Which night-vision monocular should I use to spot wildlife?

I cp with a group that prefers desert locales. Can you suggest a night vision mono/binocular to allow us to see the creepy crawlies? Ad Chicago, Illinois

Jan 28, 2008
Outside Magazine
Night Detective ND-G5 Gelios Monocular

ND-G5 Gelios Monocular


Creepy-crawlies…would that mean keeping a lookout for things that could pose a threat (rattlesnakes), or just things you like to see (owls)? Either way, there are some reasonable choices out there. Bushnell (bushnell.com), for example, makes a monocular called the Bushnell 26 0100 Night Vision Monocular that sells for around $160. It uses infrared light to “paint" the target=, then has light-gathering technology to render the image clear. The range is out to 80 yards or so, and the magnification is 2.5X. So that’s a pretty good starting point for taking a look around and seeing what’s out there.

Another affordable choice is the Night Detective ND-G5 Gelios (nightdetective.com), which goes for around $200. Like the Bushnell it uses infrared light to illuminate the target=. But it has more magnification—5X, in fact. That could be a real advantage.

Both the Bushnell and Night Detective units are called “first generation" night-vision units. That means they use pretty basic infrared technology, and although the picture they render is pretty good, there will be some distortion around the edges. The next step up is what’s called “second-generation" equipment, which adds a device called a micro-channel plate. That device works as an electron allows second-generation generation units to amplify the light many more times then first generation. An example of a device that uses second-gen technology is the Night Optics D-300 monocular (nightoptics.com). It offers no magnification, but gives you a bright and clear view of your surroundings out to 500 feet. Pretty good! It’s also weather-resistant and can be mounted on a helmet as well as hand-held. Of course, you pay for this: $1000.

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