Vision is a physical sense which uses light to provide information to the brain so that it can make conclusions about the surroundings. Scientists have compared human eyes to cameras. A camera filters light through the lens controls the intensity with an aperture and focuses the image. While the light coming into an eye is filtered through the cornea, then the iris regulates how much light comes through, and then focused onto the retina by the lens.
It’s an old adage that “If you eat all your carrots, you’ll be able to see in the dark.” Unfortunately, that’s not true. Unlike some animals, humans don’t have the ability to see in the dark. The eyes of a human being switch from normal daytime vision to a color-insensitive rod system, thus making them unable to see at night. Wouldn’t be great to be able to see the world at night as well as the day? With the advancement of technology, you do have more options to see at night.
How Can Some Animals See in the Dark?
Humans eyes are built work in the daytime and generally for sleeping in the dark. The retina has cells for seeing colored light, called cones, and cells for detecting movement and dim light called rods. Humans have 20 times more rods than cones, but still, we have a problem seeing in the dark.
Some animals are built differently. Creatures who live in the dark tend to have much bigger pupils that allow more light to be captured. For example, Tarsiers have enormous eyes relative to their body size. Their retinas contain many more rods than the human eye.
What is a Night Vision Device?
This is also known as night optical device or night observation device and night vision goggles. It is an optoelectronic device, which allows images to be produced in levels of light approaching total darkness to the human eye. Night vision is made possible by a combination of two approaches, whether by technological or biological means. These approaches are Sufficient Spectral Range and Sufficient Intensity Range.
- Spectral Range
Sensing radiation that is invisible to a human observer is made possible by using night-useful spectral range techniques. Human vision is confined to a small portion of visible light. Spectral range allows the viewer to take advantage of non-visible sources of electromagnetic radiation.
- Intensity Range
Intensity range is the ability to see with small quantities of light. This is achieved via technological means through the use of gain multiplication, image intensifiers, or other very low-noise and high-sensitivity imaging arrays.
How Do Night Vision Binoculars Work?
A dim light from a night scene enters the lens at the front. This light is made of photons of all colors. As these particles of light enter the binoculars, they strike a light-sensitive surface called a photocathode, which is a bit like a very precise solar panel and has a job of converting photons into electrons. These electrons are amplified by a photomultiplier, which is a type of photoelectric cell. Each electron entering the photomultiplier results in many more electrons leaving it. The electrons leaving the photomultiplier hit a phosphor screen, similar to the screen in an old-fashioned television. As this electron hits the phosphor, they create tiny flashes of light. Since there are many more photons than originally entered the binoculars, the screen makes a much brighter version of the original scene.
For the full night vision binoculars to work, the image-boosting photocathode and photomultiplier represent the central part of a more complex optical system. It includes the lens closest to the object you’re looking at, a focusing mechanism, the image intensifier unit, a collimator that narrows and alights the light ray passing through it, mirrors, eyepiece, and a voltage regulator and battery pack.
Why Does Everything Look Green Through Night Devices?
The photons that hit the lens at the front of night vision binoculars carry light or all colors, even at night. But when photons are converted back to electrons, there’s no way to preserve that information. Effectively, the colored light is turned into black and white. But when wearing night binoculars, why don’t we see black and white?
This is because the phosphors on the screens are deliberately chosen to make green pictures, with the reason that our eyes are more sensitive to green light. And it is also easier to look at green screens for longer periods than to look at black and white ones.
Tips in Choosing Night Vision Binoculars
You should always consider the environment you will be in. This reason along with the purpose of your night time viewing are important factors in choosing the binoculars for you. The first thing to consider is the distance, since binoculars have different distances. If your purpose is to see only things that are fairly close, then there’s no need to spend extra money on gear that can see over longer distances. The next thing to consider also is the weather, which affects light levels and visibility as some night vision binoculars are more powerful than others (and more expensive).
Another thing to consider when choosing a night vision binoculars is the gain. It is the relative level of light that you see when looking through the device. Keep in mind that the greater the magnification of lenses, the worse gain you will have, and the need to use more expensive technology. If your purpose for using binoculars is for hunting, it is best if you consider getting high gain binoculars.
This is also one of the most important factors to consider before purchasing a night vision binocular. But the thing is, the better the image quality you want, the higher the cost. That is why it’s very important that you know the gain level and the environment or climate that you will be in. It is important that you should choose the application before the device because it makes no sense to waste money on something you don’t need.
Head Mounted Night Vision
Some models of night vision binoculars include a head mount, and it is usually sold together as a kit. It is useful in many applications because it frees up both of your hands while still allowing you to see in the dark. But a night vision binocular can still be used without a head mount. You have the freedom to use your night vision gear either handheld or mounted.
Here are some of the best night vision binoculars available in the market:
Where to Buy
This night vision binocular carries the Night Owl quality and affordable trademark. It is not the cheapest binocular but you do get plenty of value for your money. With the image intensifier tubes, this would work great even when only using ambient light, its 5X magnification is more than you would need while operating in the dark. It also has a built-in infrared illuminator, which gives you an even better range in total darkness.
This binocular also has a soft-touch rubberized finish which makes it comfortable to hold. The lens is made using molded thermoplastic that is impact resistant, making durability not a problem with this one. Aside from that, it also comes with a padded neck strap, which allows you to walk around with the binoculars around your neck.
