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Posted: 5/7/2018 1:48:42 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/7/2018 1:55:29 PM EDT by Klaustrophobia]
I have zero experience with NV, never even seen one in person. I've already read just about everything on TVNC's site and called them up and talked for a bit. Gave me a lot of good info and stuff to think about, but still have a bit of a crucial decision I can't make.

Known parameters:
Film-less White phosphor
Binocular (capable, not opposed to going monocular and adding another later)
In all likelihood a Crye nightcap for the headgear. Ballistic helmet to be added down the road. That will probably be a whole other crisis and thread. Along with the IR laser/illuminator (going to go with DBAL-PL for immediate use).

Uses:
Ultimately it's job is to be a SHTF tool. But practically speaking, it'll be mostly to fool around with. Nighttime strolls looking out over the ocean, stargazing, spying on the neighbors etc. If I could find a place to do it, wouldn't mind trying a little night driving. I don't hunt, probably never will (I'm not interested in killing living things for shits and giggles, and a little to squeamish to properly make use of a kill). Also don't have a lot of time to spend outdoors camping/hiking and whatnot (though I would like to, night hiking with NODs sounds like fun to me). Depth perception of a binocular system is probably my biggest desire. That said, I like to leave my options open, and would like to have capabilities like single-eye, weapon mounting, or clip-on accessories. Thermal fusion would be a long-term goal. I will eventually do some "ops" stuff and go to some NVG tactical training, but that will be down the road a ways.

Ultimate goal:
To get the most "do-it-all" type system possible, to the extent I'm not losing significant benefits of something more specialized. Desirable to minimize the number of things. Buy once/cry once and all of that. I get that it might make sense to have one bino and a dedicated mono eventually, but I don't want to end up with "this is my photography unit, this is my stargazing unit, this is my driving unit, this is my operating operationally unit...." etc.

Budget:
Not really a factor, willing to pay what it costs to get what I want/need. I've worked a fuckload of overtime the past 4 years. That said, not looking to spend money unnecessarily or buy the most expensive shit just because. If a $1000 unit does 90% of what the $2500 does, I'll take the $1k. For example I've seen people rave about the MAWLs here, but at least on paper I'm not seeing the reason behind the huge price jump from say a DBAL. I'm a pretty frugal person by nature, which is why I stress so much about large purchases like this.

With these fixed parameters and the help of Vic, it seems the choice is between the Sentinel, DTNVG, or pair of PVS-14s and a bridge.
Pros/cons as I understand them:
Sentinel - Lightest, remote battery pack capable. Personal recommendation of Vic. Not capable of single-eye use.
DTNVG - Capability to swivel one eye up to do the one NV, one night-adapted thing. (The actual practicality/usefulness of this strategy I do not know, but it makes sense to my uninitiated brain). Lighter than dual PVS-14s.
PVS-14s - These have most of that "do it all" ability. Most accessories like camera adapters, thermals, etc. seem to be designed around 14's. The color wheel thing has my interest as a long-term stretch goal (just because I think it would be absolutely boss to see full-ish color through NVGs, not any actual foreseen 'need'). Could be weapon mounted, split off and worn as a monocular/donated to a battle buddy, etc. Not that I particularly plan to use it weapon-mounted, but again, options. I did have the forethought to go with the NV capable EOtech I just bought. Could explore one NV one thermal later.

So what am I missing, or maybe over-evaluating? This is where my problem lies. Don't know if I'm splitting hairs or missing something big. Does a dedicated binocular setup offer something substantial over dual 14's? Is the Sentinel or DTNVG capable of more of the stuff I'm crediting the 14s for that I don't realize? How big of a deal is the one eye/two eye thing? Can someone who operates either (or both) argue for/against it?
Link Posted: 5/7/2018 2:56:29 PM EDT
I'm just going to share a small bit of personal experience having used and owned a monocular and binocular.

PVS14's are very versatile in that, you can better use them in an urban environment (one eye exposed, quickly adjust), and overall it's a lighter setup. Aside from the cost difference versus binoculars, that's where the fund ends.

