Difference between night vision generations
Various night vision devices (NVDs) have taken their rightful place among other optics used by man. They help representatives of various professions to perform complex work in the dark. In addition, they are used for entertainment such as night hunting, paintball and many others. For each case, a device of a certain generation is ideal. To choose the right one, you need to carefully study all the possible options.
What is the difference in the generations of night vision?
Four generations of NVDs are currently available. Representatives of each of them have their own characteristics and meet certain criteria. In this regard, even neighboring generations of devices have many distinctive features.
Parameters by which NVDs of different generations differ:
- range of action;
- battery life;
- image quality;
- life time;
- protection from various influences;
- the size;
- the weight.
The whole history of night vision technology began with the first generation of devices. They appeared more than 50 years ago and, at that time, became a real breakthrough. Gradually they became obsolete and were replaced by models of newer generations. Now it is quite difficult to find such devices for sale. This is due to their lack of functionality and minimal set of features. Most often, such optics are used by people with little financial resources who want to solve the simplest problems with it.
Features of Gen 1 models:
- The range of all first generation devices is no more than 75-80 meters. At the same time, on a moonless night or in cloudy weather, this figure becomes even smaller.
- The image quality of Gen 1 models is very poor. Noises are very noticeable on it, which do not allow a detailed examination of the object of interest. It is also important that even with a sufficient amount of natural light (from the moon, stars), the image still turns out dark. If a bright light source appears in the field of view, then instead of increasing the brightness, only illuminated areas will appear.
- Devices from the Gen 1 category have a short battery life. This feature can be traced even in models that were released relatively recently. Therefore, the battery charge is enough for only a couple of hours of operation (due to the need for constant use of IR illumination).
- First generation models rarely last more than 1500-1600 hours. Because of this, they often have to be changed or repaired.
After the end of the era of NVDs, there was a real breakthrough in the development of technology. It resulted in the emergence of Gen 2 models. They have become more versatile and multifunctional than their predecessors. Such devices are widely available today. They have a low cost and help to cope with many tasks.
Features of Gen 2 models:
- NVDs of this generation have significantly increased range. On average, it is 200 meters, which is much more than Gen 1.
- Models from the Gen 2 category allow you to get a fairly high-quality image even at not the highest resolution. In addition, it is important that the picture takes up the entire screen and there will be no overexposed edges on it.
- NVDs of the second generation have the ability to turn off the IR illumination. Thanks to this, it was possible to reduce energy consumption and increase the battery life.
- Most devices are equipped with a durable housing, which is reliably protected from any external influences. Due to this and other factors, Gen 2 models can last over 4500 hours.
These days, the third generation NVDs are the most in demand. They are considered the most versatile, therefore they are used everywhere, from military units to industrial enterprises. Also, such optics are not bypassed by lovers of hiking, hunting, extreme sports. Its only drawback is the high cost, due to which not everyone can afford to buy optics.
Features of Gen 3 models:
- NVDs of this type enable users to see up to 300 meters away. This is enough to solve most of the tasks. Some models even have a longer range. At the same time, they are highly specialized and suitable for performing 1-2 tasks.
- The image quality of Gen 3 is as high as possible. This ensures that there is no noise, no highlights, no uneven brightness distribution. This picture quality will be observed even in very low light.
- Gen 3 devices are ideal for use in all weather conditions. All of them are equipped with a housing protected from moisture and dust, which is also not afraid of sudden changes in temperature and significant mechanical impacts. These qualities help the devices to work properly for a long period. Most often, the service life of such optics is 10-12 thousand hours. With proper care and careful operation, this figure can increase to 15,000 hours.
- All manufacturers of models in the Gen 3 category are trying to minimize power consumption and increase battery capacity. Thanks to this, devices can work for many hours without recharging. Also, some models are equipped with special connectors for connecting additional (external) power sources.
There are many legends about fourth-generation NVDs. Initially, this category included the newest devices, which were to become a permanent attribute of military units. However, having studied and tested this equipment in detail, experts came to the conclusion that it should still be classified as Gen 3. Therefore, the appearance of the inscription “Gen 4” on the packaging of goods is just a marketing ploy. It is used by some manufacturers to increase demand for their products.
Features of models that some attribute to Gen 4:
- Devices that are usually referred to the fourth category are distinguished by their highest possible reliability. This is due to the manufacture of various optics parts from the highest quality materials, which are able to withstand heavy loads and long-term operation.
- All NVDs that were originally classified as Gen 4 have improved performance compared to previous generation models. However, these improvements are not as significant as the creators planned. However, they were able to provide a small performance boost to NVDs.
- An important feature of Gen 4 is their excessively high cost. Therefore, many users prefer to spend money on buying the best Gen 3 models with the possibility of further upgrades.
- Models that were originally attributed to Gen 4 are almost impossible to purchase. They are intended exclusively for military personnel and are made to order. However, devices that manufacturers call Gen 4 are widely available.
White Phosphor Technology (WPT)
WPT technology deserves special attention. Its appearance made it possible to create a separate category of NVDs, which is considered the most advanced. Thanks to this feature, devices that support WPT began to be actively introduced into various military units and police units. The principle of white phosphor technology is to form not a traditional image (most often green), but black and white. With it, it is possible to achieve a more natural display of details and increased contrast. It should be remembered that all NVDs with WPT are made on the basis of models of different generations. Therefore, such devices are gradually becoming available to ordinary users.
Recently, NVDs have become ubiquitous. With their help, they perform various work and come up with exciting entertainment. In such cases, devices of a certain generation will be most useful. Having learned the features of each of them, you will be able to find the best option for yourself and learn a lot of useful things from the world of NVDs.