Finding the Right Night Vision Binoculars and at the Right PriceNight vision is a technology that has been at the forefront for both safety and stealth since it was first widely used by the US Military in World War II. These devices use infrared technology to amplify any available light- starlight, moonlight, or nearby ambient light- into specialized optics and lenses. Decades of innovation and widespread popularity has made night vision gear more useful to law enforcement, the military, hunters, or casual optics enthusiasts. Everyday consumers shopping through Amazon.com, Cabelas and many other hunting, or home defense outlets have access to gear that not only has the power to enhance light, but also to bring their field of view closer to a subject as well. All this power can vary in affordability, but the old adage of “you get what you pay for” still rings true. Getting this technology that to also utilize binocular vision is a feature that isn’t cheap.
Cheap Night Vision Binoculars for under $500[caption id="attachment_1482" align="alignright" width="300"] Night Owl Pro Nexgen Night Vision Binocular (5x)[/caption] However, the prices for night vision binoculars are not insurmountable. Amazon.com has great a entry level set made by the Russian company Night Owl. This model, under the product name Pro Nexgen Night Vision Binocular 5X, is basic, using very straight-forward features; everything necessary in magnified night vision binoculars for a less-than $450 price. As the number in its name indicates- the night vision binoculars magnify 5 times from light entering 50mm lenses. Infrared illuminators turn total darkness viewable using a single 3 volt 123-type lithium battery which will last 40 to 80 hours, depending on IR usage. Amazon.com customers have given this device a 4 star rating out of 5. Many customer reviews call this “Well worth the money” (by Amazon.com shopper “wolfman”- and that is the screen name of a hunter, if there ever was one). Other reviews point out product faults like the lack of a tripod mount, or difficulty focusing. To summarize this product, these are the night vision binoculars with the casual, or entry level user in mind. Though that model might be great for those watching coyotes prowl on acres of land in the night, they’re not for defense or protection. Serious home defense enthusiasts and law enforcement officials won’t settle for less- and shouldn’t. Even big game hunters can find themselves needing something with more features and better options in order to not find themselves fumbling with controls or having to hold night vision binoculars in one hand, and their weapon in the other. You want both hands free. With the risk of losing an object, the hunt, or your life, things becomes less about the money and more about reliability.
Tactical Night Vision BinocularsThose with the funds to shell out over $700 have the luxury of buying night vision binoculars with specially coated optics, 445 ft viewing range, and let’s not forget, headgear to keep it hands-free. Night Owl has those more serious customers covered with their Tactical Series G1 Night Vision Binocular Goggles (available at Amazon.com). With defense and tactical applications in mind, this model features a comfortable head mount, and a push button flip-top to raise up the night vision binoculars when not in use or the option to detach them completely. Durable aluminum housing encloses an infrared illuminator for use in complete darkness or to improve target recognition, and is powered by two 1.5 volt Type-N batteries. Users can keep their subjects in sight in total darkness for 40 to 80 hours depending on their IR usage. The real eye-opener is the grade it receives from customers on Amazon.com, as it scores at only 2 stars: A D-minus in the school of night vision binoculars. One customer noted that its head mount is cumbersome and hard to adjust. Others noted the hard-to-find battery type, as it is a power cell most often used in medical devices and isn’t widely available. Perhaps these night vision binoculars’ manufacturer wanted to really push the feature of a head mount, but cut back on the comfort, so if that is important to you, skip this set. Shopping for night vision binoculars can be a lot like shopping for cars; the richer you are, the more you can get. Those on the lookout for the Cadillac in night vision binoculars need not look any further than the ATN PS15-4 GEN 4 Night Vision Goggle System, made by the ATN Corporation. If features like waterproof construction, intensifier tubes, 40 degree field of view, and resolutions that allow users to read maps in total darkness sound expensive, you are absolutely right. Sticker shock for these night vision binoculars can raise eyebrows at Amazon.com at just under $8,300. It might go without saying that this set is used mostly by the military and the serious customer that doesn’t play around with home defense. As to be expected, it also includes a head mount with flip top articulation, as well as the option to quickly remove the unit, if needed. Power demands are kept as simple as most other night vision binoculars, as it only requires 2 1.5-volt AA batteries (which are available anywhere) or 3-volt CR123A type (play it safe and head to Radio Shack for those) which power these night vision binoculars for 40 hours. Thus far, only a couple of reviews are listed for these night vision binoculars on Amazon.com, 1 of which outlining the “impressive clarity and depth perception”. Despite the high price, one would assume greater expectations from night vision binoculars that are at the cost of a good used car, but most of the positive boons from the device come from sharp image clarity and near unbreakable durability. Other options in night vision binoculars are out there, and features can vary from head straps to image stabilization, but the most well-informed shoppers should always look hard for what their needs require. If you’re a hunter, you’ll need to keep it light and easy, because $400 to $500 is still worth it if you got your prized game trophy. Those that demand the convenience of hands-free, as well as clarity and sharpness will expect to spend at least 50% more. However, if your life is at stake, you will need all those bells and whistles of durability, depth perception, and even range finding in a set of night vision binoculars- no matter what the price.
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