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10/30/2020 2:42:12 PM
Posted: 11/17/2020 6:18:32 PM EST
There's lots of talk about green verses white, but I don't see much about thin-filmed verses unfilmed. Obviously unfilmed is mo-betta. But if we put a price to it, can we start to quantify it?

Some of the things I was reading said things like the film blocks up to 50% of the photons involved in the witchcraft going on inside the tube. That sounds like a night and day difference. That sounds at face value like a guy with an unfilmed tube is making positive ID on objects the guy next to him with a thin filmed tube isn't even seeing. But is it? Some people are counting the technology difference as a whole generation change. But again, is it really that big of difference?

Some preliminary googling shows PVS-14s with similar resolution and signal to noise specs to be about a grand apart if you're looking at the same color phosphor. Is there going to be a significant performance difference between the two if all else is equal? Or is this technology difference just one more little thing that adds up to the bigger picture?

As all things are use case subjective, do you have any examples of use cases where unfilmed might be worth an extra grand and where it might not be worth the extra money?
Link Posted: 11/17/2020 6:30:33 PM EST
[Last Edit: 11/17/2020 8:36:00 PM EST by TNVC_Sam]
Link Posted: 11/17/2020 6:36:28 PM EST
I know this gets said a lot, but only you can decide if it's worth it. The thing that sucks about the night vision world is most people don't get to look through it in person before buying it.

I have filmless, thin film, and an Echo. I would not say the filmless is 50% better than either of the others. Perhaps 10-20%.

The filmless is definitely clearer, and has a sharper image. It also has better light amplification ability which will become more apparent the darker it is. Is it 1000$ better? I go hiking in some dark woods sometimes and the filmless lets me see a few more things I wouldn't have otherwise seen, e.g. a stick on the path or a hole. If I were using thin film and broke my leg on something that I would have seen with the filmless I would probably wish I had spent the extra 1000$.

That being said, such situations are rare and the difference is minimal. I got the filmless not because I need it, but because I like to geek out over night vision and I wanted to see what the best looked like. I don't regret it.


Link Posted: 11/18/2020 12:51:21 PM EST
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Originally Posted By Cansiae1nundatio:
I know this gets said a lot, but only you can decide if it's worth it. The thing that sucks about the night vision world is most people don't get to look through it in person before buying it.

I have filmless, thin film, and an Echo. I would not say the filmless is 50% better than either of the others. Perhaps 10-20%.

The filmless is definitely clearer, and has a sharper image. It also has better light amplification ability which will become more apparent the darker it is. Is it 1000$ better? I go hiking in some dark woods sometimes and the filmless lets me see a few more things I wouldn't have otherwise seen, e.g. a stick on the path or a hole. If I were using thin film and broke my leg on something that I would have seen with the filmless I would probably wish I had spent the extra 1000$.

That being said, such situations are rare and the difference is minimal. I got the filmless not because I need it, but because I like to geek out over night vision and I wanted to see what the best looked like. I don't regret it.

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+1

My only regret buying unfilmed is that I didn't buy it sooner. If you have the budget and want the best then buy higher spec unfilmed because it is the best. If you don't have the budget, average spec thin filmed is also plenty awesome. Hell, the Echos are awesome.

I'll relate it to my recent decision to buy a FLIR Breach for a HMT/NV set up. There are better performing helmet mountable thermals. The Breach fits my needs based on my use case (distance, terrain, etc.). It allowed me to maximize my budget, getting a KVC bridge w/ accessories, Mod Armory battery extender & dovetail adapter, and still have a good chunk of money left over. I know I would love a better performing 640 head mounted thermal and it would murder the Breach but it would have decimated my budget. If I had the budget I would have gotten a 640 no question about that!

Back to NV - I've owned both and still do - Omni VIII level spec thin filmed GP and higher spec unfilmed WP and rotate between them often. Like said above, it's not a huge jump in performance, but it is a jump in performance.

