Night-vision binoculars bring 4K color to after-dark exploration
Last year, Duovox launched a successful Kickstarter for a full-color 1080p night-vision monocular. Now Yashica is live on the platform with a pair of night-vision binoculars that bring a touch of color to the darkness at up to 4K resolution.
The Yashica name has been associated with the manufacture of cameras and lenses since 1949, but its parent company Kyocera shuttered operation in 2005. The trademark was subsequently acquired by Hong Kong's MF Jebsen Group, which launched a Yashica-branded "digiFilm" camera called the Y35 on Kickstarter.
Now the company has returned to the crowdfunding platform with the Vision, a pair of 4K full-color night-vision binoculars. The technology designed to reveal otherwise hidden details on after-dark adventures starts with a 1/2.9-inch-type CMOS image sensor and a three-level, 800-nm IR illuminator.
There's a F1.0 wide aperture seven-layer lens with anti-glare coating (in addition to being scratch-, water-, dust- and oil-resistant), the focus range runs from 50 cm to infinity, the system offers 3x optical and 5x digital zoom, and has a reported light sensitivity of 0.0037 lux.
Real-time visuals are displayed on a 4-inch color TFT display at 400 x 960 pixels, with Yashica reckoning that users can look up to 600 m (1,968.5 ft) into the darkness. The setup is able to snap stills up to 56 megapixels as well as capture video at native 1080p, but with the option to upscale to 4K UHD, for storage on a microSD card (not supplied).
The company also says that artificial intelligence is used to enhance the device's signal processing chops for "more natural color reproduction and a higher dynamic range" – tweaking key parameters to reduce such things as image noise, enhance contrast and apply light compensation. That said, the sample images are still somewhat grainy in appearance but Yashica promises that the "intelligent algorithms and big data" behind the tech should see continual improvements over time.
Rounding out the key specs is a 5,000-mAh battery that's reported good for up to 10 hours of use with the IR illuminator powered up or 16 hours with it off. Other useful tools cooked into the binoculars include a compass and safety/signal light.
In development since February of last year, the Vision binoculars are now funding on Kickstarter, where pledge levels currently start at US$139 – representing a saving of 45% on the expected retail price. The usual crowdfunding cautions apply, but if all goes to plan with the already-funded campaign, shipping is estimated to start from May. The video below has more.