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Now that we know all about the subject (??) we can have our say.
As professional user of both Thermal and Image Intensifying night vision equipment. My views are ....
While there is a place for both types, I state without hesitation that Thermal is by FAR the most workable option.
Thermal will not see through glass, it means you either need to be looking through an open window or exiting the vehicle.
For shooting ? Personally, I don't normally recommend shooting through closed windows!
When making observations from a fixed place, ie, a stationary vehicle, then an image intensifying device such as a Gen 3 PVS 14C, may be invaluable, as this will allow you to see through a glass window but with a reduced sensitivity.
(You WILL NEED Gen 3, as any initial lower light magnification, coupled with the loss through the glass, will result in an image too dark to be of any practical use).
I admit that throughout these pages I have always promoted Thermal as the best option and I will always have that view.
When it comes to "taking a shot" a thermal scope will ALWAYS out perform an Image intensifying scope. Thermal will show up trees, bushes etc. not just "hot" objects, all objects will "show" some degree of heat.
Digital?? Yes well, it can have extremely good resolution (image) but due to the fact it requires huge amounts of infrared to provide any sort of detection distance it has the problem of nocturnal animals being able to see infrared light. This does NOT mean only the "red glow" (to extremely bright red light), from the illuminator.
In time, this will produce no better results as happens with a spotlight.
Yes works for while then it will prove to be a poor choice.
WHY WOULD YOU PAY MONEY FOR A NIGHT VISION DEVICE AND THEN BE REQUIRED TO SUPPLY A "LIGHT" TO MAKE IT WORK????
Image intensifying, even Gen 3 with all it's praises and high resolution, in most cases, will NOT permit you to distinguish your target from the background, even in open places, unless the target is of a HIGH contrast to the background !
It will not "see" in shadows or dark places as it MUST have some type of light.
It has very LOW detection range compared with thermal.
Also has the same problem when additional Infrared light is used, just as digital has.
Thermal CAN see into shadows and dark places as NO light of any kind is needed in any situation.
Good quality thermal products will always out perform Image Intensifying, including military grade products.
With any product you need to think carefully about specifications, as they do govern what a device can do, eg. FPA size and lens focal length (optical magnification) etc.
Be aware that cheap models, especially the Chinese products currently flooding the market recently, are plagued with various problems, such as poor performance, quality and commonly, the loss of POI (zero) with rifle scopes.
So, when deciding what to purchase, always buy the best you can. If the problem is cost and you think OK I will get something that I can afford now but not that I am really happy with.
DO NOT do it. Wait until you can afford what will do the job properly. Otherwise you will always regret the purchase and rightfully blame it for poor results.
Once you have spent your money it is gone for good, as you will have trouble reselling a low end product, because who else will want it if you consider it is no good?
Another point to consider carefully, is that if you are engaging in long sessions of observation, it is HIGHLY beneficial to use a binocular type of device.
This does not matter whether it is a true binocular, or one that just uses both eyes at the same time.
This comes about because we do not see with our eyes ????
No our eyes are lenses that conduct electrical information to the brain only, and the brain "sees" for you. A long subject and you may need to talk to a specialist for details.
Using both eyes for these long sessions will prevent eye strain and the resulting headaches.
Night time demonstrations using basic Gen 1 Image Intensifying and high spec Gen 3, as well as commercial grade Thermal, up to and including Military grade can be arranged at no cost (depending on location).
Site updated, SEPTEMBER 22, 2021.