How to Choose Night Vision Binoculars or Monoculars (Australia / NZ) 29

[ Skip the details and just show me the best ones ]

Being able to see things clearly and effectively at night is a hobby for some people and a necessity for others. Regardless of whether or not you are using night vision binoculars for fun or for work, it can be handy to know more about them. Unlike regular monoculars or binoculars, the night vision variety incorporates different technology, and as a result will be differently priced. Below are a few things you should consider when choosing a pair of night vision binoculars or monoculars. We’ve also listed our Top 5 Night Vision Monoculars and Binoculars.

Night Vision Binoculars

 

Consider the Environment You Will Be In

The environment you will be in, along with the purpose of your night time viewing will be central to the kind of night vision binoculars or monoculars that will work best for you. The first thing to consider is distance. Different binoculars have different distances. If you are planning on only seeing things a close distance away, then there is no need to spend extra money on gear that can see further. Also, consider the weather. The weather may affect light levels and visibility, making some night vision binoculars and monoculars more efficient than others. That is why you should always consider your climate.

Review the Gain of your Night Vision Binoculars or Monoculars

Another thing to consider when purchasing night vision binoculars or monoculars is gain. Gain is the relative level of light you will see when looking through the device. The greater the magnification of the lenses, the generally worse gain you will have barring the use of more expensive technology. If using the binoculars or monoculars for deer hunting, consider getting high gain binoculars or monoculars.

Settle on an Image Quality

The better the image quality, the easier it is to see objects through your binoculars or monoculars. The trouble is however that the better the image quality, the higher the cost. This is why it is effective to know both the gain level you need as well as the climate/environment that you will be in. It makes no sense to waste money on something you will not need. That is why you should carefully choose the application before the device. As for monoculars verse binoculars, many people choose binoculars for their ease of use and their allowance for depth perception. Monoculars, on the other hand, are usually smaller, lighter, and cheaper.

Night Vision

Generation 1 vs. Generation 2 Night Vision Gear

Regardless of the generation, night vision gear makes seeing in the dark possible through the use of image intensifiers. These intensifiers collect light not otherwise seen by the naked eye and amplifies it hundreds and thousands of times until it is visible by the human eye. The major differences between generation 1 and 2-night vision gear comes down to system light gain, system resolution, and photosensitivity:

System Light Gain

The system light gain reflects the number of times the light amplification unit amplifies the light. In generation 1 night vision gear, this is 300-900 times. In generation 2 gear and beyond, this is done 20,000 to 30,000 times.

System Resolution

System resolution is all about how clear and sharp the image is. Generation 1 has system light amplification of less than a thousand. In comparison, generation 2 has a light amplification of less than 6000.

Photosensitivity

Photosensitivity relates to the minimum light levels requires, as well as the type of light that the sensor picks up. For both the resolution at the centre and periphery, generation 2 is better than generation 1.

Putting it all together, generation 2 night vision gear is all around better. The image is clearer, brighter, and crisper. However, generation 2 night vision gear is significantly more expensive (generally about 3-4 times more expensive than generation 1). Most civilian, hunters and general night observers in Australia choose Gen 1 binoculars or monoculars. There are excellent quality products to be found within this range. But if money is not a consideration then Gen 2 night vision is indeed superior.

Head Mounted Night Vision

Some models of night vision binoculars and monoculars come with an included head mount (usually sold together as a kit). A head mount is useful for many applications as it frees up both of your hands while still allowing you to see in the dark. Remember that any night vision monocular or goggles that come with a head mount can always be used without it. So you will have the freedom to use your night vision gear either head mounted or handheld as you see fit.

 

Our Best 5 Night Vision Binoculars / Monoculars for 2018

 

Yukon 4X50 NVMT Night Vision Monocular – An incredibly affordable NV monocular for its excellent features and optical quality. Lightweight (600g), durable and very easy to operate. The 4x magnification combined with larger 50mm lens and powerful IR illuminator all aid to produce a nice clear image. Even in complete darkness. In our opinion, the best value night vision gear on the market. $459 inc. free delivery.

