Night Vision FAQs: What You Need to Know

November 6, 2022

Night vision devices (NVDs) are some of the most helpful tools for night operations, whether for civilian, police, or military use. Night vision equipment uses advanced tech to provide users excellent visibility in low ambient light conditions. NVDs can also be useful for improving surveillance for facilities and homes.

Here are some of the most common questions and answers about night vision devices to provide a better understanding of this technology.

How Does Night Vision Technology Work?

Night vision optics work by using image intensifier tubes built into the equipment. These tubes amplify light, which is then picked up by the device. Night vision image intensifiers pick up photons from the immediate surroundings and convert them to electrons. These electrons are then sent through a micro-channel plate, which amplifies them thousands of times. This provides the user the appearance of more light and visibility than there is with the natural eye.

But even though night vision goggles and other such devices work in low light conditions, they don’t work in complete darkness. NVD image enhancement capability tends to rely on a small amount of light somewhere in the immediate vicinity.

What’s the Difference Between Thermal Imaging and Night Vision?

Thermal imaging differs from night vision in that it does not require visible light energy to work, whereas night vision uses visible light. Thermal imaging devices use detector elements to draw on infrared light emitted from objects (a type of light not on the visible spectrum) and create a detailed temperature pattern called a thermogram. This thermogram is then converted into electronic pulses, which are made visible to the user with a coloration system that indicates the intensity of the emitted light in any given area.

The naked eye does not perceive infrared light, though humans can usually sense it through emitted heat. If no visible light is present, thermal imaging may be required. But when both infrared light and visible light are present, a night vision device can work well, providing much-needed visibility.

What is the Best Way to Protect NVD?

The most basic rule about protecting night vision equipment is to keep it away from bright light. Lighting conditions that are too bright can damage night vision accessories. Because of the way night vision works, only low-light conditions are appropriate.

Many night vision devices are equipped with sensors that shut the night vision monocular or other NVD off when exposed to too much light. But generally speaking, avoiding high light conditions is essential to protect your equipment.

It’s also critical to keep your night vision equipment in safe, cool, dry places when storing it and to ensure you turn the equipment off when not in use. Leaving the equipment on for too long can sometimes burn an image into the NVD’s scopes, similar to how a computer screen can experience a burn when left aimed at one image for too long. Many burns will work themselves out of night vision devices, but some are permanent.

What Kinds of Night Vision Devices Are There?

There are various kinds of night vision technology devices. These include goggles, binoculars, monoculars, and security cameras. You may require multiple types of NVDs depending on the situation and need. For example, night vision goggles work best in some situations, while binoculars may be better for others.

It’s important to pay close attention to and note the added features on any given device. For instance, some may come with an IR illuminator, which can improve visibility in extreme low-light conditions.

What Are Night Vision Generations?

Different night vision generations refer to how old your NVD technology is. Currently, there are four generations of night vision on the market. Current night vision devices tend to fall into one of these categories. These are referred to as generations 1, 2, and 3, with generation 3 devices being the newest types of night vision binoculars and other equipment.

What Is Night Vision Used For?

Night vision goggles and other products have a variety of uses. Civilian ownership of these devices is usually for such applications as hunting, wildlife observation, and surveillance at home. For instance, night vision technology can be a game changer for adventurers who enjoy spelunking, night photography, or birdwatching.

Law enforcement teams use night vision technology to improve tactical operations at night. This is also true for the U.S. Military. Night vision works well for combat professionals, allowing them to collect data and survey dangerous situations when no bright light source is available or present.

Get Quality Night Vision Technology

If you’re in the market for a night vision device, contact Steele Industries. Steele night vision specialists can help you identify the best NVD equipment for your unique night vision needs. Steele Industries is here to serve you and provide the best selection of night vision goggles, binoculars, and monoculars in the industry.