Types of Night Vision Devices: You Will Get Overwhelmed

Types-of-Night-Vision-DevicesNight Vision Devices were first introduced in the Second World War and largely used in the Vietnam War. Since then, the night vision technology aka generations as well as various devices has evolved greatly. At first, these devices were mostly used by soldiers and not so available for general people. But with time the scenario has changed a lot. Now you don’t have to be a soldier necessarily to get access to night optical devices.

You can get most of the upgraded devices in the market. But before spending your valuable money, why not have some basic ideas on those devices, their types, and usage?

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Night Vision Applications

Actually, the use of night vision technology is limitless. Yet we are mentioning some aspects of use to give you an idea of main fields where night sight optics play a vital role.


Now you know that the amazing history of night vision started in war. So in the very beginning night, vision devices were used mainly by the military to find out the enemies at night, to survey the surroundings, supervise tactical operations etc. These devices greatly help snippers to turn down enemies from a safe distance.


After that, with the improvement of the night vision technology, the use of those devices and availability increased a lot. Wildlife observer started using them for watching nighttime wildlife. Thus they gathered amazing experience about night vision.


Hunting is a great hobby and to find out some specific animals you may have to go out for the night. In that case, without a perfect device, you will not be able to see clearly at night let alone hunt down the desired animal.

Search and Rescue

Rescue operations have gained much more success with the night vision technology. During calamities or searching in a destroyed area, these devices help a lot to find out alive people and rescue them.

Law Enforcement, Surveillance, and Security

With the ease of access to night vision, now CC tv cameras and other surveillance devices can easily monitor the areas clearly even at night. This helps law enforcing agencies to prevent mishaps and take necessary steps to find out the guilty ones.


Kids and youngsters are kind of addicted to night vision. Whenever they hear night vision, they think of famous games or movies mostly. Parents can gift them affordable yet handy NV devices to play in the outside, observe night vision and so on.

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Types of Night Vision Devices

There are various types of night vision gears. They are different in their appliance as well as in their handling ways. Some are solely for tactical operations; some are perfect for normal use while some are built to face the toughest environment.

The main categories are:

  • Scopes
  • Goggles
  • Binoculars
  • Monocular
  • Cameras
  • Glasses



Scope is the common name of the telescopic sights. They are one eyepiece. Though you can use them handheld, mostly they are used mounted on firearms, particularly rifles. So basically, scopes are used by snipers, hunters, and soldiers.

Scopes have different versions according to night vision generations. Some are affordable while OK and others are pricey while from the latest generation.

Night vision scopes enable snippers to run successful hunt on prime targets. In warfare, scopes play vital roles. Besides, hunters can take down almost any animal at night.

Telescopic sights are differentiated and classified on optical magnification and objective lens diameter, e.g. 10×50 meaning 10 times magnification with a 50 mm objective lens. The larger the objective lenses are, the more light will be gathered. Therefore, you will get a brighter image. For fixed magnification scopes, you have to choose one according to your need.

Optical Parameters

Scopes are designed for dedicated purpose with specific parameters. Those parameters are:


This means the linear magnifying power of the scopes which is calculated by dividing the focal length of the eyepiece with the focal length of the objective. For example, magnification factor 10 means that it will produce an image as if one were 10 times closer to the object. Larger magnification comes with a smaller field of view and lower magnification leads to less vulnerability to shaking.

Objective Lens Diameter

It is measured in millimeter and defines the diameter of the lens. It defines how much light will gather to form an image. Larger diameter gathers more light.

Field of View

The amount of area through which viewers will see the surroundings can be measured in the linear value of angular value.

Exit Pupil

Exit pupil is referred to as the virtual aperture of an optical system. And aperture means a hole or an opening through which light passes. Sometimes exit pupil is also referred to as the diameter of the virtual aperture. Viewers can see only if light passes through this aperture.

Eye Relief

Eye relief denotes the distance from the last surface of an eyepiece through which viewer’s eye can obtain the complete viewing angle. Viewers will have a reduced field of view if their eyes are outside of that distance. Eye relief decreases with the increase of magnification and field of view.

There are some other important factors of a scope like the main tube, reticles, parallax compensation, adjustment controls etc. We will not jump into details here. But you can check telescopic sight.

Before buying any night vision scope you must consider the following,

  • Magnification range
  • Zoom level
  • Battery duration
  • Eye relief
  • Day night mode
  • Generation
  • Built-in IR or not
  • Waterproof or weatherproof
  • Types of reticles or crosshairs

If you are not a hunter or sniper, yet still very eager to experience the night vision through the scope you can make a night vision scope yourself. Check this amazing video

Generations of night vision device defer from each other largely. Normally, you will get much more features with the higher generation. But the price goes higher too. So before jumping into a decision, know your requirement, do as much research as you can. Hopefully, you will get the best device for your money.



In general, protective eyewear that is used in chemistry laboratories, woodworking to prevent eyes from being harmed by water, chemical or other things are referred to as goggles or safety glasses. They are also widely used in swimming, snow sports, drill works etc. But when you refer goggles as NV devices, they are taken as a pair of a single piece which is mostly used as helmet-mounted night vision devices.

