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Posted: 11/28/2010 11:37:26 PM EST
[Last Edit: 12/1/2011 7:41:17 PM EST by TNVC_Clasky]
Link Posted: 11/28/2010 11:56:51 PM EST
Greatest and most needed post ever. Thank you!

Brent
Link Posted: 11/29/2010 12:03:29 AM EST
Link Posted: 11/29/2010 12:10:28 AM EST
[Last Edit: 11/29/2010 12:13:33 AM EST by MP0117]
WOW!

That ATN stuff is total garbage! LOL!
Link Posted: 11/29/2010 1:23:36 AM EST
Thanks TNVC... great to see the entire line-up! That's a lot of work!

It looks like these two pictures were mixed up and labeled differently. It's clearly the Gen 2 picture, but one of them is labeled as the Litton PVS-14.

PVS14ag_4_3.jpg @ http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g64/clasky/ARTICLES/NV_Gen/PVS14ag_4_3.jpg
GT14_4_3.jpg @ http://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g64/clasky/ARTICLES/NV_Gen/GT14_4_3.jpg

I haven't had a chance to review it all, but I'll let you know if I see anything else.

Thanks again!
Link Posted: 11/29/2010 6:13:13 AM EST
Very impressive!

Thanks!
Link Posted: 11/29/2010 6:43:13 AM EST
Excellent work there Chip ! :)

And the best thing about ATN is that the batteries are optional because unless you have a full moon, they don't do much :) So think how much power you can save!

Actually, a great comparison - Thankyou for sharing... I've been waiting to see this for a LONG time and you didn't disappoint... And I thought the D300 hung in there pretty well, though knowing photos I suspect that your eyes still did quite well with the D300?

Anyway, a great review and comparison, thanks :)

David
Link Posted: 11/29/2010 8:05:31 AM EST
Damn.....

Gold star for you. Thats an excellent excellent write up. I do not know of any better comparison between the various generations in various conditions. That damn well needs a sticky.
Link Posted: 11/29/2010 8:18:14 AM EST
Best comparison review I have ever seen. Great job ! This is 100% sticky material !
Link Posted: 11/29/2010 9:35:02 AM EST
What about StupidVision? Just kidding...

This is a superb and very thorough review that obviously took a great deal of effort to execute.
Link Posted: 11/29/2010 9:42:15 AM EST
Link Posted: 11/29/2010 9:47:37 AM EST
Link Posted: 11/29/2010 4:00:01 PM EST
Holy cow! Great review.
Link Posted: 11/29/2010 6:08:54 PM EST
Very informative. I had not looked through the gen 1 and 2 stuff.
Link Posted: 11/29/2010 7:14:18 PM EST
[Last Edit: 11/29/2010 7:14:39 PM EST by charliez]
Any digital NV comparison yet?
Link Posted: 11/29/2010 7:36:35 PM EST

Originally Posted By charliez:
Any digital NV comparison yet?


That was one of Vic from TNVC's first reviews...

http://www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=6&f=18&t=223494

The xenonics stuff was better than most digital equipment out there... and it still wasn't much good when it counted. Probably the fairest review on digital tech anywhere on the web.

Military grade digital is not available to civilians yet... It's even barely available to the military! Give it a year or so - :)

Regards
David.
Link Posted: 11/29/2010 7:45:42 PM EST
[Last Edit: 11/29/2010 8:01:34 PM EST by TheGrayMan]
I must third the request for a sticky.

ETA: seriously... this is the kind of post that deserves to stickied so that it stays above the noise floor that ARFCOM sometimes generates.
Link Posted: 11/29/2010 7:53:38 PM EST


Great post!



....or should I say ?
Link Posted: 11/29/2010 9:23:45 PM EST
Great post. How would thermal be under these situations?
Link Posted: 11/29/2010 9:35:16 PM EST
Link Posted: 11/30/2010 8:11:39 AM EST
Originally Posted By rvbrewer625:
Great post. How would thermal be under these situations?


