What is the Current Gen of Night Vision?

Night visions have been used for a lot of different purposes since the 1960s when the 1st gen night visions were invented. As they gained popularity as useful equipment, night visions were developed further and improved with time.

As you know, there are 4 generations of night visions up till now. Quality-wise, all of these are somehow different from each other. Therefore, they are used for different purposes. The oldest gen of night vision is 1st gen, and the latest is 4th generation. All the generations, from 1st to 4th, have varying characteristics.

What is the Current Gen of Night Vision

It’s not hard to know about what’s the best and most used night vision gen currently. You should know the features and qualities of each gen of night vision. But besides that, finding out about the best quality parts is also necessary. To find out which night vision gen will be the best for you, you need to look for a night vision gen that is the best for your purpose.

We have thoroughly discussed the characteristics of each NV gen and compared them in this article.

Generation 1 Night Vision

Being the oldest gen, it has fewer features as compared to the new ones. It has less range and resolution than gen 2 and 3. But that doesn’t make it any less. 1st gen NVs are still very popular due to their low cost. We will discuss each feature one by one.

Generation 1 Night Vision

Range and field of view

The range of 1st gen NV is a maximum of 70 to 80 yards and a field of view of almost 15 degrees. This range is acceptable if you are an amateur user and don’t need it for professional purposes like hunting or surveillance.

Resolution

1st gen NVs offer a slightly bright image as they do not have high resolution for clear and sharp images. A first-generation night vision’s resolution ranges from 30 to 45 lp/mm maximum.

Battery life

It has a short battery life of only about 1500 hours. So definitely not useful for long-term use and professional purposes.

IR illuminator

If you buy a gen 1 NV, remember that it uses an IR illuminator for viewing in the dark. Due to it, the user is always visible to others using night vision.

Cost

Gen 1 NV is quite affordable for anyone who needs to view in the dark at a distance of 70 to 80 yards.

Generation 2 Night Vision

Generation 1 Night vision was improved, and in the 1970s and 1980s, the 2nd generation of night vision was invented. It had improved technology and much better performance than gen 1.

Generation 2 Night Vision

Range and field of view

A 2 gen NV has a range of almost 150 to 200 yards and a wide field of view. This range can vary depending on the model you get. This range is quite reliable for viewing a target for hunters and birdwatchers.

Resolution

Gen 2 night visions offer a quite bright and clear image with a resolution ranging from 40 to 60 lp/mm. With this range of resolution, you don’t experience any distortion or unclarity at a distance of a hundred yards.

Battery life

It has longer battery life and a life expectancy of about 5000 hours. This is sufficient for even professional hunters for seasonal hunting and security purposes.

IR illuminator

Like 1st generation night vision, 2nd generation NV does not necessarily need an IR illuminator to function. Thus it does not make the user visible in the eyes of others.

Cost

For professional users, this generation’s night vision is not so expensive and can be bought under budget.

Generation 3 night vision

The most popular night vision generation is the 3rd generation. It has more advanced technologies as compared to generations 1 and 2 and improved performance.

Generation 3 night vision

Range and field of view

A 3rd generation night vision has a range of hundreds and thousands of yards depending on the model that you get. Also, it has a field of view of almost 40 degrees which is wide enough for hunting and birdwatching.

Resolution

With a resolution of 60 to 80 lp/mm, everything can be seen bright and clear, even the small details with a 3rd generation night vision. A good night vision model can let you easily view up to 500 to 600 yards with clear results.

Battery life

Most reliable for professionals with a life expectancy of about 10000 hours. It definitely won’t cause any trouble for you during your trips.

IR illuminator

It doesn’t need an IR illuminator for functioning in the dark and has advanced technology for operating. Also, it is compatible with a wide range of scopes, lenses, cameras, and other accessories.

Cost

As they are the best in performance, 3rd gen night visions are quite expensive. Consider your budget before looking into these.

Generation 4 night vision

The 4th generation of night vision was introduced, but it was not very useful for the purpose it was made. Therefore, 4th generation night vision is not as popular as 3rd one.

They were basically introduced for usage by the military, but the US Army declared that their technology was not matching the needs of the military for their standard of security.

Now, this term is used in markets by the manufacturers for 3rd gen NVs that are the best in their performance so that the buyers find these impressive.

However, the advanced forms of generation 3 are “filmed” and “unfilmed” that offer the best images and bright results even in the darkness. Besides these, there are also autogated models, but even these models aren’t categorized as gen 4.

Conclusion

The most popular generation of night vision currently is 3rd generation for professional users. Newer models of the 3rd generation are much improved with the newer technology of image intensifiers. But this generation of models does cost a lot and therefore is only used by military or professional hunters.

Generation 1 is under budget for amateurs, while generation 2 can be used by both depending on the purpose and requirements of use.

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