The Ultimate Purchasing Guide is
the unique source of unbiased and professional advices on night vision
and thermal imaging systems. It carries an important mission to openly
present relevant information and assist in choosing a device that best
fits your needs:
> Explains the meaning of key parameters
> What to look for and what to avoid
> Helps choose the right product
> Unbiased professional advice
It is a great reference for
everyone from novices and first-time buyers to experienced users. Many
of you will discover a lot of new and valuable information.
How the FIRST GENERATION night vision devices work?
A Night Vision Device can be a 1 st , 2 nd , 3 rd generation unit. What this stands for, is what type of light intensifier tube is used for that particular device the light intensifier tube is the heart and soul of a night vision device.
The 1st generation is currently the most popular type of night vision in the world. Utilizing the basic principles described earlier, a 1st generation will amplify the existing light several thousand times letting you clearly see in the dark. These units provide a bright and sharp image at a low cost, which is perfect, whether you are boating, observing wildlife, or providing security for your home. You may notice the following when you are looking through a 1st generation unit .A slight high-pitched whine when the unit is on.The image you see may be slightly blurry around the edges.When you turn a 1st gen off it may glow green for some time.These are inherent characteristics of a 1st gen and are normal
How the Second GENERATION night vision devices work ?
The 2nd generation is primarily used by law enforcement or for professional applications. This is because the cost of a 2nd gen unit is approximately $500.00 to $1000.00 more then a 1st gen. The main difference between a 1st and a 2ndgeneration unit is the addition of a micro-channel plate, commonly referred to as a MCP. The MCP works as an electron amplifier and is placed directly behind the photocathode. The MCP consists of millions of short parallel glass tubes. When the electrons pass through these short tubes, thousands more electrons are released. This extra process allows 2nd generation units to amplify the light many more times then 1st generation giving you a brighter and sharper image.
How the THIRD GENERATION night vision devices work?
The 3rd generation is operating with special chemicals, gallium arsenide to the photocathode. The brighter and sharper image is the major characteristics of a 3 rd generation. AnGE ion barrier film was also added to increase tube life. Gen. 3 provides the user with excellent light performance.The Gen 3 technology improves night operational effectiveness for military users of night vision goggles and other night vision devices. The filmless MCP provides a higher signal-to-noise ratio than Gen 3, resulting in better image quality (less scintillation) under low-light conditions. The gated power supply further improves image resolution under high light conditions, and the reduced halo minimizes interference from bright light sources. These improvements also substantially increase the detection range of the systems.
Generations Levels Guide - Night Vision Tube Grades
This quick guide will help you understand the differences in image
intensifier tube clarity and performance within the different quality
levels of night vision. Image tubes are the high tech part of a device
and there is great variation in image tube quality. Clarity refers to
the size and amount of blemishes or imperfections (black specks) you
will see that are inherent in all image tubes. The performance refers to
how well the optic will see in low light, this is distance and
Note that different manufacturers refer to these
quality levels with different abbreviations and that each manufacturer
has their own criteria for grading their tubes. This guide is only a
general outline and image tube quality can even vary from month to month
based on image tube availability. Remember image intensifier tubes are
unique like diamonds in that no two are the same. For the most accurate
and current info on what products are best, give us a call and we can
recommend the best products for your budget. Here at Nightvision4less we
are sort of night vision geeks and between our being one of the largest
dealers and our passion for optics, we can give you the inside scoop on
the best gear to buy.
Gen 1+ :
Most Gen 1 equipment uses similar technology and
thus image tube performance does not vary too much between similar Gen 1
products. What does make a performance difference in Gen 1 products is
the quality of the lenses, the controls, and the devices’ design.
Gen 2+, Gen 2ST :
This is base quality Gen 2 that is a huge step
up from Gen 1. Comparing base level Gen 2 to Gen 1 would be like
comparing a motorcycle to a bicycle – they both have 2 wheels but that’s
about it. These image tubes will have more imperfections and lower
performance than higher level Gen 2 gear. These are known as standard
Gen 2 or standard tube.
Gen 2CGT, Gen 2MS :
This level of Gen 2 is a good choice as they
are cleaner and generally perform better than base Gen 2 but usually
don't cost much more for the increase in quality. These are sometimes
referred to as custom grade tubes or mil-spec grade.
Gen 2HPT, Gen 2HP :
This is extremely good Gen 2 equipment. Big step
up from the two lower grades of Gen 2 in performance, getting very
close to Generation 3 performance. However the price of this high level
of Generation 2 gets very close to some Gen 3 and with the much longer
life expectancy of Gen 3 image tubes, the Generation 3 is often the
better choice. This Gen 2 grade is called high performance tube or just
Gen 3 :
This gets you the real deal, Gen 3. These will
usually have more imperfections/blemishes and lesser performance than
the higher levels of Gen 3 however they still give great overall
performance and will last you about 10,000 hours plus, which is much
longer than the lower generations.
Gen 3ST :
These Gen 3ST image tubes are technically at the
same grade level as Gen 3. However from what we have seen of these
image tubes is that they tend to be a bit nicer in terms of less
belmishes. These tubes are a great buy for low cost Gen 3 when
available. The only problem is, they are not autogated/pinnacle tubes.
Gen 3A :
This is a better grade than standard gen 3. The
image tubes will typically be clearer and they will usually come with
image tube data test sheets (detailed test data on each image tube).
Gen 3P/Gen 3AG :
These tubes are like Gen 3A tubes except that
they have autogated power supplies. They allow for vastly superior
performance in light polluted areas. This grade/type of image tubes is
what's currently used by our US military and special forces. These are
what we prefer to use as they work great in all lighting conditions,
including dusk and dawn. These tubes are often referred to as Pinnacle
Gen 3 with HS :