Being able to see things clearly and effectively at night is a hobby for some people and a necessity for others. Regardless of whether or not you are using night vision binoculars for fun or for work, it can be handy to know more about them. Unlike regular monoculars or binoculars, the night vision variety incorporates different technology, and as a result will be differently priced. Below are a few things you should consider when choosing a pair of night vision binoculars or monoculars.
Consider the Environment You Will Be In
The environment you will be in, along with the purpose of your night time viewing will be central to the kind of night vision binoculars or monoculars that will work best for you. The first thing to consider is distance. Different binoculars have different distances. If you are planning on only seeing things a close distance away, then there is no need to spend extra money on gear that can see further. Also, consider the weather. The weather may affect light levels and visibility, making some night vision binoculars and monoculars more efficient than others. That is why you should always consider your climate.
Review the Gain of your Night Vision Binoculars or Monoculars
Another thing to consider when purchasing night vision binoculars or monoculars is gain. Gain is the relative level of light you will see when looking through the device. The greater the magnification of the lenses, the generally worse gain you will have barring the use of more expensive technology. If using the binoculars or monoculars for deer hunting, consider getting high gain binoculars or monoculars.
Settle on an Image Quality
The better the image quality, the easier it is to see objects through your binoculars or monoculars. The trouble is however that the better the image quality, the higher the cost. This is why it is effective to know both the gain level you need as well as the climate/environment that you will be in. It makes no sense to waste money on something you will not need. That is why you should carefully choose the application before the device. As for monoculars verse binoculars, many people choose binoculars for their ease of use and their allowance for depth perception. Monoculars, on the other hand, are usually smaller, lighter, and cheaper.
Generation 1 vs. Generation 2 Night Vision Gear
Regardless of the generation, night vision gear makes seeing in the dark possible through the use of image intensifiers. These intensifiers collect light not otherwise seen by the naked eye and amplifies it hundreds and thousands of times until it is visible by the human eye. The major differences between generation 1 and 2-night vision gear comes down to system light gain, system resolution, and photosensitivity:
System Light Gain
The system light gain reflects the number of times the light amplification unit amplifies the light. In generation 1 night vision gear, this is 300-900 times. In generation 2 gear and beyond, this is done 20,000 to 30,000 times.
System resolution is all about how clear and sharp the image is. Generation 1 has system light amplification of less than a thousand. In comparison, generation 2 has a light amplification of less than 6000.
Photosensitivity relates to the minimum light levels requires, as well as the type of light that the sensor picks up. For both the resolution at the centre and periphery, generation 2 is better than generation 1.
Putting it all together, generation 2 night vision gear is all around better. The image is clearer, brighter, and crisper. However, generation 2 night vision gear is significantly more expensive (generally about 3-4 times more expensive than generation 1). Most civilian, hunters and general night observers in Australia choose Gen 1 binoculars or monoculars. There are excellent quality products to be found within this range. But if money is not a consideration then Gen 2 night vision is indeed superior.
Head Mounted Night Vision
Some models of night vision binoculars and monoculars come with an included head mount (usually sold together as a kit). A head mount is useful for many applications as it frees up both of your hands while still allowing you to see in the dark. Remember that any night vision monocular or goggles that come with a head mount can always be used without it. So you will have the freedom to use your night vision gear either head mounted or handheld as you see fit.