No comparison on detection.
Link Posted: 11/30/2010 9:25:43 AM EST
Chip, Thanks for all the great info.
Do you have comparison images with the ITT NEPVS-14-17 and the Surefire V2 illuminator vs the Surefire M1?
Victor had mentioned he uses the V2 and I want to see how it compares to the M1 due to V2's the higher IR output.
Would the V2 be too bright in a 7-10yd encounter?
Do you think the M1 is more versatile at various distances due to its lower output?
Link Posted: 11/30/2010 9:38:39 AM EST
Thanks...this is a great post to intro the differences to everyone......awesome.
Link Posted: 11/30/2010 10:49:28 AM EST
Awesome comparison! THat was a lot of work. Thank you.
Link Posted: 11/30/2010 11:02:13 AM EST
My next purchase will be a scope. Any chance of a comparison of them?
Link Posted: 11/30/2010 11:42:20 AM EST
Link Posted: 11/30/2010 4:03:13 PM EST
Wow, awesome write up. Any chance you could put this into a PDF file?
Link Posted: 11/30/2010 4:24:19 PM EST
That is an amazing write up. I look forward to the next one.
Link Posted: 11/30/2010 5:56:36 PM EST
Awesome review. I am really glad I bought a NEPVS14 from TNVC.
Link Posted: 11/30/2010 5:59:12 PM EST
What is effective illumination range of the M952V vs the TNVC ELR Torch-V? How does their illumination output compare?
Link Posted: 12/1/2010 1:07:33 PM EST
Awesome review and hardwork. You saved me some money

Todd
Link Posted: 12/1/2010 1:13:55 PM EST
Link Posted: 12/23/2010 4:55:32 AM EST
Outstanding comparison!
Link Posted: 3/26/2011 8:52:04 PM EST
Link Posted: 3/27/2011 2:55:38 PM EST
After looking at all the pics, there is likely a degradation in the quality of what the human eye would see compared to what comes through the camera. I assure you my D300 2nd gen looks much better in similar scenarios that are presented in this post. My 1PN34 Russian Gen 1 Weapons scope even looks as good or better than some of the D300 pics. If this is the case I'm sure the Gen 3's look even better in real life also.
Link Posted: 3/27/2011 3:12:06 PM EST
[Last Edit: 3/27/2011 3:12:23 PM EST by TNVC]
Link Posted: 12/28/2011 10:51:04 PM EST
[Last Edit: 12/28/2011 10:59:53 PM EST by Bill_Wallace]
This seems more of a camera fail than a gen 1 fail. In 1999 I bought a cheap nasty 200 dollar gen 1 monocular that had giant black specs in the lenses but it let me see very well out to 50 meters and even gave me a picture at 125 meters a bit better than what I see when I shine a 250 lumen M3 combat light into the tree line at the edge of my property (which is admitedly not much but enough to see if there are coyotes or bears running around back there, which is what I used it for). While the performance varied with the degree of ambient moon light (I live in a very very rural area), it never failed to show me something I found useable.

I've used Gen 3 and it's phenomenal and clearly superior to Gen 1 but the Gen 1 stuff does not show total blackness outdoors under any conditions I've ever experienced, particularly if you are using a powerful IR flashlight!! That's just ridiculous, and if no one else wants to say it, I will. Gen 1 commercial stuff may not be great, in fact many of you would probably say it sucks compared to Gen 3, but it's still quite useable and much better than the naked eye. When I was a ground pounder in the late 80s all we had was gen 1 and it was just like the cheap crappy thing I bought 12 years ago and it gave us an amazing advantage at night. I remember someone lost one and they locked down the entire base for hours until they found it. All that for what you can get for 200 bucks today.

For god's sake I can see better without any night vision under a 1/4 moon outside than the images posted for Gen 1 (and maybe even some of the gen 2s!) and even commerical Gen 1 lights up the night in a way someone who's never used NV would not believe.
Link Posted: 12/29/2011 12:16:41 AM EST
Originally Posted By Bill_Wallace:
This seems more of a camera fail than a gen 1 fail. In 1999 I bought a cheap nasty 200 dollar gen 1 monocular that had giant black specs in the lenses but it let me see very well out to 50 meters and even gave me a picture at 125 meters a bit better than what I see when I shine a 250 lumen M3 combat light into the tree line at the edge of my property (which is admitedly not much but enough to see if there are coyotes or bears running around back there, which is what I used it for). While the performance varied with the degree of ambient moon light (I live in a very very rural area), it never failed to show me something I found useable.