 

Yukon 1X24 Night Vision Monocular with Head Mount – Head mounted night vision goggles can be quite expensive. This monocular by Yukon is a very good alternative. Being a head mounted monocular it is not only more affordable but also lighter (380g) and uses significantly less battery power. Excellent quality generation 1 device with a comfortable head mount. $475 inc. free delivery.

 

Yukon 1X24 NV Tracker Night Vision Goggles – 1st generation night vision goggles that deliver a supreme quality image at dark. With crystal clear views and great level of depth these binoculars really exceeded our expectations. Water resistant, lightweight and with great resolution and detail. They are comfortable to use and feature remarkable optical quality for their price. $895 inc. free delivery.

 

Yukon RX 3.5X40 Night Vision Binoculars – Our #1 pick and best selling NV binoculars here on Procular. This model by Yukon offers a bright, high resolution image at complete darkness. Good magnification, wide view, water sealed housing, sharp optics and a built-in 100mW infrared illuminator. Recommended for general night viewing, wildlife, hunting and surveillance. Discounted to $999 inc. free delivery.

 

Pulsar Quantum HD19 Thermal Imaging Camera – Professional thermal monocular / camera. It works for close to mid-range by identifying slight differences in the heat signature within the field of view. For night viewing or capturing images through fog, smoke and rain it is second to none. Its high-speed imaging capability makes it the perfect tool for evidence gathering and surveillance. $3,699 inc. free delivery.

 
 
[ Show me all the other night vision products ]

 

29 Comments

  1. Hi looking to get night vision binoculars for my husband, for looking at the night sky can you point me in right direction thanks

  2. Looking for night vision goggles. Happy to spend $1000. Not sure what to get? For security on my farm!! Can these be used in the day? Silly question. so how far can they zoom comfortably. sorry if thats actually written I’m just not sure what the 3.5×40 means mate

    1. Hi Kurt,

      The binoculars can be used during daytime as well. They have a built- in IR illuminator which you can turn on for nighttime viewing. They are very high quality night vision binoculars for their price range and very comfortable and easy to use. The 3.5×40 means that they magnify at 3.5x times our normal eye-seight and that they have 40mm objective lenses (medium sized). Night vision binoculars are never as powerful as daytime binoculars because they use a different technology. If they had more magnification you would only see a very fuzzy, grainy image.

      While standard binoculars can be used for 1 or 2 Km night vision binoculars are only effective for shorter ranges. With these binoculars for example you can spot people or wildlife at dark from approximately 200-300 meters.

      We hope this helps. A full description of the Yukon 3.5×40 Night Vision binoculars below:

      https://procular.com.au/yukon-rx-3-5×40-nvb-tracker-night-vision-binoculars/

  3. Hi,

    Looking at buying a digital night vision monocular, the Yukon Hornet 7×50 and the Pulsar Recon 750 4×50. Just asking of your opinion which is the better of the two for hunting purposes, for image quality and maybe attaching another ir light.

    1. Hi Roger,

      The Yukon Hornet 7×50 is an entry level model. It has a good magnification but the image is not always clear, especially in complete darkness or in bad weather (fog etc.). The Pulsar Recon 750 features a much nicer image quality and has 3 modes you can play with to enhance that image in some conditions. So for hunting we would recommend it over the Hornet 7×50. It is also better for attaching an additional IR light. Details below:

      https://procular.com.au/pulsar-recon-750-4×50-digital-night-vision-monocular/

      And if you intend to also record video with it then it comes in a digital version with recorder built in. This would be the 750R model below:

      https://procular.com.au/pulsar-recon-750r-4×50-digital-nv-video-recording/

      We also have a very good IR flashlight that can be mounted on the Pulsar Recon 750. Details below:

      https://procular.com.au/pulsar-x850-infrared-night-vision-flashlight/

      Adam Murray, Procular
  4. Hi Adam!
    I’m looking at getting my husband a set of night vision binoculars for his bday and just want advice on which would be the best to get!? He is a professional crabber/fisher and has problems with people checking and taking produce from the traps at night so needs the NV binoculars to keep an eye on his traps in the river. Not sure how far away he would need to be from them, I’m guessing anywhere from 100-300m. Would something like the pulsar edge 3.5×50 be what we would be after?
    Thanks in advance! 🙂