Binoculars; ever since I stepped up to duals, I find it almost impossible to go back. The added depth perception is what I found to be the biggest reason to get into duals. I find it much easier to perform tasks whether its everyday stuff around the house, and as much as driving, or shooting on the move. The biggest downfall of course would be in an urban environment where you may be exposed to white light. My personal setup consists of a Mod3 Bravo with ANVIS9 lenses, and I love the fact that this setup can be broken up into mono's.

If you're looking to stick with strictly bino's, I would probably opt for the DTNVG's. It's a really nice feature to be able to swing either NOD sideways versus having to flip up my bino's to see outside my NOD's.
Link Posted: 5/7/2018 5:22:30 PM EDT
I love the ability to have the ability to give a monacke to another person. So i run dual 14’s. I’m going to get that mount that allows you to swing them up and move them separately.

So I’d recommend dual 14’s or a mod3 setup if you’re concerned about weight. Sometime down the road I’ll move to a mod3 but I’m happy now.

And I agree, it’s hard to justify a $2500 MAWL vs a $1000 dbal d2. If I was in high speed situations? MAWL all day long. But I’m not so it would just be cool points for me. Eventually I’ll snag one (or an a4).
Link Posted: 5/7/2018 6:14:02 PM EDT
I would add that the Sentinels are actually heavier than the DTNVGs (20.8oz vs 18.8oz, respectively), but are more durable. MOD 3 would weigh in at about 22oz and Dual PVS-14s would put you over 25oz. I've used some and tried all of them--the difference in weight is noticeable, especially over the course of a shooting class or something.

Kwikvette is right, once you go dual, it's hard to go back. So if you decide to go dual then you have to decide what to prioritize: Durability (Sentinels), Light weight (DTNVGs, PVS-31s, etc.), Modular ability to split into two monos (MOD 3, dual PVS-14s).

For me the choice came down to MOD 3s or DTNVGs--I went with DTNVGs and weight was one big reason why. Only duals lighter than the DTNVGs are PVS-31s or Mini B's--which also cost way more. The DTNVG's ability to flip up one side to check your environment is nice, as is the ability to fold both tubes back for better weight balance (that too is noticeable, especially over time). For my use, I'd be exclusively using the NVDs 90% of the time, so the modularity of the MOD 3s were trumped by the lightness and overall better user experience of the DTNVGs.

Sadly there is no universally-accepted, one-size-fits-all NVD setup--they all have pros and cons. Maybe if they made DTNVG's that can split into dual monos, hahah...
Link Posted: 5/7/2018 7:21:10 PM EDT
Thanks for the input so far everyone. I overlooked the MOD3. That might be the new front-runner. I think I can live with a little extra weight for the much increased versatility and ultimate cost savings not having to get a standalone monocular down the road. I can't see much reason to go dual 14's instead of a MOD3 if I decide the separability thing is sufficiently important, given the weight and simplicity benefit.

I noticed that about the Sentinel/DTNVG weight after I posted. I thought Vic had said the Sentinel was the lightest, must have misheard/misunderstood. The PVS-31 looks pretty incredible. Is there a civilian version of it available?

Given I had the weights backward, I would lean more toward the DTNVG now over the Sentinel. The remote battery pack seems pretty cool, but I think the more moveable optics wins out there. Unless the ruggedness is a big deal. The DTNVG's are super fragile, right? I don't foresee doing any hard-charging stuff with them, but I have been known to be clumsy at times.
Link Posted: 5/7/2018 8:21:42 PM EDT
I run a -14 mono, my buddy runs -31a (current GI issue dual tube for SF), which I occasionally get to run.

If I had the funds, and was just getting into it, I'd get Vic to hook me up with the Sentinel's. There is a huge difference between the dedicated binos and the cobbled together monos. Dedicated binos are actually much smaller, lighter, and stick out much less from your face. The difference is amazing.

I really don't know of anyone, outside of this forum that talks about having binos that flip up individually, can share with a buddy, etc. I'm sure there are good reasons for all that, but at the end of the day, if you have the opportunity to buy state of the art binos, versus hybrid systems, there's no question, IMHO.