I've used Gen 3 and it's phenomenal and clearly superior to Gen 1 but the Gen 1 stuff does not show total blackness outdoors under any conditions I've ever experienced, particularly if you are using a powerful IR flashlight!! That's just ridiculous, and if no one else wants to say it, I will. Gen 1 commercial stuff may not be great, in fact many of you would probably say it sucks compared to Gen 3, but it's still quite useable and much better than the naked eye. When I was a ground pounder in the late 80s all we had was gen 1 and it was just like the cheap crappy thing I bought 12 years ago and it gave us an amazing advantage at night. I remember someone lost one and they locked down the entire base for hours until they found it. All that for what you can get for 200 bucks today.

For god's sake I can see better without any night vision under a 1/4 moon outside than the images posted for Gen 1 (and maybe even some of the gen 2s!) and even commerical Gen 1 lights up the night in a way someone who's never used NV would not believe.


Bill, I think you are confusing two types of tubes. The Gen 1 you were using is what we call a cascade tube. Basically 3 Gen 1 tubes linked together. They are very usable and can be pretty good. This is the type of tube used in a PVS-2. The commercial Gen 1 produced today is only single stage and is purely junk made in Russia.

Gen 1 of today is not even close to the gen 1 scopes you used back in the day. Two different animals altogether.

Link Posted: 12/29/2011 12:54:08 AM EST
Originally Posted By Dino1130:
Originally Posted By Bill_Wallace:
This seems more of a camera fail than a gen 1 fail. In 1999 I bought a cheap nasty 200 dollar gen 1 monocular that had giant black specs in the lenses but it let me see very well out to 50 meters and even gave me a picture at 125 meters a bit better than what I see when I shine a 250 lumen M3 combat light into the tree line at the edge of my property (which is admitedly not much but enough to see if there are coyotes or bears running around back there, which is what I used it for). While the performance varied with the degree of ambient moon light (I live in a very very rural area), it never failed to show me something I found useable.

I've used Gen 3 and it's phenomenal and clearly superior to Gen 1 but the Gen 1 stuff does not show total blackness outdoors under any conditions I've ever experienced, particularly if you are using a powerful IR flashlight!! That's just ridiculous, and if no one else wants to say it, I will. Gen 1 commercial stuff may not be great, in fact many of you would probably say it sucks compared to Gen 3, but it's still quite useable and much better than the naked eye. When I was a ground pounder in the late 80s all we had was gen 1 and it was just like the cheap crappy thing I bought 12 years ago and it gave us an amazing advantage at night. I remember someone lost one and they locked down the entire base for hours until they found it. All that for what you can get for 200 bucks today.

For god's sake I can see better without any night vision under a 1/4 moon outside than the images posted for Gen 1 (and maybe even some of the gen 2s!) and even commerical Gen 1 lights up the night in a way someone who's never used NV would not believe.


Bill, I think you are confusing two types of tubes. The Gen 1 you were using is what we call a cascade tube. Basically 3 Gen 1 tubes linked together. They are very usable and can be pretty good. This is the type of tube used in a PVS-2. The commercial Gen 1 produced today is only single stage and is purely junk made in Russia.

Gen 1 of today is not even close to the gen 1 scopes you used back in the day. Two different animals altogether.



What about the crappy Russian thing I bought for 200 in 1999? That is what I am describing above. Also I thought that cascade devices were very big? The thing we were using in Ft. Irwin in 1988-89 was fairly small.

