Back in 1998, Sony came out with a camcorder, that under certain lighting conditions (not to mention only in daylight) with the use of the camcorder's infrared sensor (called NightShot iirc) and a black and white IR pass filter, lets you see through a layer of relatively cool clothing to the warm bodies underneath.

The cameras that could do this cost from around $700 to $2000 US. The funniest part of the entire story is that when this hit the news, all 400 thousand of them were sold within one week. Sony said they weren't going to recall them or publicize this use because they weren't that kind of company. Pretty predictable statement since A) It spread by word of mouth and news stories anyway so they didn't need to publicize anything about it and B) Sex is consistently the single biggest consumer magnet EVER.

My friend actually bought one, and went to the beach one day to try it out. He showed me the tape, and it worked pretty well. The people looked like they weren't wearing anything, and the only hint of clothing was a green glow where a bathing suit was. He sold the $1,200 camera on Ebay for $3,000 (See reason B above). is a site dealing specifically with IR photographic technology along these same lines.

Thanks mcc.
Although Sony has since modified their camcorders so the Nightshot mode no longer has exposure control, and daylight shooting will be totally blown out to white, you can still buy these near-infrared filters (aka PF or Xray) from several places online. Kaya Optics is one I remember. You will, of course, pay the pervert markup.

Leaving aside the voyeur factor, these things can also show guns or shoplifted items beneath clothes, a robber's face beneath a mask, even see through tinted windows.

I'm not sure why SharQ is so sure I'm wrong, but I have actually seen the output from cameras with these lenses, and you can indeed see right through thin clothing, masks etc. No empirical data on tinted windows; it was alluded to on one of the review sites.

I guess readers will have to venture out into RL and see for themselves. :o)

The title of this node suggests radioactive rays, which is obviously not correct (Sony would sued to the point of being bankrupt before the end of the week)

The only scenario where seing through textile using Infra Red light is possible is:

  • With an IR pass filter installed on the camera(A filter that blocks everything but IR light)
    • This makes the image a lot darker as well
    • An IR pass filter is quite pricey ($100 for a good one - at least)
  • With lots of IR light present (i.e outside, in the sunshine)
  • Through thin, light colored clothing
    • No red / blue / black colored clothing will let IR light through
    • Most white clothing will absorb / reflect most of the IR light
    • Thick white clothing will not let the light through
    • Even through a thin, light t-shirt, only part of the rays would make whatever is under the clothes "visible"

(So spuunbenda: No, they can not show guns or shoplifted items beneath clothes, a robber's face beneath a mask or see through tinted windows)

In other words: Great (for Sony) that this rumor sold Sony lots of video cameras, but no matter how much of a pervert you might be, it is probably a bad argument for buying these particular cameras.

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