And yes, the helmet and LAM are a whole 'nother issue, which actually complete the system.
Link Posted: 5/7/2018 10:41:55 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/7/2018 10:46:06 PM EDT by TNVC_Augee]
Link Posted: 5/7/2018 11:07:36 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Klaustrophobia:
I noticed that about the Sentinel/DTNVG weight after I posted. I thought Vic had said the Sentinel was the lightest, must have misheard/misunderstood. The PVS-31 looks pretty incredible. Is there a civilian version of it available?

Given I had the weights backward, I would lean more toward the DTNVG now over the Sentinel. The remote battery pack seems pretty cool, but I think the more moveable optics wins out there. Unless the ruggedness is a big deal. The DTNVG's are super fragile, right? I don't foresee doing any hard-charging stuff with them, but I have been known to be clumsy at times.
View Quote
PVS-31s are technically sold only to LE and Mil right now. But they can be bought from some sources including the secondary market, starting at around $13k (depending on tube specs). The civilian versions are essentially the modern duals like the DTNVG and Mini B.

A remote battery pack is nice if you need really long run times (like for long duration military operations) and can transfer a tiny bit of weight from a battery up front to a bigger battery out back as counterweight. For the vast majority of non-military users, a remote battery pack is not necessary for the DTNVG as it's battery life is listed at about 25-30 hours from a single CR123, plus it's already very light.

According to a couple of the guys at TNVC told me they have seen hardly any DTNVGs come back broken. Despite how light it is the DTNVG is definitely not fragile. That said, Sentinels are on a whole other level of durability compared to all the other duals out there. They are renowned for their bomb proof construction, have many proponents on this forum (like Vic and Sam of TNVC) and in my limited use of them they seemed super solid. So if you tend to break your stuff often, you can't go wrong with Sentinels. Though they may not be as light or versatile as other options, they are built like tanks.
Link Posted: 5/7/2018 11:14:29 PM EDT
Whoops, missed Augee's post before I replied LOL! You would do well to pay close attention to his advice--he is the guru!
Link Posted: 5/8/2018 2:25:21 AM EDT
Augee, you should really try to be less vague in your posts. It’s hard to get any information out of them.
Link Posted: 5/8/2018 2:53:42 AM EDT
Definitely take heed to TNVC's reps. They know their stuff, obviously. Hopefully you will get all the right stuff the first time around.

I originally had, well still have but it's being used solely for a buddy setup, the OMNI IIIV PVS-14 from TNVC and an i2. The issue of needing an additional light source came up immediately upon first use, so the i2 was traded in for an A3. VIS / IR lasers are slaved, decent and adjustable IR illuminator, it was big and blocky, but more importantly tall. I could barely see the tip of my BUIS if need be. It served me well by itself, but didn't fit my setup. It was traded in for the ATPIAL shortly after, and overall I have been satisfied with it. IR laser is good, IR illuminator is somewhat lacking and cannot focus the beam, but it's light and sits very low on the rail, which is great.

In the mean time I used the -14's for a bit. They took time to get used to, a term I use loosely. Depth perception was lacking. I could get the job done, but I was having to be much more observant of obstacles, doorways, anything on the ground, and still having to trust my gut on my footsteps and movements. I didn't like this. YMMV but it was like a 80/20 split between shooting and focusing on targets, and focusing on obstacles and movement. I did some browsing and started looking into goggles. I spent a lengthy amount of time on the phone with Sam, I believe, from TNVC and we sorted it all out, basically the way he did above. Coming from using a -14 setup, I knew after getting goggles, I'd probably never go back, which is the general consensus, so a setup like the MOD3 or PVS-15 was not advantageous for me. I like rugged stuff. I don't mistreat my equipment, but I am not afraid to use it hard, which is why I ended up with Sentinels. I now have great depth perception and can focus almost entirely on the target. I don't have to think about where I'm stepping or take a second glance to see approximately how far away that chair is. I just take one look and know. Weight has not been an issue, and they're built like a tank. That's the first thing I said when I picked them up for the first time. It's something you can just tell by the feel. I think I'd have to put them in a gallon of tanerite to destroy them beyond repair. I would recommend them to anybody considering goggles.