Passive use of night vision (not using IR lights/lasers) is becoming more important especially with how many people have bought/are buying NV in 2020. If that's important to you, then high performing unfilmed provides an advantage and every advantage counts when it comes to seeing somebody before they see you. After all that's basically the main point of using NV.  

Just like Cansiae1nundatio, I'm an NV geek and for me it was worth the extra $$. I don't regret it whatsoever.
Link Posted: 11/18/2020 1:09:52 PM EST
Link Posted: 11/18/2020 1:22:15 PM EST
Originally Posted By BUIS:
There's lots of talk about green verses white, but I don't see much about thin-filmed verses unfilmed. Obviously unfilmed is mo-betta. But if we put a price to it, can we start to quantify it?

Some of the things I was reading said things like the film blocks up to 50% of the photons involved in the witchcraft going on inside the tube. That sounds like a night and day difference. That sounds at face value like a guy with an unfilmed tube is making positive ID on objects the guy next to him with a thin filmed tube isn't even seeing. But is it? Some people are counting the technology difference as a whole generation change. But again, is it really that big of difference?

Some preliminary googling shows PVS-14s with similar resolution and signal to noise specs to be about a grand apart if you're looking at the same color phosphor. Is there going to be a significant performance difference between the two if all else is equal? Or is this technology difference just one more little thing that adds up to the bigger picture?

The unfilmed will perform better in all conditions but more so in lower light conditions. The variety in tube specs plays a large role in the difference. Using two tubes (filmed & unfilmed) with identical specs the differences would be more noticeable at further distances. It would be the difference between being able to distinguish if a person is holding an object in their hands or not. Or being able to make out a human shape/outline.  


As all things are use case subjective, do you have any examples of use cases where unfilmed might be worth an extra grand and where it might not be worth the extra money?
As mentioned in my other post, passive use of NV is where a higher performing unfilmed tube will stand out the most. I live extremely rural and have zero city glow or artificial ambient light. My light sources are the moon, stars, and whatever I provide with IR. On dark nights with star light only with or without without clouds, I can see further and identify more with the unfilmed. It's more enjoyable to be out on those dark nights using the unfilmed than it is with the thin filmed and that's basically how I rotate between googles., Unfilmed on dark nights and thin filmed on brighter nights.  

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Link Posted: 11/18/2020 5:45:02 PM EST
Great responses guys!  Very illuminating. Thanks!
Link Posted: 11/19/2020 9:50:04 AM EST
Unfortunately I am late to this game. Most vendors were quoting 20 weeks for unfilmed. JNR quoted me 10 (or so) for high performance thin filmed. Given the current state of affairs, I went thin.

Maybe when stuff stabilizes, I can upgrade and give the thin filmed to spouse.
Link Posted: 11/19/2020 9:58:31 AM EST
If you are working indoors a great deal or under heavy tree cover with limited starlight in a professional LEO or MIL capacity then absolutely it's worth it if you can afford it.

Anything you can do to see into dark shadow areas without having to switch on IR light is a good thing in a world where increasingly near peer threats are equipped with night vision devices.  

However, if you're a civilian you most likely have other competing expenses for your limited budget resources.  Don't let "perfect" be the enemy of "good", don't put all your eggs into one basket, and get the GEN 3 device that fits best for you given the totality of your individual circumstances.



Link Posted: 11/19/2020 10:23:26 AM EST
In equally matched tubes spec wise, I fall into the camp that there is not a significant enough difference to really justify filmless. So in this department I definitely disagree with Augee, but that's okay.

Not that other people shouldn't make the consideration, but I find the most common issue is simply not comparing apples to apples spec wise. I have done a lot of comparisons and posted the results online where there are filmless and thin filmed tubes compared that actually have the same specs, with very small deltas, and put them out for people to see.

Of course, videos and pictures aren't a perfect comparison of what you'd experience actually owning and looking through either.
Link Posted: 11/19/2020 10:44:08 AM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By westernhaikus1:
In equally matched tubes spec wise, I fall into the camp that there is not a significant enough difference to really justify filmless. So in this department I definitely disagree with Augee, but that's okay.

