Having excellent night vision is something that we humans are not gifted at. Consequently, we need to supplement our lack of night vision with devices such as a night vision monoculars. And while this technology seems to be common among certain professionals like military and law enforcement, there are situations where night vision monoculars are really useful.
For instance, if you like camping in the woods at night, you’ll need extra equipment that provide lighting or ones that help you see in the dark. Sure, you can buy flashlights but they’ll only help to illuminate what is right in front of you. With the best night vision monoculars, not only will you see what is in front but also what is far off. The same goes for individuals who like hunting or fishing at night as well as those who like observing nocturnal animals. Furthermore, search and rescue teams looking for lost persons in poorly lit environments can benefit from night vision monoculars.
What is the best night vision monocular?
What makes night vision monoculars so powerful and useful is the fact that they blend a telescope and a pair of binoculars in one unit. The best night vision monoculars ought to be lightweight, self-sufficient and able to be held or mounted on a tripod. Ideally, these gadgets serve as the best substitutes for standard binoculars.
Below find the best night vision monoculars:
1. Bushnell Equinox Z Digital Night Vision Monocular
There’s no predicting when you need to unveil the wild animals that roam at night. The Bushnell Night Vision Monocular is designed to help you see both at night and during the day. This is made possible by incorporating digital technology that provides night and daytime viewing.
The monocular also boasts a zoom feature that allows you to zoom in or out to get a wider view. Better yet, the Equinox Z comes in three different versions. The 3*30mm model has a viewing distance of 500 feet, the 4.5*40mm has a viewing distance of 750 feet and the 6*50mm which has a viewing distance of 1000 feet. All three models use infrared illuminator assist beams, which provide the unparalleled viewing distance.
What’s more, if you’re using the 4.5x and 6x models, you’ll be able to capture still images and save them in a micro SD card or send them using the included video-out cable.
2. Premium Night Vision Monocular By OPTISCOPE
Regardless of how you intend to use your optical night vision device, the Optiscope Monocular is the ideal tool to invest in. This monocular strikes the perfect balance between pricing and quality, making it attractive even to those with small budgets.
The Optiscope has a viewing range of 328 feet or 100 meters. It’s fitted with multi-coated glass objectives and an infrared illuminator, which enable you to see far and clearly in the dark.
It also has easy video capture and transfer feature. And the best part is, the manufacturer provides a free 4 GB miniSD card so that you never run out of space to store beautiful pictures.
3. SVBONY Night Vision Monocular
Are you looking for a multi-functional device that you can use both during the day and at night? Then the SVBONY might vision monocular is your best option. Hunters can use it at night to get a closer look of their prey. It offers a full dark viewing scope or range of about 200 meters.
During the day, photographers can use this monocular to take photos or record videos of breathtaking sceneries. And the best part is, the monocular is equipped with an objective lens focus wheel so you can get clear and sharp images. In case you still can’t see clearly, SVBONY has both optical and digital zooming capabilities.
It’s lightweight and has been fitted with a hand grip strap to make it comfortable to hold for prolonged periods. Plus, your fingers will always be near the button for immediate engagement. Another feature you’ll love is the guard rail base, which allows you to connect the monocular to a tripod.
4. Firefield FF 24066 Nightfall 2 Night Vision Monocular
If you are always particular about the design of the products you purchase, the Firefield Nightfall 2 will not disappoint you. Right out of the box, this night vision monocular looks pretty good. But beyond its pretty aesthetics, the Nightfall 2 is a very durable gadget. It’s completely weather-resistant, meaning that you can use it in inclement weather.
Also, it packs a 50 mm lens, giving it an incredibly distinct shape. The buttons on the side are strategically placed and big enough to find in the dark. This prevents you from fumbling around or making noises that could send your prey sprinting. The housing is made using rubber, a material that can withstand a couple of bumps. However, you should take good care of it as dropping it could damage the lens.
During our testing, we were able to see up to about 75 feet in the dark. Once you activate the monocular’s infrared illuminator, you’ll be able to see more clearly. Also, this night vision monocular offers 5X magnification and a 15-degree field of view.
5. Sightmark Ghost Hunter SM14071 2×24 Night Vision Monocular
The Ghost Hunter features a low profile design. It doesn’t look as impressive as other high-end monoculars but you shouldn’t discount it immediately. It does have a couple of things in its favor such as its decent pricing and the fact that it’s compatible with rifle mount.
Also, it has a small 24mm lens, which makes it very lightweight. Overall, the night vision monocular weighs in at less than 9 oz, making it a suitable option if you don’t want to be slowed down by the gear you’re carrying.
