It’s always life-affirming to venture outdoors with the bare minimum equipment, just you and the wilderness. And maybe a couple of buddies and some beers. If you’re skilled at bushcraft, though, there’s no greater satisfaction than pitting yourself against the elements and thriving.
At the other end of the spectrum, it’s also a lot of fun to get your hands on some brand new, hi-tech gear, go deep into the countryside, and put it to the test. Depending on what kind of outdoor activities you’re into, some decent equipment might be a necessity rather than an option, and you’ll always want to be as prepared as possible.
One of the coolest tools around, that you can’t help but get a kick out of having in your inventory, is a set of
. night vision binoculars
Who needs night vision binoculars?
The dramatic answer would be a spy or a secret agent, or perhaps a detective involved in a midnight stakeout. Although presumably, if you’re involved in those professions, then you’re already stocked up with government-issued items.
And if you’re in the military, you might well have made use of a variety of high-grade night vision instruments.
At the civilian level, though, night vision binoculars can be invaluable for hunters and fishermen who like to be out before dawn. If you’re a wildlife spotter or photographer, they can be useful. Or if you simply intend to put in some time hiking and camping, and
, then night vision is your friend. don’t want to be restricted to the daylight hours
If you participate in any activity that takes you out at night where there’s no artificial illumination, then you might benefit, or just get some enjoyment, from having a pair of night value binoculars on your person.
Also, if you live in an isolated location, or your property has extensive grounds, then night vision binoculars will provide you with added capability and security, should you need to check for and protect yourself against intruders.
How do they work?
When you think of the view through night vision equipment, you probably imagine a dark background with glowing green images. Such renderings have featured many times in films, military footage, and nocturnal wildlife documentaries. The technology used is called
optoelectronic image enhancement.
However, this is the older, more traditional technology. It works by electrically amplifying the tiny amounts of infrared light that bounce off objects, even in the dark. The images finally produced are green due to the green phosphors used in the image intensification screen.
Modern devices work differently, and are vastly improved, with far superior visuals. These newer products, which are smaller and more lightweight than older models, utilise what’s known as
digital image enhancement. At their core is a CMOS sensor , something you’ll be familiar with if you’re into photography, because it’s the same kind of semiconductor that’s used in digital cameras.
As in cameras, the larger the sensor, the more light it can pick up. The image it captures is enhanced and magnified, and the result is displayed in full color on an LED screen.
Essentially, the whole thing is operating very similarly to a cutting edge digital camera, and in fact, with modern night vision binoculars you can record and store images, and connect to other devices, just as a photographer or filmmaker might.
What features are important?
The newest night vision binoculars are so far ahead of the older technology, that even at the lowest price range, you’re going to get a reliable product that displays good quality images.
There are some features you might want to pay attention to, though.
First, there’s the simple matter of weight and robustness. If you’re going to be trekking through forests or climbing mountains overnight, go for something compact and as light as possible. Additionally, you’ll want to make sure it’s waterproof. Far away from towns and cities, you never know when you’ll get caught in the rain, or worse.
Then there’s the battery. Make sure it will keep going long enough to see you through your adventure. Of course, this depends on what you’re planning to do, but always check what you can realistically expect from the battery.
If you’re planning to capture images or video footage, ensure that your binoculars’ storage capacity is adequate. There’s nothing worse than being at the perfect time and place to record something special, only to find your equipment’s memory is full.
Naturally, you’ll want the best image quality you can get. The tech is so good now across the board, that you’re very unlikely to get something not up to scratch, so it’s really just a matter of getting the highest specs that you can, according to size and weight limitations, and within budget.
And when you’ve found the perfect product, choose a moonless night, maybe under cover of cloud, and enjoy your nocturnal adventure.