written by: Claudine Baugh•edited by: Amy Carson•updated: 2/14/2011
Night vision goggles are optical instruments that are used to see images clearly at night. High tech NV goggles are equipped with an eyepiece, image intensifier (photocathode) tube, infrared illuminator, telescope lens, power supply, protective (water resistant) casing and a mounting structure.
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How Night Vision Goggles Work
When using spy gear night vision goggles, existing night ambient light such as the moonlight, starlight and infrared light are refracted by the front lens of the device then directed into the photocathode tube that changes protons in the light to electrons. This process amplifies the electron to a much greater number. A phosphorus screen then changes the amplified electrons back into visible light, which then becomes visible through the eyepiece. This makes images appear clearer, green- hued and amplified.
In completely dark environments where there is absolutely no ambient light the night vision goggles would be useless without the built-in infrared illuminator. The infrared illuminator sends out an invisible beam of infrared light that the night vision goggles detect then transforms into visible light.
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Types of Night Vision Goggles
To breakdown the different types of night vision goggles is quite straightforward. However, to assess all the various models, versions and brands is incredibly extensive. Basically there are two general designs of spy night vision goggles- Monocular and Binocular. Monocular is a single eye goggle and Binocular has dual eye viewing.
In terms of performance regarding optical clarity, visual quality, target detection and technical ability we differentiate between devices by a categorization referred to as ‘generation’. Night vision device generation advances from 1 to 4 with 4 being the most sophisticated technology.
Generation 1 technology is very popular, it will amplify existing light several thousand times so users can see objects brighter and sharper in dark conditions. These units can view objects as far as 75 yards in pitch-dark conditions and much further in ambient conditions at a low cost.
Generation 2 technology is a modified version of the generation 1 device with the addition of a micro channel plate (MCP). The MCP produces many more thousands of electrons thus amplifying light many more times than the generation1 giving you brighter and sharper imagery. In pitch dark conditions objects can be seen 100 yards away and much further when there is ambient light.
Generation 3 technology is more advanced with the addition of a gallium arsenide layer to the photocathode tube. This produces brighter and sharper images. These devices can see up to 150 yards away in pitch-dark conditions and further with ambient lighting.
Generation 4 technology is the most advanced form, succeeding all other generations of night vision optics available. Its capabilities are improved by the subtraction of the ion film barrier and gating the system. Its overall visibility and target detection is considerably higher and puts it at the top of the tactical night vision market. In pitch-black conditions it typically reaches a distance of 200 yards or further, with considerable ambient lighting it can provide visibility of up to 1000 yards or more depending on the environment.
Continue to page 2 for our list of the top night vision goggles.
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Top Spy Gear Night Vision Goggles include the Night Vision Stealth View Monocular Goggle, Night Scout Night Vision Goggle, Night Vision Goggle 7 (NVG 7), The Viper 1 and Night Optics D-112MG Goggle. Incredible optic capabilities for multi purpose night vision tasks.
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Night Vision Stealth View Monocular Goggle
We begin our list with the night vision stealth view monocular goggle.This phenomenal device uses generation 2 and 3 optics to highlight images with a powerful infrared spotlight. In extreme darkness and at long ranges, this scope produces a view that is sharp and exceptionally clear. This optical device is known for turning night into day with its advanced light-gathering technology.
Additional features include
5x magnification viewing
Two infrared illuminators
Automatic illuminator when the device is ON
Images comparable to Gen 2 & Gen 3
In-view micro display
Powerful infrared spotlight
600-feet viewing range
Built-in tripod mount
2-hour continuous run time w/ IR on and 8 hours without IR
Night scout NV goggles provides optimum clarity and distance with its high-resolution 1st generation intensifier tube, this produces exceptional light amplification and provides up to 5x magnification with its heavily coated glass lens. It has sensors with a computerized proximity detector that turns the unit on when in use and off when it is not.
This night vision goggle comes with built-in high-grade 18 mm generation 2 and 3 image intensifier tube and utilizes an attractivebinocular design. It has a built-in infrared light source for close-up illumination in complete darkness.
Continue to page 3 for more great night vision equipment like binocular goggles, rifle scopes, and more.
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Top spy gear night vision goggles continued, These include the PVS7-CGT Night Vision Binocular Goggle, Digital Night Vision Rifle Scope and the Digital Night Vision Ranger Monocular Goggle. Amazing features for military purposes to recreational hunting activities, easy to use and dynamic capabilities.
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PVS7-CGT Night Vision Binocular Goggle
The PVS7-CGT is a robust and dependable night vision binocular with all-glass optics and a high quality 2nd generation light intensification system. It is less dependent upon ambient light and as such produces clearer images with less distortion. The binocular configuration offers a greater sense of depth perception; this results in an enhanced sense of dimension within the scene, and longer term viewing comfort.
This device has a built-in infrared illuminator to supplement low light conditions. The riflescope optic system employs an internal click stop focus position mechanism. Images are clear at extremely short distances and the quality is optimized at longer distances within the working range of the night scope.
Additional features include
Windage and elevation adjustable switch
Weaver scope mount rail (7/8")
Activator switch for built-in infrared illuminator
Brightness adjustment wheel
Inversion button converts color images to black to white.
External video socket for video recording and or playback
The night vision ranger provides clarity of the generation two’s powerful optic magnification. It has one of the most powerful infrared illuminators ever released on the commercial market and has the capability to hook up to a television or monitor for an incredible observation experience. With its dual built-in stealth invisible infrared illuminators, it offers higher magnification and provides superb details.
Additional features include
Resolution of 40 lp/mm, w
Comparable Gen 2 and Gen 3 night vision devices
Day & night operation
Dual stealth invisible IR system
Image projects onto internal LCD screen
Enhanced multi-coated lenses
Extra long distance viewing, effective over 300 yards
Direct video recording output
Punch button On/Off with IR brightness adjustments
Contrast adjustment control
Fine focus knob
Long range focus adjustment
Image brightness and clarity- comparable with Gen. 2 optics