AR15.Com Archives
 Micro Monoculars
JohnnyC  [Member]
5/9/2011 9:13:09 AM EDT
Does anyone have a good comparison of the micro NOD's floating around out there? I've seen the one from Own The Night, and the housing, et al from AB Nightvision. Are there any other decent ones floating around out there?

I'm thinking I might like to source the kit and put it together myself that way I can go on a little tube hunt. This would be my first foray into building one, and it seems like this is a little easier than a PVS-14. Does anyone have a preference for which housing they like better? The OTN one uses CCTV lenses but apparently has the ability to swap out for ENVIS lenses? How do these compare to the AN/AVS-9 lens on the front of the AB?

Of lesser concern, as these would primarily be used as a handheld spotter, how decent are these when helmet mounted?

There doesn't seem to be a whole lot of info out there that I can find, maybe a little light can be shed on the subject of micros.
Paid Advertisement
ihon  [Team Member]
5/9/2011 10:48:23 AM EDT
One nice thing about the CCTV lens, which are called C-mount lens, is you can replace/switch them pretty cheap & easily. You can get in variable power versions or a fixed 25mm which is close to 1x. You can get cheap $40 lens all the way up to $1500 super high quality lens with .85 F-number lens. I bought a cheap 12-75mm lens for $45 to play with and absolutely love it. It works excellent for a hand held spotter scope. The down side is that the magnification is not very useful below 20mm or so. But the top 3/4 of the magnification range is excellent.

I have a NAIT NVPS-10 which is a gen 2 monocular. From what I understand, it is a PVS-5 tube installed into their own body w/ a C-mount lens. It is a tad ackward to helmet mount as it comes stock. It mounts it about 1/2" off center, so you can't look straight into the monocular using a J-arm and helment mount. I made a spacer/adapter to work with it and got it right. So it works well now. I also have a ITT 260 Nightquest binocular that came with a jacked up front lens. Luckily, it takes the C-mount lens, so I need to get one for it. Right now I am using the one off of my NAIT. I am in Chandler. So if you are close by and want to see my set up, let me know. I have found just being able to see & handle it has really given me a better understanding of the handheld units.
b_rogers  [Team Member]
5/9/2011 4:57:19 PM EDT
Heres another option:

This gentleman has made a few vids with one using different lenses. Heres a link, I suggest you watch them all and subscribe.

JohnnyC  [Member]
5/9/2011 5:23:08 PM EDT
Originally Posted By b_rogers:
Heres another option:

This gentleman has made a few vids with one using different lenses. Heres a link, I suggest you watch them all and subscribe.


I'm already subscribed to compasscall's youtube channel. It's his videos that make me think that going with something with a lens other than c-mount would be better for edge-to-edge clarity. I'm not really sure I want to invest a ton of money in different c-mount lenses, which seems to be the biggest plus in it's corner over the AB Nightvision housing with its ANVIS 9 lens. If I picked up the OTN or NVdepot one, I understand I could put an Envis lens in it, I'm curious how this compares to the -9 lens.

The link you posted looks exactly like the one on Own The Night. They even seem to use the same images on their websites.

Ihon, I won't be back in AZ for a couple months. Maybe I'll take you up on the offer then. I've got a mil-spec AN/PVS-14 that we could take out and compare. How big is the NAIT unit? I'm really looking for the smallest size I can get since I've already got a PVS-14. This would be for screwing around or giving to someone to use as a handheld monocular when hiking at night, etc.
Partner Content
Dino1130  [Team Member]
5/9/2011 8:49:24 PM EDT
In my opinion the Envis lenses are top notch. They are just a VERY small bit under the 9 lenses. Both work really great and will not disappoint. The AB housing is bulletproof if you want to build your own. I really like them. The C-mount give you many options.
okent  [Member]
5/10/2011 4:44:08 PM EDT
When the lens is swapped out does this expose the internals to the outside: does it need to be nitrogen purged again?
Dino1130  [Team Member]
5/10/2011 9:11:56 PM EDT
It does. Most will not purge a scope like this. I never purge my scopes and don't have any fogging issue. I assemble them on a very low humidity day. Nitrogen purging is a good idea to insure against fogging or a moisture issue. Many scopes are not purged at all and they work just fine. Usually it is a milspec requirement to be absolutely 100% sure it will not fog up.
compasscall  [Member]
5/11/2011 2:28:30 AM EDT
The Basics:

Both the Micro and NVM-2AA are made by AB NightVision.