    1. Also just have another question (sorry if it seems like a stupid one)…I don’t know if we would need a higher magnification than the 3.5 but if we got a higher magnification can it be turned down to what we need it to be?
      And just forgot to mention that hubby will be sitting on the bank of the river and not actually in a boat so he will be sitting still.
      Thank you!

      1. Night vision binoculars don’t work with higher magnification at these price levels. NV devices that have high magnification normally cost over $8,000 and are only used by army, government and professionals. But the good news is that for 100m-200m he will be fine with 3.5x

        Adam Murray, Procular
    2. Hi Christine,

      We believe that the best night vision binoculars in his case would be the Yukon 3.5×40 NVB. Because they are more compact, comfortable and lightweight meaning that he will be able to use them for longer periods while scanning and tracking the river traps. They are the same price as the Pulsar Edge but have a better detailed image from those distances (100m to 300m). These would be our #1 choice for what you are describing. Details of the Yukon 3.5×40 below:

      https://procular.com.au/yukon-rx-3-5×40-nvb-tracker-night-vision-binoculars/

      Adam Murray, Procular
      1. Thanks very much Adam, I’ll have a look at these ones 🙂

  5. How far can you see with the Yukon Newton 4X50 Night Vision Monocular @ night.
    Is it the field of view 13° – 682.5′ @ 1000 yd / 227 m @ 1000 m .
    How clear would i be able to see a rabbit at night @ about 30 to 50 meters? or which item would be best suitable
    for spotting rabbits?

    1. Hi Wayne,

      The Yukon 4×50 is an entry level monocular, more for general viewing or spotting larger animals. Are you also looking at shooting the rabbits? If so then the best scope for the job would be the Yukon Digital Night Vision Photon XT 4.6X42S Riflescope

      Details below:

      https://procular.com.au/yukon-digital-night-vision-photon-xt-4-6x42s-riflescope/

      Adam Murray, Procular
  6. Hi I’m chasing a bit of night vision equipment to allow me to spot feral animals upto 300m away while I’m walking around in the dark, I’ll use the night vision to find and identify the quarry then use my nitesite that is attached to my rifle scope to dispatch the vermin. I’m not sure what would best suit my application as there is obviously a monocular and binocular setups. I will be walking around in complete darkness for several hours.

    I look forward to your reply with suggestions thanks PG.

    1. Basically there are two types of night vision gear: those with no magnification (marked as 1x) and those with 2x to 5x magnifications

      Within each category there are monoculars and binoculars. Monoculars are lighter and of course cheaper but binoculars are more trivial to use and offer a nicer, wider viewing experience.

      Night vision monoculars or binoculars with no magnification (1x) are good for when you are walking while using your night vision gear. They can also be mounted on your head via a head-mount.

      Because it is nearly impossible to walk in the dark while using night vision magnification – these models (1x) do not magnify but simply allow you to see at dark – similar to looking with your naked eye.

      If you need a product like that in order to be able to see at night while walking then we can recommend the Yukon 1×24 night vision monocular with head mount:

      https://procular.com.au/yukon-spartan-1×24-night-vision-monocular-head-mount/

      Or even better the Yukon 1×24 night vision binoculars:

      https://procular.com.au/yukon-1×24-nv-tracker-night-vision-goggles/

      As explained above the binoculars are generally better but more expensive of course.

      Regarding range.. using any of the above two scopes you will spot an animal 100m-200m away max. Depending on the conditions.

      If you want to see from a longer range then you will be better off with night vision monocular/binoculars that offer magnification.

      These are not designed to be used while walking! So you will need to stay put while you use them.

