Night vision is a reality far beyond action movies. Many people often wonder if it is possible to see in the dark. The answer is clearly yes. With the right equipment, it is possible to see a person standing up to 200 meters away, even on a cloudy, moonless night.
In fact, in recent years, hand in hand with a considerable drop in night viewers price, their applications have not stopped growing and are no longer limited solely to the military field. They are used for security, night navigation, research, wildlife observation, and even recreational activities such as airsoft.
The most important points about Night Viewer
- Night vision technology is relatively recent and has its origin in its almost exclusive military and security fields.
- Night vision scopes capture and amplify existing ambient light at night, offering sharp images.
- When choosing a night vision device, you must be clear about what use you are going to make of it and take into account purchase criteria such as its resolution and the type of battery it has.
The best night viewer or night vision scopes
Before analyzing the operation of night vision scopes and the different types that exist, we want to present you with selecting some of the best models currently on the market. They are as follows:
- The best night viewer for airsoft
- The most versatile cheap night vision monoculars
- The toughest night vision monocular
- Best cheap night vision binoculars
The best night viewer for airsoft
Digital infrared night vision goggles ideal for airsoft players, as they are light, can be attached to the head thanks to its strap, and have a range of 70 meters. They have an optical zoom of one magnification and a digital one of two magnification.
Besides, its battery has an autonomy of three hours and is charged through a USB port. It can also be attached to a helmet, although you need an adapter for this.
The most versatile cheap night vision monoculars
Very inexpensive night vision binoculars with seven levels of infrared illumination, integrated LCD screen, and photo recording and capture function. For this last purpose, they have a microSD card slot and a USB port to transmit the images.
They have a zoom of up to two increases, adjustable in various values: 1X, 1.3X, 1.6X, and 2X. They use four AA batteries as a battery, and their autonomy is up to five hours.
The toughest night vision monocular
First-generation night vision monoculars are designed to cope with the most challenging conditions. It is manufactured with a compact glass-reinforced plastic casing to ensure maximum durability. It has IP46 protection against dust and water.
Its maximum detection range is 200 m. Its objectives are 50mm, and its zoom is up to 2.7x. It can run for up to 20 hours with the illuminator on (72 hours when off).
Best cheap night vision binoculars
Digital infrared night vision binoculars with panoramic viewfinder and recording function. They offer a range of up to 150 meters. They have a 7x optical zoom and, optionally, a 2x digital zoom.
It comes in a design with a protective shell and large buttons so you can use it safely and comfortably at night. Take photos and record videos, which can be saved to a microSD card.
Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About Night Scope
Night vision devices have become popular in recent years. Previously, it was reserved only for some professional applications. Therefore, it is expected that many buyers do not have an excellent knowledge of its operation. You can get out of doubt, if this is your case, we have prepared this section for you.
What exactly are night vision goggles?
Night vision goggles are electronic devices that amplify existing ambient light at night, either infrared or night. In this way, they allow us to see conditions in which the human eye cannot normally do so, offering sharp images even in the worst environmental conditions.
How do night vision goggles work?
Conceptually, the operation of night viewers is not too complicated. We will summarize it for you in a few steps below.
Night vision scopes have a conventional lens or objective that collects the photons that make up the existing night light and captures some near-infrared light.
When these photons enter the intensifier tube of the viewer, they are transformed into electrons. As they pass through the tube, these electrons release other electrons from their atoms, multiplying their number by thousands. To do this, a microchannel plate is used, also called MCP, for its acronym in English.
Later, through an electrochemical process, the electrons are passed through a phosphor screen that converts them into the light.
Finally, an image is displayed, usually in light green, of what appears in the dark. This image can be viewed directly through the eyepiece or an electronic screen.
What are the uses of night viewers?
Night vision goggles have a wide variety of uses and applications. Furthermore, in recent years, these have been increasing considerably. The most common are the following:
The military uses: They can be monocular, mounted on a weapon, or as goggle-shaped scopes. They offer a significant advantage in night fights or raids. Without a doubt, it is its most popular application.
For exploration: They are an excellent tool for nighttime nature explorations, whether professional or amateur excursions.
For wildlife observation: They are essential for observing, photographing, and recording fauna, especially all those whose life takes place mainly at night.
For security: The surveillance cameras have night vision systems; also, in individual facilities, the guards themselves can use night vision goggles.
For forest security: They can be used to detect poachers and prevent any action they may take at night.
For maritime navigation and safety at sea: They allow to improve vessels’ safety during the night in maneuvers and even to avoid possible collisions. Also, they are of great help to find and rescue people who may be at sea.
For recreational use: Many airsoft players use the cheaper models for their night games.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of night vision goggles?
Night vision systems offer some significant benefits to be aware of. Thus, it is not surprising that their applications do not stop growing.
- They are easy to use.
- They can deliver sharp images.
- They have a multitude of applications.
