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Discussion Starter #1
I have been mulling over the idea of getting a pair. Ever sense I had Lasik on my eyes my night vision has gone to hell.

Thoughts or suggestions as to what to look for would be helpful.

Thanks
 

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In the Army I used the latest 3rd gen night vision. I mostly used AN/PVS-14 and they are really good, but not what you think. It's not like the movies, it doesn't turn night into day. I suggest trying them out before buying, you may be dissapointed. They work well if there is good lume, but if there is 20% lume or less, it's tough. Also, if you don't have cash to shell out, you'll have to settle for older gen (1 or 2), and they just downright suck.

http://www.opticshq.com/page/Optics/PROD/Night-Vision-Spotting-Scopes/PVS-14-SA

AN/PVS-7 were heavy they are 3rd gen and easier to adjust to, but they weigh 24 oz. Strap that to the front of your head for awhile.
 

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I have a Yukon night vision binocular. I've not used it a lot but when I did I thought it performed very well. Nice to have on board although not cheap.
 

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Dave,

Sorry about your night vision after Lasik surgery. They don't tell you that!

The early generations of night vision devices are pretty worthless. My wife gave me one some years ago...Russian made...and I tried them out underway and at anchor in the Caribbean and in the Chesapeake. Not much use. They are hard to use, extremely sensitive to extraneous light (which blocks what you're trying to see) and not much use in complete darkness.

So, IMHO if you're going to get some you'll need a recent generation model, and these are expensive.

One thing I've found that may be helpful: it's the rare sailor who has darkened his/her boat sufficiently to promote good night vision. Any light other than a dim red will kill night vision very fast. Even a bright red compass light or a red cabin light can be too much to retain your night vision. Once you've even glimpsed white light, it takes 10 minutes to regain any kind of useful night vision, and upwards of 30 minutes to regain full night vision.

Good luck to you; hope you find something useful.

Bill
 

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The higher generation ones are wayyyyy better. But like everything in life come at a price. They are good at seeing reflectors, lights, etc. But not great at just picking up long distance generic objects IMHO. However, you can get these sweet IR spotlights that will make night look like the surface of the sun through NV binoculars, and they take surprisingly little power.

http://www.nightvisionexperts.com/night-vision-illuminators.html

Pretty good explanation, and shows how expensive this equipment unfortunately is. Go somewhere and try each generation and see how low of a price you can get away with. I have poor night vision, so I have to have gen. 3.... not cheap.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000YQBQGW?smid=A3SPLR0MSOYZ8O&tag=dealtime-office-20&linkCode=asn

Appears to be a damn good deal
 

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Another point I forgot to mention about those spotlights, if you are ever in trouble, or a ship can't see you. Flash that light at them, if they have any sort of camera equipment or light enhancement equipment you will show up very well. Digital photocells are extremely sensitive to IR light, and you can actually make a super cheap basic night vision setup by removing the IR filter on any digital photocell, such as camcorders etc..
 

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Telstar 28
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There are two different type of night vision gear. One is image amplification, the other is Infrared. Both can be blinded by a bright light source, so be careful if you're looking at other boats or someone wielding a spot light.

Of the two, the IR gear is probably better, since you can get an IR spotlight to illuminate the area, people in the water show up very well, and they can see through fog, which the image amp gear can not.
 

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Can you take Gen 2+ or Gen 3 out of the country? I thought there were some tough rules about them leaving the US? Or was it about them being shipped/exported out of the US?? I cannot remember.

- CD
 

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CD—

From one of the NVG reseller sites:

Export Restrictions:
The U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. Department of State, Office of Munitions Control regulates our products. Due to this we kindly request that you read the below paragraphs regarding export regulations.
If you should have any questions or require additional information regarding export regulations please contact our knowledgeable and experienced staff or contact the:
U.S.Department of Commerce U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Industry and Security International Traffic in Arms Regulations
Office of Exporter Services: Office of Defense Trade Control:
PH (202) 482-4811 PH (202) 663 2714.
Website: http://www.bis.doc.gov Website: http://www.state.gov
Export Regulations:
Export of night vision equipment and optical sighting equipment is controlled by the U.S. Department of State Office of Defense Trade Controls, in accordance with International Traffic in Arms (ITAR), Title 22, Code of Federal Regulations Part 120-130 and/or the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) U.S. Department of Commerce.
It is unlawful to export, or attempt to export or otherwise transfer or sell any hardware or technical data or furnish any service to any foreign person, whether abroad or in the United States, for which a license or written approval of the U.S. Government is required, without first obtaining the required license or written approval from the Department of the U.S. Government having jurisdiction.
It is the Resellers/End Users responsibility to request and obtain export licenses for the export of the subject items, and to ensure that the requirements of all applicable laws, regulations and administrative policies are met.
Sales or transfers to entities on the List of Debarred Parties, Denied Persons list and Embargoed Countries are strictly prohibited.
These lists can be found at the above US Government websites or at the following links:
Denied Persons list:http://www.bis.doc.gov/dpl/Default.shtm
Unverified list: http://www.bis.doc.gov/Enforcement/UnverifiedList/unverified_parties.html
Entity list: http://www.bis.doc.gov/Entities/Default.htm
Specially Designated Nationals list: http://www.treas.gov/offices/enforcement/ofac/sdn/
Debarred list: http://pmdtc.org/debar059.htm
Nonproliferation Sanctions: http://www.state.gov/t/isn/c15231.htm
Embargoed Countries (see part 746): http://www.access.gpo.gov/bis/ear/ear_data.html
  • Export of GEN-3 night vision equipment from the United States without a valid export permit issued by the U.S. Department of State, Office of Defense Trade Controls is strictly prohibited.
  • Generation 4, autogated/filmless technology is not available for export.
Diversion contrary to U.S. law is prohibited.
Other Restrictions: Restrictions on the use of night vision with a weapon vary from state to state.
 

