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Fourth generation digital night vision equipment is the best, used exclusively by the military. Although some dealers sometimes say so, even the second-best third-generation night vision technology is virtually unattainable for civilians. With a night vision device containing a good tube of generation 2 or 2+ and high quality optical components, a hunter is well equipped. With it, it is possible to target game at further distances - in good conditions and using a powerful infrared or laser illuminator, the effective distance can increase to several hundred meters. The performance and service life of the devices of the earlier generations 1 and 0 are rapidly decreasing.



There are many different brands and types of night vision devices on the market, with prices ranging from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. The effectiveness of night vision technology is similarly broad and usually matches the price: you get what you pay for. The image quality of an inexpensive device and an expensive model are worlds apart.

The quality of the image converter tube and the lenses will determine whether you can just guess at a hazy spot, or whether you can accurately see and identify an object even in complete darkness.When buying a night vision device for hunting, you need to think about the intended use of the device and what it is worth to you. For close-range orientation, an inexpensive device may be sufficient; if you want to reliably distinguish a boar from a doe at long range, you'll have to dig a little deeper into your pocket.


There are a number of different vendors on the night vision market, not always trustworthy, who sometimes make promises about the performance of their night vision technology that are not realistic in practice. You should be very wary of supposed bargains from unknown vendors and used military-grade equipment. There are still a few unused Generation 1 night vision devices available at high prices that do not meet the desired standard.

You have to keep in mind that Generation 1 devices provide only relatively weak residual light gain - 1000x to 8000x compared to 10,000x to 15,000x for Generation 2 night vision devices - and also the lifetime of the devices is only about 1000 to 2000 hours: a night vision device is not worth its money if it has already exhausted its lifetime. This is a major disadvantage of a used device, as the buyer does not know how long it will last. Basically, the utility value of a night vision device is proportional to its price: the higher the price, the better the image and the greater the distance from which the night vision device can be usefully employed.

Yes! Night vision devices and thermal imaging cameras may legally be used for hunting in Germany, as long as they are only used to observe game. Night aiming devices, on the other hand, may not be allowed: Thermal imaging cameras or night vision devices mounted on the weapon or used as an accessory with the scope-if the hunting law (state matter!) prohibits it.

An electron tube, also called an image intensifier or residual light amplifier, is the heart of any night vision device. When a photocathode receives light, photoelectrons are generated in the vacuum of the tube by an electric field under high voltage. When an electron strikes the phosphor screen, which acts as an anode, visible light is released as electromagnetic radiation. Luminescence is the conversion of energy to light that occurs when electrons strike a phosphor screen (which serves as both an anode and a cathode). In night vision systems, the luminescence from this source is used for cathode luminescence.

An infrared illuminator is a useful addition to a night vision system. It makes the otherwise invisible infrared light visible and enhances it. The infrared illuminator acts like an invisible flashlight. Infrared illuminators with a laser as the infrared light source produce a beam that can be focused with appropriate lenses. This makes it possible to cover distances of several kilometers. It is in your own interest to make sure that you use eye-safe laser infrared illuminators when you use them!

A night vision device is a tool that allows you to see in the dark. This can be done in a number of ways, such as by amplifying the residual light (residual light amplifier) or by using an infrared imager that converts invisible infrared light into visible infrared radiation. Infrared brighteners, which are flashlights that produce light in the IR range, can also be used for this purpose.

Thermal imaging cameras, which convert the heat emitted by objects into visible light, also belong to the category of night vision technology. However, when residual light amplifiers and image converters or intensifiers are mentioned, this refers only to those that operate at a lower intensity than illumination devices; thermal imaging cameras are treated separately.

Generations indicate the stage of development and thus the performance of night vision devices. Since the latest generation three technology is limited to military use, in practice it is mainly generations 1 and 2+. Generation 0 devices are not useful for hunting.

In general, it can be said that specifying the generation does not provide an accurate description of the performance of a night vision device; there can be significant differences in performance between different devices of the same generation. Even between individual tubes of the same type and manufacturer, there can be visible differences in quality. With a lifetime of 1000 to 2000 hours, 1st generation night vision devices amplify residual light approximately 1000 to 8000 times. 2nd generation night vision devices amplify the residual light 10,000 to 15,000 times and have a lifetime of up to 15,000 hours.

The performance of a night vision device that can be used for hunting is determined by a number of factors, including: The type and quality of lens used are important factors, just as with any other optical device. The image converter tube used is also critical. It can be said that inexpensive devices can only reach 50 meters, while high-priced night vision devices with telephoto lenses and infrared illuminators can provide precise observation and response at up to 500 meters.

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