When we talk about NV (Night vision) generations, we are certainly not referring to Star Trek or generational family tree. It is way more straightforward than that.
Night vision generation classification refers to the kind of the image intensifier tube that is used for NV scope. It is the soul or meat of the whole unit.
Although it may not be that interesting thing to know about in the globe, but it’s good to since you might be eager to get out in darkness tonight. In this article, we’ll look at the difference between various NV (night vision) generations from AGM Global Vision.
What is the difference between Night Vision (NV) generations?
Before we get into the various types of night vision generations, let’s look at the IIT (image intensifier tube). An IIT (image intensifier tube) refers to the vacuum sealed tube that has various components making up the night vision capabilities of night vision scopes. The complete night vision I2 tube consists of a micro-channel plate, phosphor screen and a photocathode.
Generation classifications comes in to define some or all internal components of the tube. In addition, various glass quality, coating and raw materials can be utilized to determine the overall quality as well as the generation class of a night vision device. The various types of night vision generations include;
Generation 1 (Gen 1)
Although Gen 1 not fancy, it is better that not having a night vision at all. The scopes of Gen 1 are the most inexpensive NV devices because budget is a justifiable concern. However, Gen 1 is currently more affordable that it was before as Gen1 technology was developed around 1960s when mobile phones did not even exist.
Typically, these night vision devices provides less resolution with a loud noise in its image and lacks the micro-channel plate. Fish-eye blooming and lens effects are the basics of generation 1 scopes. They’ve a short lifespan of about 1500 hours and are great for maximum ranges of approximately 75 yards. These night vision devices often require the use of an in-built IR illuminator to make one visible to the other night vision users. This illuminator doesn’t have the ‘turn off’ option and is always activated.
Generation 2 (Gen 2)
It contains a micro-channel plate that produces an accelerated image resolution and electron gain. It offers a low light quality that is better than average and with a slight distortion. Its lifespan ranges between 2500 and 5000 hours. In addition, it’s great for maximum ranges of approximately 200 yards. You can operate The Gen 2 NV device ‘passively’ without using the IR illuminator. However, it might come with one that has an off/ on switch.
There are various classes within the Gen 2 devices. In addition, when compared to the Generation 1 devices, Gen 2 is more advanced in clarity, performance and quality. As a matter of fact, its quality is closer to the generation 3 device. The advancement in quality will also result to a rise in its price.
Generation 3 (Gen 3)
Gen 3 is the most advanced night vision technology that is currently available. Just like generation 2, gen devices has several levels and grades of quality. It contains superior components for various benefits like the ion barrier film that improves the durability of the tube. Gen 3 devices can either be used in night or day condition. Its low light performance is excellent and doesn’t even need the IR illuminator that offers added covertness. Its lifespan is more than 10000 hours. In addition, it’s great for maximum ranges of approximately 300 yards.
Generation 4 (Gen 4)
You will certainly see the term ‘gen 4’ a lot, as a manufacturer and marketing identification term. The United State Army introduced this classification term, but technology did not met their performance/ regulation standards. As a result, the term was redacted and it isn’t an official classification anymore.
Gen 4 technology proposed the elimination of ion barrier film that is seen in generation 3 devices. However, it was discovered that the IIT (image intensifier tube) lacked durable integrity and would become too fragile if the film was removed.
With the current advancements in night vision technology, the ‘unfilmed’ and ‘filmess’ technology was perfected. However, it has not yet been proposed officially to be classified as generation 4 technology again.