I've seen a lot of negative comments about this item. Most of which, I would put down to the purchaser not understanding what this is, what it's limitations are, and what it is not... First though, a little background to validate my assessment of this kit. I have 8 years of regular service in the armed forces and a further 2 decades of private sector employment experience on close protection and covert surveillance work. I've used $25,000+ night vision apparatus on many occasions. This piece of kit is not that... and $25,000+ night vision scopes aren't as good as most would like to think. They have limitations too.
Most military type night vision uses a phosphor bronze "tube" which works as an image intensifier - it gathers all available light and condenses it so that it can be seen as a green image showing what the naked eye cannot see on its own. These pieces of kit are limited in the sense that unless there is some ambient light (starlight, moonlight, etc.) then they won't work, and even when they do work, they can only usually see out to around 100 - 300 yards with any kind of definition. Just as with this piece of kit, the high end, super expensive military type kit will only work really well with the implementation of some sort of artificial light source such as an IR illuminator.
Additionally... shine a bright light onto one of those $25,000 military image intensifiers and you're left with the world's most expensive paperweight... not so with this system... a bright light will not have any negative effect on the equipment.
To all those people writing negative reviews on this item... if you want the same operating standards as a $25,000 Gen 4 Image Intensifier... then go buy a $25,000 image intensifier (and you'll likely still be disappointed)... to the rest of you out there contemplating the purchase of a BUDGET night vision hunting solution... this is the one to go with. It works way better than I expected it too... but you have to take a few things into account:
1. This takes an 'exotic' battery (18650) - it actually needs 3 of them and they aren't included - my suggestion is that you should buy at least 3 sets of 3 and at least two chargers - an additional investment? Yes, but worth it in the long run.
2. If you don't mind buying batteries, this will also take 2 x CR123 batteries in place of each rechargeable 18650 battery (so keeping a few of these as back up should your rechargeables run out while hunting is a good idea).
3. The night vision capability of this setup is limited to the power of the IR illuminator that is used with it - the one included is OK for back yards but is not that great... invest in a better IR illuminator - they're fairly inexpensive and worth their weight in gold if you are an avid night hunter like myself.
4. IMPORTANT: There is no mention of it in the "instruction manual" but the camera is dual purpose day/night - it is color in daylight and monochrome at night BUT it will not work unless, when you switch over from daylight to nighttime shooting, you activate the tiny switch on the back of the camera (it took me a while to figure this out).
5. The screen has 3 buttons on the back: middle is for menu (brightness, saturation (color), and contrast), top is to increase the selection, bottom is to reduce... so if the screen appears too bright, use those buttons to adjust as preferred.
I have mine set up on my Gamo Urban 22 PCP Air Rifle with Counter Sniper™ (Nightforce Optics) 2-16 x 44 TDRM scope and in my half acre back yard (335 feet long) it works just fine for hunting rats and viewing other critters... (see attached video clip)
So, to summarize: As far as BUDGET systems go, this one is great... a few extra minor investments (more batteries, better IR illuminator), it is more than great. It isn't as good as the ENVG III currently in use by US Special Forces or the AN-PVS 14 that was its predecessor... but then this costs only $300 while the military ones are in the $thousands. Take a reality pill people... this piece of kit is great for what it is and as the saying goes... you get what you pay for.
Damn good night vision product. Spedn your time getting all the rings tightened down and the camera fovused properly and this will easily out do any multi thousand dollar night vision rig!! At first I was having trouble with the image, but after tightening everything down and alinging and focusing the camera right and screwing that down it doesn't ever shift and the image is spectacular! The ir light it comes with eill get the job done at up to ~100yards, but the t50 i ordered on ebay for $20 made the images crystal clear up to over 200 yards! Was not expecting this to work sooo well with all the bad image quality reviews, but I understand were they are running into trouble so I can't blame them too much. However, it is still user error as I was able to figure out my way over that "hump" and get my camera focused and sturdy. A few things to keep in mind: get some good batteries as bad ones will have to changed out everyday and they need to be at full charge for the ir flashlight to work well. Get a better ir flashlight (t50 or better) if you are using for long range night hunting. Remember to use the focus on the ir camera to clear up the image only AFTER mounting the camera equipment down tightly. Everytime you move the camera depth this has to be changed, but once you get it right then you never have to change it again. Make sure the camera is at the same clearance depth as your scope's recommend eye relief length. For example, if your scope recommends staying 3" away from the reticle wuth your eye. Make sure the mounting rings and ir camera tube is oriented so that the camera is 3" away from the reticle as well. Once you do this, then you can adjust the ir camera focus to clear up image. Since there is three focuses in total that have to be alinged I can see the hang ups, but this equipment is truely crystal clear when do correctly and an super amazing value!! I hardly leave reviews unless I believe the product has impacted me so much that it warrants me spending my time giving my opinion on the product. Even more rare are reviews I leave that are good. So you can believe me when I am telling you this product is worth it. I will be updating my reviews with pictures of the actual night vision images I see when I look at the screen. 3 hogs down so far and counting. Because of the increasingly nocturnal nature of the animals I would never have been able to eradicate them from my property. This product has made my life sooo much easier. Thank you for listening to my opinions on this product and I hope you choose to enjoy this product like I get to.
It came in 3 days, it looks great, I tried it 50 meters, the flashlight battery lasts one and a half hour on the screen more than three