How can hunters best utilize the SiOnyx Aurora color night vision camera? It’s a question that I asked the SiOnyx team when we first met. The action camera wasn’t initially created for hunters. I’ve seen Law enforcement running Auroras, the cameras are big with boaters, even – dare I say it here? – Even airsoft players love the camera.
But demand from the hunting community pushed SiOnyx to release what they call the “Explorers” package specifically designed for hunters. We’ll take a look at that package here, but if you haven’t seen our full review Aurora and video, be sure to check those out or you’ll be missing a lot.
SiOnyx Aurora Camera
Obviously, this action camera is targeted at night hunters. Hog hunting, coyotes, bobcats, fox – if you’re hunting at night and want to record that hunt, this kit might be for you. Of course, the SiOnyx kit comes with the Aurora camera. SiOnyx also included two rechargeable batteries, one external battery charger that plugs directly into 110v outlets and a micro SD card. As we previously stated and demonstrated,
The SiOnyx Aurora isn’t a replacement for a thermal scope like the $4000 Pulsar XP50. That’s a sweet night scope and Aurora is digital night vision at less than a quarter of the price. So don’t look for a high resolution magnified image.
Included in the kit is a custom Picatinny rail mount, and in the spirit of “They thought of everything” there’s even a little screwdriver to snug up the camera on the mount. Now while some say you can use it as a hunting optic, we’ve not tried that. So the mounting position shown here won’t be compatible with something like a typical thermal scope. On the other hand, if we were to use a DBAL or other laser system, well, this might just work!
Alternatively, you could just mount the Aurora at 6:00 the muzzle end of your handguard. Just flip the video when you’re done. Remember, though, this is an action camera. That got me thinking, what if I want to record POV style, mounted to my helmet? Well, I dug up a DLOC C mount which I then attached to my Team Wendy EXFIL helmet rails! Win!
Sometimes night vision needs a little help from an IR illuminator, basically a night vision flashlight. A 940nm IR illuminator, two rechargeable batteries for it, an external charger and cable are all included. The cable is USB and you’ll just need someplace to plug it in. Recharge from a portable batter? Yep! From a cell phone charger? Yep. From the USB outlets on my toolbox or at the newly renovated farmhouse? Again, yep. Oh, and how many cars have USB outlets now? The Aurora Explorer kit comes with a mount to attach the illuminator to a pic rail. I can’t think of anything they left out related to the illuminator.
The Aurora Explorers package comes with a lot of parts or pieces. I have enough orphaned parts and pieces of gun kit paraphernalia floating around already. The included waterproof hard case doesn’t say “Pelican” anywhere, but it is more than sturdy. The custom cut foam interior is stout, not mushy foam. Hat tip to SiOnyx for packaging everything so robustly. I’m far more likely to keep up with everything this way.
The SiOnyx Aurora is a first-generation product, and as we pointed out in our review it’s not perfect. It is pretty impressive for the price and there’s plenty to actually love about it. The Explorers kit is similar. It is versatile, ridiculously complete and packaged beyond what I expected. But with that in mind, remember that I am, in fact, a mount snob. Or, more broadly, a quality snob.
The mounds are competently functional, but entry level for sure. Do I trust them? Yes, but do I like them? No. Still, for $999 I know of nothing that comes close to delivering this much versatility to hunters who want to film at night. In just a matter of hours, I’ll be heading out to hunt, the Aurora mounted and running. Oh, yeah, one more thing, I have no idea why it’s called “Explorers Edition”. I would have called it, “Hunting Edition” but I don’t work at SiOnyx and no one asked. Who cares? Time to go hunting!