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Relatively cheap night vision binoculars?

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Old Saturday 21st September 2019, 16:44   #1
its_me_123
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Relatively cheap night vision binoculars?

Hi there,

I will be going on a night safari on a holiday and will be looking out for some animals and birds. The light will be getting dark/very dark.

I would like to get some night vision binoculars and would like some advice on which ones to get.

Please can anyone tell me what low light vision means?

I have seen these:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Binoculars-...%2C192&sr=8-25

Do you think these are good enough to see at night or should I be looking at more expensive ones?

Thanks!
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Old Saturday 21st September 2019, 17:17   #2
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Originally Posted by its_me_123 View Post
Hi there,

I will be going on a night safari on a holiday and will be looking out for some animals and birds. The light will be getting dark/very dark.

I would like to get some night vision binoculars and would like some advice on which ones to get.

Please can anyone tell me what low light vision means?

I have seen these:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Binoculars-...%2C192&sr=8-25

Do you think these are good enough to see at night or should I be looking at more expensive ones?

Thanks!
A night glass and night VISION instrument are two different animals.

NIGHT GLASS— as related to the 7x50 binocular preferred by the military is a binocular delivering a 7mm exit pupil to the eyes. The 7x50 was the largest instrument that could do this and still be conveniently handheld.

Night Vision— a device that uses electronics and an IMAGE INTENSIFIER to increase image brightness by thousands of times. A sliver of moon or a half dozen stars is all you need.

These units are certainly not a cure-all for MOST applications. The field is usually green and even the newest generation is grainy. I hope this helps.

Bill
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Old Saturday 21st September 2019, 17:24   #3
its_me_123
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Thank you for the reply and the explanation :)

I will probably only be using it once or twice to try to see some animals in the dark.

Do you think the link I posted would be suitable? Sorry it's not to go on as I don't know anything about binoculars!
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Old Saturday 21st September 2019, 17:42   #4
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Those 10x25 are a bit fraudulent.
They use the catch phrase 'Night vision', when they are not suited to low light.
There are much worse ads for cheap binoculars.

There are night vision instruments now that use the sensors similar to those on cameras, and those that use image intensifiers.
Some use infra red lights that work at short distances.
Good night vision instruments probably are £1,000 plus.
Monoculars are cheaper than binoculars.

A camera viewfinder from say a Sony A7S with a fast lens shows quite a lot more than is visible with unaided eyes.
Also home surveillance cameras might be useful.
There are night video cameras also.

On a budget a 7x50 binocular would be useful. Not sure if there is a Nikon Aculon 7x50.

Some people here have experience with night vision units.
I have only dabbled.

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Old Saturday 21st September 2019, 17:49   #5
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Thank you for the reply and the explanation :)

I will probably only be using it once or twice to try to see some animals in the dark.

Do you think the link I posted would be suitable? Sorry it's not to go on as I don't know anything about binoculars!
Sadly no, these binoculars would be useless at night.

The problem is they are too high powered for the small (25mm diameter) lenses they have.
A 10x25 glass will be dim at best by the time the shadows start to fall, hopeless at night. As WJC says, the best conventional night glass is 7x50, it gathers as much light as your eye can handle, but it still will be too little once it gets really dark.
The night vision binoculars are really electronic devices, prices in the thousands and up, you see a TV screen image created by the electronic sensor. That is why it is still monochrome green, the screen is the viewing end of the amplifier tube.
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Old Saturday 21st September 2019, 17:53   #6
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Originally Posted by its_me_123 View Post
Thank you for the reply and the explanation :)

I will probably only be using it once or twice to try to see some animals in the dark.

Do you think the link I posted would be suitable? Sorry it's not to go on as I don't know anything about binoculars!
With comments like Low Night Vision, it’s plain to see the advertisers are clueless. The most light taken in by most eyes in 7mm. The 10x25 will give you 2.5mm or less than half of what you need to do what you want. The coatings can increase light transmission greatly. That still does not change the fact that it is a cheap 10x25 binocular. The objective is way too small and the magnification is 1/3 too great.

My mother was illiterate, but she wasn’t stupid. She taught me:

“Figures don’t lie, but liars figure.”