Not that other people shouldn't make the consideration, but I find the most common issue is simply not comparing apples to apples spec wise. I have done a lot of comparisons and posted the results online where there are filmless and thin filmed tubes compared that actually have the same specs, with very small deltas, and put them out for people to see.

Of course, videos and pictures aren't a perfect comparison of what you'd experience actually owning and looking through either.
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I can see where both you and Augee are coming from. When comparing tubes of identical specs, I can definitely tell the difference. A lower spec unfilmed tube will generally not favor in comparison to a higher spec filmed tube. The delta will typically be the tube gain, whereas you can have a filmed tube with all-around higher specs that shows more detail in the image field, but doesn't appear as bright as the unfilmed tube.
Link Posted: 11/19/2020 11:27:10 AM EST
The problem with these threads when they come up is the "worth" part. It's 100% subjective to the individual and extremely difficult (actually more like impossible) for someone who's never used night vision before to determine for themselves.

IMO, the best they can do is work that decision around their budget, and how far they're willing to stretch it. It's no different than most other buying decisions IMO. It's not a direct comparison but similar - is the price of of a Jeep Rubicon worth it over the Sport? It depends on the type of user/driver but more importantly it usually comes down to which one you can afford.
Link Posted: 11/19/2020 11:45:16 AM EST
Link Posted: 11/19/2020 11:59:13 AM EST
Link Posted: 11/19/2020 1:51:57 PM EST
[Last Edit: 11/19/2020 1:53:29 PM EST by Diz]
Two things here.  Is there a difference in quality/performance.  And is it worth 1K+?   I run a 10 yr old gen III tube in a -14.  So we're talking "Pinnacle" spec, thin-filmed GP.  And you know what?  It works great for me.  

I also have a buddy who runs GI -31's.  So we're talking latest and greatest "filmless" WP.  It blows my tube out of the water.  So that answers that question.

Is that worth 1K+?  That's for you to decide.  I'd say hell yes.  And I'd upgrade, time and budget permitting.  

Is it necessary for your mission?  Again only you can determine that.  

My advice would be to get something, at least thin-filmed and probably WP, in a single tube, -14 format.  That will get you into the game.  Even with the recent buying spike, NV still remains a very small community.  So I'm not all that worried about peer-to-peer engagements.  More the opportunistic slug taking advantage of a WROL-type situation.  Like we've seen in recent days.

If your mission is to interdict hostiles, as far form your home as possible, then depending on how far along you are, there is much in the way of training, weapons, and equipment to procure.  A decent low-end set up like mine, excluding rifle, can still run 6K.  That's a huge chunk of the defensive budget (but barely enough to get you a set of binos alone).  There are training classes, weapons, body armor, comms, etc. that should take precedence over NV.  If you have all that and still have enough money left over, then go for it.  As the man said, get the best system that you can afford.  

And as always, if this is just a hobby, carry on; do whatever you like.
Link Posted: 11/19/2020 4:52:10 PM EST
[Last Edit: 11/19/2020 4:54:46 PM EST by BUIS]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Diz:
Two things here.  Is there a difference in quality/performance.  And is it worth 1K+?   I run a 10 yr old gen III tube in a -14.  So we're talking "Pinnacle" spec, thin-filmed GP.  And you know what?  It works great for me.  

I also have a buddy who runs GI -31's.  So we're talking latest and greatest "filmless" WP.  It blows my tube out of the water.  So that answers that question.

Is that worth 1K+?  That's for you to decide.  I'd say hell yes.  And I'd upgrade, time and budget permitting.  

Is it necessary for your mission?  Again only you can determine that.  

My advice would be to get something, at least thin-filmed and probably WP, in a single tube, -14 format.  That will get you into the game.  Even with the recent buying spike, NV still remains a very small community.  So I'm not all that worried about peer-to-peer engagements.  More the opportunistic slug taking advantage of a WROL-type situation.  Like we've seen in recent days.

