When the sun goes down on your high tech surveillance operation, outside location broadcast or wildlife documentary shoot, there's a good chance that your world will fade to shades of green and black. Tokyo's Komamura Corporation is readying a new handheld camcorder called the Falcon Eye KC-2000 for release, which brings a splash of color to scenes too dark to be visible to the human eye.

The veteran professional camera maker isn't revealing too much about exactly how its new Falcon Eye camera is able to record up to 720p color video at 30 frames per second (fps) using the H.264 codec in almost complete darkness, other than to say that its a combination of a new 2/3-in type CMOS sensor and advanced image processing with powerful noise elimination technology.

It's reported able to record subjects as faint as 0.005 lux (at F1.4, 30 fps), has a spectral sensitivity of 390 to 700 nm and a 250 percent dynamic range. All of which is claimed to give the device a resolution and color clarity that offers a high degree of target recognition and identification, and a light sensitivity that goes well beyond what's capable with other night vision systems.

"With this new camera, it will for the first time be possible for news and broadcasting stations to record at night and broadcast events to the public they could not show us before in good quality colors," says company president Tosh Komamura.

The KC-2000 is also being pitched for such things as military operations, law enforcement, surveillance, and research projects. Video and JPEG format stills images can be recorded to tamper-proof media cards to allow footage to be used in evidence. It benefits from a weather-sealed and splash-proof aluminum housing, and is powered by a 4900 mAh Li-ion battery for 5 hours of continuous use between charges. And the company promises simple two-button operation, with many settings handled automatically by the camera, making it easy to use for first-timers.

As there's no display panel, all framing up is undertaken via the electronic viewfinder. The camera is capable of Linear PCM audio recording via the built-in mono microphone to 16-bit/48 kHz resolution, but there's also a 3.5 mm stereo input jack for external microphone attachment. A HDMI output is included for viewing footage on a big screen TV or monitor, and users can swap out lenses via the CS mount (an optional adapter is available for C mount lenses).

The same scene recorded using a consumer HandyCam (top), a professional night vision camera (bottom left), and the KC-2000 (bottom right)

The Falcon Eye KC-2000 camera will be available in limited quantities starting this month, along with another similarly-capable box camera that's geared toward static CCTV-like applications, though we've no word on pricing.

You can see a performance comparison video of the KC-2000 image quality via the source link.

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