- Many allow you to take photos and record videos.
- They are light and easy to transport.
- Its price can be a bit high.
- The autonomy of its batteries can be somewhat limited.
Who is it advisable to buy a night viewer?
Night vision devices are an essential tool for military use. Besides, they are increasingly used by security professionals who work night hours. Thus, they can be used to monitor facilities or to detect night incursions by poachers. They are also essential for researchers and nature lovers who want to make observations of the fauna at night. They are also a great help in night maritime navigation. And, of course, they can also be used for night excursions and participating in airsoft combat.
What generations of night viewers are there?
When talking about night vision devices, it is usually referred to as the generation to which they belong since the benefits they offer depend to no small extent on it.
First-generation: Which, of course, is the most basic in terms of features, such as image quality, but, in return, it is cheaper. It has certain limitations for remote observations. Also, a water effect may appear around the edges of the image.
Second generation: The image tube has a microchannel that multiplies electrons to achieve an image with greater clarity and more excellent brightness. No longer has the water effect on the edges. It is recommended for professional use. A well-lit night can distinguish a large person or animal at distances of up to 250 meters.
Generation XD4: With the scopes of this generation, it is possible to correctly see situations where there is an extreme lack of light. Besides, it offers a high-quality image in three dimensions. Thus, it is possible to see a person at 150 meters with these devices even in absolute darkness conditions. If the lighting conditions are right, the distance increases to 500 meters or 600 meters.
XR5 generation: They are devices designed for the most demanding requirements and strictly professional use. Fewer microparticles are seen on screen in zero degree light situations. Inevitably, its price is much higher.
What is the difference between night vision and thermal vision?
Since some people may confuse the terms, it is essential to distinguish between night vision devices and thermal vision devices, such as thermal goggles or even thermal imaging cameras. For starters, these are different technologies. Furthermore, its applications and uses also vary.
Image intensification night vision devices: Collect the smallest amounts of light, including the part closest to the infrared spectrum. Therefore, they take advantage of the light that is present but is invisible to the human eye.
Thermal imaging devices: Their operation is based on capturing the light corresponding to the farthest infrared, that is, that emitted as heat by different bodies.
What are the applications of image intensification night vision devices and thermal vision devices?
Thermal sights are ideal for detecting animals or people at great distances, even up to 1,500 m in the case of professional models. However, they do not offer the same level of detail as night vision devices. Thus, night vision scopes are much more suitable for viewing bodies with higher image quality and more detail.
Night Viewer Purchase Criteria
Choosing a night viewer is not always easy. It is convenient to know in-depth the characteristics of each piece of equipment and the use that you are going to make of it. Therefore, it is essential to have the right purchase criteria.
What will you do with the night viewer?
- Image quality and resolution
- Focal length, the field of view, and zoom
Depending on the use you will make of a night viewer, one model or another will suit you better. Not surprisingly, there are a series of variables and parameters that you have to take into account and related to the conditions in which you are going to use it.
- Degree of ambient light that will exist at night depending on the place where you will use it.
- Distance to the body or object you want to observe.
- Dimensions of the object or body.
- Details of the body or object that we want to capture or only want to see its movement.
- The time you are going to use the viewer.
Image quality and resolution
The higher the resolution of the night viewfinder, the sharper the image. First-gen computers may have a decent solution in the middle but relatively lower around the edges. A high resolution allows better identification of people or animals that are at great distances.
In any case, other aspects influence image quality. To begin with, the device must have good contrast. Besides, it must have low noise and low distortion. Also, you may be interested in knowing at what resolution you can record and take pictures.
Focal length, the field of view, and zoom
The focal length of a lens (measured in mm) indicates its angle of view. In night vision, the larger the field of view of the night vision device, the more suitable it is for observing animals or moving bodies. The reason for this is that it is not necessary to move the viewfinder to see the required space.
Of course, if the magnifications are increased, the field of vision is reduced. Having night vision equipment with a greater zoom capacity can allow you to see further away bodies in more detail. However, in general, night vision equipment is not designed to offer high magnifications.
When choosing the viewer, you must consider some questions related to the battery, such as what type it is, its autonomy, and its charging time, among others. Usually, if you don’t want to have to buy and change batteries frequently, it is recommended that you opt for a viewer that has a rechargeable battery.
In the case of equipment with an integrated battery, in addition to all the above, you should check how it charges. The usual thing is that they do it through a USB or micro USB port. On the other hand, battery models have the advantage that you can always carry spare batteries, allowing you to further extend their autonomy.
Night vision devices are becoming more and more accessible to the general public. In recent years, they have become hugely popular for professional activities and more playful uses. Undoubtedly, the considerable decrease in the price they have experienced has contributed to this.
Today’s equipment mainly integrates two types of technologies: image intensification night vision technology and thermal imaging technology. When it comes to the benefits that a night vision device can offer, these depend largely on the generation to which it belongs.