Hand Held IR Monocular

Forums Optics, Scopes, Rings, & Mounts Hand Held IR Monocular

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    wyshadow
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    Can anyone recommend a hand held IR monocular that is around $200? Will mostly be use to spot out rabbits, pigeons, and skunks at night. I don't need it to see out further than 50 yards but it would be a plus if I see further.  I can use both AA batteries and 18650 batteries, and 2x or 3x optical zoom would be preferred. I hate using my sightmark to scan for critters and using a hand held monocular would make things much easier.

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    STO
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    Well since nobody else is offering something, I guess I'll bite. 

     

    Here is the thing, something I want to preface this recommendation with: everything under 200$ is going to be made in China. You can pay for some brand to put their tramp stamp on it first, or you can go straight to the horse's ass and skip someone's markup. I personally am inclined to do one of two things with my purchases: either go so cheap I won't cry if it fails and needs to be replaced, or to go so good and high performance it will last me a lifetime and won't be rendered obsolete any time soon. 

     

    So that said, this is a straight-to-the-source recommendation so you can get the maximum value. 
    https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Monocular-Night-Vision-Infrared-Digital-Scope-For-Hunting-Telescope-Long-Range-With-built-in-Camera-Shoot/32919835380.html?

     

    So what is that? It isn't a tube amplifier, it is digital image intensification. Basically it is a more-sensitive-than-average camera sensor which has had its IR filter removed. This gives you a level of reliability and durability you don't get from analogue image intensification; there is no tube you're going to burn out. The Chinese are also excellent at building camera sensors, as they do a lot of it, which is why this thing can be made so cheaply. I also just ordered one, so I am putting my money where my mouth is.

    So what are the downsides? Well I expect the housing will be cheap, really cheap. The optics are probably also quite inexpensive, so there will probably be some distortion and so on. It also doesn't have the image intensification capability of gen2 and higher night vision, so you will often want to supplement with an IR light. It has an in-built IR light, however you can quite cheaply buy MUCH more powerful IR illuminators, and depending on where you're using this you may or may not want to do that. 

     

    This certainly isn't the only option, and maybe it isn't even the best option. It is just my thoughts on the subject, and worth what you paid which is to say nothing. :P I hope it helps though mate. 

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    wyshadow
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    Thank you for your suggestion. I was looking at the Bushnell Equinox. Would you say the one from aliexpress is just as good?

    https://www.opticsplanet.com/bushnell-3×30-equinox-digital-night-vision-monocular.html

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    Outback
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    Check out the Pulsar Digiforce 860VS monocular this is what I have for the same reason as you  , I used this together with a two Photon's to good effect for night shooting .

    I also mounted a T20 illuminator on the rail and removed the centre disc from the front cover both of these really transform the 860VS , had it on a neck strap spot drop and shoot .

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    STO
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    wyshadow

    Thank you for your suggestion. I was looking at the Bushnell Equinox. Would you say the one from aliexpress is just as good?

    https://www.opticsplanet.com/bushnell-3×30-equinox-digital-night-vision-monocular.html

    So without having purchased and compared both, I genuinely can't say which is better. Speaking more generally though, you pay a pretty substantial markup to get Bushnell to stamp their name on it and to then have a retailer inventory and sell it. I don't know what the standard markup is in the NV industry, however generally retailers take a 40% cut of the retail price. Put that all together and you're in about the same ballpark price-wise as the direct-from-china unit if purchased in bulk. They probably have pretty comparable internal electronics, although I'm betting Bushnell spent some extra money on nicer texturing on its injection moulds and overmoulding or just rubberizing. But something to make it a little more visually appealing and have better hand feel. Just a guess though, and it could be completely wrong. 

     

    I will say that a big part of the capability of these inexpensive night vision units, particularly the digital ones, can come from an IR illuminator. If range is what you need, you can get a lot more of it by buying a more powerful illuminator rather than a more powerful image intensifier. Just something to be aware of. 

    If you're willing to wait, like I said before, I put my money where my mouth is and ordered one. It is one of two reviews on night vision units I'm planning to put out in the near(ish) future. I don't know how immediate your need is, but if you're waiting for a first hand account it is coming. :) 

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    wyshadow
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    Thanks STO. I'm in no rush getting one so I'll just wait on what you think.

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