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Jul 16, 2023 | 01:24 am 390 0

Night vision vs. thermal vision. What to choose?


Night vision vs. thermal vision. What to choose?

People are unique creatures of nature. They can only achieve the same goals differently and then rack their brains to argue which is better. This is precisely what happens in the case of night optics. Some prove the effectiveness and benefits of night vision, while others prove thermal imaging. The debate about which is better will continue for a very long time. Despite this, both technologies are perfectly integrated into our daily lives, and we cannot imagine our existence without them. The only thing available to us in such a situation is the ability to compare the effectiveness of thermal imaging and night vision in each use case. This is precisely what we will do in our guide.

Night vision

Before considering the effectiveness of night vision, you need to study this technology in more detail. It has a fascinating history, is distinguished by an easy-to-understand principle of operation, and finds many applications. On its basis, a considerable amount of high-quality night optics is created, which, in certain situations, can become an indispensable assistant to a person.

History

The first information about night vision appeared in the late 30s of the XX century. At this time, the best German engineers were developing devices to make it possible to see in the dark. As a basis, they took inventions that were used in medicine and helped people make scientific discoveries. They had nothing to do with night vision but allowed engineers to generate new ideas. Such work yielded results only in 1939 when German troops were already waging a bloody war in Europe. Hitler's army used the created devices for successful operations in conditions of lack of light. This gave them a significant advantage over opponents who needed to have such optics.

The first NVDs were actively used already 2-3 months after the start of the war. Initially, they were a secret development, but hiding their presence for a relatively short time was possible. This optics could have been better. It had limited capabilities and made it possible to amplify light only 1-2 hundred times. This was enough to ensure visibility at dusk and dawn. At the same time, the devices were practically useless at night. They could only be used for a clear night and a bright full moon in the sky. In such a situation, night vision made distinguishing objects' outlines possible.

The first German NVDs were based on using the infrared spectrum. During the modernization of equipment, it was slightly changed. We also improved the design and made the equipment more efficient. Such innovations made it possible to amplify light 5-10 times better than before, but more was needed to create a high-quality image. In this regard, the German army used the devices existing at that time only to search for large-scale military equipment and determine the approximate location of many enemy soldiers. The many drawbacks of the equipment entirely eclipsed the relatively small benefit. Chief among them was the sheer size of the device and the various add-ons needed to make it work (such as large-diameter infrared illuminators). All this made the structure so heavy that it was necessary to use special vehicles with increased payload to transport it to the battlefield. The vast size entailed another drawback – the increased vulnerability of the equipment. Any shot was enough to damage individual structural elements and turn NVDs into a useless pile of heavy parts.

Further modernization of the German NVDs made it possible to reduce the dimensions significantly. This allowed night vision to be used on tanks and other ground military equipment. At the same time, significant progress in its effectiveness has yet to be achieved. This and hundreds of other factors eventually led to the defeat of the German army. Naturally, developments in the field of night vision were also stopped.

The Americans gave a second chance to NV technology. They quickly appreciated its potential and began their development. For example, United States engineers took German equipment obtained during the war. They completely changed it and made it more like modern NVDs. It was possible to achieve positive results only 15 years after the end of the war. In the early 60s, new devices appeared, which were called Gen I generation models. They belonged to passive-type devices, for which a special IR brightener was needed. Its presence in the design slightly increased the dimensions, but the optics remained relatively compact and easy to use. The real test for her was the Vietnam War. The US military used the available NVDs for night offensives and gained a significant advantage. Also, these optics made it possible to navigate in areas darkened by dense vegetation. Positive feedback from the command and many good comments from ordinary soldiers made night vision one of the priority areas for development.

Second-generation devices were invented about ten years after the introduction of the Gen I models. They were of the highest quality and far ahead of their predecessors. Improvements touched on all key aspects, which made it possible to obtain optics that many use today. The main achievement of engineers was the invention of a plate with a photocathode, which supplemented the design of devices. This made it possible to obtain a significant increase in the brightness of the final image and eliminate most of the defects that prevented fine details from being seen. Gen II models also have increased resolution, range, and more. This made the optics effective even when working under a severe lack of light.

