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Sony's naked cam scam?
August 14, 1998: 7:57 p.m. ET

Sony's Night Shot -- the 'X-ray' camera -- is put to the test
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NEW YORK (CNNfn) - A video camera that can see through clothes?
     The idea caused quite a stir earlier this week, when Japanese electronics manufacturer Sony announced it had halted shipments of video cameras equipped with a "night shot" feature after finding they could be used for filming more of their subjects than meets the eye.
     The claim, however, seems to be based more on titillation than substance. It has, however, created a rush of interest in the cameras.
     Sony says it offers night vision in its video cameras with an innocent purpose in mind -- photographing wildlife at night and other nocturnal scenes.
     But Sony says that with a special lens, and very particular circumstances, its NightShot cameras appear to see through clothing.

     But don't get your hopes up.
     CNNfn's "Digital Jam" enlisted the help of B&H, a New York City electronics dealer a Sony salesperson described as one of their best accounts. In bright sunlight, with that "special" lens, the infrared camera didn't reveal anything the naked eye couldn't see.
     "It was nothing," said Steve McFradden, a B&H sales associate. "It was intended to see in the dark, not see through clothes."
     And consumers couldn't decide if a camera that can see through clothes is a good thing or not.
     "Thank God I have matching underwear on right now," said one woman. (85KB WAV or 85 KB AIFF)
     A man questioned the market for the NightShot. "What kind of loser is gonna buy this frickin' camera?" (110KB WAV or 110KB AIFF)
     Another man asked, "You're not using one now, are you?" (50KB WAV or 50 KB AIFF)
     Sony has modified its NightShot camera, but has no plans to recall the roughly 400,000 units already shipped to the U.S.
     Those 400,000 are the subject of increasing interest.
     "I have spoken to a whole bunch of people and they didn't buy the camera for that reason," McFadden said. "But they asked a lot of questions and were very curious about it."

     Although the cameras are still plentiful, there are the beginnings of a black market. And let's face it, in this market, $2,500 for a camera that retailers typically price at $800 isn't a bad return. Back to top



The NightShot camera

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