FAQs

  • How far can I see at night?
  • What’s the difference between night vision and thermal?
  • What does “autogated” mean?
  • What is Manual Gain Adjustment?
  • Why don’t you sell “generation 4” and what are “filmless” generation 3 tubes?
  • What are White Phosphor tubes and is the black and white image better than the traditional green color?
  • What does it take to export NV or thermal?
  • Why do I need an Infrared Illuminator?

How far can I see at night?

There are many variables to consider that can affect visible distance with a Night Vision device.  First, what are you trying to see?  The larger the object the easier it is to see.  What are the lighting conditions?  The more ambient light you have, the more you will be able to see.  You can always see further under moon and/or starlight.  Generally, you should be able to tell the difference between male & female figures at around 75-100 yards.  Remember – Night Vision Technology is meant to help you see in the dark, but not necessarily long distances like with binoculars.

What’s the difference between night vision and thermal?

Night Vision operates on the principle of light amplification; Thermal Imaging is a technology that creates a photographic image or video sequence of light emitted by an object at terrestrial temperatures (Heat Signature).

What does “autogated” mean?

Auto-Gating constantly operates to improve the quality of the image, not only during day-night-day transition, but also under dynamic lighting conditions.

When the power supply is “auto-gated,” it means the system is turning itself on and off at a very rapid rate.  This, combined with a thin film attached to the microchannel plate (an ion barrier) reduces blooming.  While “blooming” can be noticeably less on systems with a thin film layer, systems with thicker film layers can be perfectly acceptable depending on the end user’s application.  Deciding which night vision goggle is better should not be based solely on blooming.

What is Manual Gain Adjustment?

Some of the scopes you will for sale on our website feature Manual Gain Adjustment.  This control knob basically gives the user the ability to increase the “gain” or electronic amplification of the video signal.  The intensity of voltage delivered to each individual pixel is increased and the result is a brighter image. If the scope does not feature Manual Gain Adjustment, then the scope utilizes some form of automatic gain that attempts to compensate for different environments of light exposure.

Automatic gain is generally acceptable for normal use.  There are times however when some users find that an automatic gain setting “over” or “underexposes” an image and Manual Gain gives them the option to adjust for the best image.  It should be noted that one side effect of increasing the Manual Gain too much is that the image noise increases (becomes grainy).

Why don’t you sell “generation 4” and what are “filmless” generation 3 tubes?

Most of our Generation 3 tubes are now available in a filmless tube version.  Research innovators have now perfected the latest step in night vision technology by removing the ion film barrier within the night vision tube.  Previous attempts at removing the film were inaccurately dubbed as “Generation 4” technology by a major company within the industry.  In truth, the U.S. military contract was terminated because the process left the tubes too fragile for normal use.  Now that the manufacturing process has been perfected, a robust Generation 3, filmless tube is available.  The result is a more crisp image with less “halo effect” around bright lights, greater light sensitivity, and generally a greater signal-to-noise ratio.

There are four Generations of night vision; however, they are Gen 0-3, not Gen 1-4.  Historically, the U.S. Army has defined each Generation of night vision. In the late 90’s the Army did define Gen 4 as the removal of the ion barrier film creating a “filmless” tube.  This new advancement was to reduce halos while increasing sensitivity, signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and resolution, for overall improved performance.  While performance was improved, the lack of an ion barrier in Gen 4 tubes led to high failure rates, ultimately leading the U.S. Army to recant the existence of the Gen 4 definition.  Now that we’ve seen the latest advances in filmless tube manufacturing, the Army has still not reapplied a “Generation 4” designation.  We caution customers to be aware of advertising gimmicks from other companies that label their products as Generation 4 because they’re not being entirely genuine.  However, if there truly was an official “Generation 4”, the filmless tubes would receive that rating.

What are White Phosphor tubes and is the black and white image better than the traditional green color?

Recently, night vision tube manufacturers developed a white phosphor tube which projects in black and white.  Gradations of black and white are preferred over the traditional green color by many who report the new white phosphor tubes are less straining to the eyes during extended viewing and users are able to detect a greater range of detail and contrast over green.  Customers occasionally report that they find the white phosphor tubes to be less bright initially.  After a few minutes however, their eyes adjust and they’re able to see greater contrast.  When they look away from the eyepiece, they report less temporary night blindness which is more noticeable with green tubes.

What does it take to export NV or thermal?

With the United States, most thermal equipment and night vision equipment of Generation 3, 2+, and 2 technology are controlled by the U.S. International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).  Several agencies regulate the export of such military related technology and specific export permits are required if you are a U.S. citizen wanting to export the products or if you’re a non-U.S. citizen wanting to purchase.  Night Vision Ops does not sell ITAR controlled technology to non-U.S. citizens or export such technology if it requires an export permit.  When you purchase from us, you must agree and acknowledge that you are a U.S. citizen and will not transfer, allow access, sell, gift, or export to a foreign country or a non-U.S. citizen.  We are not currently registered brokers or exporters and therefore cannot participate in such activities at this time, although we may become registered in the near future.  If you are a foreign customer and would like to purchase ITAR products, we will refer you to the parent manufacturing companies of the products we sell and they can assist you.  Typically, a potential foreign customer will work with the exporter because they will know which agencies must be included in the application process.  You may also contact the offices of the U.S. Department of State’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC), the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), and the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).  These agencies have staff that can get you started on where to apply.  Their contact information can be found at the bottom of our Export Statement of Understanding that you agree to when purchasing from Night Vision Ops HERE.

The export process begins with applying for the export permit.  Although there is no fee for the license, the exporter may charge a processing fee for assisting in the paperwork filing.  The granting of the permit is not guaranteed and usually takes several months to receive final disposition.  Some factors that may determine whether the permit is granted include the country to where the product is being exported and the stated or proposed end use for the product.

If you are a U.S. citizen and intend on taking an ITAR controlled item to a foreign country and later returning with it, you may be eligible for a temporary export permit.  Make sure that you apply several months before your intended travel date because of the long delays in processing.  It’s crucial that you have the correct export permits before leaving the country or you could face federal felony charges with fees or imprisonment.

Why do I need an Infrared Illuminator?

An IR Illuminator is an ideal aid for extreme low light conditions.  It significantly extends the capabilities of weapon sights, observation devices, and photographic equipment.  Infra Red (IR) Illuminators emit an infra-red light that is nearly invisible to the naked eye, but your night vision device can see it.

Because the performance of any night vision or low-light CCD device is dependent on ambient light, magnification, atmospheric transparency, and contrast between the target and its background, an addition of the right IR Illuminator can significantly enhance visual acuity and extend detection ranges.