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Old Saturday 21st September 2019, 18:23   #7
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It depends on the light levels.
With a full moon then a 7x50 binocular would probably show elephants and other large animals.

My secondhand Canon G15 shows stars 5 times fainter than I can see with unaided eyes. On Programme auto 1 second at f/1.8 1600 IS0.
The screen shows things brighter than I can see with unaided eyes.

The Sony A7S is much better with an f/1.4 lens. It works well at 51,000 ISO and 102,000 IS0.
The screen shows things invisible to my unaided eyes.

Without a full moon and just working by starlight, one needs a real night vision device.
Some are not even available for civilians.

I don't know if one can hire an image intensifier.
Perhaps ask WEX in London or a specialist in night vision hire.
But even hiring won't be cheap with accident insurance.

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Old Saturday 21st September 2019, 18:32   #8
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Hi there,

I will be going on a night safari on a holiday and will be looking out for some animals and birds. The light will be getting dark/very dark.

I would like to get some night vision binoculars and would like some advice on which ones to get.

Please can anyone tell me what low light vision means?

I have seen these:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Binoculars-...%2C192&sr=8-25

Do you think these are good enough to see at night or should I be looking at more expensive ones?

Thanks!
i have used night vision quite a bit and those binoculars really won't help. You are going to need a Generation 2 or above night vision monocular to see much in total darkness. Don't even mess around with Gen 1. And they are a LOT more expensive than what you are looking at. I would recommend an ATN Gen 2 Monocular or above. I have a Gen 2+ ATN Night Vision Monocular similar to the one on the link below. All those Gen 1 $500.00 and below night vision monoculars and binoculars on Amazon.com are junk. To get the really good military grade Gen 3 and Gen 4 you are talking $4K to $5K. The image intensifier tube is what makes them expensive and partly because the military doesn't want people that don't like us so much to be buying a ton of them.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/ATN-NVM-14-...oAAOSwd5xcpbd2
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Old Saturday 21st September 2019, 19:38   #9
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My secondhand Canon G15 shows stars 5 times fainter than I can see with unaided eyes. On Programme auto 1 second at f/1.8 1600 IS0.
The screen shows things brighter than I can see with unaided eyes.

The Sony A7S is much better with an f/1.4 lens. It works well at 51,000 ISO and 102,000 IS0.
The screen shows things invisible to my unaided eyes.


B.
That is surely the best way forward, to use a camera as a night sight.
The camera sensor is analogous to the night sight sensor, able to respond to much lower light levels than the human eye.
So forget the (honestly useless) binocular, just make sure you have a capable camera, which you will want anyway for a safari.
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Old Saturday 21st September 2019, 21:41   #10
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The Safari holiday guides may have image intensifiers.

I have long used fast lenses from film days.
These were usually used at full aperture.
These lenses easily fit Sony A7 full frame cameras, or the Sony APS C mirrorless cameras, which are slower cameras.

I sold the Zoomar 180mm f/1.3. It was a bit heavy.

But I still can use Minolta 50mm f/1.2
There is also the Angenieux 25mm f/0.95 reduced image circle.
Rayxar 65mm f/0.75.
Rayxar 50mm f/0.75
(These were made up to 250mm f/0.75)

Wray 50mm f/1.0 nasty thorium lens.
Zunow 50mm f/1.1
Canon 50mm f/0.95.
TTH 8 inch f/1.4
Kodak 8 inch f/1.5
Phillips 100mm f/1.0

There is a Wild 98mm f/1.0 which I don't have.
Or the Zeiss 50mm f/0.7, only ten made. 6 used by NASA for photographing the far side of the moon on the Apollo missions. 3 to Stanley Kubrick. Zeiss kept one.
Leica 90mm f/1.0 Canada.

Modern lenses are the Voigtlander 50mm f/0.95 for half frame and 50mm f/1.1 full frame.
There are many old fast lenses. Some are inexpensive.
There is a Kamian? 50mm f/1.1 at £135. Probably not very good but O.K. for seeing animals at night on the camera screen.

On a Sony A7S Mk1 or Mk11 these fast lenses will be very capable at high ISO.

B.

Last edited by Binastro : Saturday 21st September 2019 at 22:06.
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Old Saturday 21st September 2019, 23:12   #11
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Honestly, Binastro, you will get the defense industry mad at you.

