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near IR night vision devices for seeing wildlife

see also:

  • do not look into IR illuminators at close range it may damage your eyes
  • do not aim IR illuminators at combustible materials at close range
  • IR cameras detect reflected IR light in wavelengths shorter than 1µm (eg. 850 or 940nm IR lamps)
  • on nights with a full moon, their benefit is largely restricted to the viewing shadow areas as naked eye sight will do pretty well on full moon lit subjects
  • thermal imaging devices detect subject radiated heat with IR wavelengths of 7-14µm which is VERY DIFFERENT technology and these have MUCH lower resolution but can measure temperature

Introduction to near IR night vision cameras (not thermal imaging cameras)

  • these require a near IR light source illuminating the subject which may be either:
    • daylight (digital only - daylight may destroy analog II devices)
    • moonlight
    • 850nm IR illuminator
    • 940nm IR illuminator (digital only)
  • near IR night vision devices may use one of the two different technologies:
    • digital camera sensor sensitive to IR light and no IR blocking filter
      • these can usually also record camera images and/or video to a memory card (usually 1080 or 720p)
      • most have a digital zoom option
      • some can be remotely controlled by WiFi
      • can generally use 940nm IR illuminators as well as 850nm
      • most are monochrome (usually green or gray scale) but some give colour imagery at night
    • analog image intensifier (II) tube technologies
      • much less power consumption than digital
      • newer ones still generally have higher resolution than current digital ones
      • II tube has less life span and efficiency falls over time - perhaps 5-10yrs
      • II tube will be destroyed if exposed to daylight
      • generally cannot use IR illuminators above 850nm (ie animals will see it)
      • lower end models are more sensitive to rifle recoil than digital
      • cannot record stills or videos
      • give monochrome green images (except for those with White Phosphor Technology (2QS and 3G) which give gray scale images)
      • Gen 0 - those developed prior to end of WWII
      • Gen 1 - those developed by US army for the Vietnam war and used a S-20 photocathode, their image intensifiers produced a light amplification of around 1000 but still require at least moonlight or IR illuminator (usually around 790nm)
      • Gen 2 - developed in the 1970's with improved image-intensifier tube using micro-channel plate (MCP) with an S-25 photocathode, which gave light amplification of around 20000, improving resolution and reliability; Useful range is generally up to 200m; Life expectancy is about 5,000 hours of use;
      • Gen 3 - developed in the late 1980's used MCP but now with used a photocathode made with gallium arsenide, light amplification is also improved to around 30000–50000, but required more power and had large halo effect; Sufficiently efficient not not require an IR illuminator or moonlight; Useful range is generally up to 300m; Life expectancy is over 10,000 hours of use;
      • Gen 3+ “3AG” “Gen IV” - developed in the 2000s with autogated tubes
  • most have an IR illuminator which can be turned on to vastly improve the image quality up to a reasonable distance - usually several hundred metres - depending upon IR wavelength which will also determine how discrete and invisible this illuminator is to the wildlife with the 940nm ones being the most discrete but least powerful in terms of distance and generally need a sensor with high sensitivity in the range of 900-950nm
  • some have a Picatinny Rail Mount to mount other devices such as an additional IR illuminator
  • these IR night vision devices are NOT designed as photographic tools - they generally have limited manual photographic controls and have relatively poor focus supports, no image stabilisation and relatively low level of image detail
    • if you want a photographic tool you will be better off using a large sensor mirrorless camera with IR blocking filter removed, but these are much bigger, heavier and more expensive
  • they are designed to visualise an animal in the dark and if it is close enough ascertain what type of animal it is and how it is behaving
  • at further distances, you may only see the animal's eyes
  • they are also very useful for detecting IR light sources
  • for the paranoid community, users will NOT be able to see into a dark room through a window from a distance even with a reasonably powerful IR lamp but they could do from a close distance of less than 10-20m

digital near IR devices

Colour monocular image devices

  • SiOnyx Aurora
    • for colour need some moonlight level of lighting
    • various models:
      • “Sport” 720p video, 0.9mp stills, IP67, 1“ CMOS sensor; IS; 16mm f/1.4 no optical zoom; up to 32Gb microSD; WiFi, tripod mount, USB-B charging, download, 2hr Li battery $AU639
      • ”“Black” as for “Sport” but 0.74mp stills and adds Picatinny Rail Mount, Full Color down to 2 millilux; $AU1179
      • “Classic” as for “Black” but 0.9mp stills adds GPS, Accelerometer & Compass $AU1429
      • “Pro” as for “Classic” more saturated colour; sharper more contrasty mono images, up to 256Gb microSD $A1699

Monochrome binocular goggles with IR illuminators

    • 840nm infrared LEDs for illumination - giving a quoted maximum range of 70m
    • 320×240 pixel screen; 10° angle of view
  • Nyte Vu NV60 night vision goggles
    • 800x225pixel view; 12V rechargeable battery;