Most of the time whenever night vision goggles are mentioned, famous game scene or movie clips come into our mind where targets or enemies are taken down heroically in the pitch black night just because of perfect night vision goggles. All these scenes have created great enthusiast among general people to experience night vision.


Night Vision Goggles are perfect for military or wildlife observer, nighttime watcher. In easy terms, for night time observation or secret operation. Keeping that requirement in mind, most of the night vision goggles are designed in such a way that, they can be used handheld, head mount or helmet mount. But one thing that should be kept in mind that, all the night vision goggles do not permit all three options above mentioned. Some are to be only used as a head mount and not a handheld, some can be used both head mount and helmet mount.

Most of the devices from the latest generation come with head mount gear with the package. So you don’t have to bear the additional cost for a head mount. To avail this opportunity, you should check about the package including before buy. Also, try to choose the device with the handsome amount of battery backup and with most available battery type. You will hate to look for batteries in dire necessity.

You will be astonished by so much variety of night vision goggles. And there are night vision and infrared goggles as well. That means, buying a perfect one can be a real challenge. To pass that challenge easily you can check our review on best night vision goggles with outstanding buying guide.

Goggles are to be your perfect match if you want to move while observing at night or are on a mission. That’s why most of the goggles are with 1x magnification. Magnification more that 1x causes serious problems while moving at night. Besides, you can use goggle while using a rifle or bow. So you can use goggles as your ultimate night vision device.

Night Vision Monocular and Binocular

Monocular is single eyepiece while binocular is double or dual eyepiece. Each of them has specific application and is best in their places.

The discussion about night vision monocular and binocular, their difference and which one is better in what type of condition, all these demands a separate article.


Generally, cameras are used for capturing or recording images. But cameras play a vital role in case of security and surveillance. And, night vision cameras have made a great role in the security sectors. Like other NV devices, night vision cameras use infrared light to show the dark areas.

Night vision cameras can be classified into two major types. One is indoor night vision camera and the other is outdoor night vision camera. From their name, it is clear where they are used.

With time, night vision cameras have improved greatly. We will write a detailed guide on best night vision cameras along with buying instructions.

The important factors of night vision cameras are

Infrared Sensors

Cameras with more infrared sensors produce a better image. And, it also defines how far the camera can cover.

Image Quality

It is well known that image quality depends on resolution. The better the resolution, the higher quality image or footage you will get. It is suggested to have at least 720p or higher resolution.

Field of View

Surveillance or night vision cameras should have a wide field of view. Otherwise, you can miss important targets and criminals can use the blind spots of the camera.

There are enough night vision cameras to make it challenging for almost anyone to buy a perfect night vision camera. If you are clear about your requirement whether you need an indoor or outdoor camera, resolution, field of view etc. then the purchase is a piece of cake for you. Otherwise, you will face some challenge. Good luck.

Night Vision Glasses

HD Night Vision Driving Glasses for for Men Women - Polarized Safety Glasses for Outdoor Activities

Everybody is familiar with sunglasses. In terms of night vision glasses, you can imagine tinted sunglasses. Most commonly the tinted color is yellow. There is a good reason behind using yellow color. Though yellow cause color distortion, during night time all the colors get dimmed gradually. But yellow is more effective in low light condition. Besides, night vision glasses are made for driving and yellow tint protects eyes from light glare.

The important factors of night vision glasses are

  • Polarized Lens
  • UV Protection
  • Lens Material
  • Lens Tint
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Safety Measures for NV Devices

Your NV devices are not only very expensive but also complicated and sensitive. To make sure your favorite device can have a long life you must know the risk factors for NV devices and always avoid those situations. You can also follow night vision forums to have an in-depth knowledge. Here, we will talk about the basic safety measures for night observation devices.

Bright Light

The main thing of a night vision instrument is the tube through which the magic is done to generate a perfect image. In short, the magic is, photos from material hits photocathode and electrons released, then the electrons pass through microchannel plate, gets amplified and passed to a phosphor screen. Then they become photons again and viewers get the night vision version finally.

The tube is actually very much sensitive to bright light. Even too much bright light can eventually destroy the tube system.


To protect your device from sudden exposure to bright light, you should buy the devices that come with auto cut off feature. This features completely shuts down your device whenever it is exposed to bright light. Also keep in mind that, not all devices have this feature.

Rough Weather

Since you will use NVD during the night, it is quite evident that you will fall in rough weathers like fog, rain, desert storm etc. You will definitely not like to spend money on such a device that is vulnerable to this type of situation. Good news is that most of the devices from the latest generation are made to face rough weather easily.


Buy weatherproof devices. You can get waterproof and other situation proof devices very easily with a little bit extra money. Not only that, devices come with IPX rating. You should also check that before buying any device.

To have a better understanding of your devices, check our article on how night vision works.

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So far this was our primary discussion on different types of night vision devices. We hope experts will find something new or interesting in our article, while beginners will be overwhelmed with the depth of night vision technology and devices.


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