BenQ, $249, benq.com.au
SOME of the most noteworthy events happen after darkness falls. Sadly, that’s also when cameras are at their worst. Dim lighting challenges the best still and video cameras, often creating fuzzy, snowy, downright unwatchable memories.
BenQ attempts to overcome this by adding an extra layer of technology to its latest, budget video camera: night vision.
This camera offers not the green-tinged night vision of The Silence of the Lambs, but the black-and-white stylings of Dating in the Dark.
This modern night vision, created using an infra-red light below the camera’s lens, is much easier to watch than its predecessor and sometimes appears to be monochrome footage rather than something from a spy camera.
The only downside of night- vision mode is that eyes — whether they belong to humans or pets — reflect the light, so everyone appears to have just a hint of ‘‘ zombie’’ about them.
The BenQ DV-S21 is just as capable in the light, though. This palm-size camcorder is capable of capturing full highdefinition footage with reasonable clarity, as well as 16-megapixel still images.
It hides a few more extras in its tiny body, too, including space for two SD memory cards — it fills one and then moves on to the next.
It also lets the user choose to Switched on: The camera with night vision. use a supplied rechargeable battery or two AA batteries — useful in a jam.
Its video modes and playback can also be accessed quickly, thanks to a three-inch touchscreen that doesn’t require too firm a touch.
This $249 camera does have a few shortcomings, though.
Its screen is not the brightest and colours appear washed out; it features a digital rather than optical zoom, which has repercussions for video quality, and it doesn’t come with optical image stabilisation, so you’ll need to keep your hand steady.
This camcorder has what few others offer. Bird watchers, budding spies and nocturnal partygoers could all benefit from using this night-friendly video camera that does a reasonable job during daylight hours, too.