHD
60fps @ 1080p (full frame or Super 35)
120fps @ 1080p (2.2x crop)
|Maximum bit rate||100Mbps @24/25/30fps 4K UHD
50Mbps @24/25/30/50/60fps HD
100Mpbs @100/120fps HD
|ISO sensitivity||100-102,400 ISO
Expandable to 409,600 ISO
|Visible wavelengths||Approximately 200 to 1000nm+|
|Dimensions||127 x 96 x 60 mm|
|Weight||584g (w/o battery)|
Frequently Asked Questions
Does the camera still work like normal?
Yes, the camera operates exactly the same as an unmodified A7Sii. In addition to the UV and IR spectrums, it still sees visible light and using the included IR cut filter, it can still take regular colour photos and video.
The camera may however struggle to accurately autofocus in the infrared spectrum as the light focuses at a different point than in the visible spectrum. Autofocus will still work with regular light.
Is there any colour cast shooting in full spectrum?
The short answer is yes.
The amount of IR light in the scene dictates the extremity of the colour cast. Shooting with any sunlight in the scene (even indirectly, such as through a window out of shot) will result in a heavy red colour cast. Many artificial light sources however do not produce much (if any) IR light: an interior scene shot at night may appear completely normal. That said, it is important to keep an eye on any black materials in particular when shooting without filtration; they may take on a slightly purple hue.
An IR cut filter is included and would be necessary to use in order to ensure colours are represented accurately.
Which wavelengths can the camera see?
Unmodified cameras can only see what our eyes see – from about 400 to 700 nanometres.
The full spectrum modification expands the visible range in both directions. The camera is now sensitive to light from around 200nm in the ultraviolet spectrum, all the way to 1000nm and above in the infrared spectrum.
How do I use the camera’s night vision?
The infrared spectrum (from around 700nm and above) is invisible to human and animal eyes. The camera however, can see light in this spectrum up to and over 1000nm.
Using infrared lighting, you can illuminate the area or light the scene exactly as you would with regular lights, except this is only visible to the camera. This is how CCTV works at night.
Do you supply infrared lighting?
No, not at this time. There are so many different kinds of infrared lights that it isn’t practical for us to cater to every requirement.
IR flashguns for photography and IR illuminators for video are all readily available online from Amazon, in addition to more specialist suppliers offering an even greater selection of products.
850nm and 940nm wavelength IR lights are the most common and these are what we would recommend to use with this camera.
Do you supply filters?
Yes, we include two filters – an IR cut an an IR pass. Both are 82mm screw-in type, along with step up rings allowing you to use any lens with a 52mm thread or greater.
The IR cut filter only allows visible light through. With this filter you can use the camera as if it were unmodified, producing realistic and accurate colours.
The IR pass filter blocks all light below 715nm and is opaque to our eyes – meaning only infrared light is let through to the camera. You can use this for false colour photography. For IR night vision filming and photography, using the IR pass filter is optional and not strictly necessary, depending on the desired effect.
These two filters are suitable for most needs. Other filters that cut or pass at different wavelengths do exist and offer different creative effects – though these are predominantly for photography and not as suitable for filming due to longer exposures becoming necessary. As with IR lighting however, it isn’t practical for us to stock every type.
I’ve seen some crazy coloured infrared photography. Can I do that?
Yes! The crazy coloured infrared imagery is called false colour. You’ll likely want to filter out visible light using the included IR pass filter for maximum effect.
These images however are heavily processed and do not come out of camera looking like that. Heavy curves may need to be applied in developing your photos for an acceptable level of contrast, plus manipulation of the colour channels is commonplace. Typically ‘channel swapping’ is employed on the red and blue channels to achieve the milky, blue and pink pastel tones you’ve seen.
Which lenses can I use?
The A7Sii sports a native Sony E mount, plus we supply either a Metabones EF or PL mount. You can therefore mount any of your existing E, EF or PL lenses on the camera and use them as normal for regular (visible light) shooting.
However, for infrared shooting, some lenses perform better than others – and not necessarily the ones you might expect. Some of the best lenses may not work very well in infrared, and vice versa. The most common problem is the introduction of hotspots – a bright area in the centre of the image. This will vary with the lens, zoom position or even focus distance. Generally they’re more evident at deeper (smaller) apertures and less apparent at wider stops. They’re also not necessarily consistent across the same set, series or era of lenses – so one good lens doesn’t mean all of its siblings will work well too.
The best way to work see what works is to test all of your lenses prior to a shoot and see what you deem as acceptable. That said, a number of lists already exist online that detail which lenses work better or worse, a good example can be found here.