Night vision or thermal scope – what do you need

Amazing stories read all of us in childhood about the adventures of superheroes. Admit it. It was breathtaking when you leafed through pages on which amazing events with the participation of the Green Lantern or Captain America were unfolding.
And who among us did not think about how cool it would be to become the owner of incredible abilities, thanks to which the heroes save the world. Of course, even in childhood, it did not seem real to us that someone would arrive from a distant planet and give us a magic ring, like the one used by the Green Lantern. Or it is unlikely that someone will take us to a top- secret military program to empower us, thanks to whom Cap would scatter enemies. But why not become heroes like Batman or Iron Man? Ultimately, all their abilities were created by the genius of scientific thought. And, today, nothing can stop us from acquiring a couple of superpowers. And today we will talk about this in more detail.

Night vision - pros and cons.

Man, even in comparison with animals, is a weak creature and not prepared for real challenges. That is the truth with which we have long been reconciled. We can not resist the elements of the wild. And even the ability to see at night - and that is not available to us.
That is why civilization gave us an incredible device - night vision. To get started, let''s figure it out, optics equipped with night vision do not work miracles. She is not able to show what is hidden in pitch darkness.
Night vision devices will become an indispensable device for monitoring and detecting targets at night. The essence of the device is the accumulation of light and its amplification. As a result, you get an acceptable image, not visible to the human eye, but at the same time quite distinguishable. Unfortunately, a prerequisite for working with the device is the presence of at least a weak light source. It can even be the moon. Otherwise, you have to turn on additional infrared illumination. In a nutshell, modern night vision devices work on the principle of conventional digital video cameras. They are equipped with a particular semiconductor matrix, which is thousands of times more sensitive than an ordinary one. The signal from it is displayed as an image, which gives you the superpower of vision in the dark.
The scope of these devices is vast and diverse. Scientists and amateurs are watching the nightlife of animals, military men on duty, and, of course, hunters tracking down nocturnal animals. There are many variations of night vision devices that will solve any, even the most non-trivial task.
Although the amplification of the illumination of an object is 30-50 thousand times, objects that do not allow visible light to become an obstacle for you, smoke, snow, rain, dense fog, grass - all this will be an obstacle to obtain optimal information about the environment.
Another important nuance is the limited lifetime of the night vision device. For example, first-generation devices will serve you up to 3 thousand hours. The most current devices of the fourth generation are much superior to the equipment of the lower categories. Still, they are significantly more expensive, and not always their purchase justifies the purpose. Life is not the only difference between the groups of night vision devices. The distance of work is also critical. For example, the first generation makes it possible to work at a distance of 100 yards. For hunting, the device is the right choice, even taking into account the boundary distance. But, you must take into account several nuances - such devices give a proper image in the center, but the edges will be blurred. Significant sensitivity to differences in lighting complicates the use in active mode. And, perhaps the most important thing for hunters - a glass bulb, a vital part of the device, is extremely sensitive to the recoil of weapons, which limits the service life if you attach night vision equipment to your rifle. All shortcomings were leveled in the next generations. Also, a wide selection is not limited to generations, since there are intermediate configuration options. This gives an unlimited opportunity to choose a night vision device specifically for your needs. You will find an acceptable option for yourself both in price and in your requirements.

Thermal scope – pros and cons.

An exciting alternative to night vision equipment is the thermal scope. The principle of its operation is simple and subject to the laws of physics - any object having a temperature above absolute zero (-459.67 Fahrenheit) emits electromagnetic waves. The frequency of these waves can change when the object cools or heats up. A thermal imager can capture this radiation and its changes.
The main advantage of such devices is that they are not dependent on external lighting. Complete darkness or daylight - nothing will interfere with observation. Snow and fog and even heavy rain will not reduce the information content of the image, although, of course, inevitable interference will be visible.
With this device, you can clearly distinguish between equipment and people in camouflage, which is why it is indispensable for the military. The same applies to animals, even against a background of foliage or snow - the hunter will receive enough images to add a new trophy to his collection.
The principle of operation of the thermal imager is mainly similar to the algorithms of night vision devices. The difference is that the thermal scope matrix is ​​sensitive not to light, but thermal radiation. In the same way, the device has a matrix, the signal from which is converted into an image on the screen. But, ordinary glass is opaque in the range of thermal scope. And this is the secret because the optics in these devices are made of special glass that does not transmit light but focuses infrared radiation.
These engineering solutions turn the thermal imager into the ultimate device for capturing visual information in adverse conditions. Also, in theory, technical performance does not limit the life of the device. But, this does not insure against the disease''s thermal scope - long-term use can cause damage to some parts of the matrix. All these nuances significantly increase the cost of these devices. The high price of configuration also forces civilian versions of devices to be equipped with only one sensor. Such options are still expensive, but even much cheaper than military versions.
In addition to a considerable price, you may be confused by the possible range of object recognition. It depends not only on technical specifications, sensors, electronics, and optics. No less important are the characteristics of the object, atmospheric indicators, background, air temperature, and much more.


In general, we have already outlined the main differences between the two beautiful devices that have become a genuine achievement in engineering.
The difference in the principles of work, the price, and the resulting information are the main differences. Well, another service life. What conclusion can be drawn from everything written? Which device to choose? There is no correct answer to this question. It all depends on your training and the goals that you set for yourself. We will advise you on both devices. If you are financially enabled, we recommend you to equip yourself with an inexpensive thermal scope and a high-quality night-vision device not lower than the third category. Such a kit will surely turn you into a superhero with a superpower to see in the dark.


June 5, 2020

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