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Old 25-10-2010, 12:51   #1
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Night Vision

Does anyone have night vision equipment? Is there any advice/experience someone might like to share? At this stage in my life (mid fifties) the Mk1 eyeball is looking a bit obsolete and I'd really appreciate some help.

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Old 25-10-2010, 12:59   #2
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Good binoculars work well at night. Thats out cheap night vision
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Old 25-10-2010, 13:02   #3
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I can only speak from personal experience while in the military.

The best I've used (even though it was for a short time) were the military's PVS-15's. They're actual Binocular style so it gives you better depth perception and the one I had used an amber filter instead of green so everything looked a lot better to me. If they didn't cost so much, I'd probably have a set myself. I really don't care much for the green filters.
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Old 25-10-2010, 13:33   #4
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Consumers Marine offers quite a few night vision devices: www.consumersmarine.com. Use caution though, staring directly at some of the prices can cause your eyes to pop out.
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Old 25-10-2010, 13:38   #5
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NVD's are wonderful. After flying with them extensively in a tactical aircraft (USN), I've always wanted a pair for sailing. And camping. And sneaking up on my friends. However, I haven't made the purchase, because:

1) They're not cheap. If you're going to get a night vision device, you probably want 2nd Generation or better (resolution and acuity, field of vision, etc). These are definitely not cheap.

2) NVDs are degraded by nearby non-compatible lighting, like your compass light, navigation lights, cabin lights, and nearby wharfs, streetlights, fishing boats, etc. Such lights will "blossom" in your viewer, reduce your gains, etc. You can minimize "light pollution" on your own boat, but if you sail in the vicinity of bright cultural lighting this could be a problem.

3) Whether using "goggles" strapped to your head or handheld binoculars/ monoscope, it could be tricky to keep your NVDs safe in a sailboat cockpit, especially with wind, waves, and water....

Putting points 1-3 together, I would take a hard look at your intended use. Other boats are lit at night, as are many government buoys, and the unlit buoys tend to stay in predictable places and can be spotted with a flashlight. You can navigate yourself into an anchorage with a chartplotter and radar.

Sure, I would love to own a set of goggles and head strap for the "WOW" factor of seeing the world at night, and if I made a habit of sailing in and out of remote, unmarked anchorages, at night, then I would definitely consider it. For now I see them as a luxury item.

Anyone see it differently?
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Old 25-10-2010, 13:56   #6
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FLIR also makes a NVD that works out in the long wave infrared. These devices do not require natural or artificial light sources. Rather, they work by detecting the thermal radiation emitted from bodies that are at or near ambient temperatures.
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Old 25-10-2010, 14:27   #7
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Raytheon, "night driver" might work well. Sells for around $2K for aftermarket version.
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Old 25-10-2010, 14:34   #8
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I have a generation one "Night Owl" Russian made one. Not much better than 7X50s, nowhere near the light amplification advertised. Hard to focus the two controls at once. Wouldn't buy them again. I've tried military gen 3. Wonderful! Spectacular! On an overcast , cloudy night ,we could see our shadow from the only light source in the area , a street lamp a mile away.
Haven't tried gen2.
I believe infrared would be even better.
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Old 25-10-2010, 18:13   #9
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We do not have it on our boat but I used it on other boats. One was Bushnel but there are other makes too.

It works find and I liked using the thing. As Mark said above - good binnocs work great at night, but you may already have them.

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Old 26-10-2010, 02:54   #10
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On a trip 'down North' to Labrador back in 1998, we had a set of ITT night vision binoculars. I can't remember even breaking them out. The only time I used them was on a high speed run through the moorings at Padanaram, MA about 10 at night. I am sure the other people on that anchorage thought we were nuts. We could see everything. If you want to spend the money, go ahead and get a set made in the U.S. The Russian stuff is not very good at all.
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Old 26-10-2010, 10:19   #11
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I used to have a russian generation 1 job; total waste of time. I understand that, although many adverts say "generation 4"; this standard has not yet been recognised. I think a water resistant gen 3 will be fine.

Thanks to everyone who contributed.

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