If your mission is to interdict hostiles, as far form your home as possible, then depending on how far along you are, there is much in the way of training, weapons, and equipment to procure.  A decent low-end set up like mine, excluding rifle, can still run 6K.  That's a huge chunk of the defensive budget (but barely enough to get you a set of binos alone).  There are training classes, weapons, body armor, comms, etc. that should take precedence over NV.  If you have all that and still have enough money left over, then go for it.  As the man said, get the best system that you can afford.  

And as always, if this is just a hobby, carry on; do whatever you like.
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Being technically able to afford it is part of what makes these decisions so difficult. There's too many options. Based on my recent and first experience with NODs at a two night class over the weekend a couple of things have become clear at least.

One, for my personal brain wiring, a single tube didn't bother me at all. I'll get duals eventually, but for now I'll be just fine with a single -14 and a -14 is overall more versatile (covert handheld scanning for instance)

Two, GP verses WP wasn't a big deal to me, they both looked good and I didn't feel any eye strain from three hours under a green tube. I also didn't have any weirdness going back to normal unaided vision after.

I've been going to training classes every month or two for the past year and plan to continue to do that. I've got weapons with suppressors (but no MAWL yet), body armor-soft and hard, working on HAM and people to talk to, etc. Night vision seems like the next logical acquisition.

Right now I'm pretty settled on going with a PVS-14, saving money on GP and putting that towards higher specs and potentially unfilmed. I'm seeing a few places listing unfilmed GP units for about the $3800-4200 range. Which looks to be about a grand more than one that matches what I used at the class. All I know about that one was it was GP, about 1800 FOM and had a few small black spots I didn't care about if I wasn't looking at the overcast sky.
Link Posted: 11/20/2020 7:34:52 AM EST
I'd say if you can afford L3 unfilmed WP - go for it.. it's worth IMHO. L3 unfilmed WP is the king of I^2 tubes.

Link Posted: 11/20/2020 8:29:25 AM EST
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Originally Posted By tlandoe07:


I can see where both you and Augee are coming from. When comparing tubes of identical specs, I can definitely tell the difference. A lower spec unfilmed tube will generally not favor in comparison to a higher spec filmed tube. The delta will typically be the tube gain, whereas you can have a filmed tube with all-around higher specs that shows more detail in the image field, but doesn't appear as bright as the unfilmed tube.
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How much tube gain is required to see a difference? For example, professionals say that a 60K tube and say, a 65K tube, you can't even tell, etc. Where does it become apparent?
Link Posted: 11/20/2020 11:06:55 AM EST
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Originally Posted By JohnDough:


How much tube gain is required to see a difference? For example, professionals say that a 60K tube and say, a 65K tube, you can't even tell, etc. Where does it become apparent?
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From my experience, I'd say probably around 10k difference plus or minus.

I had a pair of -14s I was running as duals at one time. One tube was 70k (7720 system gain per NVD sheet) and the other 58k (7220 per NVD sheet). The 58k was extremely noticeably dimmer. I had to lower the gain on the brighter tube somewhere around 1/2 - 3/4 to match them. It was annoying enough to me that I replaced that -14.
Link Posted: 11/20/2020 5:08:26 PM EST
Roger that OP, I'm tracking with you now.  It IS arfcom after all.  

Sounds like you are on track and cleared hot for a NV purchase.  If you can afford it, the filmless WP is far superior to thin filmed, and filmless GP is actually hard to find since most folks want (and dealer stock) WP.  

It's funny I was reading that other thread about Green being the shit, and agreeing with it myself.  But talking to guys that use it for a living, after having come up using the different thin-filmed GP, they say there's no comparison.  If you have the money, you want filmless WP.  This is strictly from a mil-spec perspective; there are many other uses, as we all know here.  But to get the absolute best performance, especially in low light, and perhaps passive as well, yeah, in this case, the "un-filmed" is worth the premium over thin-filmed.  

