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night vision equipment

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Old Friday 8th April 2005, 16:22   #1
salty
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night vision equipment

i have owned my night vision scope for a couple of months now, and i still get a surprise when out in the field with it. the fact that you can see clearly in total darkness can be strange to imagine at times, but it is a fantastic experience!

i started off with night vision back in 1996, they were selling them for the first time in the high street electrical stores. i thought, wow! - they sound like something out of a sci-fi movie. so obviously i had to try one out.

that first model i owned was a basic 1st generation model, fine for around the garden or out camping etc, but not a patch on the military spec 2nd and 3rd generation scopes out there now. witch is also why i have upgraded, and gone for one of the top-end night scopes that i now use. for example: my first generation night sight magnified light by around 3,000 times - pretty good you might think? - my new model magnifies it by around 65,000 times - think day light at night!

as i mentioned, it is still brand new, so field testing my new 'toy' is under way. with it being a top-end scope, the built in gadgets are pretty impressive:
ABC - automatic brightness control - the scope adjusts it's own power for when light levels change, to provide a constant clear useable image. when there is no natural starlight, the scope will get brighter, and when there is moonlight etc - the scope turns it's power down so as not to be too bright to view through.

laser infra red illuminater: as well as a built in infra red light, for when there is total darkness - ie: in a wood, or indoors, there was the option to get an additional light source to simply 'bolt on'. the laser, gives an intense beam that is invisable to the eye. it sits on top of the scope, and can be adjusted from spot to flood beam. this is an awesome add on, and enables for clear crisp viewing over a huge distance even under the darkest conditions.

out in the field, nothing will prepare you for the first time you look through a night vision device. they turn darkness to day light, but from a eerie green glow. i will update this page when i can with my experiences, and will try and get a few shots on the camera - but dont hold your breath - i only have a 1.3 million pixel camera phone to use.

below is a couple of shots that i tried for the first time, holding my pic phone to the lens of the night vision in the local graveyard, while walking the dog. the conditions were complete darkness, with no starlight/moonlight and no infra red to help. just the scopes own power. in real life - the image is even more clearer and brighter!!!
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Old Friday 8th April 2005, 16:32   #2
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Salty, how many smackaroos are they ?
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Old Friday 8th April 2005, 16:43   #3
salty
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well thats the bad part!

1st generation models can be picked up for as little as 99 - and aslong as you use infrared, are pretty usefull to have.

2nd generation models start at 1,000 - but the difference is unreal - you cannot compare them with 1st gen.

3rd generation is military spec, so the prices can be as high as 10,000 for some advanced models!

i opted for 2nd+ generation. a little better as standard than gen2, but i had it upgraded with better internals and the laser infra red. so it came in at 2,000 - a grand cheaper than the 3rd generation equivalent was going to cost me, but with better performance.

also with 3rd gen devices there is a waiting list of around 6months for some models, as they are meant for the military and police.

below is a pic of the night vision with and without the infra red laser.
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Old Friday 8th April 2005, 17:13   #4
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size comparison

here is a pic of the night vision monocular alongside my 10x42 ultravids, to show how compact the scope is.

it fits great into my pocket, and is a welcome partner on night time walks - you are infact invisable!. my german shepherd cannot even spot me at times, as for foxes etc - you can see them in the grass staring back at you with there ears twitching!.

it maybe small, but it packs a huge punch
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Old Friday 8th April 2005, 17:22   #5
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So if I ever need to take a photo of an alsatian in the dark, this is the way to go..?

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Old Friday 8th April 2005, 17:35   #6
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What is the brand name and how you got it?

And how were your experiences with this 1st generation things in the field?
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Old Friday 8th April 2005, 19:36   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jurek
What is the brand name and how you got it?