The following critical stage in the history of night vision was the 90s. At this time, an improved version of Gen II, II +, appeared. The changes compared to the previous generation models were not so significant, but the quality of the resulting image improved. For this version of the devices, Operation Desert Storm became the test. The results met expectations and helped the Americans and their allies achieve their goals.

The heyday of night vision happened at the beginning of the new century. The apogee of the work of hundreds of engineers was the emergence of Gen III generation devices, which are the most popular in our time. The modernization affected the photocathode, which was replaced by a more modern structural element. This helped to increase the efficiency of the optics and achieve a record amplification of light. In addition, Gen III models have become more reliable and durable even when used in the most extreme conditions.

The desire of people for perfection made possible the emergence of fourth-generation optics. Her presentation was one of the most anticipated events, but only some things went as planned. Numerous tests of the new hardware showed only a slight improvement over the previous version. Because of this, they decided to abandon the formulation of Gen IV, and the created devices began to be called Gen III + models. Today they are the most advanced, and their application is in various fields of activity. At the same time, further modernization of night vision does not stop for a second, so shortly, there is every chance to see something new and unique.

Operating principle

Anyone who will use the capabilities of night vision needs to know the general principle of its operation. It is not as complicated as it initially seems, but you still have to strain your brain a little to understand all the critical nuances.

Operating principle, the standard for all NVDs:

  1. The lens is the first design element that comes into play. It captures the light (most often emitted by various celestial bodies) that falls on multiple objects and is reflected from them. This process is one of the key ones since the quality of the future image directly depends on the number of collected light rays.
  2. The collected beams are focused in the next stage and enter the image intensifier tube (IOC). The latter is considered the primary design element of any NVDs and is responsible for light amplification. The image intensifier tube may refer to one of the existing generations (I-III). Depending on this, it will have its design features and unique capabilities.
  3. In the converter, photons of light are converted into a stream of electrons, which will be used to carry out further actions. Initially, it is relatively weak. Therefore, it cannot become the basis for forming an image visible to a person.
  4. To enhance the flow, electrons are subjected to a particular effect, which increases the speed of their movement. This automatically leads to a multiple increase in the number of particles. This operation on electrons is carried out by a special photoelectronic multiplier or a more modern analog based on gallium arsenide. The first option is typical for outdated NVDs models, and the second is for newly released ones.
  5. The luminescent anode is the next obstacle to the flow of electrons (already amplified). It is affected by an electric charge of low power, which leads to knocking out photons from the total mass of particles. The latter become strengthened many times over and are suitable for further manipulations.
  6. From the amplified photons, a stream is formed that is much more powerful than the original one. It is fed into the eyepiece, transforming into an image visible to people. It becomes brighter, more contrast, more apparent, and more detailed, which the user needs.

Advantages and disadvantages

The popularity of night vision is an undeniable fact. It is due to the many advantages that this technology is endowed with. Its use allows you to get many privileges and expand the boundaries of your capabilities.

Technology advantages:

  • simple operating principle;
  • many applications;
  • being in demand in various fields of activity;
  • the ability to create a large number of models of NV optics;
  • wide availability;
  • relatively small financial costs;
  • performance in low light;
  • the possibility of manufacturing compact NV devices;
  • excellent prospects for further development.

Night vision consists not only of pluses but also of minuses. This technology has relatively few latter, but you still don’t need to forget about them. Having this information, it will be possible to find the correct application for NV devices, revealing all the strengths of the technology and reducing the negative effect of existing shortcomings.

Technology cons:

  • inefficiency when working in total darkness;
  • the need for direct visual contact with the objects to be detected.

Application area

Anyone can think of dozens of ways to use night vision. Putting them together, you can understand how important and valuable this technology is. It is in demand in almost all areas of activity and is indispensable when performing specific work.

