Humans have been gifted with a great pair of eyes; human eyes offer a balance in depth perception, color accuracy, and visual acuity. When compared to other animals’ set of eyes, humans lie in the middle. What this means is that human eyes are balanced and offer only little specialization. The human eye can only perceive what has been known as visible light and any other invisible light is outside the spectrum that human eyes can see. Human eyes have been designed to work in coordination with the way we move and the way we interact; two forward facing eyes mean that they cooperate to offer depth perception which is used in tandem with the hands to do work. It is how evolution works and how human bodies adapt to the normal way humans live.
However, this is not the situation for most of the time; as humans, you often find interests that require some amount of help from technology. For example, your eyes can only gather much light as it can before it reaches the maximum threshold of light sensitivity and offers no more vision in the dark. It is one of the limitations that you can address through technology.
If you’re hunting at night, or want to do some wildlife exploration and observation; working with a torch or flashlight is the wrong way to do it as you’ll disturb your prey or the wildlife with your beam of light. A more practical approach is through the use of digital night vision goggles or scopes. These allow you to see at night even under the darkest of conditions. There are many types of digital night vision in the market today; here are the best ones you can pick up for a fair amount of money.
Bushnell Equinox Z Digital Night Vision Monocular
The first on the list is the Bushnell Equinox Z Digital Night Vision; Bushnell has long been known as one of the greatest providers for survival or hunting gear and the Equinox Z Digital Night Vision is not an exception. The scope offers 3x magnification to get up close to the objects you want to see at night, and it uses a digital screen to provide the image output. The small screen is inside a sealed housing that’s resistant against water, dust, and impacts. Because the night vision is using a digital screen for output, you can gain the benefit of having an additional 3x digital zoom to observe the details of your target. The main lens is paired with a 30-millimeter objective lens for target location.
The scope is not also exclusive for night time use; despite the name night vision, the scope can be used during the day by turning off the night vision mode. The night vision is provided by an infrared mode which uses infrared light project an invisible beam of light to illuminate targets up to 500-feet away.
The glass has been coated and treated multiple times to give it incredible levels of clarity and scratch protection. The scope has an integrated Picatinny styled rail so you can mount accessories on the scope. If you’re using the scope for video production, you can easily take advantage of the digital image via a live video out capability which you can use to record footage to a camera or a computer directly.
Firefield 5×50 Nightfall 2 Night Vision Monocular
The Firefield 5×50 Nightfall 2 Night Vision Monocular gives you the reach you need to observe distant objects at night. The Nightfall 2 uses the largest objective lens in its class and offers exceptional quality in both day and night time applications. You can use the night vision monocular for getting the upper hand in when the daylight starts to run out. Achieve the element of surprise and stealth with this long range night vision monocular.
The design and construction of the Nightfall 2 focus on outdoor and law enforcement applications. It means that the monocular will be subject to intense stress and conditions when in use. The case is sealed to be water resistant, and the ergonomic exterior has been armored with rubber to provide sealing and shock absorption further when the monocular is faced with such stresses.
At night, the Nightfall 2 features an ingenious power-efficient infrared illuminator that not only saves battery but also offers better illumination than standard infrared illuminators. The digital screen inside the case is designed to display a high-resolution image for the best image quality. The 5x magnification capability allows you to go further than any other night vision monocular of the same class that maintains visual acuity even at a distance.
Solomark Night Vision Monocular
The Solomark Night Vision Monocular is, perhaps, a one of a kind item in this list. Unlike the other monocular in this list, the product from Solomark does not exhibit the outdoors and rugged construction of the other products. If you’re going to base a product’s performance on looks, then the Solomark Night Vision Monocular is one of the worst items here. However, if you put looks aside, it’s one of the items that bring great value for your money; and that’s because this monocular is chock full of technology.
Despite lacking a rugged design, the creators at Solomark has made sure that the scope is ready to take a beating. The chunky exterior is there so that it can withstand impacts from drops and bumps with confidence. The lens hood is coated with a rubber material so if the monocular lands lens first, you can be assured that it’s going to be well protected. The digital display is one of the best displays that strike a balance between resolution and sensitivity. The digital image sensor works in conjunction with the 7-level infrared LED illuminator that can effectively light up an entire are as far as 100-meters.
For features, you can use the monocular as a standalone camera; the monocular has a built in video record and snapshot function which is a great bonus if you want to capture unique memories on the fly. You can use the video output capability of the monocular to provide real-time footage of what the monocular is seeing through the larger display of a computer screen or laptop. At the same time, you can use the video output for video capture which can be useful for nature documentaries.
Bestguarder 6x50mm HD Digital Night Vision Monocular
The Bestguarder 6x50mm HD Digital Night Vision Monocular delivers the best video quality than any other monocular in this list thanks to high-definition video processing despite the obvious heft in its price tag. It is the ideal outdoor camera to use when filming a nature documentary or survival style videos. The 6x magnification of the monocular makes it a great observation device as well as video capture device thanks to the extra features such as video recording and camera function.
The high-quality video is possible because of the 5-megapixel sensor and 720p video processing. The result of this is a smooth video that can only be achieved by decent night vision cameras. The objective lens is a bit on the narrow end because of the 50-millimeter lens, so you’re missing out on wide shots if the lens is not zoomed in. However, this makes for great portrait shots or excellent long range views of your subject
The video capture capability is rated at 720p resolution with a steady 30 fps frame rate. The built-in high power infrared illuminator can effectively light up targets as far as 350 meters away with great clarity thanks to the large objective lens. For utility, the monocular can be plugged into a TV or computer to gain access to the video output. The kit comes with tripod jacks and Picatinny rails for accessories.
Night Owl Xgen 2.1x Digital Night Vision Viewer
If the expensive Bestguarder 6x50mm HD Digital Night Vision Monocular left you with your jaw agape, you could close that now with the simple Night Owl Xgen 2.11x Digital Night Vision Viewer. This product is a no frills night vision monocular thanks to its simple operation and simple design. What you get is a relatively affordable night vision monocular that’s ideal for beginners or someone who’s a bit tight on the budget or just want to try out night vision imaging for the first time.
The Xgen Night Vision Viewer is housed in a simple, durable housing that looks very fragile when compared to the more rugged-looking items in this list. The Xgen has no additional features apart from its get-up-and-go usability. On the top of the monocular, you can find a single button. It allows you to turn the scope on or off; if you think that’s dead simple, that’s because it is! Just turn it on, put it over your eye, and you’re done.
The lens is a 20mm objective lens, and it is capable of a fairly decent 2.1x magnification. Despite how simple it looks and feels, the monocular features some programmed settings to let you have some degree of freedom when operating the monocular. However, that’s all you get; theirs is no video or image capture feature, and there’s not even an option for a daytime mode. If you’re looking for a night vision monocular that’s straightforward and affordable, the Xgen is for you.
Digital Night vision scopes offer the help your eyes need when the light is limited. These digital scopes make use of infrared light to discretely illuminate an area and use the viewfinder of the monocular to reveal what’s being illuminated by the infrared light. The idea behind the functionality is simple, yet it works to a great degree. Do note that when you’re using this for wildlife observation, some animals have the ability to see infrared. While these animals are rare, using infrared-based night vision is useless in those animals.
In this regard, night vision scopes are relatively expensive, and the more technology you cram inside their ergonomic and sturdy bodies, the more expensive it gets. If you’re already a professional in this field, then the cost is only a minor hurdle for you. However, if you’re new to this, pick up the more affordable options that are enough to get your feet wet in digital night vision.