Our samples are an AN/PVS-30 with FOM 1804 and a filmed green tube and a CNVD-LR/M2124LR with a FOM 2376 unfilmed white phosphor tube. Right away there are significant differences which would make you think that the M2124 was going to just crush the PVS-30 but it ain’t so. In the little messing I’ve done so far with them, limited to looking at the stars, fumbling around my home in the middle of the night and hitting the boonies for a little night shooting, there is little appreciable difference other than the white phosphor tube gives what I think is better contrast. Zooming in to >20x magnification on either through the Steiner M7Xi 4-28×56 nets plenty of sparkly action and lackluster image quality. Down lower from 6x-15x things are really quite nice through either CNVD (clip-on night vision device).
Looking up into the night sky in an urban environment is a very handy way of seeing what the little buggers are capable of. You’ll see stars that are too faint to power their way through the light pollution as well as stars that would otherwise simply be too faint to see at all. Looking through them in what you perceive as utter and complete darkness also illuminates a number of light sources you never knew existed especially infrared and near-infrared light sources.
If you decide you want to get into shooting after dark and asking yourself the “night vision vs. thermal” question, I will take this moment to short cut the process. Night vision is for show. Thermal is for go. Thermal is heart-stoppingly expensive even for the lowest end while night vision’s low end can be had for the cost of a decent scope. Good stuff isn’t cheap but even crappy thermal is pretty good. Crappy NV is just crappy NV. Thermal can also be used during the daytime. 😉
I was able to get some adapters which allow mounting a COTI (clip-on thermal imager) in front of a PVS-30 or M2124-LR to turn it into a “fusion” setup and I’m finally able to get to testing those. It promises to make things really spectacular but COTI’s aren’t known for their shock resistance so we’ll have to be careful of exposing it to excessive recoil. Always a tradeoff.
Check back soon for updates. We just got a PVS-27 and a couple Bering Hogster thermal units. ETA on results with those is probably late July.