      With these you should easily be able to easily spot animals from 300m and over.

      Our most recommended option within a reasonable price would be the Yukon RX 3.5×40 night vision binoculars. Details of this model below:

      https://procular.com.au/yukon-rx-3-5×40-nvb-tracker-night-vision-binoculars/

      And for an affordable monocular we can recommend the Yukon Newton 4×50 monocular. Details below:

      https://procular.com.au/yukon-newton-4×50-night-vision-monocular/

      Adam Murray, Procular
  7. Hi, I live on a 3-acre secluded property and we’ve been bothered by prowlers. It’s very dark on the property and we’d like a way to scan the area late at night to see if anyone is around (without us being seen, so we can call the police faster). Would you recommend the Yukon 4×50 monocular or something else? Thanks!

    1. Hi Veny,

      Yes, the Yukon 4×50 monocular will be suitable for observing the property at night. It is lightweight and very easy to use.

      Details of this monocular below:

      https://procular.com.au/yukon-4×50-nvmt-spartan-night-vision-monocular/

      Otherwise we can suggest night vision binoculars. (Yukon RX 3.5 x 40 is a good one). These have a wider range and are better for use for extended periods of time. Being binoculars and they are much more expensive though.

      Details below:

      https://procular.com.au/yukon-rx-3-5×40-nvb-tracker-night-vision-binoculars/

      Although binoculars are more trivial to use and offer a better experience the monocular should work just fine. It is more a matter of your budget.

      Adam Murray, Procular
  8. Hi, recently got a pair of NV binoculars from you and just have a question about them

    On the pair I bought it has a IR illuminator on top that shines a light out to give a better image when it’s dark, and just wondering if it’s possible to modify it or put something over the front to make it so the light is not visible to humans

    Thanks for any help

    1. Hi Ben,

      IR Illuminators typically use one of two common frequencies with their LEDs, either 940nm or 850nm. 850nm is a-lot more common and is probably what you have built-in to your NV binoculars. Most Gen 1 night vision devices use it. It produces a very slight red glow when operating, visible to the human eye. We are unaware of a method to make this glow completely invisible. 940nm models produce no visible light to the eye but these are only available with Gen 2 night vision gear which is significantly more expensive.

      Adam Murray, Procular
      1. Thanks for the info

  9. I just want to buy something so that i can see the creatures which inhabit our property at night. any thoughts?

    1. Hi Caroline,

      Basically you can purchase full sized, bright binoculars that will allow you to see a brighter image even when there is very little light around. This would be the cheaper option. We can recommend the Olympus 10×50 binoculars – they are not night vision binoculars but because of their larger size and good optics they provide a brighter image than other binoculars. You will be able to use them to see animals at dark, twilight or at night as long as there is some light around (i.e. moon light or some artificial light). Details of these binoculars below:

      https://procular.com.au/olympus-10×50-zoom-dps-i-binoculars/

      If you want to spot them at complete darkness you will need to purchase night vision binoculars or a night vision monocular. These are devices that use night vision technology and an IR illuminator and are therefore more expensive. The cheapest option we have is the National Geographic 3×25 night vision monocular. It is compact and easy to use and will allow you to view at complete darkness (using its IR illuminator) but it only magnifies at 3x times. So if the animals are not too distant it will work fine. Details below:

      https://procular.com.au/national-geographic-3×25-night-vision-monocular/

      Another specific model of night vision binoculars we can recommend for what you are describing is the Yukon RX Night Vision binoculars. They have excellent night vision capability and will allow you to see in more detail even in complete darkness. But these use proper night vision technology and are price at $999. Details below:

