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Old November 14th, 2016, 00:21   #16
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Old November 14th, 2016, 01:04   #17
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Originally Posted by Ricochet View Post
- Gen 2+: This where shit gets good. Your images are cleaned up and you can semi-effectively move around and fight. Make sure you get a unit that works well with IR and has low noise. Now most tubes will have interference, look for units/tubes that don't have spots in the center area of the viewing area, but off to the side may be normal. They are certainly and investment, but don't have to be ridiculous. You'll still get blinded by flash lights though. (If your taking this seriously but don't want to spend a fortune, live here.)

- Gen 3: Definately a step up, but it's almost overshadowed by the massive price jump. Once again I'd go down or up instead of wasting my money.

- Gen 3+: These are very pricey but badass. Not all units are equal so do serious homework before investing, because even used units can be very expensive. If I was gonna bother going this big I'd get an auto-gating unit to cancel out unwanted light sources. The difference between one of these and any others is huge. (Want to kick absolute ass and love night vision long time? Got some extra thousands? You live you.)
I will firmly disagree. All NODs will get blinded by flashlights, not just Gen 2. Autogating exits for high end second gen units as well, and it helps with dynamic lighting conditions, but does not negate the effects of a light source directed at you.

Not all Gen 2+ is good. There is very good stuff, there is still bad stuff. I've looked through the shit stuff it was bad. I've also compared my teammate's civilian XD4 in a PBS-14 housing. Compared with my OMNI VI ANVIS setup and various PVS-14s, I was THOROUGHLY impressed. It is definitely as good as most of the Gen 3 out there, but you can see almost the same amount. Slightly worse in all categories, but I could still make out the important details and spot movement.

I'm going to assume you're talking about regular film non autogated compared to thin film and filmless autogated here. Thin film and filmless are a continuation of the development of NOD technology which will constantly raise the performance ceiling of tubes being manufactured. That does not however mean that there is no point in buying a non auto gated Gen 3 unit. Nick came across some OMNI IV(?) ANVIS tubes, the clarity and tube performance was very similar to VII spec tubes. There are lots of misconceptions surrounding the auto gating feature, I don't completely understand it myself. Yes it does help protect the tube, it does help with dynamic lighting conditions and maintaining resolution. It is not an absolute necessity. With a non autogated unit, you will still see in the dark, you will still frag, and you will be on a more or less even playing ground with the gucci autogated guys. Non autogated tubes still have automatic brightness control.

The thing about high end night vision is that as cost goes up, marginal gains decrease. Spending an extra thousand dollars on a super gucci Gen 3 setup compared to a more easily obtainable one does not mean you are going to tangibly see the add 1k benefit all the time. You will only really notice the difference some of the time in a few specific sets of conditions.

I have my eyes set on filmless white phosphor tubes some time in the future. I know for a fact that the actual field performance gains will be minimal in comparison to the cost difference, but some people just have to have their eyes set on the newest and coolest toys.
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Old November 14th, 2016, 01:29   #18
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As far as mounting hardware goes for monoculars, you have a mount and you have an adapter. The mount flips your NOD up and down on the helmet, the adapter has a screw that threads into your monocular, and it attaches to your mount. The adapter generally allows you to flip your NOD from right eye to left. I do not know much about mounting binoculars because I do not use them.

There are two common interfaces - dovetail and bayonet. Here are the most common mounts and adapters I've seen in Canada:

USGI Rhino Mount and J Arm
We sort of call these guys rhino plebs. The thing was designed to be cheaply made for regular ground forces. Bayonet clip interface is shitty and wobbles, J arm wobbles on both contact fronts. The mount uses detents, and flips the NOD up over top of the helmet for stowage. This can be problematic because it increases the visual signature of your head, makes it easier to bump into shit, and points your ocular lens forward - higher risk of getting shot out if you don't have a protector. At the end of the day, it puts the NOD in front of your face and you will frag people. It is not ideal.