You are offering a brilliantly cheap way to get effective night vision on the cheap, maybe even for free if one already has a suitable camera.

I don't have the gear to try this, my little Sony RX100 seems recalcitrant, but your concept is sound and should work in appropriate cameras.
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Old Sunday 22nd September 2019, 00:26   #12
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Here is a new camera the Canon ME20F-SH that has a maximum ISO of over 4 million and will literally see in the dark.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cvWLJHGBax8
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/explora...mera-sees-dark

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Old Sunday 22nd September 2019, 01:06   #13
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Good luck getting Gen 3, let alone Gen 4 night vision optics. They are very tightly controlled:

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-u...5286U120090309
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Old Sunday 22nd September 2019, 02:14   #14
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Good luck getting Gen 3, let alone Gen 4 night vision optics. They are very tightly controlled:

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-u...5286U120090309
You can get Gen 4 Night Vision on Ebay but obviously no international shipping. Here is nice used Gen 4 ATN Monocular for $2300.00. Good Deal. New ones run about $5K. Here is what a pitch black room looks like. Pretty good, huh?

https://www.ebay.com/itm/ATN-6015-4-...QAAOSwlLlcBqoA
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Old Sunday 22nd September 2019, 11:30   #15
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You can get Gen 4 Night Vision on Ebay but obviously no international shipping. Here is nice used Gen 4 ATN Monocular for $2300.00. Good Deal. New ones run about $5K. Here is what a pitch black room looks like. Pretty good, huh?

https://www.ebay.com/itm/ATN-6015-4-...QAAOSwlLlcBqoA
Looks good, but is only 1 power.
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Old Sunday 22nd September 2019, 15:11   #16
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Your right but they still would be good for spotting game in Africa or walking through the jungle at night. I prefer a little magnification. My ATN Night Vision is 3x.
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Old Sunday 22nd September 2019, 15:44   #17
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Hi there,

I will be going on a night safari on a holiday and will be looking out for some animals and birds. The light will be getting dark/very dark.

I would like to get some night vision binoculars and would like some advice on which ones to get.

Please can anyone tell me what low light vision means?

I have seen these:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Binoculars-...%2C192&sr=8-25

Do you think these are good enough to see at night or should I be looking at more expensive ones?

Thanks!
Hello,

For night viewing of game the binocular that you looked at will not be suitable at all.

The alternatives already suggested are the best answer to your "problem".

If you cannot afford proper night vision equipment or a suitable digital camera I would suggest a 7 x 50 binocular.

If your "safari" is in Africa , the tour guides usually have a powerful spotlight of one sort or another that they use to point out the game at night , then you can use the 7 x 50 binocular to possibly get a better view of the animals.
The tour guides will always do their best to ensure that the paying customers get their money's worth.

In any case take binoculars along , there are many things to view.

Have a nice holiday.

Cheers.
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Old Sunday 22nd September 2019, 16:19   #18
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The Canon video camera clip is from 2015. I think Sony sold similar video cameras before Canon. One was used from an aircraft for real time aurorae from a turboprop small aircraft at about 20,000ft. On BBC I think.

Nikon still cameras also go up to about 4,000,000 ISO.

Meteor cameras used by my colleagues were say Watec 902H2 Ultimate with 12mm f/1.2 lens a few years ago.
Now ZWO 174MM with 25mm f/1.3 lens.
5 or 6 run all night with an accurate time stamp.
If two stations capture the same meteor a good orbit can be worked out.
Much of the U.K. is covered if the sky is clear.

Czech astronomers were the early pioneers of multi station photography.

About 15 years ago I used a Mintron integrating video camera. Perhaps up to 256 frames could be stacked over several seconds. From memory it cost about £150?
The image was displayed on a bulky 6 inch T.V. my friend gave me.
The results were quite good.

Nowadays a Smartphone could I suppose be used for display. But I don't have or want one.
I am not into electronics.

Things have moved on and I think that real time video in low light is possible cheaply.

My friends typically use Sony A7S Mk 2 and a Canon 85mm f/1.2 or Samyang lenses or any old fast camera lenses they have. The 4K video is brilliant.