With regards to weatherproofing, Sightmark monocular boasts an IPX3 rating, which means that it’s water resistant. However, submerging it completely would cause significant damage. The housing is made of durable plastic, so it can withstand a minor falls and knocks. Another notable feature of this monocular is the automatic shut-off, which gets activated if the gadget gets exposed to bright lighting. If you have ever encountered the night vision tube on a monocular breaking because sudden vibrant light, then you understand how beneficial the automatic shut-off is.
6. SOLOMARK Night Vision Monocular
If Sightmark Ghost Hunter doesn’t live up to your expectations, SOLOMARK night vision monocular is another affordable option. It’s easy to use and versatile enough to be used for a wide range of application; from surveillance to cave exploration and wildlife observation.
The one thing that sets this monocular from the crowd is the multi-coated objective made of glass material. The night vision monocular also boasts a built-in LCD screen, a high sensitivity sensor and the 7-level IR illuminator. But even without activating the IR illuminator, the monocular’s night vision technology provides usable image in very dim conditions.
Another function that the monocular serves is recording images and videos. You can take as many pictures as you want and not worry that you’re run out of space thanks to the 1G micro-SD card incorporated inside. SOLOMARK also comes with AV and USB function, allowing you to display images and videos on your TV and later transfer them to your computer.
7. Bestguarder Digital Night Vision Monocular
Some people purchase night vision monoculars specifically for capturing photos and videos. If this is your main reason, the Bestguarder night vision monocular is an excellent contender. As far as taking photos is concerned, this monocular offers three quality alternatives: 2592*1944 pixels, 1600*1200 pixels and 640*480 pixels. The video recording feature also offers options: 640*480 pixels at a speed of 30 fps or the 1280*720 pixels at 30 fps.
Apart from taking quality photos and videos, the monocular comes with an array of handy accessories. These include: a pouch, cleaning cloth, a user manual, a detachable strap and USB and TV cables. Another plus of this monocular is the built-in infrared illuminator, which can be used during the day or at night. If you intend to use it at night, you’ll be able to see up to 350 meters away, making it a good night vision for home defense. For daytime use, remember to turn off the IR illuminator.
Bestguarder uses 4AA batteries, which you’ll need to purchase to get it working. The good thing is that it has a water-resistant housing, which means that you can use it for a long time.
What is a Night Vision Monocular?
A night vision monocular is a tool consisting of one eye piece and one objective. For some people, this description might sound a little complex. So, to put it simply; a night vision monocular is like one half of a pair of binoculars. The primary function of binoculars is to magnify the images that one sees. However, night vision monoculars don’t serve the same purpose. Instead, these gadgets are designed to capture and show images of specific areas or objects during night time.
A vast majority of monoculars feature small, lightweight designs. In fact, there are some that can be held by hand. However, the more advanced models are fitted with mounting features, so you can place your monocular on a tripod stand.
One advantage that a night vision monocular has over goggles is how the one eye adapts to the lighting condition in your surroundings. Perhaps the only drawback of this device is that it doesn’t have any depth perception.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Night Vision Devices
One of the biggest applications of night vision devices is in the military. The night vision monocular military grade is designed to help a soldier fight effectively at night as he would during the day. Night vision devices not only help soldiers to see but also to maneuver and shoot with utmost precision. More specifically, the U.S. army utilizes both night vision devices and thermal imaging intensifiers. However, for either one of them to function, there needs to be some little amount of light.
The thermal imaging infrared detectors (FLIR), operate by sensing the temperature difference between an entity or object and its surroundings. FLIR systems can also be used in automobiles and helicopters.
Another example of night vision devices that we can’t do without are night vision goggles. The purpose of these electro-optical gadgets is to boost the current lighting rather than rely on their own light sources.
We also have imager intensifiers capable of capturing ambient lighting then amplifying it. This way, the gadget is able to show a battlefield to soldiers through phosphor screens like night vision goggles. The source of the ambient lighting could be stars, the moon or sky glow. When using night vision goggles, the light reaches these devices via objective lens. The light then hits a cathode, which is driven by a high power load from the mains photo. The energy charge is increased via a vacuum, which can be found inside the intensifier. This energy current then strikes the phosphor screen, where the image is focused, allowing you to view the magnified image.
There are key advantages of using night vision devices such as their small, lightweight designs for easy portability, low power needs and affordability. It is these attributes that have made image intensifier goggles to be used for individual applications. Plus, there’s an ongoing research on some aspects of night vision goggles like the spectral response, increased sensitivity and wider fields of view.
Viewing images through night vision goggles can be compared to looking through a tunnel. If you look through a tunnel, you have a normal field vision of about 190 degrees. But when you use night vision devices, the field vision reduces to just 40 degrees. This is one of the disadvantages of utilizing night vision gadgets. To overcome this setback, users have to keep turning their heads looking for dangers in all directions since night goggles only offer the peripheral view.