Wilcox G24
This is what I use. Dovetail interface, functions as you would imagine a mount should. Machined out of aluminum, wobble minimized. Does not use detents, is button locked using a sliding mechanism. Height and pitch adjustments are friction locked, I have not had any issues with these coming loose. NOD is stowed in front of your helmet, tube will be pointed upward and slightly back. Less inconvenient stowage, and reduces chances of taking an ocular lens BB hit. Has a breakaway feature that I don't really think anyone uses.

Norotos AKA2
Dovetail, very similar to G24. Less wobble than G24, uses more friction locking mechanisms that I have seen come loose occasionally. Both spring detent and button locking mechanisms available, though I have only personally handled the push button version. Has two stow positions: in front of helmet, and above helmet.

Norotos INVG
Dovetail, most "acrobatic" of mounts. Basically a triangular pole on your head with spring loaded detents. Allows you to easily flip up and down, as well as swap NOD sides. Most notable feature is the low profile stowage. After you flip the mount up, you can turn it so the NOD is turned in closer to the helmet.

Wilcox J-Arm Dovetail Adapter
I run this, it is a pretty straightforward item, has a push button mechanism that swings the arm left and right. Uses a thumb screw to attach to the NOD. Smaller friction thumb screw adjusts the locking angle of the arm. Push button design results in a bit of wobble, though my main complaint is that once you adjust the angle of the arm for one eye, it will probably be off once you flip to the other eye.

Norotos Dual Dovetail Adapter
Unlike other arms, this one has virtually no moving parts. Main benefit is no internal wobble. Main complaint is bulk. Blocks peripheral vision a bit, and can get in the way of certain optic aiming methods. The older model actually has no moving parts, it is a block of plastic with two dovetail shoes and a phillips screw that attaches to your NOD. I do not like this, because if your NOD becomes loose during use, you can't tighten it without tools like you could with the Wilcox. To flip between eyes, you have to detatch and flip to the other dovetail shoe. Older model has no side to side adjustment whatsoever. I owned a newer model briefly to try, I ended up going back to the Wilcox arm. Newer model allows you to have side to side adjustment, but only on one side. How stupid is that? If you want the other side to be adjustable, you have to remove both dovetail shoes and swap the adjustable one with the non adjustable one. The adjustable shoe is just a friction locked clamp that locks on a rail.
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Old November 14th, 2016, 01:52   #19
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This thread is like Neighbors 2, the same as the first movie but with a few different people

autogating is a feature fitted to the power supply of the night vision device, it rapidly shuts off and turns on the unit, it massively reduces how much your tube will be washed out when exposed to bright lights, if youv ever looked at a bright light with a unit with ABC youll notice how everything around the light source goes dark as the ABC compensates, with autogating, the tube will do the same thing but youll be able to see a bit around the light source.

although this video is an advertisement it still demonstrates the usefulness of autogating, the first example demonstrates the bloom reduction and the second shows how it marginally increases the ability to see around light sources

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ijg3u3zoeJE
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThunderCactus View Post
I think that's the direction I should have gone with this one though.
gen1 - I can't see shit
gen2 - I see LOTS of green, but not many people
gen3 - Nobody wants to play with me because I'm an elitist asshole now

Last edited by BenG; November 14th, 2016 at 02:07..
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Old November 14th, 2016, 02:04   #20
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Man, all this great info in the comments. It's almost like someone should combine all that info to make a great FAQ. Maybe someone who knows NV inside and out....
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Old November 14th, 2016, 02:13   #21
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Kind of gross watching all the dick waving going on here... ugh. These threads are going to give everyone chlamydia. Thanks guys.
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Old November 14th, 2016, 02:48   #22
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Let’s do a quick summary:


