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Understanding the Generations of Night Vision Devices


In the last blog post, we shared the current types of night vision devices and their working principles. Today I will talk about the Gen of night vision devices.

Night vision devices have greatly advanced over the years, offering enhanced visibility in low-light conditions. In this blog post, we will explore the different generations of night vision devices and their characteristics. By understanding the distinctions between these generations, readers can make more informed decisions when selecting a night vision device that suits their needs.

Generation 0 (Gen 0):

Gen 0 refers to night vision devices, primarily infrared (IR) ones, constructed on principles other than low-light amplification. These devices were first utilized during World War II on European battlefields. Gen 0 devices require IR illumination (invisible to the naked eye) to produce sufficiently bright images.

Generation 1 (Gen 1):

Gen 1 represents the earliest generation of low-light night vision devices. These devices amplify existing light sources several thousand times and are relatively affordable. However, it is important to note that Gen 1 devices perform poorly in the absence of active IR illumination and cannot detect IR emitted by higher generations of night vision devices. As a result, we do not recommend purchasing Gen 1 devices. In terms of performance, a regular flashlight is often more practical.

Generation 2 (Gen 2):

Building upon the foundation of Gen 1, Gen 2 night vision devices incorporate a component called a “Micro Channel Plate.” This addition enhances the flow of photons, significantly improving image clarity and brightness. The quality and clarity of Gen 2 devices vary, but high-quality Gen 2 devices can rival or even surpass average Gen 3 devices. It is worth noting that when purchasing Gen 2 devices, it is advisable to opt for imaging tubes manufactured by Photonis, a reputable French company known for producing exceptional image intensifier tubes (such as XD4 and XR5).

Gen2 night vision effect

Generation 3 (Gen 3):

Gen 3 represents the most advanced night vision technology currently available. The United States was the first country to utilize Gen 3 night vision devices, notably the PVS-7, which greatly increased operational effectiveness during the Gulf War. Gen 3 devices employ a Gallium Arsenide photocathode, which offers significantly higher sensitivity compared to regular photoc

Gen3 night vision effect

Gen2 and Gen3 comparison chart (the main difference is brightness, there are many gen2 night vision devices with better clarity than gen3)

The old version of pvs-18 VS the new version of pvs-18A, the new upgrade is clearer, the field of view is wider, and the magnification is larger

Here we will share some product related information
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