The rest of the conversation was about green thin-filmed vs white phosphor. I am so glad I chose white phosphor. Yes, more money, but everything is brighter and, for me, much more clear. Less external light is needed, and I can see things in total pitch black with my Sentinels that I would never see with my green -14's. Would spend the extra cash again without question.

Finally, keep in mind, I am no operator. I'm just a young enthusiast who hunts coyotes and hogs at night and does some night plinking with friends, and also hopes to take some night courses soon - looking at you, TNVC. BUT, if I had to do it all over again, I would worry less about the money spent, because you're gonna have to spend money regardless, and be more concerned about making the first purchase the last one.
Link Posted: 5/8/2018 12:54:13 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By FullAutoHound:
Augee, you should really try to be less vague in your posts. It’s hard to get any information out of them.
View Quote
man - i haven't been back to NVG forum in a while. When did Augee become TNVC_Augee?



Apologies OP - I haven't nothing to add that the other guys haven't already addressed. I'm just running a simple TNVC WP PVS14. I've had nothing but good experiences with it so far since I purchased it.
Link Posted: 5/8/2018 2:24:25 PM EDT
Sorry to highjack...but since I have 2 PVS-14s of about equal spec (both from TNVC) would it be possible to use the tubes and put them into Sentinels or some other bino set-up? Would it even be cost affective? I'd probably keep the 14 housings, probably for a high spec WP tube if I could find the right spec...
Link Posted: 5/9/2018 5:07:15 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/9/2018 6:09:00 PM EDT by sbye]
Originally Posted By Klaustrophobia:
I have zero experience with NV, never even seen one in person. I've already read just about everything on TVNC's site and called them up and talked for a bit. Gave me a lot of good info and stuff to think about, but still have a bit of a crucial decision I can't make.

Known parameters:
Film-less White phosphor
Binocular (capable, not opposed to going monocular and adding another later)
In all likelihood a Crye nightcap for the headgear. Ballistic helmet to be added down the road. That will probably be a whole other crisis and thread. Along with the IR laser/illuminator (going to go with DBAL-PL for immediate use).

If you can afford filmless WP go for it. Also be aware that it is not a giant leap from thin-film. Take Augee's advice and try to get some time behind NV.

If you get binos I would skip the Crye Nightcap and get a bump helmet for a couple hundred more. I think the Crye is great for a PVS-14, but I prefer a bump for binos


Uses:
Ultimately it's job is to be a SHTF tool. But practically speaking, it'll be mostly to fool around with. Nighttime strolls looking out over the ocean, stargazing, spying on the neighbors etc. If I could find a place to do it, wouldn't mind trying a little night driving. I don't hunt, probably never will (I'm not interested in killing living things for shits and giggles, and a little to squeamish to properly make use of a kill). Also don't have a lot of time to spend outdoors camping/hiking and whatnot (though I would like to, night hiking with NODs sounds like fun to me). Depth perception of a binocular system is probably my biggest desire. That said, I like to leave my options open, and would like to have capabilities like single-eye, weapon mounting, or clip-on accessories. Thermal fusion would be a long-term goal. I will eventually do some "ops" stuff and go to some NVG tactical training, but that will be down the road a ways.

I personally would never weapon mount NV that is meant to be helmet mounted. They are not made to handle recoil. While they may be fine on a 5.56, why risk it with something that cost a few grand? Get a NV capable optic and IR/Laser Illuminator, that will be sufficient.

Ultimate goal:
To get the most "do-it-all" type system possible, to the extent I'm not losing significant benefits of something more specialized. Desirable to minimize the number of things. Buy once/cry once and all of that. I get that it might make sense to have one bino and a dedicated mono eventually, but I don't want to end up with "this is my photography unit, this is my stargazing unit, this is my driving unit, this is my operating operationally unit...." etc.

One thing I will mention... The hardest part about night vision is finding other people to shoot with & places to shoot. So you might want to consider a loaner set up. Or get better friends than me that aren't too cheap to buy their own lol. Because of this a Mod 3 might be a good option, but if you're like me you won't give up the binos and will have to buy something else as a back up/loaner.

