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The Sony HVL-IRM is an 8 infrared (IR) light emitting diode (LED) camcorder light which is used to illuminate dark areas so you can capture video on a camcorder. Infrared light is outside the spectrum which the human eye can see. So the light that the HVL-IRM emits is invisible to you but not to your camcorder. The video footage that is captured is typically in a grayish green hue but anything in the scene that is emitting its own light, such as a colored light, will still be captured in it's normal color. Infrared lights are used by paranormal investigators to capture video footage of possible phenomena without diminishing their natural night vision (fully dilated pupil). Which would occur with the use of a conventional white light. The Sony HVL-IRM comes packaged with: 1 IR light, accessory bar, and documentation. Sony HVLIRM

The Sony HVL-IRM is one of the lowest cost infrared lights that Sony offers in it's line-up. But don't let this lower cost make you think it's anything but a high quality product. The unit's construction is top notch with it's semi-gloss housing and polished smoked plastic lens. The HVL-IRM is very light weight but feels sturdy and solid. It features a standard accessory shoe mount and locking washer to keep the unit firmly in place. The intensity dial is large and easy to use. It feels well constructed given it's designed in resistance to rotation. And at the top of the unit has a red indicator light which illuminates when the unit is turned on. All of which is the typical level of quality a product from Sony possesses.

The HVL-IRM can be powered by two separate power sources: 1) 2 standard AA batteries 2) 1 InfoLITHIUM M series battery pack. Neither of which are included in the retail package and the M series battery pack cannot be charged while attached to the light. The HVL-IRM has a selector switch located on the side of the unit to switch between the two power sources. One feature I'd like to point out is that the switch has a locking tab with prevents you from accidentally turning on/off the unit or changing the power source. The AA batteries are installed behind a door in the back of the unit and the dock for the M series battery pack is directly over it. This is a superb feature because it allows you to install both power sources at the same time. Once the battery pack runs out of charge you can simply switch to the AA batteries or vice verse. Sony HVLIRM
During our test we powered the HVL-IRM with 2 Energizer Advanced Lithium AA batteries and mounted the unit on a Sony DCR-HC26 MiniDV camcorder in Super NightShot mode. We turned the intensity dial all the way to maximum to get a feel for how much light the unit could produce. The Sony HVL-IRM provided more IR light then we expected with its 8 IR LEDS. But considerably less then the Sima SL-20IR which has 36 IR LEDS. The beam distance was very bright up to ~10ft and began to dissipate to blackness after ~15ft. However, reflective objects further then 15ft away helped with the illumination and were visible on the recorded footage as much as 40 feet away. The illumination given off by the HVL-IRM is narrow much like a flashlight. This the single downfall to the unit since the illuminated area resembles a rectangular box unless you zoom the camera lens to about 30%. It is likely that this focused beam is what enables the increased distance the beam can reach.
The package includes an accessory bar which attaches to the underside of a camcorder via the threaded tripod hole. This allows you to use the light with a camcorder that does not have a dedicated accessory shoe or when the camcorder's accessory shoe is being occupied by something else. The accessory bar is well made and very sturdy. I found myself using the accessory bar as a way to hold the camcorder during our test. The screw that mates with the tripod hole on the underside of the camcorder also has a threaded insert. This enables you to still mount the entire setup on a tripod even with the accessory bar attached. During our test we also mounted a second HVL-IRM to our camcorder by attaching a second accessory bar. The overlapping beams provided a wider area of illumination. This is a setup we highly recommend and we will certainly use again on future investigations.
The Sony HVL-IRM is what you would expect from Sony in terms of features and craftsmanship. It's low price point will also help keep your equipment budget within reasonable bounds. The ability to use two separate power sources is a huge plus for the HVL-IRM and the ability to use standard AA batteries is a very welcome feature. Switching between the power sources is as simple at flipping a switch. This ensures that you won't be stuck in the dark without any illumination if you equip the unit with both of the available power sources. The beam size being a focused rectangle is certainly a disappointment when using the HVL-IRM for paranormal investigating. However, the increased beam distance and the possibility of mounting two units to the camera will help. The Sony HVL-IRM is a great infrared illumination with solid construction and a host of well thought out and useful features. We consider it a must have for capturing video footage at or near 0 LUX and highly recommend it as any investigator's primary lighting source
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