And how were your experiences with this 1st generation things in the field?
my night vision is a D121M monocular that i purchased from www.sovietbazaar.co.uk they are able to build to your own spec and budget. i didnt however choose to include the headstrap with mine, as i would only abuse it and drive around the country side with no lights on! - i think the base model D121M is 1200, but my extras were 800 - but it now performs better than a 3rd gen scope.

my 1st generation scope - NV100 350 (although same model today is 100! - was actually very usable in the field, as long as you were not in the woods etc, in witch case the infra red had to be permantly switched on. you can actually buy infra red torches that will greatly enhance your use in really dark areas - i dont think they are expensive.

when you try a 2nd gen scope after a 1st gen - the difference is plane to see obviously. even with the infra red switched on, a 2nd gen device will out perform any 1st gen scope, with no infra red.

it's a shame i cant actually show you what it really is like when viewing throught my scope. the phone pics are not a patch on the real experience. the brightness and detail is unreal.

1st gen is affordable and has it's uses - providing you get a decent source of infra red to go with it - but will still give you a limit on what you can see at night - where as 2nd and 3rd gen have no limits really.
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Old Saturday 9th April 2005, 17:39   #8
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just been checking out www.sovietbazaar.co.uk and noticed they now do thermal imaging equipment! - wonder where i could raise the 9,000 for one of those!!! - i can get by on the 1 kidney couldnt I???? - any offers?
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Old Saturday 9th April 2005, 18:24   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by salty
i can get by on the 1 kidney couldnt I???? - any offers?
You might well be able to but I doubt you would have the energy left to carry the batteries - those things eat power and most also need bottled gas to cool them.

I'm intrigued - having used both Gen3 Ultra II and manpack TI in the military I know how impressive they are but what do you use them for - unless you are in the security or anti-poacher business?
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Old Saturday 9th April 2005, 19:49   #10
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A friend of mine has a pilkington kite for sale if anyone is interested. The thermal imaging gear is superb, I've looked through a 12k piece on a moor and they'll pick up red grouse at 50-100m and people at 1km through thick fog.

I think they would be great for surveying mammals such as wild boar and big cats! also for finding elusive birds in reedbeds.

On a budget though a Sony handycam on nightshot mode works well enough for close range work.

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Old Saturday 9th April 2005, 21:19   #11
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Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by salty
i can get by on the 1 kidney couldnt I???? - any offers?
Don't end up with one kidney and no scope! :>
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Old Sunday 10th April 2005, 10:27   #12
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Nigel - im just a technology fan! - was interested in night vision since watching the 1st gulf war as a kid. also comes in very handy for navigation and observation, and i use it loads in the winter time where it is dark by 4pm.

walking the dog or watching wildlife, to checking out strange noises at night, it is a handy piece of kit to have. looking forward to badger watching with it too, not to mention owl watches, bat observation etc etc .

Rob f - heres a couple of pics of a big cat recently, found in my bedroom!
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Old Saturday 23rd April 2005, 16:18   #13
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i was working late last night so took the night vision out with me. on the way home i was listening to the local tawnys hooting away, but they were getting drowned out by the lapwings that were flying around - at 4am?.

do they ever sleep? - i could see them flying around, i only saw the one owl though, as i was far too tired to stay out watching the woods and fields. no big cats through the night vision last night either
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Old Tuesday 24th May 2005, 17:32   #14
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anybody had/got any experience of taking pics at night, either using night vision or just infra red?
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Old Tuesday 24th May 2005, 20:20   #15
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I think I'll get me the NV goggles.

May help save me from stubbing my toes on the lavvy door - again!!!








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Old Saturday 13th August 2005, 12:41   #16
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They certainly look like good fun - though I doubt I'd ever really need one...

It will be interesting to see what sort of photo you can get through it when you get your Canon A95.
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Old Saturday 13th August 2005, 13:09   #17
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I'm impressed Salty, I've always wanted a nightscope but have found them to be a bit expensive so have remained at the bottom of my "must have" list.
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Old Sunday 14th August 2005, 20:22   #18
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they are an expensive toy really, seeing as i dont hardly use it untill the darker nights, august till may is when it can be used to full effect.

the advanced models such as mine, are breathtaking to view through. it really is like darkness into daylight. unlike a torch that is limited to what you can see, a NV device will light up everything in the viewpiece, and you remain invisible to your surroundings, very stealthy.

i mainly use mine when walking the dog, as the riverside where go is pitch black at night, and the only other things out in the dark are the local foxes!

seeing as im now mobile, i am going to start using it for owl watching, nightjar watching etc etc.
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Old Thursday 22nd September 2005, 21:57   #19
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yo, a quick update.

was doing some trail pics with my canon A95 powershot hand held to my nightvision, pictures came out OK, loads better than my previous attempts with the camera phone.

i will get some pics up for you soon, both indoor and outdoor, and before and after shots.
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Old Thursday 22nd September 2005, 22:28   #20
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trail pics with A95

ok folks.

heres a few trail snaps i have just taken.