I'm not saying that Gen 1 isn't vastly inferior to Gen 2 or 3, just that unless it's gone way downhill since since I bought that cheap monocular in 1999, it certainly isn't all black even with an IR illuminator on. The pics of the the Gen 1 in this review are simply ridiculous. If you turn on even a small IR illuminator in a pitch black basement you are going to get tons of light. There are videos on youtube of gen 1s in action and while they are not great they are certainly not black screens.
Link Posted: 12/29/2011 1:33:46 AM EST
[Last Edit: 12/29/2011 1:41:35 AM EST by Dino1130]
Originally Posted By Bill_Wallace:
Originally Posted By Dino1130:
Originally Posted By Bill_Wallace:
This seems more of a camera fail than a gen 1 fail. In 1999 I bought a cheap nasty 200 dollar gen 1 monocular that had giant black specs in the lenses but it let me see very well out to 50 meters and even gave me a picture at 125 meters a bit better than what I see when I shine a 250 lumen M3 combat light into the tree line at the edge of my property (which is admitedly not much but enough to see if there are coyotes or bears running around back there, which is what I used it for). While the performance varied with the degree of ambient moon light (I live in a very very rural area), it never failed to show me something I found useable.

I've used Gen 3 and it's phenomenal and clearly superior to Gen 1 but the Gen 1 stuff does not show total blackness outdoors under any conditions I've ever experienced, particularly if you are using a powerful IR flashlight!! That's just ridiculous, and if no one else wants to say it, I will. Gen 1 commercial stuff may not be great, in fact many of you would probably say it sucks compared to Gen 3, but it's still quite useable and much better than the naked eye. When I was a ground pounder in the late 80s all we had was gen 1 and it was just like the cheap crappy thing I bought 12 years ago and it gave us an amazing advantage at night. I remember someone lost one and they locked down the entire base for hours until they found it. All that for what you can get for 200 bucks today.

For god's sake I can see better without any night vision under a 1/4 moon outside than the images posted for Gen 1 (and maybe even some of the gen 2s!) and even commerical Gen 1 lights up the night in a way someone who's never used NV would not believe.


Bill, I think you are confusing two types of tubes. The Gen 1 you were using is what we call a cascade tube. Basically 3 Gen 1 tubes linked together. They are very usable and can be pretty good. This is the type of tube used in a PVS-2. The commercial Gen 1 produced today is only single stage and is purely junk made in Russia.

Gen 1 of today is not even close to the gen 1 scopes you used back in the day. Two different animals altogether.



What about the crappy Russian thing I bought for 200 in 1999? That is what I am describing above. Also I thought that cascade devices were very big? The thing we were using in Ft. Irwin in 1988-89 was fairly small.

I'm not saying that Gen 1 isn't vastly inferior to Gen 2 or 3, just that unless it's gone way downhill since since I bought that cheap monocular in 1999, it certainly isn't all black even with an IR illuminator on. The pics of the the Gen 1 in this review are simply ridiculous. If you turn on even a small IR illuminator in a pitch black basement you are going to get tons of light. There are videos on youtube of gen 1s in action and while they are not great they are certainly not black screens.


Bill, the only Gen 1 the US military ever used was the cascade tube. What you used in Ft Irwin was most likely Gen 2. The US military has never fielded a single stage Gen 1 tube. I can't speak for what you used of Russian origin but they had tubes that were two and 3 stage cascade. Not all were huge tubes. They even have early Russian Gen 2. Not sure what year the Russians came out with Gen 2.
Link Posted: 12/29/2011 10:08:31 AM EST
It is not my intention to argue with you, but the crappiest Gen 1 tube on the market will never show the human eye a pitch black screen under 1/4 moon light. It may show that to a camera, but that's not nearly the same thing.
Link Posted: 12/29/2011 10:41:44 AM EST
[Last Edit: 12/29/2011 10:44:03 AM EST by Dino1130]
Originally Posted By Bill_Wallace:
It is not my intention to argue with you, but the crappiest Gen 1 tube on the market will never show the human eye a pitch black screen under 1/4 moon light. It may show that to a camera, but that's not nearly the same thing.

