Night Vision Devices 101

Once exclusively used for war that debuted in the late 1930s, night vision technology now enhances your hunting and other outdoor adventures.

Night vision devices are a useful tool for hunters and sportsmen, whether on the mountain or at home. During the primary hunting season, the sun is only up for a short amount of time. This doesn’t allow for much scouting and stalking unless you invest in night vision gear. But before you choose just any device, it’s necessary to understand all of the workings behind the amazing technology that is night vision. 

Learn more below.

Night Vision Technology

There are two ways night vision technology works: image enhancement and thermal imaging.

IMAGE ENHANCEMENT — Image enhancement devices are the more popular choice because, rather than focusing on the light that objects emit, they focus on the light reflected off of them. Through an objective lens, these devices use an image-intensifier tube that collects infrared and visible light. It’s then enhanced so the human’s ordinary eye can see it.

THERMAL IMAGING — With the use of special lenses, thermal imaging can focus on the inferred light put out by objects (in a hunter’s case, the animals). The light is transformed into detailed temperature patterns called thermographs by the detector elements in the night vision devices.

Levels of Night Vision Devices

There are levels, or generations, of night vision technology. As the number rises, the devices become more advanced. Gen 1 devices are a very popular choice but don’t forget about the major advantages that come with generations 2 through 4 despite their heftier price tags. However, generally speaking, gen 1 devices do more than enough for most recreational activities, including hunting and scouting.

Generation 2 devices are typically used by law enforcement agents and other professionals who often add a micro-channel plate that amplifies light, giving a brighter and sharper image — much better than gen 1 models can. Gen 3 models are essentially just a better version of the gen 2 devices. Because of their photocathode with gallium arsenide, they produce an even brighter and sharper image. Lastly, gen 4s feature gated film-less technology that increases its resolution and target detection.

Considerations When Purchasing Night Vision Devices

When shopping for night vision gear, it’s best to look for a device that is specific to your activity. Consider the model’s image quality, range, and gain and remember that one size does not fit all when it comes to night vision devices. For hunting, you might want a longer lens that allows an extended viewing range, or perhaps, image quality is your priority. Determine what is most important to you and make your decision based on that.

Contact R & K Hunting Company

For an exhilarating hunting adventure, bring your night vision devices along on your next hunt with R & K Hunting Company. Our knowledgeable guides will take you on a once-in-a-lifetime Rocky Mountain experience in Utah and Wyoming you’ll never forget. Our experienced staff will handle all the prep work for you, such as obtaining tags and managing the permitting and application processes. Call our pros to book your hunt today.