As mentioned earlier, a night vision monocular has one dominant eye, and this also creates issues. For instance, let’s say that you are using NVDs to view two items that are side by side. If one object is bigger than the other, you’ll be fooled into thinking that it’s at a closer proximity. On the same note, some objects may appear like they’re too far off yet they are pretty close. So if you’re planning to purchase night goggles or night vision monoculars, one problem you will encounter is an overestimation or underestimation of the distance and depth.
How do Night Vision Goggles Work?
Theoretically, night vision goggles generate a dim, dark scene by following these steps:
- A dim or blurry light penetrates the lens from the front. This light consists of tinier particles of light in different colors, which are referred to as photons.
- Once the photons reach your goggles, they stimulate a light-sensitive surface known as photocathode. It acts in almost the same way as a solar panel, and it helps in converting photons to electrons.
- The photomultiplier then takes over by amplifying the electrons. Put simply; a photomultiplier is an example of a photoelectric cell. Every electron that goes through the photomultiplier generates many more electrons.
- The electrons that leave the photomultiplier reach a phosphor screen. As the electrons reach the phosphor, they produce small flashes of light.
- Considering that there are multiple photons, which had initially entered your goggles, the screen will generate a bright
How to Choose Night Vision Binoculars or Monoculars
Going hunting or fishing at night is a hobby for most people. However, there are those who engage in these activities on a professional level. Whether you’re purchasing binoculars for fun or professional work, it helps to know a little more about them. It’s important to note that night vision optics devices are nothing like the standard monoculars or binoculars. The former feature sophisticated technology to enable them to function in dim conditions. The added technology causes the price of these binoculars and monoculars to soar. Here are a few things to keep in mind when shopping for night vision binoculars or monoculars.
Consider the Environment You Will Be In
The first thing you should determine is the specific setting where you’ll be using your pair of night vision binoculars or monoculars. With this in mind, check the distance specified by the manufacturer. Some binoculars can see really far while others can only be used to view objects within short distances. If you don’t need to see objects that are too far off, then there’s no need to spend a huge chunk of money on binoculars with long distance viewing capability.
You should also check the weather of the setting where you’ll be utilizing your monoculars. The climatic condition of an area can cause significant impact on the level of light and visibility. It is this aspect that makes some binoculars and monoculars more effective than their counterparts.
Review the Gain of your Night Vision Binoculars or Monoculars
Gain is another essential aspect to consider. Put simply; this is level of light you’re able to see once you look through your device. The higher the magnification offered by the lenses, the lower the quality of gain you’ll get. If you’re purchasing monoculars or binoculars specifically for hunting, we recommend going for high gain models.
Settle on an Image Quality
The image quality can be a deal breaker or maker when purchasing a pair of night vision binoculars. It stands to reason that you should go for gadgets with high image quality. But, brace yourself to pay slightly more for the quality images. Basically, there’s no reason to spend on monoculars that will end up disappointing you.
Another aspect that causes shoppers to be divided is choosing between monoculars and binoculars. Each one has its fair share of merits and demerits. For instance, monoculars are pretty lightweight, small and cheap. Binoculars are pricier but they’re also easier to use, and offer better allowance for depth and perception.
Generation 1 vs. Generation 2 Night Vision Gear
Regardless of when night vision gear were invented, they play an important role of helping us see in the dark. This is made possible by the presence of image intensifiers. Image intensifiers are capable of gathering light, which would have otherwise remained invisible to the naked eye. This component then amplifies this light up to a hundred or thousand times till it becomes visible. The main differences between Generation 1 and 2 night vision gear have to do with system resolution, photosensitivity and the light gain.
System Light Gain
To put it simply; this is the number of times that the image intensifier amplifies light so it becomes visible to the naked eye. Generation 1 night vision gear are only capable of between 300 and 900 amplification times. Generation 2 night vision gear amplify light for about 20,000 to 30,000 times.
System resolution refers to how crisp or sharp the images are. Since generation 2 night vision gear have better amplification capability, they’re also able to produce clearer images than generation 1.
Photosensitivity is a two-fold aspect; one- the minimum light level required, and two- the kind of light detected by the sensor. When it comes to photosensitivity, neither of these night vision gear is superior to the other.
Head Mounted Night Vision
Advanced models of monoculars and binoculars come fitted with head mount. The head mount is a handy component since it eliminates the hassle of having to hold your heavy pair of binoculars throughout its use. You can also use these optic devices without their head mounts if that is what you prefer although this will depend on the purpose they serve. For instance, if you use them for shooting, we recommend a night vision monocular gun mount.
The Bottom Line
Night vision monoculars have evolved to become some of the most versatile optic gadgets. They can be mounted on a tripod, attached to a helmet or simply held in your hands. Also, they can be used for an array of applications such as surveillance and observation. If you’re looking to buy your own night vision monoculars, start by assessing the environment where you’ll be using them. You can also check its image quality, head mount and gain.