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Range of Detection | Optics Trade Debates

Welcome to Optics Trade debates. In each episode, we talk about a different topic and try to answer the most common questions we receive about it. Today, we are going to talk about the range of detection on thermal and night vision optics.

Range of detection is the maximum distance at which the optics can still detect an object. The main problem with this is that every manufacturer has a different method of measuring the range of detection. The most basic guideline would be the bigger the better, but all manufacturers define it differently.

The best analog and digital night vision devices have a range of detection at around 400-500 m because the illuminator isn’t strong enough. Thermal devices can have a range of detection of 2 km.

Some manufacturers list the range of detection for different animals. We usually take the maximum distance when we compare devices because it’s usually measured on the biggest animal.

The best way to measure the range of detection would be a standard test.

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Explanation on our website:

Range of detection

One of the first questions when buying night vision optics is »How far will I be able to see?«
The range of detection is the distance on which you can detect/see a 1.7 m high object.

Always have in mind that there are many different things that influence how far you can see looking through night vision optics. For example, if the object is larger it`s easier to see. Another outside impact is lighting condition, the more light reflecting from the moon, stars (ambient lights), the further and also better you will see. The range of detection is given at average conditions.

The range of detection also applies to digital night vision and thermal imaging devices.

Products mentioned:
Thermal Imaging:
NV optics:
Digital NV optics:



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