Budget:
Not really a factor, willing to pay what it costs to get what I want/need. I've worked a fuckload of overtime the past 4 years. That said, not looking to spend money unnecessarily or buy the most expensive shit just because. If a $1000 unit does 90% of what the $2500 does, I'll take the $1k. For example I've seen people rave about the MAWLs here, but at least on paper I'm not seeing the reason behind the huge price jump from say a DBAL. I'm a pretty frugal person by nature, which is why I stress so much about large purchases like this.
The only bad thing I have heard about the MAWL (besides price) is changing batteries. Everything else has been good. Unfortunately, I have never used one. That being said, I wouldn't spend that much money on one. I would rather get two ATPIAL-C's.

With these fixed parameters and the help of Vic, it seems the choice is between the Sentinel, DTNVG, or pair of PVS-14s and a bridge.
Pros/cons as I understand them:
Sentinel - Lightest, remote battery pack capable. Personal recommendation of Vic. Not capable of single-eye use.
DTNVG - Capability to swivel one eye up to do the one NV, one night-adapted thing. (The actual practicality/usefulness of this strategy I do not know, but it makes sense to my uninitiated brain). Lighter than dual PVS-14s.
PVS-14s - These have most of that "do it all" ability. Most accessories like camera adapters, thermals, etc. seem to be designed around 14's. The color wheel thing has my interest as a long-term stretch goal (just because I think it would be absolutely boss to see full-ish color through NVGs, not any actual foreseen 'need'). Could be weapon mounted, split off and worn as a monocular/donated to a battle buddy, etc. Not that I particularly plan to use it weapon-mounted, but again, options. I did have the forethought to go with the NV capable EOtech I just bought. Could explore one NV one thermal later.

I have the Sentinels and love them. Haven't had a chance to use the DTNVG, but they look awesome. I don't like how the DTNVG's don't have a spot to attach bungees to & they also do not have set stops for swinging the pods back down.
As for the dual PVS-14's, I would not recommend it. If you want the ability to split them go with the Mod 3.


So what am I missing, or maybe over-evaluating? This is where my problem lies. Don't know if I'm splitting hairs or missing something big. Does a dedicated binocular setup offer something substantial over dual 14's? Is the Sentinel or DTNVG capable of more of the stuff I'm crediting the 14s for that I don't realize? How big of a deal is the one eye/two eye thing? Can someone who operates either (or both) argue for/against it?

Most people prefer binos. The advantage to the PVS-14 is the size/weight, but mainly having one eye adjusted to the dark. Based on your uses I think binos would give you the most satisfaction. I have had dual 14's in the past. They work, but a bino setup is way better. You cannot collimate the 14's and depending on the mount they can shift slightly during use. This will give you a cross eyed feeling and can cause headaches.

Here is a good video that compares binos to monos:

Link Posted: 5/9/2018 7:55:09 PM EDT
Dual 14s is nice if you already have one that you like and don’t want to take the hit selling it used. Beyond that, the dedicated systems are nicer in most every way.

I would question the jack of all trades mentality a little. Will you really weapon mount it? Mounted behind a red dot isn’t much different than helmet mounted with a laser. You can put it behind a day scope, but you’ll need to mount the day scope pretty far forward to a point you can’t easily use it as a day scope. Not that it’s terrible to do and if you have a spare rifle, it works. But it’s not as universal adding it to a rifle that’s meant for the day as well. And if you aren’t putting it behind magnification, you might as well keep it on your head.

As for a loaner, that too sounds better than it typically is. I can’t find people I trust to shoot or even hike at night. Too many other commitments and often not willing to head out when most are going to bed. Not that it will never happen, but it’s unlikely for most to be an every night thing. So again, getting the set that works best for you seems better than the set that’s easier to remove and use as a loaner.

I don’t get the huge need for civilians to have one eye flip when the other doesn’t. Nothing we are doing at night is life or death. You don’t sound like this is for LEO job duties so having a split second longer to get back to both eyes covered (flipping both tubes down at once rather than 1 staying down and one being flipped up) just isn’t a real issue.

