Sionyx Nightwave D1 Ultra Low-Light Camera Test

Even without stabilization, the steady picture enhances nighttime navigation.
Sionyx Nightwave D1 marine camera
Jim Hendricks Editor Jim Hendricks mounted a Sionyx Nightwave D1 marine camera to his 21-foot offshore boat to test how it would work in choppy seas.

I felt a tinge of skepticism while preparing to test the Sionyx Nightwave D1 ultra low-light marine camera ($1,595) aboard my 21-foot boat on a 30-mile run to the offshore fishing grounds in the dark. I was confident that the camera would produce quality color video that looked like I was boating during the day, based on my experience with the Sionyx Sport handheld scope. But I feared that a fixed-mount camera (which connects to the analog port to view on a multifunction display) would result in a shaky, bouncy, barely discernable picture in choppy seas. I was wrong.

The image from the Nightwave, which was mounted with a Ram mount on an upright of the T-top, was remarkably stable as we cruised at 15 knots in lumpy offshore waters for two hours in the dark. The image moved, but with a smooth, fluid motion that was easy on the eyes and belied the rough conditions.

Sionyx Nightwave D1 screenshot
Jim Hendricks Even though this is a low-res screen capture, it’s easy to see how much the camera helps with nighttime situational awareness.

It proved comforting to see the waters ahead, especially when combined with a chart plotter, AIS and radar. This affordable night-vision camera has no stabilization system, so what accounts for the relatively stable picture? “It is the result of ‘binning’,” says Gio Lepore, global product line manager for Sionyx. “The Nightwave digital system groups four pixels next to each other into a single pixel on the MFD in order to accommodate the standard analog input.”

That binning combined with a relatively wide 44-degree field of view to deliver a picture so stable that it erased my skepticism. And now I don’t want to venture out on the water after dark without the Nightwave D1.

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