Scope of Night Vision:

  1. Military industry. The whole history of NV technology is inextricably linked with the military sphere. Therefore, it is not surprising that night vision is most widely used here. Thanks to its capabilities, they conduct training and combat operations in the dark, engage in reconnaissance and assess the situation on the battlefield. In addition, NV is an indispensable addition to military equipment, helping soldiers to manage it and perform various actions.
  2. Rescue operations. People often need help in unfamiliar areas and get into trouble. In this situation, their only chance for survival will be the operational work of rescuers. To find people needing help quickly, search and rescue operations are carried out 24 hours daily. In the dark, such work will be impossible without NV. It will help to find a person, thereby saving his life.
  3. Security activities. Darkness is a good disguise. This feature is used not only for good purposes but also for criminal ones. The capabilities of NV technology are used to protect property from fraudsters or prevent unauthorized persons from entering the territory of an infrastructure facility. It will allow you to detect in advance the presence of unauthorized persons in the protected area and take the necessary measures to detain them.
  4. Driving a vehicle. Most accidents occur at night. To remedy the situation, many drivers use NV devices. They make even poorly lit roads visible and reduce the likelihood of collisions, side ramps falls off cliffs, and other troubles. NV also helps manage vehicles used for industrial purposes (for example, combines, tractors, loaders, etc.).
  5. Aviation. It is much more dangerous to fly at night than during the day, so airplane and helicopter pilots can’t do without night vision. Devices using this technology extensively simplify the take-off and landing procedure, making it safer. In addition, NV makes it possible to find landmarks in the dark and choose the right direction of movement.
  6. Science. The nocturnal lifestyle of many animals complicates the process of studying them. However, in such cases, NV technologies come to the aid of scientists. They help find species of interest in the dark, determine their sex, estimate size, and do many other things. Also, thanks to the possibilities of night vision, it will be possible to simply observe the animals from dusk to dawn and enjoy their beauty.
  7. Tourism. Long hikes are one of the most popular tourist destinations. They provide round-the-clock being in close contact with wildlife, which is dangerous to humans. In this regard, lovers of tourism need to use night vision. It will help you find the right direction of movement, navigate the terrain, inspect the territory for the presence of dangerous predators on it, equip the camp after sunset, and much more.
  8. Hunting and fishing. There are many varieties of these two popular entertainments. One of them is night fishing and hunting. Both classes can only be done with the use of NV. It will help fishermen find a suitable place to cast their line and constantly watch the tackle. For hunters, night vision will make it easier to see animals and increase the chances of making an accurate shot.
  9. Construction. The process of building various buildings requires precise adherence to deadlines. This may be due to dozens of factors, ranging from expected worsening weather conditions to a desire to avoid penalties. To invest on time, builders work around the clock. During the night shift, many workers have to use NV. It will make it possible to carry out any work and increase the safety of builders.
  10. Entertainment. Paintball, airsoft, and other similar entertainments are held during the day and at night. In the second case, the game participants will need some NVDs. They will help detect opponents in the dark and make it possible to shoot at them from any distance accurately. You will need NV technology and referees to monitor game rules compliance.

Thermal imaging

Having briefly studied night vision, you can proceed to consider thermal imaging. This technology is unique from all points of view. It works as simply as possible but is highly effective and significantly benefits people. Many manufacturers of modern optics use it as a basis, creating thousands of models for various purposes. This maximizes the scope of thermal imaging and makes it truly indispensable.

History

Thermal imaging is a unique technology with its history. The catalyst for its emergence was the discovery of many famous scientists who worked 100-200 years ago. Their developments were not related to thermal imaging, but they were able to lay the foundation for its emergence. The most important inventions were made between the end of the 18th century and the middle of the 19th century. During this period, scientists from different countries conducted experiments with infrared rays, coming up with new options for their application. W. Herschel became the leader of this trend. He was a famous, at that time, astronomer who first discovered Uranus and made a considerable contribution to the study of the solar system. In addition, Herschel was engaged in the modernization of the telescope. He made it more efficient and capable of transmitting a high-quality image even in the presence of star clusters and other cosmic bodies in the observed part of the sky. He achieved this by suppressing the excessive luminosity of celestial bodies, which did not allow one to consider the planet or its satellites in detail. This invention did not become revolutionary, but after many decades made it possible to make thermal imaging technology available to mankind.

