When purchasing night vision keep in mind that good quality night vision comes at a price and it is crucial to clearly understand what you are buying before making a purchasing decision. Often the price is a defining factor and it is a natural desire to buy the highest performance and quality for the least amount of money. We all understand that by definition, any good quality product cannot be cheap and even a small reduction in price can indicate a significant shortfall in reliability, build quality and performance.
So what makes a great night vision device?
There are four key components that are directly responsible to purchasing a great night vision device:
The most tangible is image quality and the better the image quality the more expensive the device. Image quality is directly related to the image intensifier tube (IIT) and the concepts listed directly determine the image resolution, so the higher the numbers, the better the quality of the image through the Night Vision device;
The resolution of an Image Intensifier tube is denoted by lines pair per millimeter, and is essentially the image resolution of the picture seen through the tube. The higher the number lp/mm the higher the image quality.
Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR)
The SNR is a concept that measures the performance of an image intensifier tube in low light conditions. Typically, a good performing tube has a value of SNR starting at 20 and above. This means that the signal received by the tube is 20 times higher than the background noise.
Figure of Merit (FOM)
FOM is the overall performance of the image intensifier tube, defined by multiplying the lp/mm with the SNR. Each tube is slightly different even within the same production batch, which is why manufacturers give ranges of FOM rather than some exact values. When supplying a night vision device, a manufacturer has to provide a customer with a spec sheet for the image intensifier tube that states the tube’s characteristics and its compliance with advertised specs.
Many manufacturers use plastics to make the night vision housing to cut costs. This negatively impacts shock & scratch resistance as well as the overall feel of the device. Point Trading night vision housing is made from hard anodized aircraft grade aluminium without any plastic parts to ensure maximum protection of the image intensifier tubes and provide maximum durability and shock resistance. Quality optics in combination with high grade image intensifier tubes, glass lenses and electronics deliver outstanding performance.
Features can be for safety and convenience. Point Trading night vision devices feature in field of view (FOV) low battery indicator, inbuilt battery with ability to take either AA or CR123A , civil aviation approval, Patented Integrated Logistics Solution (ILS) for easy fleet management including log book and service records, motion activated flip up on off switching to maximize battery life, Adjustable break away helmet mount, universal mounting system for interchangeable mounting options, 24 months warranty, 20m submersible, built in IR torch with IR indicator in field of view, extended adjustments for tilt, vertical and horizontal movement, extended fold back position over helmet reducing neck stain and cockpit bump.
Having no ITAR components provides ease of exportation (fully exportable) and no limits or restrictions on performance characteristics such as Figure of Merit.