      https://procular.com.au/yukon-rx-3-5×40-nvb-tracker-night-vision-binoculars/

      Adam Murray, Procular
  10. hi adam
    Thanks for your fast reply to my email regards NV goggles. i would go for a NV binocular I think it would feel not right to see night vision on only one eye.Before I buy I wonder what the difference is between the Yucon Tracker and the yucon Pulsar Edge GS GEN1 (yu 75095) 1×20 binocular I am wondering about the energy conserving wide angled IR Illuminator with adjustable power cf- super image Intensifier tube and more importantly with Intensifier tube protection system. Does the yucon Tracker have such a protective system or if not does this mean if it gets day light into the tube it is totally damaged. ON the pulsar it says it has an angular field view of 40 degrees batteries 3V (2xAAA) what is a more common batterie .The price seems to be much the same between the two. the only thing is that the Pulsar has a 20mm lens and the Tracker a 24mm lens what is better for better view .Is the tracker the later version NV goggles from yucon .In your opinion what is the better NV goggle for my application . could you please mention what sort of depth perception you get with ether of them i am more concerted about stepping in a hole or down a step in an outdoor situation .Could you please advise before I make a final decision before I buy .I would much appreciate your advise as I know nothing about NV specially considering that I cant try one out before buying In your opinion what is better NV goggle. In advance many thanks RON

    ron thumerer
    1. Hi Ron,

      Both models are quite similar. They were both designed to provide a good quality yet affordable head mounted night vision experience. They are also both lightweight and quite easy to get used to and use while walking at dark. In general night vision is not meant to be used at bright light and therefore the protection system. But as long as you don’t turn on the intensifier during bright day light (common sense) you should be fine. Note that you can still use the NV googles at day and at poor light also. One thing I would like to mention is that although both models are similar in specs I personally find the Yukon Tracker to be brighter and with a better depth perception. Perhaps because of the larger lenses (24mm vs. 20mm) or because of the optics used. Other customers have indicated the same and overall really like these goggles. I hope this helps.

      Adam Murray, Procular
  11. I am interested in buying a NV binocular or monocular. I done some homework , but not sure what to buy. I am looking for a unit just to walk around as in daytime. I am not sure about digital NV as i found with a cheap unit before as you only see the screen of the camera that there is no depth perception peripheral view or natural vision it is hard to see what’s in front of your feet while walking normal head up ,so you stumble over rocks logs etc. worse if there is a step or hole in the ground really dangerous, no depth perception
    would GEN 1 unit overcome this problem either monocular or binocular NV goggles GEN 2 would be better but price is an issue I like an IR Illumination like Yukon 1x 24 or 1×24 tracker NV goggles they seem to be reasonable priced. I mainly need max good visibility in front of me say 1 to 3m and reasonable visibility further away .Would GEN 1 give me a better unit as digital NV goggles for what I want to do , I don’t need recording . with GEN 1 NV would it help to use an IR torch-either 850nm or 940nm to give me even brighter vision what would you recommend.

    Ron Thumerer
    1. Hi Ron,

      Since you will only be using the NV device to see in front of you (while walking) you need a monocular/binocular without magnification i.e. 1x
      This is because any other option will make it nearly impossible for you to use while in movement. Having a head mount for your monocular/binoculars will also be a very useful addition. Note that you will always be able to use the device either with or without the head mount. Most 1x night vision gear come as a “kit” with a head mount so the price is not much higher. Regarding digital, Gen 1 and Gen 2. Digital simply means you can record the images. So both Gen 1 and Gen 2 have digital/non-digital products. If you don’t need to record then you don’t need digital. Generation 2 night vision is obviously a-lot more expensive due to the quality and technology used. As an entry level night vision you probably don’t need to invest that much. Especially if you won’t be using the gear for work or at a professional level. All our Gen 1 and Gen 2 devices include an IR illuminator. So you won’t need to purchase an IR torch. We suggest starting out with the monocular/binocular and then seeing if it’s bright enough for you. Chances are you’ll be fine without an additional torch. Regarding which NV product is best, head mounted binoculars are more intuitive to use and have a better, wider view than monoculars. But are more expensive. Gen 2 is like we mentioned even more expensive. If you want an affordable Gen 1 1x monocular then the Yukon Spartan will work fine. Details below:

      https://procular.com.au/yukon-spartan-1×24-night-vision-monocular-head-mount/

      And if you want Gen 1 binoculars (we believe a better option) then the Yukon Tracker 1×24 will work best:

      https://procular.com.au/yukon-1×24-nv-tracker-night-vision-goggles/

      Otherwise you’ll be looking at Gen 2 1x gear which is significantly more expensive:

      https://procular.com.au/night-vision/gen-2-night-vision/

      Adam Murray, Procular
  12. I am looking for night vision binoculars or monocular for wildlife spotting. It seems that I should be able to get a pretty good one for between $500 and $1,000. Problem is you have too much to choose from and I don’t know which way to go.

    Which gives the best quality image – gen 1+ or digital? I think a magnification of about 3 would be ideal. They all seem to come with an IR illuminator. Monoculars are probably cheaper than binocs for the same quality so maybe it is better to go for a monocular. What would you recommend.

    1. Hi Phil,

      We would like to share a few more details to help you understand and choose between the night vision products on offer.

      As you probably noticed NV gear is not cheap and there are different price ranges depending on the technology used. We offer the most competitive prices in Australia on all of our night vision – part of it is because we don’t manage a showroom or physical shop for them (sorry we don’t the NV products in Manly). All of our NV products are bought directly from the maufacturer and dispatched to the customer directly from our warehouse in Brisbane. Delivery is also free which makes our price even more competitive!

      Regarding the right model. And this is always the tricky part.. For wildlife viewing, during day or night, but especially during night – it is crucial that you have a wide enough field of view. A wide field of view is what enables you to quickly locate an animal and follow it. So in your case binoculars would work much better than a monocular.

      What is referred to as “Digital Night Vision” simply means that the images/video can be recorded. So if you require this capability you should look into the digital night vision products. All of them are listed here:

      https://procular.com.au/night-vision/digital-night-vision/

      The Pulsar 750R is a good NV monocular that already comes with a built in recording system, memory card etc. So you can use it to record the images and they are saved directly on the device. The Pulsar 750 (no ‘R’) is the same monocular but without the built in recording. So you will either connect it to a computer/TV using a video cable or purchase an additional video recorder such as this one:

      https://procular.com.au/newton-video-recorder-cvr640-digital-nv/

      Overall we believe that for wildlife viewing and within your budget, you’ll be better off with a better quality NV binoculars rather than a digital monocular. But if you need to record then we recommend the 750R model as it is much more convenient. But again, binoculars would be better due to their wider view.

      Regarding night vision binoculars – you can see all the options here:

      https://procular.com.au/night-vision/night-vision-binoculars/

      In our opinion, the best quality ones for viewing wildlife would be the Yukon 3.5×40 binoculars. This is because of their VERY wide field of view as well as their image quality. they have a strong IR illuminator, large 40mm lenses and excellent optics for their price range. They also have less magnification which actually reduces your image graininess and further increases your brightness and field of view. They are discounted and sell for $999. So definitely good value for money. Details of this model below:

      https://procular.com.au/yukon-rx-3-5×40-nvb-tracker-night-vision-binoculars/

      Adam Murray, Procular
      1. Thanks for your prompt reply and helpful suggestions.

        Digital recording of the 750R is only a benefit if the image when viewing is as good as or better than the gen 1+ image of the Edge. So which has the clearest, sharpest, easiest to focus image – the 750 or the Edge?

        Hope this question is answerable!

        1. The Pulsar Edge binoculars have a better and sharper image. They are easier to focus and use and produce a higher resolution (and as mentioned a wider view). The 750R monocular is not as sharp but produces a good black & white video for being a Gen 1 device. So if recording is important to you it is of very good value for money. You can see a sample video of the 750R recording here: (Scroll down the page a-bit and click on the tab “Video Review” located next to the tab “Description”)

          https://procular.com.au/pulsar-recon-750r-4×50-digital-nv-video-recording/

          The Pulsar Edge will produce a better image than what you see in this video – and more stable too. Yet it doesn’t record.

          Adam Murray, Procular

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