Both are high quality in both materials and machine work.

Both are fairly priced at nearly have the cost of a PVS-14 complete housing minus the tube:

Micro = $515 for a complete housing minus the tube

NVM-2AA = $675 for a complete housing minus the tube

The Optics:

The NVM-2AA uses the AVS lens cells which despite the conflicting specifications on various websites are the exact same in their core elements as the PVS-14 or ENVIS objective i.e. the individual elements are the exact same in a PVS-14 and ENVIS lens cell as they are in a AVS lens cell. Early PVS-14's actually used the filtering front element that now differentiates the AVS objective from the PVS-14 objective. The AVS lens cells on the NVM-2AA can be either class "A", "B" or "C" these coating will give the illusion of producing a better image than an equivalent lens that is un-coated, primarily an increase in contrast is noticed.

The Micro uses a 1" format c-mount TV lens used for CCD and CMOS sensor base camera's (security and machine vision camera's).

Comparing Focal Lengths of the two objectives: The NVM-2AA's objective is 27mm giving true unity magnification, whereas the Micro's 25mm objective results in a image that is slightly less than unity. This means that the Micro's stock 25mm lens will render a scene that is slightly de-magnified and not true to scale, which could be a problem if used to judge distances or when used for navigation. For scanning and identifying, the 25mm is not a hindrance when compare with the 27mm lens on the NVM-2AA. There is noticeable edge distortion present when using the stock 25mm lens but is not extreme and is completely acceptable when taking the lenses variable aperture and lens interchangeability into consideration.

The Micro's aperture control is of greatest benefit to users who operate in mid to high light environments and need a means to reduce the flux of photons to the photo cathode in order to maintain a high resolution image. The other benefit of aperture control is for those using supplemental illumination especially high powered illuminators. In this case the user might turn the aperture down to the point where ambient lighting is no longer contributing to the viewed scene, the illuminator energy is being isolated.

The female c-mount on the Micro is a great benefit for those wanting to use their Micro with long range camera lenses (so many options as there are c-mount adapters for most major brands of camera lenses) or for those wanting to mate their Micro to a telescope for astronomical or terrestrial viewing. The c-mount platform offers the user so many options it's hard to list them all. When I use my Micro with a 50mm nikkor slr camera lens that has a c-mount adapter, there is absolutely no edge distortion at all, the lens is a bit large but the image it produces is superb.

For helmet mounting I cannot recommend the Micro as it's a bit front heavy due to the weight of the objective lens which weighs in at 3.46oz

Here's the weight comparisons for the lens found on the NVM-2AA, the stock lens on the Micro and the ENVIS:

Computar TV lens - 3.46oz
ENVIS lens - 2.50oz
AVS lens - 2.0oz

On the face of it there doesn't seem to be a big difference but when you've got it head mounted or in you hand it is very noticable.

The Micro with the ENVIS lens weighs in at 11.40oz and the Micro with the Computar TV lens weighs 12.30oz. Unfortunately I don't have an NVM-2AA to weigh but I'm sure you could contact AB NightVision to find out.

For someone that wants a simple monocular that light, hassle free and easy to pull in and out of ones pocket then the NVM-2AA is the best option. The NVM-2AA is real light and super easy to handle. On the other hand, for those who like adaptability or use their equipment in high light environments then the Micro is the best option, especially if you can grab an ENVIS lens.

With an ENVIS lens I could handle having the Micro as my only monocular but I wouldn't be happy with the NVM-2AA as my only monocular as I like adapting it to other equipment.

