Written by Chris Slavik - Task Force Delta Canada
Our team has been using the SIONYX Aurora for our low light missions over the last few years. We get a lot of questions through social media and on the field about its low light ability. Typically, we let others borrow the camera and the results speak for themselves. Absolutely Amazing!
Since the release of the Aurora Pro, the biggest question being asked is whether the Pro is worth saving up for when compared to the other Aurora models. Let’s see if we can answer this.
The Aurora Black is a recent addition to their Aurora family line up, and we will be comparing the Black to the Pro for our review. The Aurora Black, Sport, and even the original Aurora are very similar in terms of chipset, optics, and housing design.
Here are the features that the Aurora Black Pro models have in common.
- Records in 720P H.264 Video format
- Same camera housing and rechargeable battery
- IP67 Water Resistant (Up to 1 meter for 30 minutes)
- Both connect to the SIONYX App thru WIFI
- Both use a standard ¼” 20 tripod thread to mount
- Weapons rated for M4 .223 Remington/5.56 NATO
- Same Weight & Form Factor
So, what makes the Aurora Pro so different? To start, SIONYX is using new sensor technology in the Pro over its other models. This new sensor allows for more absorption of photons and in the end, a better image in darker conditions. The Pro also uses an enhanced optics over the Black.
- Benefits of the Aurora Pro. The Pro uses a 256gb micro sd card, while the black can only use up to a 32 gb card
- The Pro’s design can record in slightly darker conditions 3x light sensitivity
- The Pro comes in a waterproof case and a spare battery as standard
- The Pro can record videos exceeding 30 minutes while the Aurora Black is limited to 30-minute clips
- The Pro is more battery efficient and will run over 2.5 hours on a single charge with WIFI off.
Furthermore,we know that is not what people want to know. People really want to know how well the Pro performs over the standard models.
Steve and I visited DMZ Paintball and Airsoft field in Niagara Falls, Ontario Canada to put the Black and the Pro thru its paces. Both Aurora devices were mounted on a dovetail mount from Kiloohm on Etsy.
Written by Chris Slavik - Task Force Delta Canada
We wanted to know…
- How deep the cameras can penetrate the dark in the same lowlight conditions.
- How well does the Aurora y handle external light sources such as white light, red light, an infrared light at 850nm wavelength, and 940nm wavelength
- How much “glow” came off orange and infrared glow sticks.
- How the Aurorahandles infrared lasers at 850nm wave lengths and a standard red laser.
It was a moonless, cloudy night when we recorded this video. It was very dark. Normal video cameras like my phone, just records a black image. Our adjusted eyes still found it difficult to navigate due to the lack of available light. We could not see corners of buildings and found it difficult to navigate.
Once we turned “on” our Auroras, we could see areas that we could not see before. The dark shadows where an animal or person could hide was now visible. This video demonstrates what we filmed.
Typically, the other models (Sport, Black, and Standard), would show purple hues in the darker parts of the image. The Pro has nearly none of this. The color calibration has definitely been tuned in the PRO. This is great news for those filming their night adventures
The second characteristic is that the image tends to be slightly darker, but this was ok and can easily be solved by adjusting the some of the settings.
In very dark areas, the other models tend to have what is called “Dark Current” or “Noise”. It makes the image grainy. This tends to happen when there is an absence of light from pixels to pixels over time. Each pixel tends to collect signal charges instead and this is translated into a pixel becoming “white” or “black”. The new sensor tends to manage this signal change better resulting in less noise and a better image overall. This is also part of the reason why the image is slightly darker than previous models
During the glow stick test, we also noticed less image flare around the edges of the stick when usingthe PRO overthe Black model. This demonstrates the new sensor has a lower level of signal “leaks” to its neighboring pixels. This means a cleaner and sharper image in darker environments.
We also observed that recoding time-out is much longer on the PRO than the Black model. Likely the reason why it can also take a 256gb micro SD Card.
Is the Pro worth it? The answer depends on what you are using it for. I would lean towards the PRO if you are someonethat loves to film and make videos of you and your mates at night.. I would lean towards the PRO over the other models if you are using it for Law Enforcement or Search and Rescue applications. If you need something for your boat or just personal security when walking at night, it might be overkill, but you will certainly benefit from the clearer image.