Analog vs Digital Night Vision Monocular: A Comparative Analysis

Last Updated on March 9, 2021

Why the discussion of analog vs digital night vision monocular is important?

Well, night vision devices have significantly changed from their earliest stage. Now digital night vision technology comes with more opportunities than the older version.  So, you can easily use them for hunting, shooting, scouting, wildlife observing, and almost all sectors of night sighting. However, there are many night vision technology lovers, who still prefer older models.

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As there are analog and digital models available, it’s a high priority to know the facts that make them dissimilar from each other. That’s why we’ve decided to discuss the pros and cons of analog and digital night vision monocular in a comparative way. Let’s explore the essential guidelines and enjoy it!

Analog Vs Digital Night Vision Monocular

Analog vs Digital Night Vision MonocularThe Analog night vision method has some limitations, still, these devices are in service. In contrast to that, digital night vision monoculars (top ones) overcome most of them, but there are few shortcomings too.

So, which one is better either digital or analog night vision? Truly, it’s tough to say which technology is the best or worst. This depends largely on your budget, the purpose of using, skill, and many more things.  In the next section, we’ll explain all the facts.

Analog Night Vision Monocular

Analog night vision is called analog as this is the former version of digital night vision technology. This is sometimes mentioned as a traditional or standard night vision. Analog NVDs aren’t the opposite of the latest night vision devices. But both of them have some dissimilar features.

Traditional night vision devices use image intensifier tubes to run its function.  One of the great benefits of using this technology is that it gives you a more natural view than the digital model. This will allow you to spot targets easily without making a significant strain on the eye. The upgraded NV monoculars are good for military and tactical tasks.

Besides, these analog devices will give longer range viewing especially when you go for the higher generations. As this true night technology uses an IR illuminator, so these devices won’t drain battery life soon that digital devices do.

How Does Analog Night Vision Work?

The conventional night vision technology largely relies on external light sources such as moonlights, streetlights, or infrared. First of all, light enters the front lens and goes through the tube to change light photons into amplified electrons. After that, the enlarged electrons strike the screen micro-channel plate then send them to the eyepiece. And finally, the visible light is seen through the eyepiece.

Normally, the eyepiece is constructed from green substances, that’s why you can see green images. In the same way, red or other color images are formed and seen.


  • Ensures natural vision
  • Provides great battery life
  • High-resolution image outputs
  • Advanced generations cover a higher range


  • Earlier generations don’t work in the daytime
  • Can be obscured with dust, smoke, and fog
  • Upgraded models are expensive
  • Earlier versions can’t record videos

Digital Night Vision Monocular

Digital night vision technology has been released in the last decade but it’s very popular due to its affordability. Digital devices will allow you to see targets at day or night where most of the traditional ones won’t allow seeing in the daytime. Intensifier tubes may lose their effectiveness over time but digital models won’t do that.

Digital night vision monocular usually provides less quality image compared to the traditional versions. You can get images here like Gen I and Gen II analog night vision devices. Most of them have audio, video recording, and other advanced options.

How Does Digital Night Vision Work?

Digital night vision devices work in a different way than the regular image intensifier tubes. This technology uses an optical signal and converts it into an electrical signal through processing. The signal is processed through CCD (charged coupled device) or CMOS (complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor) image sensors.

The CCD and CMOS sensors have millions of small pixels that collect the incoming light. Each pixel then takes value in the sensor and converts it as a picture on the screen. The screen is the most important part that creates a digital image in the digital NVDs.


  • Affordable than analog NVDs
  • Provide great vision for day and night
  • Durable than the conventional version
  • No need for ambient light sources


  • High power consumption
  • Poor image quality than digital NVDs
  • Not good for tracking and moving objects


Both analog and digital NVDs have good and bad sides. So, which version do you prefer, it’s up to you. For your easy understanding, we want to remind you of the highlighted words. Digital night vision technology is good for usual use for day and night, affordable price, and recording facility. On the other hand, higher generations’ analog night vision will be the right choice for military use with head mount options, high-resolution images, and more range covering features.

After learning the differences between analog and digital night vision technology, you should deliver the knowledge to others. And don’t forget to consider these features while choosing the greatest night vision monocular.

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