( pics 1 and 2 ) the first 2 are from my bedroom window into the garden, using no infrared light or anylight source at all - just the scopes own power, under 'starlight conditions' : ie, the only light available is from the stars above, over than that, the garden is totally dark.

the pictures were also taken through the glass, not from outdoors, where the conditions would be actually brighter.


( pics 3 and 4 ) this shows my cat, felix, asleep on the bed. the bedroom is in complete darkness, absolutely zero light, not even starlight. the first pic is in this condition, the second with the scopes infra red switched on - (although i didnt focus pretty well in these 2 pics, it still gives you an idea the difference with/without infrared)

( pic 5 ) shows the size comparison of the night vision and my mobile phone, yep, it is tiny!
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Old Friday 23rd September 2005, 11:54   #21
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Hi Salty,

thanks for sharing your experiences with nightvision devices here. Im also very interested in these kind of equipment for watching owls, nightjars and bats in the dark. A few months ago I ordered the Minox NV 300 which is a generation 1 device. It has a cheap plastic housing and was broken in two halfs when arrived. It was possible to gave it a short try though. The optics seemed to be ok for the price but built quality was awful anyway so I sent it back. I wrote my experiences to Minox but they didnt answer anything. A few weeks later I saw the same device under another brand name in a catalogue for hunting equipment. Because of the damage the Minox NV had I wasnt able to try it under real conditions in the field. Im still not sure if a NV device can give satisfying results for watching animals that are comparable small like birds or bats. Did you have any opportunities to try yours for birdwatching in the night?

Steve

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Old Friday 23rd September 2005, 14:39   #22
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Smile Most Interesting!

Quote:
Originally Posted by salty
ok folks.

( pics 1 and 2 ) the first 2 are from my bedroom window into the garden, using no infrared light or anylight source at all - just the scopes own power, under 'starlight conditions' : ie, the only light available is from the stars above, over than that, the garden is totally dark.

the pictures were also taken through the glass, not from outdoors, where the conditions would be actually brighter.
!
Salty,
As a complete Newbie to this site, I dropped on your thread and was most interested. Being totally ignorant on scopes and night vision I had been looking around some of the sites selling these things, but your thread was just what I needed. It is good to get the info. from someone using the equipment rather than selling it!

I have a particular reason for being interested, as we have black and white stripey nocturnal visitors to our garden, and our eyes are getting very tired staring into the gloom. Binoculars give us a better view but it is still a strain. They don't seem to mind the various security lights etc. that keep going on and off, but we don't want to use lights in our garden, because as yet the neighbours don't know about our visitors and we prefer to keep it that way!

They do come and feed right up close to our house, but it is nice to see them exploring the garden, like mini black bears!

I shall read again your most interesting posts, and talk to the bank manager!

Thelma
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Old Friday 23rd September 2005, 15:09   #23
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I can see the pager message now: "Devon Wembury Surfbird still present at dusk"...
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Old Friday 23rd September 2005, 15:52   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by salty
( pic 5 ) shows the size comparison of the night vision and my mobile phone, yep, it is tiny!
Awww, to hell with the nigh vision, gimme that phone. I've been dying to get it for the last couple of months!!
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Old Friday 23rd September 2005, 15:56   #25
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Hi Salty,

These are the grand-daddy of boys toys!

Got to use a thermal imager when I was nest recording around my local fire station - the lads came out to find out what I was doing & produced this wonder toy, trouble was it showed just how many nests I had missed in the hedges around the perimeter fence and I managed to seriously break the "shalt not covet" commandment in big style.

I have also used 3rd Gen NVG's (thanks to HM armed forces) - WOW - thank goodness it is a lottery rollover this weekend, who knows what rarities we may find come Monday (plus less chance of broken bones hunting down nightjar in gloomy forestry)
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