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Tundra Down
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Buy a night vision scope!

I found a good scope on a delivery I was helping with 5 years ago. The ease of spotting channel markers with them at night made it a must on my boat from that point on. You do need to be aware of bright shore lights if the channel you are following is close to shore. I became a fan after a new moon night passage from Boston to Newport through the Cape Cod Canal.

downeast450
 

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There are two different type of night vision gear. One is image amplification, the other is Infrared. Both can be blinded by a bright light source, so be careful if you're looking at other boats or someone wielding a spot light.

Of the two, the IR gear is probably better, since you can get an IR spotlight to illuminate the area, people in the water show up very well, and they can see through fog, which the image amp gear can not.


And of the two of them, IR is way more expensive. Stand alone IR binoculars, most commonly thermal imaging, are going to set you back.

"Cheap" thermal imaging cameras and binocs are $5000+

I remeber seeing an ad in the sail rags for a mounted IR camera system for the boat, anybody else remember seeing this ad?
 

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the pointy end is the bow
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I use a Gen 3 scope at work quite a bit. Plan on spending $3k for a good one. I've tried some cheap ones and they suck. I would go with a monocular rather than a binocular because when you drop the scope down after looking at something, all you see is green blur for a moment. At least with a monocular you still have one eye still adapted to the ambient light.

A good pair of 7x50 binoculars is as good as the cheap night vision.
 

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I use a Gen 3 scope at work quite a bit. Plan on spending $3k for a good one. I've tried some cheap ones and they suck. I would go with a monocular rather than a binocular because when you drop the scope down after looking at something, all you see is green blur for a moment. At least with a monocular you still have one eye still adapted to the ambient light.

A good pair of 7x50 binoculars is as good as the cheap night vision.
Good point, night vision kills your night vision. It's not as bad as looking at white light, but it does for affect you for about 2-3 minutes.
 

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Not to make a debte out of this, but to add to the discussion, as a US Citizen, you can buy gen 3. You can take it out of the country? But if you have it stolen outside of the US, how do you show that you were not in some way trying to sell it outside of the US?

Not trying to be argumentative, but that is a VERY expensive item that would seem to me to be a very sought after item in many other countries... maybe any other country.

Thought??

- CD

PS The thermal stuff is really cool. I have used them. You can actually see the footprint someone leaves behind after they have walked... even with their shoes on!!!
 

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I own a 1st generation night vision scope. It's useful for two things only:

1.) You can attach an infra red illumination device (basically an IR flashlight) and see very well through the scope while noone else can see the beam. This is only useful if you don't want someone else to see you seeing them in the dark. Otherwise, just use a regular flashlight and see even better!

2.) It will pickup lighted daymarkers on the horizon even if the light is faint and very far way better than you could spot it with the naked eye. I don't know how much value this is in practice though. The lights will all be green... even the red ones!

Other than that, these less-expensive devices are pretty much rubbish. Without the IR attachment, I can't see squat. If you REALLY want to see in the dark, GET FLIR!
 

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.......
- CD

PS The thermal stuff is really cool. I have used them. You can actually see the footprint someone leaves behind after they have walked... even with their shoes on!!!.....

If you look through a window, you can see your heat reflection on the glass from quite a distance away.


Gross thermal story:

One night in Afghanistan I was watching behind our compound in Tarin Kowt at some guys walking in a field. One dude stops, squats, and leaves his "thermal signature". He gets up like nothing happened and jogs back up to his buddies. His "signature" stayed hot for about an hour. Nothing like hot turds on a cold desert. The thermal scope that I was using was really incredible, great resolution, high zoom, built like a brick. It is still not available to civilians. Based on what else is on the market I would say it would cost $50,000 easily. It was a little heavy, but it was kick ass and well worth the weight.
 

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I own a 1st generation night vision scope. It's useful for two things only:

1.) You can attach an infra red illumination device (basically an IR flashlight) and see very well through the scope while noone else can see the beam. This is only useful if you don't want someone else to see you seeing them in the dark. Otherwise, just use a regular flashlight and see even better!

2.) It will pickup lighted daymarkers on the horizon even if the light is faint and very far way better than you could spot it with the naked eye. I don't know how much value this is in practice though. The lights will all be green... even the red ones!

Other than that, these less-expensive devices are pretty much rubbish. Without the IR attachment, I can't see squat. If you REALLY want to see in the dark, GET FLIR!
What is FLIR?
 

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FLIR is available for civil use, but crazy expensive, gen 4 is also now available, but also crazy expensive, gen 5 which is full color and "doesn't exist" well... good luck finding that.
 
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