Yashica is a 75-year-old name in classic analog cameras that ceased production in 2005, and has since tried its hand at Kickstarter projects with ultimately mixed success. Its latest endeavor on the crowd-funding platform is a departure from its analog roots; 4K night vision binoculars.
Somewhat in the mold of the Sigweis Night Vision Binoculars, Yashica Night Vision promises improved full-color 4K video and clear 58MP stills even in complete darkness, thanks to a 0.0037lux sensitivity, 3-level 850nm IR (infrared) illuminator and f/1.0 aperture lens. In short, you can see in color in the dark, with clear viewing up to 600m.
According to the Yashica Night Vision Kickstarter page that launched on January 2024, full-color images show 'more natural color reproduction and a higher dynamic range' and are created by utilizing AI to enhance Image Signal Processing.
There are a few sample videos on the page that give a flavor of what's possible, though the Yashica Night Vision video advert doesn't show actual footage captured with the product.
These aren't the first night vision binoculars with full-color and IR modes. The Sigweis model looks to have the same design and much of the same hardware; a 3x optical and 5x digital zoom, 4-inch TFT display with a 960x400 pixel screen, IP65 water and dust resistance, illuminated buttons, compass, and up to 16 hours of battery life.
However, the Yashica Night Vision boasts superior specifications to existing binoculars – its 4K video and 58MP stills and larger aperture f/1.0 lens should give crisper images, while its makers claim the 600m viewing distance is twice that of existing rivals.
It comes as somewhat of a surprise, then, to see the Yashica Night Vision's list price – a mere $252 (about £200 / AU$387). That seems a little low for such an impressive sounding bit of nocturnal kit. What's more, at the time of writing there's an early bird Kickstarter price of just £139 (about £111 / AU$214).
Is the Yashica Night Vision too good to be true for night wanderers? Dig a little deeper and some of those headlines unravel a little. The GalaxyCore CMOS sensor does in fact have a Full HD 1080p resolution and not 4K – the higher resolution is achieved by upscaling.
That being said, we'll just have to wait and see how good the Yashica Night Vision is for real, especially if Yashica is utilizing AI to boost image quality.
Global shipping is available with costs calculated on the post-campaign backer survey, with an estimated delivery of May 2024. As always with crowd-funding, backing the project is no guarantee of receiving the product, or to the anticipated schedule.
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Tim is the Cameras editor at TechRadar. He has enjoyed more than 15 years in the photo video industry with most of those in the world of tech journalism. During his time as Deputy Technical Editor with Amateur Photographer, as a freelancer and consequently editor at Tech Radar, Tim has developed a deeply technical knowledge and practical experience with cameras, educating others through news, reviews and features. He’s also worked in video production for Studio 44 with clients including Canon, and volunteers his spare time to consult a non-profit, diverse stories team based in Nairobi. Tim is curious, a keen creative, avid footballer and runner, and moderate flat white drinker who has lived in Kenya and believes we have much to enjoy and learn from each other.