We got our hands on the SiOnyx Aurora (~$719-$799), a high-performance consumer night-vision action camera that can also be used as a monocular. Aimed at the outdoor enthusiast market, Aurora could complement any activity that happens in extreme low-light situations: Hunting, boating, emergency services and more are listed by SiOnyx, but there’s no limit. How good is it in the real world? We played with it for several days.
Night video quality
I’ll cut to the chase and answer the image and video quality question right away. At night, this camera’s low-light videos and viewfinder will blow away any smartphones, by a very, very long shot. That is the difference between “low light” and “night-vision” video capabilities. This side by side video with the Huawei P20 Pro, one of the best low-light smartphone camera will illustrate this better than words:
I liked to use it exclusively in “Twilight mode” because you get much better coloring. There’s a “Night mode” that a bit better and is less noisy and the colors are gone, but it lowers the noise.
When people look into the Aurora’s viewfinder they are blown away out when experiencing this kind of night vision for the first time. It’s just not something we’re used to because this level of night vision capabilities was reserved to the military not so long ago. Now they have even better options…