Herschel was an English scientist who conducted all his experiments in the United Kingdom. He took various materials and passed light through them. This simple action allowed him to find those samples that block entirely light or let it through with little or no distortion. In addition, the scientist saw an unusual pattern. It consisted of the ability of materials that poorly absorb light to pass heat well. This discovery explained the phenomenon of most telescopes of that time, which could not give a clear image when bright celestial bodies or their clusters hit the lens. To solve this problem, finding a material that would simultaneously retain light and absorb heat waves was necessary. To achieve this, Herschel repeatedly repeated the experiments of I. Newton and other great scientists tried to find specific patterns and interpret the results differently. Such monotonous work had its effect. Herschel coped with his main task and discovered the so-called thermometric spectrum. He called the radiation discovered by the scientist "invisible rays," which a few years later were renamed IR radiation. Herschel continued to work in this direction, and two decades later, he was able to show the world the first thermal image in history. He called it a thermogram and presented it as one of the most important discoveries in the history of mankind.

The turning point in the history of thermal imaging was the year 1880. At this time, the American scientist S. Langley designed an unusual device called a bolometer. Outwardly, it looked like a well-known thermometer. However, this device had a higher sensitivity, thanks to which Langley could easily measure thermal and infrared radiation, being at a distance of more than three hundred meters from the object. This discovery was revolutionary and gave people the ability to detect thermal radiation. Based on Langley's invention, the first thermal imaging devices were designed. They appeared in the late 20s of the last century thanks to the unique solutions of K. Tihanyi. This Hungarian-born British scientist created equipment that the soldiers of the United Kingdom army could test in action. Tihanyi's device was a TI camera with an increased sensitivity rating. It was enough to point it at an invisible, due to darkness, territory to determine the presence or absence of objects that exude heat (for example, violators of borders, soldiers of the enemy army, etc.). The effectiveness of this invention amazed everyone, so the military leadership decided to classify Tihanyi's device. Thanks to this, it helped to successfully defend the borders of the United Kingdom for a long time.

In 1956, military thermal imaging equipment was demonstrated at the status exhibition of inventions. After that, the development of Tihany was known not only in Europe but also far beyond its borders. Thanks to this, work on the modernization of TI devices began in many countries worldwide. At the same time, all developments were secret and intended exclusively for use by military personnel. The following two decades became a correspondence competition in which different armies competed in the effectiveness of their thermal imaging equipment. At the same time, ordinary people knew practically nothing about the new products being produced. The situation changed in the late 70s when several private companies in the USA took up the development of TI optics. They had long-term contracts with the country's armed forces but were independent of them. This circumstance moved TI equipment from secret inventions to publicly available ones. The main innovation of such models was the appearance of single-element sensors in the design. Thanks to them, it was possible to create thermal images of a linear type, which are suitable for use in a wide variety of purposes (not only in the military).

The general availability of TI devices did not please the leadership of the US Army. It gave the order to classify all developments and close down private companies that made thermal imaging open to study. This was done because of the desire to deprive competitors of the opportunity to create something similar and the unwillingness to disclose the actual financial costs of manufacturing and upgrading such optics.

In the 70s, thermal imaging became seriously interesting in Europe. In the Netherlands, a pyroelectric sensor was invented, with which it was possible to capture IR radiation. Based on this development, equipment designed to extinguish fires was created. With its help, rescuers could quickly find fires, thereby speeding up the process of getting rid of the fire. New inventions were most often used in ports. Its capabilities made it possible to quickly eliminate fires on ships, thereby saving existing and preparing to-launch ships.

