In nighttime overcast conditions with a new moon (near-total darkness), typical light levels may only reach 10-2-10-4 lux.
As such, standard CCD/CMOS video cameras have insufficient sensitivity to capture useful images. Third generation
night vision cameras (Gen III NV) are the state-of-the-art in terms of imaging clarity and resolution at this light level, but
rely on green or green/yellow phosphors to produce monochromatic images while true color information is lost. More
recently, low-light color video cameras have become commercially available which are purportedly able to produce truecolor
images at rates of 15-30 frames per second (fps) in near-total darkness without loss in clarity. This study
determined if the sensitivities of two low-light color video cameras, Toshiba's IK-1000 EMCCD and Opto-Knowledge
System's (OKSI) True Color Night Vision (TCNV) cameras are comparable to current Gen II/III NV technology. NRL,
in a joint effort with NSWC Carderock Division, quantified the effectiveness of these cameras in terms of objective
laboratory characterization and subjective field testing. Laboratory tests included signal-to-noise (S/N), spectral
response, and imaging quality at 2, 15, and 30 frames per second (fps). Field tests were performed at 8, 15, and 30 fps to
determine clarity and color composition of camouflaged human subjects and stationary objects from a set number of
standoff distances under near-total darkness (measured at 10-8-10-10 W/cm2 sr @ 650nm). Low-light camera video was
qualitatively compared to imagery taken by Stanford Photonics Mega-10 Gen III Night Vision Scientific and Tactical
Imagers under identical conditions.