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Night vision scope review plus the best night vision pictures
I felt very honoured when I was asked to try the new Night Watchman, night vision monocular, I am  familiar with night vision basics having owned and used Generation 1 and 2 sets over the years for animal watching, guarding my metal detecting sites from night hawkers and night fishing. However my knowledge is very limited and I still consider myself as a "night vision" novice.

In the past I have wasted money on mail order units claiming to be better than ever before, only to find when they arrived to be no more than expensive toys, in fact some are actually generation 0 products.

The Night Watchman is a nice compact un-badged unit, packed with the latest with Gen 1+ technology, so many night vision unit's all appear to look very similar, however some perform much better than others, I have been reliably informed that manufacturers obtain blank body's from large suppliers and then fit their own tubes and technology.
Lightweight and compact
The unit is powered by 2AA batteries which fit snugly into the top, the lens can be removed for cleaning

 The Night Watchman features two independent switches, comfortably placed for easy operation that control the main power and the built-in infra red illuminator. Either one or both of the switches can be engaged independently based on the particular situation and surrounding conditions. a bigger illuminator will soon be available as a clip on extra.

The Night Watchman has a high magnification and wide angle of view....excellent for scanning large areas at distance, the unit is also equipped with an automatic light protection circuit, which disengages the power in the event of accidental exposure to intense light. Other features include a removable hand-strap for secure and steady navigation and a belt mounted carry pouch.
Removable hand strap
As you can see the unit is very compact measuring in at approx 8", weight 1.6lbs

Gen 1+ scope
What to expect from a night vision scope
Night vision technology enables you to see objects clearly at night claiming distances of up to several hundred yards in the absence of any artificial light. When viewed through a modern night vision system, people, buildings, vehicles and details of the landscape appear almost as if illuminated while the same objects viewed with a naked eye would appear only as indistinct shadows (or won't be visible at all). 
Night vision equipment Gen 1 - Gen 11 work best when there is a small amount of light available, this allows the intensifier to work better. Complete darkness will require the use of an IR illuminator which is ideal for close range work, effective up to approx 50 yards.

In the field with the Night Watchman
Once switched on the Night Watchman the image through the multi-coated lenses are fresh and clear with very limited visible distortion, tube blemishes were minimal which is really quite surprising for a relitavely low cost scope.
What are tube blemishes?
Tube blemishes ( blems or spots) are common in ALL image intensifier tubes. Image tubes are NEVER flawless, and every tube will have blemishes to some degree. The fewer and smaller the blemishes, the better the quality and therefore the higher the price. The best "Grade" of tube would be the Delta Grade which is strictly for military only, followed by Prime, then Prime with Blemish
.
Operating the monocular
 start focusing from the eyepiece (ocular lens) and then move to the front lens (objective lens). You may have to adjust each lens several times before getting a sharp image.

The front (Objective lens) is used to roughly obtain the correct distance you wish to view, once set you can finely adjust the small eyepiece diopter(ocular lens) and focus according to your eyesight.
Once powered up and turned off again the unit will stay active for up to 10 minutes I am sure battery consumption will be minimal.
My first test was in the garden at 11.00 pm, it was a clear night, here are some pictures I took .
Bird table Flowers

Here are some "low light" before and after pictures digital pictures
 Notice the high magnification compared to the standard photo, and the wide viewing angle.
Please note : The "real life" image is better than these poor digital pictures I took with a cheap camera.
normal picture with a digital camera Pumping station

The pumping station is approx 150 feet away as you can see the focus is effective way beyond that.

normal picture with a digital camera Horses viewed through a night vision scope

The horse is approx 200 feet away, trees are approx 500 feet

normal picture with a digital camera Night vision images

The pictures below were taken in the woods, it was to dark for a normal picture.

Very dark woods Minimal light conditions
Click here for more night vision pictures
More night vision information and pictures

Summary

Anyone who knows me through metal detecting will tell you that I dont like second best, if I give a model the "thumbs up" it must do what it says on the label, thats why some of my reviews are a little harsh and to honest for some manufacturers.

Without a doubt the Night Watchman gets the big "thumbs up", it is the best Generation 1+ I have used so far, this little scope will be ideal for those who want a very effective low cost unit which represents fantastic value for money. I must stress again that you will probably see this style of case / body on many other lower priced models, however they do not have the same optical quality as these scopes.

Jan 2006
No longer available *

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