In 1979, a well-known US military-industrial company introduced ferroelectric IR sensors. They were a revolutionary discovery that significantly improved the efficiency of TI equipment. These sensors were made from expensive components, which increased their reliability and accuracy. This development interested the military, so they began actively using it for their purposes. In the early 80s, another American company began producing thermal imaging devices adapted to the needs of ordinary people. They were widely used in industry to find heat loss points, and also brought many benefits during search and rescue operations and helped protect various infrastructures.

The following ten years of the history of thermal imaging passed quite calmly. At that time, nothing interesting was presented except for microbolometers, which were introduced into the design of TI devices by almost all manufacturers. Thanks to this element, it was possible to increase the range indicator. Naturally, this development also became the “booty” of the military. They began actively using the updated optics, giving her compliments. The period from 1990 to 2000 became one of the key ones. The growth in popularity of TI devices has led to an increase in demand and the subsequent increase in production volumes. Of all the models produced then, only half belonged to military optics. The rest was integrated into dozens of industries and made it possible to increase the productivity of various production processes. At the beginning of the new century, thermal imaging became even more intertwined with the daily life of people. It turned into an indispensable assistant when performing hundreds of types of work.

Operating principle

Thermal imaging is a technology that raises many questions among TI users. To answer them, you need to consider its principle of operation in detail. Initially, it seems difficult to understand, but this is a severe misconception. Just one reading of the description of thermal imaging is enough to understand all the details of this process.

Operating principle, the standard for all TI devices:

  1. The first design element that comes into play is the lens. It captures infrared radiation from all objects, regardless of shape, size, and other features. If it is within the range of the optics, then it will be detected by the lens.
  2. The collected source material for thermal imaging is focused and then hits the IR detectors. They have high sensitivity, so they do not miss a single beam.
  3. At the next stage, IR radiation is converted into a thermogram. It indicates the temperature indicators corresponding to the degree of heating of individual sections of the examined area. Such a thermogram is not displayed on the device's display but becomes the basis for creating a future thermal image.
  4. Thanks to several complex manipulations, the thermogram is converted into electrical impulses. They enter the electronic system of the TI device, where many different actions are performed on them. All of the above allows you to get a thermal image adapted to the human eye.
  5. Completing the whole process involves transferring the thermal image to the display (it can be a separate structural element or built into the eyepiece of the optics). On it, the user sees the outlines of all objects that fall into the area visible by the device and the temperature of each of their sections (displayed in different shades corresponding to specific indicators).

Advantages and disadvantages

Daily use of thermal imaging will allow you to appreciate this technology's advantages fully. It brings many benefits to people and gradually becomes indispensable. So that everyone can learn about all the positive qualities of thermal imaging, it is enough to read the list of technology advantages carefully.

Technology advantages:

  • simple operating principle;
  • variety of ways of application;
  • efficiency even in complete darkness;
  • the ability to detect hidden or camouflaged objects;
  • providing data on the degree of heating of observed objects and living beings;
  • demand in the military and civil spheres;
  • the ability to manufacture NV devices of various types;
  • perspective.

The almost complete absence of shortcomings puts thermal imaging technology in demand. However, if you study it in more detail, you can find a couple of negative points that should be eliminated in the future.

Technology cons:

  • inability to create the most compact optics;
  • high financial costs.

Application area

Having mastered thermal imaging, people discovered new opportunities they had only dreamed of. Nowadays, this technology is called indispensable by representatives of many professions. It allows you to cope with hundreds of simple and complex tasks that users set themselves daily.

Scope of thermal imaging:

  1. Military industry. Initially, thermal imaging equipment was manufactured for the needs of the army, so for many years it has been used by soldiers of various units. Thanks to the capabilities of TI, it is possible to detect the location of enemy manpower and equipment. This gives a particular advantage and helps to complete any military operation.
  2. Medicine. In this area, thermal imaging is used quite actively. It helps to diagnose patients and find signs of certain diseases. For the same purposes, the possibilities of technology are used in veterinary medicine. Only in this case, experts examine not people but large mammals.
  3. Hunting. Darkness hides animals, so it is almost impossible to find them in the forest without thermal imaging. This technology makes it possible to see the outlines of warm-blooded creatures and quickly determine their species. Such information helps the hunter to accurately shoot only those animals that have been chosen as the object of hunting.
  4. Automotive industry. Even here, people can only do with thermal imaging. Its capabilities are used to determine the temperature of various car parts that heat up more than others during trips. This procedure is carried out during the testing of new models, and without it, the vehicle will not be put up for sale.
  5. Aviation. This industry uses thermal imaging at the stage of inspection or repair of air transport. It helps specialists to study the state of the skin of an aircraft or helicopter by looking for heat losses. In addition, various onboard equipment is monitored using TI devices (for example, to search for wiring problems). Another option for exploiting modern technology is the repair of different parts of aircraft.
  6. Science. Even scientists cannot do without TI technology. They use it for various purposes, ranging from the search for multiple animals by zoologists and ending with numerous experiments by laboratory workers. In addition, thermal imaging provides much helpful information about the state of complex scientific equipment, which helps to identify various problems promptly.
  7. Construction. In any building, various thermal insulation materials are used. To properly distribute them over the surface, thermal imaging is used. With its help, finding the most problematic places that need more attention is possible. In addition, the equipment used by TI makes it possible to detect defects in the thermal insulation of buildings.
  8. Metallurgy. Professionals working in the metallurgical industry need to monitor the temperature of the metal constantly. For these purposes, special TI devices are often used, which are adapted to perform such tasks. In addition, using thermal imaging, metallurgists manage to obtain information about the quality of the heat-insulating layer of furnaces, thereby preventing various accidents.
  9. Energy. Representatives of this direction can only do with many TI devices. They all make it possible to conduct a qualitative inspection of power lines, diagnose the state of heating networks, and search for ignition sources of fuel materials. In addition, power engineers actively involve thermal imaging in repair work, using its capabilities to detect breaks, thermal insulation defects, and other shortcomings.
  10. Chemical industry. This industry is one of the most dangerous, so it is essential to use all the latest innovations to increase employees' safety. These innovations include recently released TI equipment. With it, you can monitor the temperature of chemicals and prevent them from going beyond the permissible limits. Another option for thermal imaging is assessing the tightness of vessels in which chemicals are stored.
  11. Art. TI technologies are in demand even in art. With the help of various devices, specialists monitor the condition of the paintings and find multiple defects in the frescoes. Timely identification of any problems will allow you to quickly take the necessary measures to save art masterpieces from "death.”
  12. Sports. This direction does not lag behind others regarding the introduction of thermal imaging. It is used in many competitions, from car and motorcycle races to cycling. With the help of TI devices, judges control multiple parameters of cars, motorcycles, and bicycles and look for prohibited and carefully hidden structural elements (for example, additional mini-engines).

What should a soldier choose?

The combination of the words "soldier" and "night vision" has long become familiar. The same applies to thermal imaging. Both of these technologies were created specifically for military purposes, and therefore, in our time, they are widely used in this area. The debate about what is best for the military does not subside for a minute, so everyone takes one of the sides, depending on personal needs and the tasks set by the command. However, it is still possible to identify technology more adapted for military purposes. It would be best if you did this by comparing them.

Aspects that the military needs to pay attention to when choosing one of the technologies:

