Our focus is to offer Night Vision Devices (NVD) and related accessories. By combining real experience with tech talk, we will give you a good picture what are the main differences between NVDs, which generation of Image Intensifier Tube is best for what and what benefits will come from using different accessories.
NV in Airsoft
During a night game a NVD can give you literally unfair advantage. You are able to see your opponents long before then can see or hear you. Independent of the generation of IIT (Image Intensifier Tube) you are using, with little skill you can outperform your opponents who are not using NVGs.
A bit about generations...
There are a lot of NVDs with Gen1+ tubes. But there is only one that we would recommend using in Airsoft. That is Armasight Core Spark. Whenever you buy a Gen1+ device for airsoft you must look for 4 things:
1) Edge Distortion (ED) – The main problem with most Gen1+ IITs is not its low light sensitivity compared to Gen2+ tubes, but edge distortion. Edge distortion does not distract when looking in one direction, but when moving around at night, ED will make your head spin, literally. Core Spark has removed edge distortion, dramatically increased photo-sensitivity and most importantly, almost doubled resolution up to 70 lp/mm! <- this beats most of Gen2+ devices.
Normal Gen1+ device
Armasight Core Spark
2) Lens protection / Sacrificial lens – If you buy something for Airsoft, please check that this device has means to protect your front lens.
3) Mounting options – Mounting your NVD to helmet makes life much more easier.
4) Tube durability – most of Gen1+ tube internal parts are made from glass. Glass brakes.
Why should you look for Gen2+ device?
Even though Core Spark has really good resolution (up to 70 lm / mm), good durability and low edge distortion, there still one big limitation. It needs IR light – Gen1+ devices don’t have MCP (micro channel plate) and therefore their light amplification is very limited. Usually this means that without additional IR light you will be able to see with your naked eye (when eyes are used to dark – adoption usually takes 30 mins) almost as well as with Gen1+ device.
NB! In real life the picture quality is much better than shown in the pictures. Have not found a good way to make high quality pictures yet with NVDs.
Prices and models:
- IIT: CORE (Ceramic Optical Ruggedized Engine) technology intensifier tube
- Green Phosphor
- Compact and robust design
- Head or helmet-mountable for hands-free usage
- Tube datasheet: No
- Weight: 370g
650 € (VAT inc.)
We truly believe that Gen2+ is the most you need for Airsoft. The main benefits compared to Gen1+:
1) MCP (Micro Channel Plate) – in short it multiplies light. A lot. With decent ambient light you can use Gen2+ without IR light. During most of our Airosft games we have not need IR light when playing with Gen2+.
2) It is smaller. N-14 is only 12cm long while Core Spark is 15cm. Also overall dimensions are smaller. It makes a big difference when mounting to helmet (check comparison pictures on the right).
3) Good tube protection features like: overexposure protection, bright light cutoff and auto brightness control (ABC)
4) No edge distortion
5) Shock and water resistant
6) With good care the tube will last over 7000h (vs 4000h with Gen1+)
Gen2+ cons compared to Gen3 and 4G:
The main problem with Gen2+ is that you almost never know what you will get. The minimum specs are are very low (even with minimum specs it still beats the crap out of Gen1+). On the other hand we have seen Gen2 models that are almost on the same bar with Gen3 devices.
Some examples of different Gen2+ tubes (and 1x 4G):
Usually you will get a decent device with resolution 50-60 lp/mm, sensitivity around 450-550 ua/lm, SN ratio between 20-22 and EBI around 0.15. By the way – those are the 4 main parameters to look for. Even though when buying Gen2+, you usually never know those parameters. In most cases you will not get specs of the concrete tube you are purchasing before the deal.
Prices and models:
1 275 €
1 450 €
1 950 €
2 150 €
Finally we have something write about Gen3 night vision devices…..
A bit more later…