Herald Sun - Switched On - - Gadgets -

BenQ, $249,


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.

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