Nikon D5100 – Night vision

Let’s come back to the issue of Night Vision around the new Nikon D5100. You certainly noticed that there was some talk about it before the launch and that this has been toned down at the announcement by Nikon.

It appears that its an issue of trying to avoid discomfiture for the new or prospective users in front of what still is a very interesting technology. The Nikon D5100 has some night-related features, indeed. But this is not completely “night vision“. It’s more a combination of:

  1. Extreme pixel amplification: Nikon did not hold any horses here. There result may be grainy as hell, but who cares if we can shoot at night?
  2. Ganging up the color pixels in one monochrome photon bucket: The result is a black and white image, but it more or less quadruple the light that is collected for a single “pixel”.

The result is a grainy image. But it works up to something like ISO 102,400. It’s more a night mode than an extended sensitivity (Hi 2 is ISO 25,600).

Night vision examples from Nikon

Enables night shooting at super-high sensitivity up to ISO 102400 equivalent. Records monochrome (black and white) images.

Regular shooting:
Nikon D5100 night vision: