Published by Bastian Green & Damon Loats - on 2nd Jun 2022

What is TRADITIONAL Night Vision?

Traditional night vision is also referred to as starlight night vision which is generally used by the military. Or at least has been developed by the military and from there it went into civilian use. It magnifies the amount of received protons from various different sources such as starlight or moonlight. Generally they are labelled Gen1, 2, 3, 3+, 4, and the military could be up to Generation 5 now.

The Pros are that you don’t need additional light sources. The device will work with starlight by itself. It is sufficient light for the device to function. However, as soon as you’re indoors where there’s literally no light at all, you’ll also need an infrared illuminator.

Cons are that it's very expensive. It doesn’t produce a digital output. It’s an analog unit and therefore you can’t edit the footage. You can’t provide additional information in that footage as you would with digital night vision. It is extremely difficult to identify targets, especially camouflage targets with traditional night vision, because you only see two colours or the spectrum in between. Therefore it is very difficult to see or make out animals unless they move about, then it is quite easy to pick up, but it is definitely harder than you would during the day where you have the full colour palette at your disposal.

What is DIGITAL Night Vision?

Now we’ll look at digital night vision. A digital night vision (DNV) camera is digital and it sends a digital signal to a display. Unlike traditional night vision, which is purely analogue, a DNV camera can have things added to the image and the image and footage can be recorded.

The Pros are they are cheaper to buy than traditional night vision and you can add additional information to that digital display.

The Cons are they require an infrared illuminator because they are not sensitive enough like traditional night vision.  And just like traditional night vision, it is hard to locate camouflage targets.

What is THERMAL Imaging?

Thermal imaging is the process where a thermal camera, captures and creates an image of an object by using the infrared radiation emitted by that object. In other words, you are seeing the heat that is projected from each surface or object.

Pros are that there is no need for an additional infrared illuminator.  You can quickly acquire targets.  Long range identification is possible. It is easy to identify camouflage targets. Cost effective entry units available. Thermal imaging devices will produce a digital signal which can be recorded. You can add audio to it as well as reticles, and all sorts of other information.

The Cons of thermals are that high end units are very expensive. Identification of targets can be very difficult for beginners, and laser rangefinders are required to judge distance.

Thermal Imaging for the HUNTER!

When you use a thermal imaging device for night hunting, you can see the heat of every object, be that grass, trees, water, cars, whatever you can imagine - any object.  Where thermal really brings in its benefits is that the manufacturers (such as ConotechInfiRay or Pulsar) have programmed it in a way that when something is around the living temperature (and we’re talking here 34 to 36 degrees celsius that sort of range and above) the thermal imaging device will strongly indicate whatever object is at that temperature.

Imagine you have a black screen if everything was super cold, it would be black, but then you have grass, and that warms up a little bit so you slightly see the grass as greyish in the display, but as soon as you hit 34, 35 degrees, the object is going to be bright white.  It’s going to stand out really significantly.  So all you need to do is scan an area really quickly and all the living objects just pop up and you can easily see them and therefore you can hopefully identify or at least find them very quickly.