Analog night vision goggles were designed for the military, first for pilots of helicopters, so they could fly in the dark and engage targets, and later on for the infantry. The definition of night vision goggles is that they can be mounted on a helmet, and be used without a need to hold them. Because of that, the magnification has to be 1x.
The military versions of night vision goggles are very small, lightweight, and compact, and normally they have small objective lenses. The field of view is big, which enables the user to walk, drive and do other things in complete darkness.
Dipol Night Vision - Goggles
The most known night vision - goggles are the ones with a single lens on the front. They feature one image intensifier tube, where the image gets split into two. The more expensive ones feature two IIT´s, which gives the user a small advantage in terms of the field of view. The latest development was made by the US company named L3 Technologies (now L3Harris Technologies), where they combined 4 small tubes into 1 unit, to get the user a 97-degree big field of view.
Night vision goggles are made by many manufacturers, in all kinds of shapes and sizes. They are available with all image intensifier tube generations, which, in the end, tells us the price of the device.
With night vision goggles it is even possible to aim through a day sight mounted on a rifle. Many red dot manufacturers started to integrate also a night vision illumination, which does not interfere with the image of the night vision.
Night vision goggles are the most used night vision devices in the professional users’ segment. They are used by the military, police, and other special forces around the globe.
All night vision - goggles feature a 1x magnification, so the picture seen through the device is without any magnification. Because of this, the user can move in complete darkness and has a true sense of distance.
Also, pilots use these devices very often, where it is even more important than the image is not magnified – whit a magnified picture walking is almost not possible and would be the same as you would walk during the day with daytime binoculars.
With true 1x, magnification night vision goggles the user can also do all sorts of other things, like looking at documents, maps, and so on, or drive a car, etc.
The difference between night vision goggles and binoculars is often not easy to separate. These devices have often the same housing but still, one is called binoculars and the other goggles. The only difference is the magnification – night vision goggles have true 1x magnification, which is very important, and night vision binoculars offer a magnified picture.
Night - Vision Binoculars and Night Vision Goggle
Primally they were designed for helicopter pilots and soldiers on foot. Because of that, the image has to be as normal, with no magnification, so the user had a picture like during the day. With a magnified picture the users would not have the true sense of distance, so it would be impossible to fly a helicopter, drive a car, or walk.
Night vision binoculars, on the other hand, offer a magnified picture, so the detection range and recognition range can be drastically improved. The details the user can see during the night are much bigger, even on extended ranges. Night vision binoculars are available in many different magnifications, but the biggest downside of binoculars is, that the user cannot walk freely when observing. Also the field of view is much smaller, but this mostly depends on the given magnification – the bigger the magnification, the smaller the field of view.
Night vision scopes (or monoculars) are also widely used by professionals. They are very small and offer a nice picture with a wide field of view, but because observing is done only with one eye, it is not very comfortable and for a longer time, a bit difficult.
Whatsoever, night vision scopes are in most cases a lot cheaper than Night - Vision goggles, and because of the small size, also lighter in weight. Because of that, they are very popular as head-mounted units since the weight does not interfere so much like with Night - Vision goggles.
Night- Vision Goggles and Night Vision head-mounted Scope
For longer observations, Night - Vision goggles have the advantage that the user does not look into a screen, so it is much more comfortable for the eyes.
In complete darkness, when you remove the Night - Vision goggles, you are still able to see something. When removing a thermal device, the eyes have to first adjust for the dark, so you are literally blind for a few moments.
The image in VN goggles is also realistic, and not pixelated like in a thermal device. At shorter ranges, the image through Night Vision devices is a lot better, and so is the detail recognition.
With Night Vision - goggles it is even possible to read a map or a document at very short distances. This is not possible with a thermal.
Night Vision devices have also a very small energy consumption compared to thermals, and are, for now, smaller in size.
Whatsoever, the detection is much easier with a thermal device, especially on longer distances. Thermals also don’t need an additional IR illuminator and can see through fog, snow, and rain.
The helmet mount for attaching night vision goggles was standardized to ensure that all common Night Vision - goggles can be mounted. It is also designed for mounting other accessories such as headlamps, cameras, and other devices.
To mount night vision goggles, in most cases also an intermediate folding part is needed, so the user can fold the Night Vision -Goggles up when they are not needed. This folding part ensures that the NVG models can be perfectly fit the eyes of the user. It features a height adjustment, length adjustment, and also the angle can be adjusted, so you can just look through the device at the right angle.
Head mounts are designed for people that use night vision goggles or monoculars but do not need to carry a helmet. With a head mount, the Night Vision model device can also be folded upwards, so they are not in the way when you don´t need them.
A short presentation of Best Night Vision - Goggles is available here.