Regards,
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Old Sunday 22nd September 2019, 23:49   #19
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I’m not at all knowledgable about night vision technology, but a useful introduction can be found on the Dutch website ‘Twentse Vogelwerkgroep’
The site includes a series of binocular and telescope reviews by Jan Meijerink, and also an overview of night vision devices, see: https://tvwg.nl/nachtzichtsystemen.shtml

While the article is in Dutch, it’s easily translated by pasting the above address into Google Translate
The article includes:
- an outline of different technologies/ generations
- factors effecting performance
- a specification and feature table for 8 devices (including both the Gen 2 Zeiss 5.6x60N, and Gen 2 Swarovski NC-2 3x), and
- comparative reviews of the devices

There are also 8 attached images - so be sure to click on the hot buttons


The text seems to indicate that compared to a Gen 2 device, even a modest digital camera of the same focal length provides significantly better performance
(see the discussion in relation to figure 8)

So considering the various restrictions on Gen 3 and Gen 4 devices (both financial and otherwise),
an ultra-high ISO capable interchangeable lens camera, would seem to be both a far more capable and a far more flexible choice, particularly for someone travelling internationally

In particular, one of the new mirrorless/ live image from the sensor models, that displays the image in a high-resolution electronic viewfinder would seem to be the way to go
e.g. the Sony A7 models previously mentioned by Binastro


John
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Old Monday 23rd September 2019, 00:11   #20
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You can get Gen 4 Night Vision on Ebay but obviously no international shipping. Here is nice used Gen 4 ATN Monocular for $2300.00. Good Deal. New ones run about $5K. Here is what a pitch black room looks like. Pretty good, huh?

https://www.ebay.com/itm/ATN-6015-4-...QAAOSwlLlcBqoA

Hardly pitch black, the guy is looking at a monitor.
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Old Monday 23rd September 2019, 01:42   #21
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Hardly pitch black, the guy is looking at a monitor.
or even two monitors… :)
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Old Monday 23rd September 2019, 02:33   #22
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Can a Sony a7S II Compete Against Military-Grade Night Vision? In a really dark environment the Military Grade Night Vision Gen 3 PVS-14 is superior to the Sony a7S II. Look at 7:05 on the video.

https://fstoppers.com/gear/can-sony-...-vision-297099

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Old Monday 23rd September 2019, 15:26   #23
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Thanks Dennis.
It doesn't give a clear answer.

Even without removing the infra red filter, digital cameras are sensitive to some infra red frequencies.

I use the Samyang 85mm f/1.4 with a Sony A7S Mk 1.
I have faster lenses, but stick with the Samyang.

I would like a Mk2 but can't justify the cost.
Sony should have brought out a Mk3, but have concentrated on half frame models.
All camera makers are suffering from Smartphone cameras with reduced profits.

Removing the infra red filter can affect focus especially on stars.
I do have a secondhand Canon G9 modified for infra red but don't know how to use it properly.
Infra Red film was better for me.

Regards,
B.

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Old Monday 23rd September 2019, 16:04   #24
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Thanks Dennis.
It doesn't give a clear answer.

Even without removing the infra red filter, digital cameras are sensitive to some infra red frequencies.

I use the Samyang 85mm f/1.4 with a Sony A7S Mk 1.
I have faster lenses, but stick with the Samyang.

I would like a Mk2 but can't justify the cost.
Sony should have brought out a Mk3, but have concentrated on half frame models.
All camera makers are suffering from Smartphone cameras with reduced profits.

Removing the infra red filter can affect focus especially on stars.
I do have a secondhand Canon G9 modified for infra red but don't know how to use it properly.
Infra Red film was better for me.

Regards,
B.
In a really dark environment the Military Grade Night Vision Gen 3 PVS-14 is superior to the Sony a7S II. Look at 7:05 on the video.
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Old Monday 23rd September 2019, 17:56   #25
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That is what I thought, but there is so much light pollution here and I don't have a generation 3 image intensifier, so I didn't know.
I would think that in moonlight the Sony A7S would be O.K., but not in starlight alone, unless the airglow or Milky Way was bright enough.

I have an old very bulky Gen 2 or 2 plus and it is interesting, but the resolution is poor. It shows Jupiter's moons, but with poor separation.
A large binocular shows fainter stars and has better resolution of Jupiter's moons.

B.
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