Did not think we were having an argument. I was just trying to shed some light (pun intended). But yes you're right and some of the reason it is so dark is due to the camera and I suspect the wavelength and type of illuminator used. That said, today's single stage commercial gen 1 tubes are really junk. In truth I would much rather have cheap digital over Gen 1 commercial.
Link Posted: 12/29/2011 12:04:14 PM EST
Well you've made me curious.

I've ordered an ATN night cougar XT on amazon for 540 bucks, it's a gen 1 goggle set with head gear. I don't plan to keep this, unless it surprises me, but I'm curious to see if 11 years of progress means the gen 1 of today is worse than the gen 1 of 1999.

I'll let you know how it works and how it compares to the Gen 3 monocular I used a couple of years ago. If you're right that it's total junk I'll be out 20 bucks for shipping.
Link Posted: 12/29/2011 12:17:40 PM EST
Originally Posted By Bill_Wallace:
Well you've made me curious.

I've ordered an ATN night cougar XT on amazon for 540 bucks, it's a gen 1 goggle set with head gear. I don't plan to keep this, unless it surprises me, but I'm curious to see if 11 years of progress means the gen 1 of today is worse than the gen 1 of 1999.

I'll let you know how it works and how it compares to the Gen 3 monocular I used a couple of years ago. If you're right that it's total junk I'll be out 20 bucks for shipping.


Post us some pics when you get it in. I would also like to see if any improvement has been made. I don't think you will be impressed but time will tell.

Link Posted: 12/29/2011 8:44:53 PM EST

Originally Posted By Bill_Wallace:
Well you've made me curious.

I've ordered an ATN night cougar XT on amazon for 540 bucks, it's a gen 1 goggle set with head gear. I don't plan to keep this, unless it surprises me, but I'm curious to see if 11 years of progress means the gen 1 of today is worse than the gen 1 of 1999.

I'll let you know how it works and how it compares to the Gen 3 monocular I used a couple of years ago. If you're right that it's total junk I'll be out 20 bucks for shipping.

Yes, the Gen1 of today are a LOT worse than the Gen1 of 10 years ago... And the Gen1 of ten years ago was a lot worse than Gen1+... I know everyone calls their Gen1 a Gen1+ now, but true Gen1+ has very little distortion ( it's distortion corrected ) and extended sensitivity into the IR region so works well with illuminators. The tubes look VERY different. I don't think anything Yukon or ATN sell is true Gen1+ but I could be wrong.

Anyway, I gave up on Gen1 on a dark night... I could see a car quite well with my eyes, but the Gen1 was just black... Completely black.. Even to my own eyes. Well, except for the occasional ion-strike in the middle of the screen. There comes a point where Gen1 just doesn't work effectively anymore.

Some of the photography examples are just really dark - but TNVC does not alter it's photography. What the camera sees is what they publish. If you take their images and put them in photoshop and adjust the brightness, you will see the picture emerge and eventually resemble something that Gen1 looks like to your eye.

As for conditions? Within a city, Gen1 usually works quite well, because it's never really dark in a modern city. You can find one my my "city" comparisons here:



This is a lot different from TNVC's comparison, but then I never did a Gen1 Rural comparison, because out in the country, mostly I just got a black screen like TNVC photo's so given the circumstances, the photo's may be closer to reality than you realize.

Not all Gen1 is so poor - I have a few different cascade tubes which are Gen1 and a small one compares to Gen2 while the bigger ones compare to Gen3. I've been teaching people how to build their own cascade scopes for years and most are pretty happy with them.

Anyway, I look forward to your comparison. If you can get pics, please take note of the time of day, general darkness ( eg, moon, clouds, etc ) and whether you adjust the image or exposure times :) I'd really like to see how you go - :)

Regards
David



Link Posted: 12/30/2011 5:18:22 PM EST
Okay, these are pretty bad. They are NOT anywhere near as good as the CHEAP 200 dollar gen 1 scope I bought in 1998/99. What the hell has happened to the market???

Are there any real gen 1 tubes on the market these days??? Cheap ones like the ones they used to have, but one that actually work??

