Night Vision Generation 


The important engineering changes in Image Intensifying night vision can be identified by the night vision generation numbers, 0 through 3. As the generation numbers get larger so does the sophistication, performance and the price.

This is the classic night vision developed for military use starting with the Gen 0 used in the Korean conflict. Over a period of about sixty years the development of intensifiers has gone from Gen 0 to the advanced equipment available today.

The bottom line is that there are basically three generations of IIT night vision available to you and me. Each has advantages.

Gen 1 night vision devices are the most common. They are the least expensive and come in all the useful packages. The  generation 1 and newer generation 1+ night vision devices are well made and suitable for recreational activities like camping, hiking, boating, hunting and general animal observation. A Gen 1 device is a very effective surveillance tool around the homestead or neighborhood. 

Gen 2 night vision devices are more for the serious night vision enthusiasts and professionals. With far greater light amplification and a higher resolution image, the generation 2 night vision devices will cost two to three times more than a Gen 1. Some of the newer Gen 2 + and super-gen devices can rival the Gen 3 in performance and price.  The price of a Gen 2 may be a little more than the average enthusiast is willing to pay. However, if you are not the average enthusiast and you have room in the budget, a Gen 2 is the way to go. 

Gen 3 night vision devices are more for the very serious night vision enthusiast, security professional and of course the military. Generation 3 night vision features a light weight device with a bright well contrasted image. This is the current state of IIT technology. This is the best night vision out there and is priced accordingly. 

Night Critter
The biggest influence on price is the generation number and quality of the Image intensifier used in the device. The other factors are the quality of the optics, durability of the device s and enhancements like water resistance or water proofing. 

IIT NVDs make it possible to see in the dark using delicate glass lenses and an electronic tube that is physically fragile and very light sensitive. Many of the night vision devices available today come with protective lens coatings and protective armor. Electronics may be included in combination with sensors designed to prevent bright light overloading of the unit. It all adds up.

More information on night vision generations from Wikipedia

nightvision guide home

night vision generation
   gen 1 night vision
   gen 2 night vision
   gen 3 night vision

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