Pros: Looks professional and sturdy, good quality, has 50mm lenses
Cons: Quite heavy
This is another type of binocular that is a bit more affordable but offers a great performance, compared to similar products on the market. Even though it has a lesser magnification and smaller lens diameter, it is great when it comes to quality and durability. It also is a versatile product because of its pinholes in the lens caps which allows you to operate the device during daytime, which is a unique feature.
You can take this product with you without worrying that it’s not going to withstand the elements. It has a rubber armor for protection and is weather as well as drop resistant. Despite the fact that the magnification is not as high as other night vision binoculars, it has a good image quality. It also has a reasonable battery life, which can prevent you from being stuck in the dark because of battery reasons.
Pros: Lightweight, Good quality lenses, weather-resistant
Cons: Low magnification compared to others
If you plan on owning one of the best first-generation night vision binoculars, the night owl explorer pro 5x is a good place to start, although this device doesn’t come cheap. It offers great image clarity because of its multi-element glass optics and is durable enough that it can withstand a bit of impact without crumbling.
This is among the top models of the night owl binocular products. It has more or less the same design style with other products, which means it may not appear as flashy. This device cannot be faulted when it comes to the most desired qualities of a binocular, which are functionality, durability, and comfort.
Pros: Durable lens, 5X magnification
Cons: Quite expensive
This brand has been in business for more than six decades and is well-known in the optics industry. This is one of their best products. This device uses a generation one intensifier tube, and is combined with a powerful infrared spotlight. A good night vision binoculars needs to have a very powerful infrared spotlight, because when infrared is not powerful, images which can be seen in a low ambient light will not appear clear as they should be.
The viewing range of a binocular is also an important factor. Commonly, night vision binoculars usually have a viewing range of about 400 to 800 feet. This product has a viewing range of 750 feet, which means that any object within this distance can be viewed clearly even in the dark.
Pros: High viewing range, good intensifier tube
Cons: Can be expensive
This product offers a fun and effective way to see in the dark. They have IR illuminators to enhance images even when viewing in complete darkness, just like other binoculars. One of the key features of this product is the pair of unique illuminators, in which you can adjust to seven different levels, ranging from lowest to highest.
Zooming is a crucial feature in a binocular since the amount of zooming a binocular allows determining its effectiveness. The common standard zooming for most binoculars is 2X, which this device contains. It is also digital, so the users get the best view possible, and can adjust the zoom anytime at the touch of a button.
Pros: Comes with a neck strap, has IR illuminator
Cons: Package do not include batteries
This brand is a renowned manufacturer of high-quality products, including night vision binoculars. This device is one of its popular products. It has a great handling, because of its tough rubberized covering, which makes it comfortable to hold even in a long period of time. The rubberize covering also protects the gadget from knocks which can drop the device or other similar situations.
Despite not having 1080p HD, the images are still very clear. The resolution is sufficient and is quite good even at night, just make sure to turn on the IR illuminators. This will increase the clarity of images even in darkness.
Pros: Good image quality, has rubberized covering
Cons: Not built for high-definition viewing
The first thing you will notice when you unpack the Luna Optics is its aggressive styling. Unlike most common daytime binoculars, this device has its body exposed. This design is quite unique, and gives them a tough, masculine look, and feels sturdier than a battle tank. This is because the gadget come in 1.68 pounds or 760 grams, despite being made from an all-aluminum body.
It has a 50mm objective lenses which give the device a higher than normal light gathering potential. Aside from not compact enough to be ferried easily around, it also has more light gathering potential compared to other binoculars.
Pros: Has aggressive styling, lightweight
Cons: Can be quite expensive
This device is for people who are looking for good binoculars for both daytime and nighttime use, because it has some amazing features. It has a high-performance 5MP night vision capabilities. With the use of built-in IR illuminators, it improves the image clarity. It also has a 1.5-inch color LCD screen. Aside from that, this can also be used as a real-time surveillance camera, camcorder, or telescope.
Distance is an important feature in a night vision binocular, and this device has an impressive viewing distance of 300 meters or 984 ft at night. However, during the day, the distance is more than five times at 1500 meters or 4920 feet.
Pros: Can be used both during day or night, a good distance range
Cons: Package does not include batteries
This device has a 3W.850nm Infrared Illuminator which lets you see at distances of up to 400 meters in complete darkness. You can also use these binoculars whether day or night, but without suitable protection, using night vision devices during the day will ruin them.
You can also use this device as a camera and the files are saved to a micro SD card that can hold 4 and 32 gigabytes. It also includes an AV cable which lets you output your footage to a TV.
Pros: Can be used as a camera,can be used during the day
Cons: Might not be the best choice
This equipment has durability and affordability all rolled into one. They’re a bit easier on the eyes and more comfortable to use. This is a generation 1 device that doesn’t cost too much but offers a great performance.It has an IR Illuminator which works very well and lets you see your surroundings, because of its 2X magnification.
One problem for the tubes inside the night vision is that when they get exposed to bright light. This device, unlike other night vision binoculars, will switch off in case they’re exposed to light, thus protecting the tubes.
Pros: Affordable but great performance
Cons: Low viewing distance range