Product: Night Owl 2x
Fun and useful. I highly recommend it.
- It is just fun and cool to have. You were a blind man at night, now you are empowered with ability to see without turning on your bright flashlight.
- Cost was only $200.
- It works excellently as a passive night vision device, meaning no need to use the IR illuminator. Ambient light from even a sliver of moon is enough to see.
- Keeps you aware of bears or jackasses.
- Turn on briefly and then off to save power, but it continues to work for minutes while off.
- No on/off toggle or slide switch; it's a button and easily activated in the soft sided case it comes with.
- Lens cap isn't attached to the unit with a string so it's easy to lose. (Get a hot glue gun and a string and this will not be an issue... come on, its not that big of a deal!)
- Uses CR123 batteries, and of course my Goal Zero Solar Charger doesn't recharge them.
This comes in really handy for a number of reasons:
- When the dogs sense danger around the campsite, you can see the dangers.
- Identify tripping hazzards or branches that will poke your eye before you walk into them.
- "Did we put the XYZ away for the night, and where is it?" Having eyes in the dark helps!
- I suppose it could be good for security if you have bad neighbors, but the dogs work well here.
- It's just cool to be able to see clearly at night! How fun is that?! That's the real reason to get it! Embrace your inner nerd!
- More discreet than a flashlight, so it doesn't alert the animals you are watching, and has much greater visibility than a flashlight.
As for which scope to pick: Night Owl 2x is a great. You do not need to use the IR illuminator, it works very well passively. The optics are for the most part crystal clear, but they are distorted at the edges. It's one of the cheapest units so you won't get the optics of a $10k scope but it really does provide great results; better than the military gear I had from the same generation of technology.
You can power it on for a few seconds and turn it off and it still works for many minutes. The capacitor and or phosphor screen holds enough charge that you don't need to drain the battery. If its not powered on you can't activate the second button which is your IR illuminator though. However here's a gotcha with it... If you run the IR illuminator much the image becomes over blown and blurry. If this happens, turn it off for a minute or two and it will become clear and high contrast again.
Always keep your night vision tech in a case protected from light, as the phosphor will wear out or get an image 'burned in' of what ever it's pointed at.
With this particular model it's easy to turn it on with the press of a button, which means it's going to turn itself on while packed. So to keep my battery from draining I cut a piece of plastic into a disk shape (I used the cap from a water bottle) and drop that in the battery compartment so the battery cannot make contact. When I want to use the device I remove the disk. When I'm not using it and the disk is inserted I don't screw down the compartment tight which might squash the springs too much... keep that in mind when you do this.
Warning: Never point your IR illuminator into the eyes of others or animals. While we can't see this light, it can still cause burns on the retinas and it is very bright light as you will see through the optic. Also never point it at the moon or reflective surfaces like signs at close range where that bright reflection can burn out the phosphor in the display.
I recommend getting one with minimal magnification so your field of view is wider. If the objective is to see what is around you it does no good to see what is 300 yards out through a keyhole requiring constant hunting/seeking motions and refocusing to find what you are looking for, and likely to miss cause you wasted time to find it... go wide.
Own the night for 200 bucks. Increase your space by seeing further and knowing any dangers around you, and just have fun. Money well spent.