Shot in the Dark

If you’re anything like me, it will take you a second to think of how many cameras you own. You’ve got a digital camera, the camera in your smartphone, a digital video camera (don’t forget the one in your iPod) and perhaps even an old-school video camera and an older-school film camera in a closet somewhere. The point is that you’re taking your cameras for granted, and I’ve got two words that will make you think about photography again: infrared light.

The Midnight Shot NV-1 night-vision camera, available exclusively through for $150 isn’t going to make your other point-and-shoots obsolete—it has a lightweight plastic body, a fixed-focus lens and suffers a notable shutter lag. Yet the NV-1 can do something your other cameras can’t: It can take sharp photos in pitch-black rooms without a flash. The lens has an infrared blocking filter that slides out of the way when you go into night-vision mode, while at the same time, an invisible infrared LED switches on and turns night to (bluish-purple) day.

The advantages of shooting crystal-clear nighttime photos and video should be pretty evident in a nightlife-based culture such as ours. (ThinkGeek implores you not to use the NV-1 for “evil”; this publication agrees.) But the NV-1 isn’t just for shooting sexy photos in dark corners; its functionality begs artistic experimentation. Infrared light passes through chlorophyll, rendering trees and plants ghostly white. Skin tones are smooth and uniform; the camera largely ignores freckles and blemishes; and as a bonus, it gives an unworldly glow to the eyes. It’s even said that the camera can “see through” certain fabrics.

NV-1 often sells out, but ThinkGeek restocks it every few weeks. Keep trying until you get one, and remember: If you take an infrared shot of someone without their knowledge, five more infrared cameras will be pointed at you, and they can totally see through your pants.

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