You are willing to step into high quality from the start so really from here it’s fairly small differences. I think you will be more than happy any route you go.
Link Posted: 5/14/2018 7:59:41 PM EDT
Thanks for all the input everyone. I'm reading and re-reading it all, and going out on the webz and trying to find as many videos/reviews as I can. I think I'm heavily leaning toward the MOD3-B now. I like the idea of having monoculars available without buying an extra PVS-14 on top of the binos, even though I understand I wouldn't use it that way much at all. It also seems like most PVS-14 accessories should work with it. Am I correct that it uses the same objectives and eyepieces as a 14?

Can anyone think of a significant capability offered by the Sentinel or DTNVG (other than folding eyepiece) that I'd be missing with MOD3-B? Absent that, I think I've decided and now just need the time to make a call to the shop :)
Link Posted: 5/14/2018 9:31:18 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/14/2018 9:32:33 PM EDT by MunnyShot]
Being frugal aka trying to get the best for you money is possible, but generally your going to sacrifice weight, size, flaws in the picture, and performance. First off I'd recommend a setting a realistic budget, that way posters can recommend things that will fit your use better. If 2500 is your NOD budget then a bino set up is out of the running and if your considering adding another 14 in the future weight, matching spec, and setting it up properly can be challenging. As far as specs go one thing to keep in mind not all gens are created equally. Depending on the spec of the tube will determine how well you will be to see in near dark conditions without additional IR or moon/star/light pollution. Some Gen2/Gen2+ tubes do very well as some Gen3/Gen 3 high spec tubes in surban/starry skies, but go under a dark tree canopy, inside of a dark warehouse etc without supplemental IR light and the Gen2/2+/low spec 3 will be almost useless. My first 14 I bought was a brand new autogated 10K life Gen2+ unit which was great for an urban setting paired with a Steiner D2 and it was awesome even in a no light condition. If no one else had NV It'd be great, but light a bright flashlight in a dark area it's very easily traced back to me every time I illuminated with IR. Basically in a no light scenario you want the highest spec NV you can afford. If your not worried about anyone else having NV than a 1,500 Gen2+ will be great. A couple of things to consider about the D2 vs MAWL C1+ is the illuminator brightness is about the same and while the D2 is LED based very faint pinkish glow can only be seen to a short distance and at a very small angle. Also the weight and mass are similar between the 2 units.
Link Posted: 5/15/2018 9:46:15 AM EDT
Link Posted: 5/16/2018 9:42:08 AM EDT
Link Posted: 5/18/2018 6:25:58 PM EDT
Last couple of questions I have.

Regarding the MOD-3B, I see there are a couple of options, manual/automatic gain and standard/c-mount. I get the feeling that user-adjustable gain is a good thing and probably considered the 'standard' for NODs, but I don't have any experience with that. I would think if auto was an 'upgrade' it wouldn't be cheaper. I wouldn't think I'd want to find myself in an environment where the 'auto' gain decided on a setting that is either too bright or too dim, and not have any way to adjust that. Is that a decent assessment, or am I off base here and auto works and there's no reason to spend a few hundred extra to have to adjust manually?

For c-mount, I think it's saying that option is for cameras ONLY, as in I wouldn't be able to use it without a camera? But that seems weird to have as an option that would seem to render it useless as a head-mounted binocular device, so I'm not sure I'm reading that right. I could see myself wanting to snap some NV pictures in the future, though by no means would that be a primary use. It looks like the PVS-14 camera adapters could be used since the objectives I believe are the same between the MOD-3B and PVS-14?
Link Posted: 5/18/2018 9:23:16 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/18/2018 9:34:05 PM EDT by murtis]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Klaustrophobia:
Last couple of questions I have.