  1. Dimensions. Soldiers always have much different equipment, which helps them interact more effectively with each other and perform the tasks assigned to the unit. In this regard, they need the most compact optics that help to see at night. In this aspect, night vision is slightly ahead of thermal imaging. NV devices have smaller lenses, which positively affects the size of the entire structure.
  2. Operating conditions. Military personnel train and perform combat missions in states far from comfortable. Therefore, it is essential that the used night optics withstand various external influences and do not lose their effectiveness. If this aspect is considered when choosing a technology, thermal imaging is better suited for soldiers. Unlike night vision, it works great even in heavy fog, rain, and snow. A serviceman in a smoky area, which is almost always a mandatory attribute of any ongoing operation, will receive a no less high-quality image.
  3. Masking the enemy. Almost all the world's armies use disguises, making their soldiers invisible to NV devices. Therefore, to determine their presence and calculate the exact location, it is necessary to use thermal imaging. It captures the heat emanating from even a perfectly camouflaged human body, making enemy soldiers distinguishable. A similar situation occurs in the case of military equipment. TI equipment captures the heat emanating from the engine and other working units of combat vehicles.
  4. Long continuous operation. During various combat operations, there is no way to recharge night optics. Therefore, it is essential that it can function continuously for an extended period. In such a situation, night vision shows itself better. It saves battery power, which maximizes battery life.
  5. Additional functionality. Military personnel may need the full range of night optics. Therefore, it must have the broadest possible functionality to make the device universal. In this regard, thermal imaging is at the top. Today's military models have more features than classic NVDs.
  6. Detailing. Observing accumulations of military equipment through thermal imaging equipment, it is pretty challenging to identify various combat vehicles and calculate their exact number. However, such work can be easily handled with the help of night vision. It provides better detail and helps to identify the types of enemy military equipment, even in the image of not the highest quality.
  7. Range. Soldiers must see in the dark from as far away as possible when performing various combat missions. In this situation, the best solution would be to choose thermal imaging. It captures heat waves, so even their minimum amount will be enough to form an image with the outlines of various objects. In this case, NV models at large distances will be less effective. It is tough to notice small things in the resulting image and distinguish them from the general background.

Based on the preceding, it is easy to conclude that thermal imaging is more suitable for the military than night vision. At the same time, the latter can be helpful in certain situations, so it is still recommended to abandon it altogether. Using TI equipment, soldiers of various units can effectively cope with most tasks, even in extreme conditions. This gives a certain freedom of action and does not drive users into a strict framework.

What should a hunter choose?

Hunting is a unique occupation that people have paid particular attention to for many millennia. Initially, it was used as the only possible way to find food. However, today hunting has become an exciting entertainment that millions of people love. Night hunting is considered especially interesting. For her, hunters need to choose special equipment and equipment and use the capabilities of night vision and thermal imaging. It is rather challenging to understand which of these technologies is more effective. However, if we compare them with each other, we will be able to answer this difficult question.

Aspects that hunters need to pay attention to when choosing one of the technologies:

  1. The need for light. Night hunting is always carried out in an open area with lighting. Even on a cloudy night, the moon's light breaks through the clouds a little, giving NV devices the illumination they need to work. Therefore, night vision in this aspect is more suitable for hunters. At the same time, thermal imaging will also be efficient and beneficial to the user.
  2. Changeable weather. Hunters cannot influence the weather, so they must only adapt to its changes. At night, these changes can be more drastic, so it's essential that the optics used can handle the different effects. In this situation, thermal imaging is the best option. It works great in snow and rain and is also not afraid of fog, a frequent natural phenomenon observed in the wee hours.
  3. The presence/absence of visual contact. Far from always, even with high-quality NV optics, you can see various animals in the dark. It would be impossible to detect if they also hid in dense vegetation or covered their bodies with fallen leaves. In this regard, thermal imaging is more suitable for hunters. It can "see" through various obstacles, so it will be possible to find potential prey in 99 cases out of 100.
  4. The need to determine the temperature. Night vision can provide the user with a single-color image in which it will be impossible to decide on cold and warm areas. At the same time, thermal imaging generates a multi-colored heat map, where locations with a specific temperature indicator are displayed in a particular shade. Hunters need this information to select the optimal place to send a bullet to the animal's body. If you shoot at the hottest point (most often, the heart), the probability of killing an animal with one shot will increase significantly.
  5. Possibility of identification. Nature conservation organizations protect some animal species, so hunting for them is strictly prohibited. To avoid accidentally killing such a representative of the fauna, you need to be able to identify it. By correctly determining the belonging of an animal to a particular species, it will be possible to avoid various troubles, ranging from simple fines to more severe punishments. For identifying living creatures, the hunter is better suited for night vision. It makes it possible to see the details of the animal's appearance, by which one species can be distinguished from another.
  6. Price. Not all hunters have unlimited financial resources. In this regard, people who cannot spend several thousand dollars on night optics are advised to choose NV models. They are much cheaper than thermal imaging equipment, so almost everyone can afford them. The lower price is explained by lower financial costs for producing optics and the need to use fewer quantities of difficult-to-manufacture components.
  7. Functionality. In some cases, hunters can use all the functionality of the available night optics. Therefore, it must be as comprehensive as possible. All available options will help you quickly adapt the device to changing hunting conditions. In such a situation, preferring TI models and taking NVDs with you as spare optics used to perform some standard actions is better.