Selecting a unit is something you are going to want to take great care in, it is most likely the largest expenditure into this sport you are going to make, get multiple sources of advice, as is clearly evident with this and the last thread, you can squabble for decades over the tiniest details and context is very important, which is also why unlike the last thread I have kept my personal inferences out and gone with what is the general consensus. Typically, high end gen 2 night vision is what is considered by many to be the entry level. The most common gen 2 night vision device, at least in Alberta is the night optics D300 SHP, they have great S/R and resolution for the price you pay they do have a noticeable edge distortion when panning, and these are usually only acquirable through the second hand market. The GSCI GS-14 is a readily available unit produced in Canada, although the S/R and resolution are not as good as the D300s they are very usable in airsoft and they can be sourced easily, and happily enough don’t have anywhere near as much edge distortion. Gen 3 is your end game with night vision, you can get commercial tubes with various branding, and military tubes, aka contract tubes aka Omni <whatever>. All contract tubes adhere to a minimum specification for their contract. When you are buying your tube, get the specs for the contract of the tube you are buying, go to the manufactures website and find the data sheet. Most importantly look through the tube you are buying, in good conditions and in bad conditions, it is truly the best measure of if a tube is worth it or not. Honestly if you can, rent night vision, its what I did to start, you get to use the unit for a game and see if it is usable to you. Youll find that certain aspects of a tube appeal more to you then others.

A few terms:

IIT, I^2 = image intensifier Tube
NOD = night optical device OR night observation device
NVG = night vision goggle
AG = auto-gate
MPC = micro channel plate
noise = in a NVG noise is similar to the static on your TV, as a NOD starts running out of light to amplify the image will start to get noisy and become staticy looking
S/R = signal to noise ratio the higher the S/R the lower the light level that can be reached before noise becomes an issue
lp/mm = line pairs per millimeter, the resolution of the night vision
gain = the amount of light amplification a NOD can do
FOM = figure of merit (calculated with (Lp/mm)*S/R = FOM) 1500 or less is exportable from the USA, gen 3 of any FOM is not permitted to export from the USA, ITAR and FOM is not an issue when importing from most of Europe
FOV = field of view

How does night vision work?

Night vision works by using three major components to focus and amplify existing light. The objective lens focuses light onto the IIT, the IIT amplifies the light and the eye piece focuses the output onto your eye. IITs work in various ways depending on the generation but the gist is photons enter the objective lens and strike the photo-cathode in the IIT, the photo-cathode absorbs the photon and releases a storm of electrons in the same pattern. this storm of electrons may or may not pass through a MPC depending on the generation of the unit which releases even more electrons, these electrons then strike a phosphorus screen that absorbs the electrons and releases photons that are then focused onto your eye via the eye piece.

Other functions in a night vision device:

Bright light cut off which will shut the device off if exposed to bright enough source of light.

Automatic brightness control is fitted to most gen 2 units and some gen 3 units (in the absence of manual gain), Automatic brightness control (ABC) varies the gain of the NOD depending on light conditions so that you never have too much gain and blind yourself, and it will also increase the gain if light conditions deteriorate. Manuel gain is fitted to high end gen 2 and gen 3, it allows the user to control their gain by hand, and allows for precise control over ABC, Manuel gain tubes are usually fitted with auto-gate.

Auto-gating is a feature fitted to the power supply of the night vision device, it rapidly shuts off and turns on the unit, it massively reduces how much your tube will be washed out when exposed to bright lights, if you’ve ever looked at a bright light with a unit with ABC you’ll notice how everything around the light source goes dark as the ABC compensates, with auto-gating, the tube will do the same thing but you’ll be able to see a bit around the light source.

although this video is an advertisement it still demonstrates the usefulness of auto-gating, the first example demonstrates the bloom reduction and the second shows how it marginally increases the ability to see around light sources

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ijg3u3zoeJE

Photo-cathode differentiation:

There are 2 types of photo-cathode, alkaline which is fitted to gen 1 and gen 2 and gallium-arsenide which is fitted to gen 3. the photo-cathode is important because it determines which kind of light wavelengths the unit is best able to amplify. the Alkaline in gen 1 and 2 is most sensitive to blue and green light and that is why gen 1 and 2 function best with moonlight because they require visible light to see (to clarify, if with your naked eye you can’t at least see your hand in front of your face gen 1 and 2 can’t see either). The gallium-arsenide cathode in gen 3 is most sensitive to IR light in the low 900nm, and this invisible light is what is most available at night and is why gen 3 can seem to find light even in the pitch black. If you’ve ever wondered why gen 3 is so expensive, it costs roughly 5000$ to produce an 8" wafer of gallium-arsenide.


As far as numbers go the big 3 are: S/R, Photo-sensitivity, and (lp/mm).

In my personal opinion, I wouldnt make due with anything less then the following, and I would consider these to be low stamdards compared to others here.

LP/mm > 40

S/R > 15 (my GSCI has a claimed S/R of 16-19 it does get noisy but the image has never gotten so noisy to the point I couldn't make anything out; I feel like personally anything less than this would be on my do not buy list)

It also should be noted that night vision ownership is not illegal, however it is illegal for units with a FOM of 1500 or more to cross the US border, it is also illegal for US gen 3 tubes to cross the border (between Canada and the US), that said once they are across, they are fair game. This is because of ITAR. FOM is a function of resolution and S/R (S/R*(lp/mm))=FOM.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThunderCactus View Post
I think that's the direction I should have gone with this one though.
gen1 - I can't see shit
gen2 - I see LOTS of green, but not many people
gen3 - Nobody wants to play with me because I'm an elitist asshole now

Last edited by BenG; November 14th, 2016 at 04:03..
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Old November 14th, 2016, 13:56   #23
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Or sell your cold war relic for $800

true that I did get a nice estate sale find and turned it around. You're just jealous.
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Old November 14th, 2016, 15:31   #24
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Kind of gross watching all the dick waving going on here... ugh. These threads are going to give everyone chlamydia. Thanks guys.
I disagree. Some of these guys have put plenty of time into their posts and are more respectfully disagreeeing then arguing. There's tons of good info on here and you should post what you know, especially if experienced. This thread is about NV, so large investment and high-tech-talk is going to happen, but it's better to get these opinions because these guys have used them. No one is going recommend buying shit on ASC, wether it's BBs, NVs, or anything in between. If you're reading this and thinking; "I can't afford this", then this thread isn't for you, but with rise in popularity and usefulness of imaging equipment in airsoft detailed threads are essential to school the laymen. A lot of respect is being paid here by peers.

On another note, quality and availability are important parts of buying gear, especially expensive gear. The purpose of my above post was to show the cost versus functionality of different levels of gear and what will be commonly seen. You can get lower end units and improve the tubes for instance, but seeing gen 2 units with auto-gating or even worthwhile auto-gating isn't common for instance. Plus the cost jump makes it almost worthwhile to go up to Gen 3s. Also, I've seen Gen 3 units that gated so well they could function in daylight. Jumping from Gen 1 to Gen 2 (assuming high quality) is like going from novelty to very reasonable usefulness and you could be happy living there, especially if paired with a solid IR emitter. In fact the only place you'd struggle is against far superior NV units. Then Jumping from Gen 2 to Gen 3 (once again assuming quality) is like going from 780p to 4K, it'll blow your mind. I do like that it's been pointed out that cheap arms and mounts are to looked out for. You wouldn't want to spend thousands and then improperly mounting it making it harder to use, or run the risk of having it break off, same as you don't spend thousands on a gun and protect it with a $20 case...well I don't anyways.

If you're gonna buy, use and/or carry anything in airsoft, you should do it right, not just do it for the sake of doing it. No matter what your budget or play style, NVs and related gear should be one of the last things you will invest in as they won't see much use (night/dark only).
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Old November 15th, 2016, 12:27   #25
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I think one of the main reasons for the disparity is the geographic locations of the various participants in this and other NV-related threads.