Monochrome binocular cameras with IR illuminators

  • Solomark Night Vision Binocular
    • 720p; 4“ viewscreen; 31mm lens; 1/3-inch CMOS sensor; 4GB microSD card; 8xAA batteries;
  • Sightmark Ghost Hunter 2×24 Night Vision Binocular
    • 2xzoom 24mm lens; 2xAAA;

Monochrome monocular cameras with IR illuminators

  • Bushnell Equinox Z2 6×50 Night Vision Monocular
    • 1080P; WiFi, 6x opt. 50mm lens; IPX4; 1W 5-7deg 850nm illuminator; tripod mount;Picatinny Rail Mount 765g; 4xAA;
  • Bushnell Equinox Z 6×50 Night Vision Monocular
    • VGA; 6x opt. 50mm lens; IPX4; tripod mount;
    • $AU525
  • Bushnell 4.5×40 Equinox Z2 Digital Night Vision Monocular
    • 1080p; WiFi; 4.5xopt. 40mm lens; 1W 5-7deg 850nm illuminator; IPX4; 4xAA; tripod mount; Picatinny Rail Mount
    • 624g; $AU629
  • Bushnell Equinox Z2 3×30 Night Vision Monocular
    • 1080P; WiFi; IPX-4; 1W 5-7deg 850nm illuminator; 4xAA; 425g; $AU559
  • Hawke Nite-Eye 2000 5×40 Night Vision Monocular
    • VGA video; 40mm lens;
  • Yukon NVMT Spartan 4×50 Night Vision Monocular
    • 4x opt zoom 50mm lens; need to buy the 3v lithium battery as extra;
  • MINOX NVD 650 6X Optical Digital Night Vision Scope
    • 6x opt 50mm lens; 5mp stills; 720p; up to 32Gb microSD; 4xAA; 765g; mounting rail;
    • $AU869
  • Konus KONUSPY-10 1x-5x Zoom Digital Night Vision Monocular
    • 18mm lens no opt.zoom;
    • $AU845
    • 5W dual 850nm and 940nm IR illuminators (intensity adjusted each time you press IR button plus zoom by pulling out the front element) plus red laser pointer
    • 1-8x optical zoom 30mm lens; WiFi, USB charging high capacity removable 3.7V 21700A/18650 lithium battery giving 8-10hrs use; 353g w/o eyepiece and diopter lens; 430g; 1080 30P MP4; 214x103x58mm; can attach lens to rear optic of 35-48mm rifle scope; MF wheel; microHDMI out; up to 128Gb microSD; $AU496 excl. battery/SD card/rifle mount/adapter;
    • 7.7deg FOV; 28mm lens; VGA; WiFi streaming; up to 8Gb SD; 10deg 940nm IR illuminator up to 300m; 4xAA or microUSB ext. power;350g
    • $AU715
    • discontinued

Monochrome monocular rifle scopes

  • Pulsar Digex with 940nm IR Illuminator - N455 Digital Night Vision Scope
    • $AU2450
  • Pulsar Digex with 850nm IR Illuminator - N450 Digital Night Vision Scope
    • $AU2450
    • 940nm illuminator; 70mm f/1.2 lens; 1.15kg; HDMI out;

Monochrome monocular rifle scopes with video

  • Yukon Photon RT 6×50 Digital Night Vision Rifle Scope with WiFi and Recording
    • SVGA; 6x opt 50mm; 3 power level 940nm IR illuminator practically invisible with a naked eye and useful for 150-300mm; WiFi streaming and remote control; microUSB ext power; 930g; IPX5; 70mm eye relief;
    • $AU1199
  • PARD NV008P LRF Night Vision Scope
    • 5mp; 1080P; 800×600 EVF; WiFi; IPX7; requires ext battery charger NOT USB! 5W IR illuminator; Picatinny;
    • $A1445
  • Pulsar Forward FN455 Digital NV Scope Attachment
    • VGA video; detachable high power invisible IR illuminator (940 nm); 7hr battery;
    • $AU2450
    • 2021 model with 4K Sony sensor with 4K 60p video, color daytime mode;

IR illuminators

  • as with all light, the intensity of these lights decrease by a quarter (2 ISO stops in other words your will need an ISO 4 times higher) every time you double the distance from the lamp - the inverse square law
    • this also means foreground foliage will generally be very over-exposed and may cause your subject to be under-exposed significantly with automatic exposure digital devices - you can address this via:
      • using a digital camera with manual exposure controls, or,
      • using your IR lamp off-axis so it doesn't hit the foreground foliage
  • animals will easily see 850nm lamps and will generally be scared off
  • humans can still see 940nm lamps especially if they are zoomed in and aimed at the human
  • humans and animals cannot see the light on the scene from these IR lamps