All these aspects and many other essential points indicate that thermal imaging is the best choice for hunters. It allows you to quickly find animals even in abysmal visibility and determine the location of their vital organs (for example, the heart). This increases hunting efficiency and makes it possible to kill prey from the first shot, relieving it of the torment experienced in case of injury. At the same time, night vision also does not need to be forced to gather dust on a shelf. It can be used as an accessory to increase the hunter's chances of getting the desired trophy.

What to choose a lover to watch wildlife?

Animals living in natural conditions have always attracted the attention of fauna lovers. To observe them, people use various optics, making it possible to examine living beings in detail and not interfere with their daily activities. Wildlife lovers can only watch with thermal imaging and night vision if such a statement is planned at night. These technologies provide a chance to find animals in the dark, enjoy their beauty and see various activities. To understand which is best suited for wildlife watching, you must compare them on several important aspects.

Aspects that wildlife enthusiasts need to pay attention to when choosing one of the technologies:

  1. Ability to work in complete darkness. You can observe nocturnal animals not only in open areas but also in places where the light of the moon and stars cannot illuminate the object of interest (for example, in caves or places with very dense vegetation). In this regard, wildlife lovers should have thermal imaging equipment with them. It can work effectively even in the complete absence of lighting.
  2. Adaptation to weather conditions. The weather can be unpredictable at night, so animal watchers must prepare for its various surprises. It would be best if you chose thermal imaging optics that work better in adverse conditions to do this. Even in terrible weather, it will provide the user with a high-quality thermal image.
  3. Work in conditions of low temperatures. Some animals live in places where the air temperature often drops below zero. For night observation of them in such situations, it is recommended to use night vision. It withstands low temperatures better and does not lose its efficiency.
  4. Battery life. It is common to look for animals and observe them in the wild for several hours. In this case, fans of this activity will need night optics, which consumes battery power more economically. These are NV devices. In most cases, they can work autonomously 20%-30% longer than thermal imaging equipment.
  5. Ability to review details. The goal of wildlife lovers is not just to observe animals but also to consider various points of their appearance. This is only possible with night vision. At the same time, thermal imaging will allow you to see only the outlines of living beings and the temperature distribution over the surface of their body.
  6. Availability. Buying NV devices is much easier than buying TI equipment. This is due to their lower cost and the massive variety of models produced. In most cases, even slightly outdated NV optics will suit nature lovers, the price of which will undoubtedly correspond to the capabilities of most users.
  7. Ease of use. Compact and lightweight models are ideal for those who like to observe nature. They are easy to carry for an extended period, transport, and use for observation. Given this feature, night vision can be considered the best option. Devices using this technology are lighter and smaller than TI optics.

The best way to observe wildlife is with NV devices. They can be used to achieve various goals, so they are a priority option in this case. With the help of NV technology, you can view animals in detail, move safely through unfamiliar terrain, and perform many other tasks. Despite this, thermal imaging can also be helpful to the wildlife lover. Therefore, it should be used as an addition to the leading NV equipment.

The confrontation between the supporters of thermal imaging and night vision does not stop for a second. They all demonstrate the attractiveness of each technology and its benefits to humanity. At the same time, one should stay focused on all options. In some cases, thermal imaging will show itself better, and in others, night vision. In this regard, you need to choose based solely on your needs and goals. If you avoid mistakes in this matter, you can fully experience all the positive aspects of both technologies and find a worthy application for each.


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