And also funny reading the threads about bino vs mono, and thinking sure, that sounds about right, but still agreeing with you about using a -14 and being GTG.  Not being poor and justifying it, but seem to function just fine with it.  

The only other practical consideration I would throw in here, is like anything else, would having two good MNVD's be better than one really good MNVD?  For instance if you split your kit, and always have a set on you/with you, and another set at home.  That way wherever you may be, whatever may happen, you should have one complete load out.  I know that's pretty extreme but after this year, I think pretty much anything is on the table.
Link Posted: 11/20/2020 7:38:50 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Diz:
Roger that OP, I'm tracking with you now.  It IS arfcom after all.  

Sounds like you are on track and cleared hot for a NV purchase.  If you can afford it, the filmless WP is far superior to thin filmed, and filmless GP is actually hard to find since most folks want (and dealer stock) WP.  

It's funny I was reading that other thread about Green being the shit, and agreeing with it myself.  But talking to guys that use it for a living, after having come up using the different thin-filmed GP, they say there's no comparison.  If you have the money, you want filmless WP.  This is strictly from a mil-spec perspective; there are many other uses, as we all know here.  But to get the absolute best performance, especially in low light, and perhaps passive as well, yeah, in this case, the "un-filmed" is worth the premium over thin-filmed.  

And also funny reading the threads about bino vs mono, and thinking sure, that sounds about right, but still agreeing with you about using a -14 and being GTG.  Not being poor and justifying it, but seem to function just fine with it.  

The only other practical consideration I would throw in here, is like anything else, would having two good MNVD's be better than one really good MNVD?  For instance if you split your kit, and always have a set on you/with you, and another set at home.  That way wherever you may be, whatever may happen, you should have one complete load out.  I know that's pretty extreme but after this year, I think pretty much anything is on the table.
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Glad to see you got the chance to see higher spec unfilmed WP for yourself. It’s something people who are skeptical have to see with their own eyes to really know if it’s worth the extra $$ for them. Everyone is different for sure, so no doubt GP works better for some, but at least for me my eyes like WP the best. In particular unfilmed WP. Besides the guys who use it for a living, most civilians also agree so there is something to that no doubt.

I was skeptical about unfilmed for years and believed the bullshit that I was told - it is all hype, that the tube won’t last, etc. Once I saw it for myself I was an instant convert.

I run dedicated binos and they are awesome but I still think dual -14s on a QD bridge is the ultimate do it all system. They are truly standalone units with their own low cost AA battery power source with onboard IR which is useful for signaling or navigating inside enclosed spaces.

Besides splitting your kit for the reasons you mentioned, with a QD bridge you can instantly hand one off while it’s still powered on to someone else to use handheld so they can help you scan or surveil and they can communicate with you via IR signaling if needed. This use case doesn’t apply to everybody but I know for some folks this might be important.


Link Posted: 11/20/2020 8:12:13 PM EST
I had TNVC upgrade me to filmless. The difference was about $500, so it is only really a $1000 jump if you aren't coming from WP thinfilm.

The difference is very noticeable, I may not have gone for it in salad days but right now I am glad I did. These pictures are very blown up and do no justice.

Link Posted: 11/20/2020 8:33:21 PM EST
Ugh. You guys are gonna cost me money..

Which reputable dealer has the best deal on an unfilmed WP -14? I know nothing is going to be available soon, but I'm patient..
Link Posted: 11/21/2020 4:42:03 AM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Diz:

The only other practical consideration I would throw in here, is like anything else, would having two good MNVD's be better than one really good MNVD?  For instance if you split your kit, and always have a set on you/with you, and another set at home.  That way wherever you may be, whatever may happen, you should have one complete load out.  I know that's pretty extreme but after this year, I think pretty much anything is on the table.
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I would also throw in there that you and someone else with a good set is infinitely better than just you with an amazing set, if you have additional able members of the household.
Link Posted: 11/21/2020 8:41:44 AM EST
[Last Edit: 11/21/2020 8:42:19 AM EST by Diz]
Well, yeah there is that too.  Two heads with wizard eyes are better than one.