For me purging is a non issue, the Micro is not able to be purged whereas the NVM-2AA is.

The only way to narrow down your decision is to determine what your using it for. If it's a secondary backup that is small and light as possible then I'd recommend the NVM-2AA.

b_rogers  [Team Member]
5/11/2011 7:31:43 AM EDT
Great comparison compasscall. I like my c mount capabilities but there are some shortcomings such as not having any AR coati gs on the lenses. I shoot around lights all the time and glare and reflections can be problematic. I have two identical 50mm 1.4 lenses but one has quite a bit of "fisheye" that is noticeable when looking at objects with parallel lines. Being able to use a longer focal length lens or a 2x teleconverter for more mag is nice too. Make sure that the lens you purchase is a 1" format, there are several 1/3, 1/2, 2/3 and 1".
ihon  [Team Member]
5/11/2011 9:29:56 AM EDT
What is the difference between the 1" and the others? I am guessing that the 1" is the proper size and with the others you get vignetting?
b_rogers  [Team Member]
5/11/2011 10:00:51 AM EDT
Originally Posted By ihon:
What is the difference between the 1" and the others? I am guessing that the 1" is the proper size and with the others you get vignetting?

Look at the rearmost lens, the one Inside the mounting threads. A 1" format lens has a very tiny retaining ring and good size lens,and the 1/2 and 1/3 have much larger rings and smaller lenses as they don't have to cover as much sensor area. Go on the evil auction site and look at c mount lenses. There will be some of each format with a good pic of that area. Hope this helps.
JohnnyC  [Member]
5/13/2011 6:09:21 PM EDT
Thanks compasscall, that's exactly what I was looking for. Now the tube hunt begins! I have a feeling this might be a little hair-pulling, more so than deciding on which monocular to get.
sardo_67  [Member]
5/14/2011 7:05:59 PM EDT
so these are pretty much a PVS-14 but a different and smaller housing making it lighter, run off one 123 batt and much shorter? if you build one you can use all the parts off the PVS-14 minus the housing?

interesting... then you could build 2 and make binos out of the set?
compasscall  [Member]
5/14/2011 10:20:54 PM EDT
Originally Posted By sardo_67:
so these are pretty much a PVS-14 but a different and smaller housing making it lighter, run off one 123 batt and much shorter?

Yes, in the sense that it is an image intensified optical device but other than that they are not really the same.

Originally Posted By sardo_67:if you build one you can use all the parts off the PVS-14 minus the housing?

The one and only component that is compatible between the two would be the ocular lens.

The components that are not compatible between the two:

1) The Micro is not compatible with the thread type used on the PVS-14's objective lens.

2) The Micro is not compatible with the image intensifier* type used in a PVS-14.

* The Micro uses a MX-10160/F9800/M890/slim anvis tube that does not have a pigtail lead for variable gain.

* The PVS-14 uses a MX-11769/F9815/M814 tube that has a pigtail lead for the variable gain function.

See tube differences here:

From L-3

From ITT

From ITT

Originally Posted By sardo_67:interesting... then you could build 2 and make binos out of the set?

Yes you could take two and make a set of binoculars out of them. You would need an adapter to join the two and then you would need to collimate the ocular lenses.

It may have been my statement about the elements in an ENVIS objective lens cell being the same as those in a PVS-14 lens cell that made it appear as if the two are inter-changable, they are not. The Micro's objective lens mount is compatible with that of the ENVIS (M-703E), whose lens uses the same lens elements as those used in a PVS-14 objective. The ENVIS uses the same mount type (c-mount) as the Micro, so they are compatible.

Here's a pictorial showing the difference between the ENVIS/Micro objective threads and the threads found on a PVS-14 objective:



So the Micro does not use the same image intensifier (tube) or objective lens as the PVS-14 but does use the same ocular lens as the PVS-14.

The Micro's objective is compatible with the ENVIS (M-703E and all variants) but not with that of the PVS-14

Paid Advertisement