I tried taking pictures but the camera could not see more than a black screen, so the pictures in the review are accurate as far as what the camera sees but the eye sees a lot more.

The night cougars make no whining sound, the image is pale green and not the bright green I remember from my old cheap monocular (as well as the one I used in the army), and they really are barely better than the naked eye once acclimated to darkness. You do see a lot more, a LOT more than the naked eye, but it's not clear enough to make it worthwhile, hence not much better. For example, I have a long gravel driveway and it curves about 75 meters from where I was standing. With my eyes I could barely make it out within 25 meters while with the Night Cougar I could see the road almost to the bend. However, it was very pale and without much detail. So if there were a bear coming up the road, these things would let me see it, but not much about it. So they are not completely useless, but the fish bubble effect and the loss of peripheral vision are unacceptable for the small bonus in vision you get. The IR illuminator makes a big difference out to 25 meters, it lets you see pretty clearly, but then so does a flashlight.

With the IR illuminator on, you can see quite well, if distorted, in total darkness (like a windowless basement), so the pictures in this review are still wrong (but it IS what the camera sees...at least the cheap camera I was using, maybe whoever took those pics needs a better camera?). That said, you guys have made a believer out of me, these current gen 1 commercial devices are toys at best. I'm sending this thing back.

Link Posted: 12/30/2011 7:21:59 PM EST

Originally Posted By Bill_Wallace:
Okay, these are pretty bad. They are NOT anywhere near as good as the CHEAP 200 dollar gen 1 scope I bought in 1998/99. What the hell has happened to the market???

Are there any real gen 1 tubes on the market these days??? Cheap ones like the ones they used to have, but one that actually work??

I tried taking pictures but the camera could not see more than a black screen, so the pictures in the review are accurate as far as what the camera sees but the eye sees a lot more.

The night cougars make no whining sound, the image is pale green and not the bright green I remember from my old cheap monocular (as well as the one I used in the army), and they really are barely better than the naked eye once acclimated to darkness. You do see a lot more, a LOT more than the naked eye, but it's not clear enough to make it worthwhile, hence not much better. For example, I have a long gravel driveway and it curves about 75 meters from where I was standing. With my eyes I could barely make it out within 25 meters while with the Night Cougar I could see the road almost to the bend. However, it was very pale and without much detail. So if there were a bear coming up the road, these things would let me see it, but not much about it. So they are not completely useless, but the fish bubble effect and the loss of peripheral vision are unacceptable for the small bonus in vision you get. The IR illuminator makes a big difference out to 25 meters, it lets you see pretty clearly, but then so does a flashlight.

With the IR illuminator on, you can see quite well, if distorted, in total darkness (like a windowless basement), so the pictures in this review are still wrong (but it IS what the camera sees...at least the cheap camera I was using, maybe whoever took those pics needs a better camera?). That said, you guys have made a believer out of me, these current gen 1 commercial devices are toys at best. I'm sending this thing back.


I really hate seeing good money spent on this type of kit - I hope you don't have any problems getting them returned.

I think the Gen1 of old you are referring to is "Cascade Tube Technology" which uses multiple stages to achieve amplification.

Here's an example - Gen1 on the left, all passive but there's a lot of light in the area anyway. Then Gen1 keeps up with all the other tubes and shows just how far the technology got before they stopped making it.





:)

If you're wanting to make one of these, you can still buy the tubes secondhand, though most come from the UK. The good news is that the UK Gen1 Cascade tubes are much better than American tubes.

Regards
David

Link Posted: 12/30/2011 7:34:05 PM EST
And this is a real Gen1+ - The image is of higher zoom than the Gen2 image and is very dark, but if you look carefully, there is very little distortion or fisheye...

Gen1+ is very much like Gen2 inverter tech.



Regards
David
Link Posted: 12/31/2011 12:34:19 AM EST
David's comparison photos great! ! !
Link Posted: 12/31/2011 9:30:41 AM EST
I would be interested in knowing how to make a cascade tube. Is there any info online?
Link Posted: 12/31/2011 9:55:14 AM EST
Great job, thanks!
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