Regarding the MOD-3B, I see there are a couple of options, manual/automatic gain and standard/c-mount. I get the feeling that user-adjustable gain is a good thing and probably considered the 'standard' for NODs, but I don't have any experience with that. I would think if auto was an 'upgrade' it wouldn't be cheaper. I wouldn't think I'd want to find myself in an environment where the 'auto' gain decided on a setting that is either too bright or too dim, and not have any way to adjust that. Is that a decent assessment, or am I off base here and auto works and there's no reason to spend a few hundred extra to have to adjust manually?

For c-mount, I think it's saying that option is for cameras ONLY, as in I wouldn't be able to use it without a camera? But that seems weird to have as an option that would seem to render it useless as a head-mounted binocular device, so I'm not sure I'm reading that right. I could see myself wanting to snap some NV pictures in the future, though by no means would that be a primary use. It looks like the PVS-14 camera adapters could be used since the objectives I believe are the same between the MOD-3B and PVS-14?
View Quote
Autogain works very well and it really doesn't mess up the view. Aviation tubes don't have manual gain so that should tell something already. Manual mostly used for turning the gain down a bit which gets you a less noisy image. Darker yes, but you may see better because of the lack of noise despite the image being dimmer. But like said, aviation tubes are with auto - it does work.

Manual gain tubes probably have a better resale value or at least are easier to sell because everyone's got a PVS-14.

There is however something with manual gain tubes (with US Gen3) regarding binos that could affect the outcome and that's the optical axis offset requirement which is less strict with ground tubes (manual gain) compared to aviation tubes. A binocular is collimated/adjusted so that the images of both sides overlap and don't point at different directions. The whole system, objective lens, tube and eyepiece are never exactly centered optically, because of manufacturing tolerances, and thus the PVS-14 / ANVIS style eyepieces have a way of adjusting them to make the axis offset minimal. I said with US Gen3 because I don't know if other manufacturers (like Photonis) do the same, but pretty sure it's exactly the same way with everyone. Aviation tubes generally have the most stringent requirements for everything, then ground tubes and then commercial.

With aviation tubes the range of eyepiece adjustment should always be enough, but with ground tubes this is not be the case. I don't know if new L3 Gen3 tubes are generally aligned better than older tubes, but as far as I know the requirement hasn't changed so there's no need for the manufacturer to realign anything if it's not "perfect". Not that realigning is even possible in all scenarios and when it is it's a huge job and not worth it. In a monocular this offset is not a big issue as your other eye will not be seeing much anyway, so it isn't that important if the image actually points to where your eye is pointing at. Image distortion is one thing too that needs to be low in aviation tubes.

This shouldn't be an issue if you get your unit from some place where they know their stuff - tubes can always be hand selected to match a great pair and get a good aligned view (less eye fatigue / headaches after prolonged use). And of course all other specs will be matched between the tubes too. In addition to the benefit of having the possibility to turn the gain down, the ground tubes tend to weigh less due to them not having the same kind of EMI shielding that adds weight.

Don't go with C-mount. No reason really with your use case. Plus the standard PVS-14 or ANVIS objective lenses are great. With C-mount you have the ability to try out different objective lenses and mounting to telescopes etc.

DTNVG's are not brittle at all, no need to worry about that if you chose it over the Mod3. One bino (family) that was left out here is the ANVIS that is very light weight, but has the weakest body of all mentioned already. Pilots run them and thus the housing design could be leaned towards weight savings instead of making it able to take in drops / bumps into trees, etc. If you went for the second hand route then an ANVIS unit might be the most cost effective way to get into great binos and be light weight too.

Regarding your thermal fusion thoughts, there's the E-COTI that you can add to any of the mentioned binos afterwards (except to C-mount optics they might be an issue with COTI).
Link Posted: 5/20/2018 4:28:59 PM EDT
Sorry for the piggyback but I was wondering if there were any differences in depth of field between the different binoculars or if they would be example specific. For instance, we went night hiking and I noticed on my PVS-14 that if I focused not quite to infinity, but almost there, that the ground would be quite blurry. I couldn't see where I was stepping well at all. Very normal I know. But I tried out a different set of PVS-14s and noticed that if I focused on the distance with those, the ground would be pretty well-focused and I could see much better where I was stepping. Would any of the other binocular sets be better for this than others for whatever reason?
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