This grainy green blurred image is synonymous with Generation One night vision which often were ex military products from the Eastern Bloc and were unreliable and not the best in terms of performance.
These devices were very fragile and had a short life span as they were easily burnt out with light ingress from sources such as daylight, car headlights, torches etc
With a limited viewing range, the original Gen 1 night vision devices required a powerful ambient life source such as starlight, or an infrared light source to be able to see to any distance.
These image intensifier type devices have evolved using better quality image intensifier tubes and electronics into Generation 2 and now Gen 3 devices which give incredible viewing performance to long distances, but at an eye watering price and still with the restraints found in the original devices.
They were still dependent on the fragile image intensifier tubes, and could not be used in daylight, which poses a problem when you have to zero your rifle before a night hunting as zeroing at night is not the safest form of shooting!
With the advent of Digital Night Vision along came a range of devices with Gen 2 performance, at a fraction of the cost.
Digital Night Vision
Digital Night Vision does not rely on a fragile image intensifier tubes and instead used a CCD sensor much like you would find in a Digital SLR camera, and an electronic circuit board which processes the images onto a LCD screen which is viewed through the eye piece as a crisp black and white image.
This is not only easy on the eye at night, but offers a much sharper resolution and finer detail viewing than the old image intensifier green image.
Combine this technology with a high power Infrared or laser illuminator and you will have a viewing device capable in many circumstances of viewing between 250 and 400meters and beyond.
As there is no intensifier tube to "burn out" you can use these devices during the day as a handheld monocular or in the form of the Pulsar Digisight, a weapon sight that you can zero during the day, and even hunt with in daylight
At night however they come into their own.
Take the Yukon Ranger Pro handheld monocular for example, this device will allow viewing out to 400meters perfectly clearly, and is ideal for monitoring wildlife, or for security applications.
We recently had a customer buy a Ranger Pro to take to Kenya on safari, and he contacted us to say that at night he watched a pride of lions only a hundred meters from their lodge.
Whether you are viewing wildlife through a handheld monocular, or hunting at night, the ability to watch wildlife without using a light source is such an advantage.
These devices use a high power infrared illuminator to enhance the image when there is not enough starlight or ambient light.
As infrared is invisible to the eye, you can view wildlife without them knowing you are there, which is a big advantage when hunting compared to hunting with a rifle scope and a high power white light lamp.
Recording what you see
Devices such as the Yukon Ranger and Pulsar Digisight for example, have an on-board video out, which allows you to connect the device to a television or a recording device such as the Yukon Mobile Personal Recorder.
You can then record the footage you view, which is brilliant for watching nocturnal animals such as badgers, foxes and otters.
You can then replay the footage on your PC or television back at home, and keep the memories of a safari trip night time expedition for ever.
The Truth is Out There...
Digital Night Vision such as the Yukon Ranger with its on-board recording facility, has become the favourite tool in the UFO watchers arsenal.
You Tube is full of suspected UFO's captured on these devices, and as they use infra red, a whole new perspective of viewing is released with digital night vision.
Whether or not little green men exist, or the objects are shooting stars or research aircraft, the footage captured by the UFO enthusiasts on the Yukon Ranger has to be seen to be believed.
Types of Digital Night Vision
Pulsar Recon X550 Handheld Monocular
Recon X550 is a compact and lightweight digital NV scope which is designed for hunting, security purposes and wildlife viewing at long ranges.
Recon X series night vision features a greater range of view (up to 500meters) than the Recon models due to a more sensitive CCD array and advanced program technology employed in this model - Sum Light
Traditional NV devices emit the image to your eye using green light, which many believe to be the most comfortable viewing colour at night. Digital Night vision emits the image in black and white, however the Recon X 550 has a LCD Emission control system allowing you to choose the preferred LCD display colour.
Yukon Ranger and Yukon Ranger Pro
Yukon Advanced Optics has staked its claim for leadership within this field by offering a new line of Digital NV Ranger models that cover several performance and price categories.
The Ranger's high magnification, increased observation range and stealth IR illuminator are just a few characteristics that separate Yukon's Ranger from the rest of the market.
Ranger Pro is designed to be the most powerful and versatile unit available, complete with a rugged body packed with a sizeable amount of innovations. By integrating Yukon's well known Dual IR technology, which extends the traditional IR range into a capable multi zone unit, the Ranger satisifies even the most demanding applications. Yukon Ranger features up to 250meters detection and the Yukon Ranger Pro up to 650meters detection
Pulsar Recon R Handheld Monocular
The Pulsar Recon R series of Digital Night Vision scopes are equipped with a built in appliance which allows video recording and photography immediately during observation.
This footage can then be played back on the device or on an external monitor. Ideal for wildlife safaris where you want to capture memories, or for security purposes for court or police viewing at a later date.
The recordable Recon's are available as the Recon X550R with a viewing range of up to 500meters, or the Recon 550R with a viewing range of up to 250meters.
Both units feature a Video Output/Input facility as well as the LCD Emission control system to select viewing colour.
The Recon R devices use an SD memory card to record footage, and can be used during the day as a 5x monocular or at night as a night vision device.
Pulsar Digisight N550 Digital Night Vision Weapon Sight
The long anticipated Pulsar N550 is a revolution in night vision and is designed to fit firearms and airrifles for hunting at night.
Features market leading image resolution combined with switchable reticles and one shot zero, has made the N550 THE most wanted product in our marketplace.
Traditional NV tubes meant that shooting during the day was not an option, and you had to switch to a day scope should you wish to use your rifle during the day, with the N550 you can shoot during the day as well as at night, as the high performance CCD sensor and digital image processing is compatible with sunlight and Infrared at night.
A Video out facility allows you to record your evenings hunting, by streaming footage to a personal media recorder.
With a detection range of 400meters, the N550 is ideal for centrefire rifles for vermin control at night over long ranges, as well as for rimfire and air rifles for small vermin control in barns and around the farm etc
Built in IR illumination allows you to use the N550 in complete darkness, although a high power IR flashlight can be added to boost the detection of the unit further.
The future of Night Vision is here
With Digital Night Vision, the performance of high end NV Gen 2 and Gen 3 products is available to the consumer at a price of between Â£300 and Â£1000 depending on spec, which will allow you to view wildlife at night, without them ever knowing you were there.
For further information on Digital Night Vision visit Scott Country's guide to Digital Night Vision which can be found at [http://www.scottcountry.co.uk]