Night Vision optics are a lot of fun. Getting to see into a unlit yard or in a dark room can be a great experience and in some cases a lifesaver. But Night vision optics are tricky things – they often employ very sensitive optical plates and chargers that are needed for the night vision to work. What these chargers do is emit several particles for every particle of light that hits it. This is fine, but the device can be overwhelmed and burned out very easily. Keeping the lens caps on the night vision optics during the daytime is crucial as the let of a normally lit room can actually damage the night vision optical parts.
One solution is to use a digital night vision system. We have sold these sorts of things before and they a decent job. Digital night vision has the same results as regular night vision but the method used is similar to taking a Photoshop image and cranking up the ‘brightness’ category – it is much more complicated than that, of course, but it gives you the basic idea behind it. In any case Digital Night Vision does not have the fragility to bright lights that standard night vision may have.
Night Owl Optics has produced two new Digital Night Vision monoculars for customers. They are more durable (for the reasons listed above) and lower cost than standard night vision, and may have a longer lifetime than standard Night Vision. The only drawback is that you are looking at a screen of the image (much like the screen on a digital camera) through the optical eyepiece and not just the image via the optics. Most folks are willing to forgo this for the durability and lower cost.
The first model is the Night Owl XGEN Digital Viewer
With a 2.1x magnification, a 20mm lens diameter, and a price tag of just $149.00 this is a very nice entree into night vision equipment. One further feature is that Digital Night Vision only needs standard alkaline batteries, not the special lithium batteries of the power-hungry standard Night Vision.
The “step-up” from the XGEN is the XGENPro Digital Night Vision Monocular:
The XGENPro has 3-6x variable magnification, a 37mm aperture and a range of up to 200 feet. The cost for the XGENPro is just $189!
Both models employ built-in infrared illuminators, just like standard Night Vision equipment and weigh less than a pound each (without batteries).