IR torches

  • NB. green lights are used mainly for hunting hogs
  • Flir Armasight MSI8000 Long Range Infra-red Torch
    • IR or white LED; 3 power settings; $AU799
  • Sniper Hog light Coyote Cannon kit
    • interchangeable LED heads - R/G/W/850/940 $AU799 for a 4 color kit
  • AGM Sioux XLR850 Infra-red torch
    • 1W 4° to 35° beam; range to 1000m; 1×18650 battery; 225g; 153 x 48mm; $AU399;
  • Z-Vision - NV-303 - IR Illuminator (rotating pill Red, 850nm IR, 940nm IR)
    • red XP-E LED by Cree USA pill range is 500-600m (eye shine to 1000m)
    • 850nm OSRAM-LED pill gives up to 520m
    • 940nm OSRAM-LED pill gives up to 390m
    • dimmable and zoomable (flood to narrow beam); just rotate knob to switch LEDs on the fly;
    • 450g; websites don't mention output of LEDs but at 2.5hrs battery life on full, that puts them at around 4W?
    • $AU339 premium hard carry case with foam inserts and kit weighs 2kg including quick rifle mount, car charger, AC charger, 2 x 2900 Z-VISION 18650 Batteries, coil cord end cap on/off with intensity dial control;
  • Z-Vision DN-303
  • Predlight Trident 65mm Tri-LED Infrared, Red and Green Night Vision Illuminator Hunting Kit
  • Nitecore CI7 Dual 2500 lumen White and IR LED torch
  • Brinyte T28-IR zoomable 650 lumen white and infrared hunting torch
    • $AU220 579 lumen white with either 850nm or 940nm models; 18650;
    • $AU199 850nm only or 940nm only models (no switching); 18650; USB internal charging;
    • $AU179 850nm only or 940nm only models (no switching); 18650;
  • Unique Fire IR Illuminator
    • $AU100 excl. 18650 battery; 3 power levels; 40mm x 150mm; 174g excl. battery; 50-200m zoom range;
    • optional user-interchangeable LEDs - white, red, 850nm, 940nm (need special pliers to unscrew the front lens to change the LEDs)

IR driving lights

  • RIGID LED Lighting Infrared lights
  • INFRARED STRIKER LED – Infrared Driving Lights
    • 60W each, 850nm;IP68; 600m beam range; 1kg; 10-30V input (4.4A at 13.2V); Made in Australia;
    • Reduced radio interference technology allows you to operate communication equipment such as ham radios, CB and FRS radios static-free.
    • $AU970

IR 12V "security" illuminators for CCTVs

  • these generally have a female 2.1mm x 5.5mm 12V DC plug
  • most have ambient light sensors to automatically turn off in daylight
  • high output commercial
      • Not 12V! most are 24V, POE or AC panels with interchangable beams up to 500m range (10deg beam) with integrated Hot-Spot Reduction Technology (HRT) and optional remote controller, some have IP network remote controllers; 730nm, 850nm and 940nm versions; POE versions;
    • Securview 36 pc 1.6W LEDs 5A 60W Infrared Illuminator 2.9kg $AU310 excl. 12V 5A power supply
      • RC-VSIR60W120D 120 degree beam angle model; 75m range;
      • RC-VSIR60W60D 60 degree beam angle model; 170m range;
      • RC-VSIR60W30D 30 degree beam angle model; 280m range;
    • SecureView 12 pc 2.3W LEDs 28W 2.5A Infrared Illuminator 1.7kg $AU156 excl. 12V 5A power supply
    • SecureView 6 pc LEDs 11W 1A Infrared Illuminator 1.2kg $AU94 excl. 12V 1-2A power supply
      • RC-VSIR11W30D 30 deg beam gives range to 90m
      • 1.5A 18W 140 0.13W LEDs; 80deg beam reaching 30-40m; 850g;
      • 0.5A 6W 7 0.9W LEDs; 25deg beam; 3 lens options to give 30-80m; 2kg;
  • 850nm consumer residential models
    • range in price $AU30-50
    • 4 LED Dome lights; 2A; up to 30m range; optional beam angle lens cups;
    • 96 x 5mm 0.16W LEDs - 15W; 45deg beam angle; “80m range”;
    • larger 1.8W 1800-2000 lumen LEDs:
      • 8 LED = 15W 1.2A; central 15deg beam gives 50m; central 45deg beam reaches 30m;
      • 15 LED = 27W “30W” 2.25A; central 15deg beam gives 100m; central 45deg beam reaches 70m;
      • 20 LED = 36W 3A; central 15deg beam gives 120m; central 45deg beam reaches 90m;

IR blocking safety glasses

  • in case you are using IR or red (usually 635-660nm) lasers you may want protective glasses (most are around $AU230-270) such as:
  • NB. these safety glasses will generally reduce your night naked eye vision as they have lower visual transmissions and of course they will stop you seeing the laser beam!
australia/nearir_night_vision.txt · Last modified: 2021/09/10 18:30 by gary1

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