I don't mean to go all GP on ya, just lightly touch on it as it explains why you'd choose what you choose.  If things go pear-shaped, my brother and sister-in-law will "double up" with us.  Now the deal is he's an excellent chef but doesn't know dick about this stuff.  So there you go.  I'll learn to garden and cook, he'll learn to patrol and shoot.  

So as pertains to this here discussion, I'd rather have two good -14's than one very good'n.
Link Posted: 11/21/2020 9:24:25 AM EST
I needed 2, so I went with WP thin filmed.

I also needed 2 IR lasers / illuminators so I went with DBAL-I2s

then I took the money I saved by going WP thin filmed and I-2 which was $3500 and got thermal.

The ability to see in complete darkness and target using thermal on a rifle is a huge increase in capability compared to none of that.

It is all a matter of what you want, why you want it, and how much money you want to spend / can spend. Almost everything is a compromise, but having any decent NV even if not top of the line is certainly better than not having any.

Link Posted: 11/21/2020 10:27:33 AM EST
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Originally Posted By TNVC_Sam:
Heres my take on the whole debate.

At close in ranges and in higher light conditions its not that big of a deal and the juice may not be worth the squeeze, but if you utilize NV in extremely low light conditions and environments where you need to look out at distances over 100 meters then you may very well want to invest in unfilmed tech, or if you work in non permissive environments where you need to stay as passive as possible to avoid detection because the opposition has a NV capability. A lower performance unfilmed system will still beat out a high performance thin filmed system in low light conditions.

On the front end the $1000 price hike is quite a bit, but when you factor in the usable lifespan of a tube and the many thousands of hours of use its going to give you I think it is justified if youre going to be using it frequently. If you are a casual user, maybe once a month or so, then save your cash and go thin filmed.

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+1  

If you need lowest light capability with minimal or no IR go filmless. If you don’t save $$ for other needs.
Link Posted: 11/21/2020 11:34:30 AM EST
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Originally Posted By BUIS:
Ugh. You guys are gonna cost me money..

Which reputable dealer has the best deal on an unfilmed WP -14? I know nothing is going to be available soon, but I'm patient..
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I don’t know what deals there are right now on unfilmed WP to be honest. The main issue has always been finding one in stock and it’s even worse now so be prepared to wait. Another option is to look for used ones in the EE to skip the wait time plus they should have spec sheets so you know what you’re buying.

If you’re ordering, make sure you know what the minimum specs are and if there any blems. Be careful with really low prices because not all unfilmed WP are created equal. On the flip side just because one is more expensive doesn’t mean it’ll be better either.

Ideally, the seller is willing to take time answering your questions and doesn’t have the take it or leave it attitude with the current market environment.

For new units I’d start with our site sponsors such as TNVC and JRH for specials. They also offer ARF discounts.
Link Posted: 11/21/2020 4:08:18 PM EST
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Originally Posted By boltcatch:
I would also throw in there that you and someone else with a good set is infinitely better than just you with an amazing set, if you have additional able members of the household.
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I wish I had family or friends that would be of any use, but none of them have the mental software for tactical thought. I'm cultivating some new relationships with the right type of people, but it takes time, and I don't think buying gear for what might be in the future is the greatest. I'm focusing on what will serve me as a single unit the best for now. If I had a second person who would be useful with NODs I'd probably just order up a pair of XLSH units.
Link Posted: Yesterday 9:48:27 AM EST
Ha yeah good point.  Good buddies are hard to find.  But I think if things ever really get bad, there are guys that will turn-to and get it done.  There were lots of guys active duty like that.  Totally useless until the chips were down, then they shined.  The problem is, you never really know, until crunch time.

But yeah back on point, here and now is filmless WP for the win.
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