Night Vision Buyers Guide
What makes a good Night Vision optic?
A good Night vision optic is one that is selected to meet the requirements of the user and desired performance. There is no right and wrong, only differences that dictate the performance of the night vision capabilities.
Choosing a Night vision device
There are several areas that need to be covered, so we will discuss each area below.
Traditional Night Vision (green screen)
Traditional light intensification tube variety (Gen 1, 1+, 2, 2+,3)
Traditionally, night vision products utilise a "light intensification/amplification tube" This is a device inside the night vision product that amplifies available light by using chemical compounds to "boost" the available light.
The performance and ability of amplification depends on the generation of the internal tube (Rated as Generation; 1,1+,2,2+,3) the higher the tube generation the brighter and more defined the NV image will be using the equivalent available light.
All night vision product are designed to be used with infra-red lighting (invisible light only visible to the NV device) either built into the product to "boost" performance, or high powered external IR lighting for maximum performance.
- Generation 1 are usually appropriate to general use for camping, wildlife surveillance, hunting and home security.
- Generation 1+ are appropriate to the same previous purposes but with a higher performance (Brighter image, better definition, longer rage detection)
- Generation 2 and 2+ are appropriate to the same previous purposes but with a higher performance (Brighter image, better definition, and longer rage detection).This grade on NV scope would be suited to professional surveillance or scenarios that require the brightest, highest grade image available.
- Generation 3 is restricted to only police and military in Australia.
Users of Traditional light intensification night vision products need to be aware that the internal amplification tube can be damaged with high light exposure. These items are solely dedicated to night time usage. This means if you buy a traditional scope and it is accidentally turned on and left on during the day with the protective cap off damage will be done and the units performance will be greatly affected or at worst the unit will not work anymore.
Digital Night Vision
Digital night vision devices are a modern format of night vision product that utilize a CCD (Internal sensor) that is designed to amplify available light without the risk of damage to the products performance like traditional night vision products. Digital night vision has the added advantage of having a video output for external screens or recording for later playback or evidence when needed.
The most advanced variety of night vision readily available to the consumer are Thermal imaging devices.
Thermal imaging does not utilize light like either digital or intensification tube based NV scopes. Thermal utilizes heat energy rather than light. A biological object (living animal or person) emits a "thermal signature" that can be seen from very long distance. A basic thermal imaging device has a detection range of up to 500m for a human size target or upto 2km for some of the more advanced varieties. Thermal imaging delivers a extremely long detection range that regular NV scopes can't compete with.
Selecting the right NV scope for the job
There is no "right choice" there are only pros and cons that may appeal to a particular desired capability or scenario.
Be aware that most brands do not warrant the internal light intensification tube of gen1,2,3 products as it is a part that can be damaged by misuse by the user. All Australia purchased NV scopes will have a minimum of 12 month warranty. Some brands have up to 3 years warranty (excluding NV tube)
Always insure that the NV scope of choice is supplied by a authorised Australian dealer. purchasing a NV scope from outside of Australia may result in it being seized by Customs at the boarder (Some types are restricted) Only products purchases inside Australia will be warranted by the Australian distributors,