Hello and welcome to another episode of Optics Trade Debates. We continue on our way through explaining the basic attributes of all types of night vision optical devices that are available on our webpage. This particular episode will focus on night vision binoculars.
First of all, our customers often wonder what’s the easiest way to determine whether the binoculars they’re interested in are in fact night vision binoculars and not NV goggles that utilize the same tubular shape. We could say that goggles are merely a sub-category of night vision goggles that can be used with a head mount and have a magnification power of 1 (the image is not magnified).
Night vision binoculars, in comparison, use image magnification but are usually hand-held or mounted on a bipod so that they do not permit the same freedom of movement as NV goggles. Of course, even with mounting them, NV binoculars couldn’t be used in the same manner as night vision goggles.
The user cannot move around and do everything as they normally would with a plain sight like complete tasks, operate vehicles and so on because the image enlargement obviously gets in the way. That’s what the subcategory of NV goggles exists for.
We usually say that the night vision binoculars are NV devices that have two tubes and a magnification power above 2x. That would be the basic definition of all the products that we can find in this category.
In other aspects, NV binoculars do not differ much from day vision ones. The only difference is that inside the optical construction these feature a light-amplifying photocathode. When a person looks through standard binoculars, the light enters and exits the optical device without interruption. In the case of NV binoculars, however, the light is amplified by the internal phototube before exiting through the ocular lens.
Most often than not, NV binoculars feature an IR illuminator. This helps the user to see at night, in particular when there is no ambient light that the photocathode could use. Without the assistance of the IR illuminator that would be nearly impossible.
As a rule of thumb, all NV binoculars allow for the installment of a second, much more powerful IR illuminator. With that, the performance of the binoculars is improved even further. Of course, these are even bulkier but a bit of extra weight is an easy sacrifice to make in exchange for a more competent optical performance.
The magnification power of night vision binoculars varies from 2x to 8x (though the latter magnification power is more of an exception than a commonplace). On average, devices in this category of NV optics offer 3x or 5x magnification. Compare that to classic daytime binoculars that can easily offer magnification powers of 18x or even 20x.
NV binoculars are a little harder to set up. In comparison to the classic daytime binoculars, the focusing of NV variants is usually done on each individual tube. The same is with the diopter setting, it must be adjusted on each eye separately. That means that there are four different places to adjust the image, a stark contrast to classic binoculars that normally feature central focusing or just focusing on each eye tube.
As far as adjusting the interpupillary distance is concerned, affordable NV binoculars like Yukon NV Binoculars Tracker 2x24 Pro and Pulsar NV Binoculars Edge GS 3.5x50 L are often made as one-size-fits-all. So even if the interpupillary distance on the optical device does not completely match the user’s, they should still be able to see the image rather comfortably. More expensive models like Jahnke DJ8 Zwilling 7.5x on the other hand, allow the user to make a perfect adjustment tailored to the individual’s eyes.
The most common lens diametre in this category is about 40 or 50 millimetres but there is no real limit. The bigger, the better - especially when the light is scarce. Some night vision binoculars have a 100-millimetre lens, for example.
Most Optics Trade customers are hunters who require night vision binoculars to observe wildlife and access trophies. The other client sector is mainly made of people who need them for security reasons. The big advantage of using both eyes is that the image is nicer and NV binoculars are far more comfortable for use than night vision monoculars.
Analog NV binoculars always feature lens caps to protect the internal light-amplifying photocathode that musn’t be exposed to bright sunlight. Sunlight exposure can badly damage the tube (thus downgrading its performance) or destroy it completely. Lens caps might have a small hole in the middle so that the binoculars can be used during the day as well, however, they must be covered at all times.
Lately, some manufacturers of NV binoculars also make digital variants. While the majority of night vision devices still use analog technology, the market is becoming more diversified. This is why another Optics Trade Debate on the pros and cons of both analog and digital models is waiting in the wings.
Now, the prices of NV binoculars vary greatly. They depend on optical capabilities of each model, the type of technologies used, the quality of the image intensifying tubes and so on. There have been a few generations of night vision optical devices already. Customers can spend anywhere from 300 to 10.000 euros.
This is everything for today.Thank you for your attention. Please like and share this video if you found it useful. If you have any questions or feedback, feel free to send us an email or leave a comment in the section below. We love to help. Subscribe to our YouTube channel for more content. See you next time!