Southern Ontario has lately been in a sort of NV frenzy with equating to what feels like an arms race. Local buyers demand Gen3, gated units with no real understanding of what exactly they're buying - they only know that they must get it because "this guy has it so I have to get it too, or something better". I anticipate that we'll be seeing a lot of NV on the field in 2017 where Gen2 will no longer be competitive. The very definition of mid/high-end is constantly being redefined in the GTA. In 2016, thinfilm/filmless green tubes were the high mark, but now with white phosphor floating around, that has become the new high mark.

On the other hand, in Alberta and BC, I can see Gen2 still being quite usable as the handful of Gen3 units in use is still relatively small. Thus the requirements are lower.


The biggest underlying issue currently is prospective buyers' understanding of rudimentary foreign currency exchange and scarcity of supply relative to the quality they see (eg: "I want an autogated, OMNI7-equivalent PVS14 for under $3k") That having been said, if someone is looking for units to run in 2017, I highly suggest visiting the Classifieds right now as there are several very good units up for grabs. If the USD/CAD rate stays high, I don't anticipate being able to reproduce these prices come springtime.
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Old November 15th, 2016, 14:06   #26
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Technology race is the nature of airsoft and certainly one of the things I've always liked about it. I can't wait until everyone has thermal imaging drones that fire guided nerf rockets...??? Nobody else? Just me?
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Old November 15th, 2016, 14:21   #27
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Technology race is the nature of airsoft and certainly one of the things I've always liked about it. I can't wait until everyone has thermal imaging drones that fire guided nerf rockets...??? Nobody else? Just me?
It's nearer than you think.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8nMFvzZKKmk
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Old November 15th, 2016, 15:59   #28
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Originally Posted by EOD Steve View Post
I think one of the main reasons for the disparity is the geographic locations of the various participants in this and other NV-related threads.

The very definition of mid/high-end is constantly being redefined in the GTA. In 2016, thinfilm/filmless green tubes were the high mark, but now with white phosphor floating around, that has become the new high mark.

On the other hand, in Alberta and BC, I can see Gen2 still being quite usable as the handful of Gen3 units in use is still relatively small. Thus the requirements are lower.
In Alberta for the past 3 or so battlefields (both taber and the regular) weve typically had 10-20ish guys with night vision out of 100-170 players and roughly half to 3/4 has been of the gen 3 variety, if you had 100-170 players show up to a night game in ontario what portion, or how many players do you think would show up with night vision?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThunderCactus View Post
I think that's the direction I should have gone with this one though.
gen1 - I can't see shit
gen2 - I see LOTS of green, but not many people
gen3 - Nobody wants to play with me because I'm an elitist asshole now
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Old November 15th, 2016, 16:30   #29
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In Alberta for the past 3 or so battlefields (both taber and the regular) weve typically had 10-20ish guys with night vision out of 100-170 players and roughly half to 3/4 has been of the gen 3 variety, if you had 100-170 players show up to a night game in ontario what portion, or how many players do you think would show up with night vision?
That is a lot of "from" - "to" ranges, so maybe not that easy to compare...

... but in simple terms if all of our guys come out you are already at 10+ Gen3s, and there are multiple similar teams/groups of friends as well as many individual players on top of that around Ontario.
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Old November 15th, 2016, 16:52   #30
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That is a lot of "from" - "to" ranges, so maybe not that easy to compare...

... but in simple terms if all of our guys come out you are already at 10+ Gen3s, and there are multiple similar teams/groups of friends as well as many individual players on top of that around Ontario.

Yeah it is haha, so a real rough estimate of 2-3 times as much gen 3 in Ontario as Alberta
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThunderCactus View Post
I think that's the direction I should have gone with this one though.
gen1 - I can't see shit
gen2 - I see LOTS of green, but not many people
gen3 - Nobody wants to play with me because I'm an elitist asshole now
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