The second life of the first generation

31.12.2010

     Today night vision devices are anything but exotics. They are widely used in everyday life, mainly by hunters, and primarily night vision riflescopes. Nevertheless, a lot of hunters sooner or later realize that for the hunt, especially for the driven one, it is reasonable to have some additional observation device, either binoculars or monoculars. The first ones provide more comfortable observation and the latter give tangible gain in compactness, weight and price.

     This is probably for that very reason night vision monoculars are most recognized additional observation devices by hunting community. And this market offers plenty of options in wide price range starting from 5 thousand rubles for the 1st generation devices to 10 thousand US dollars for the 3rd generation night vision devices. Subjectively, the difference in possibilities of budget devices and “premium” class NVD’s doesn’t correspond to their price difference; it is simply because at a certain moment even insignificant improvements in NVD’s are achieved by higher costs. Taking into account that “higher” generation NV devices have technologically exhausted potentialities for cost reduction, the appearance of solutions with improved performance in budget class seems to be consequent.

     Exelon night vision monocular of Yukon Advanced Optics Worldwide is the first and one of the few in the NVD market of this kind. The model line consists of devices with 3x and 4x magnification.

     The design of Exelons uses Novosibirsk image intensifying tube EP33-SF with a photocathode of a special spherical shape (as far as it is generally known such tube is only used in Exelon and some Pulsar NV devices).

     Of course, EP33-SF is inferior to “higher” generation tubes in sensitivity and light amplification, so in “pitch-dark” conditions Exelons require help of a built-in or optional IR-illuminator. However, compared to “standard” 1st Gen NVD’s the device shows convincing results: that very light amplification of its tube is higher by at least 60%. 

     As for the image quality, Exelon is coming very close to the devices of the next price segment. The original combination “Objective lens-Tube” (the lens is also notable for its unconventional design) provides almost complete absence of image distortion across the entire field of view (not a secret that in Gen1 NVD the image remains smooth only in the central zone and gets significantly distorted coming closer to the edge). The same with resolution. If we roughly divide the field of the screen (let’s take the screen as a base, because this is what the observer sees in the eyepiece) into three zones (the central, in a shape of a circle for a third of diameter; the medium and the extreme in a shape of rings), the resolution of the central and peripheral zones will differ by approx. 20%, remaining rather stable and high (in Gen 1 NVD’s the resolution decrease from the center to the edge of the field of view can be up to five times or more ). As a result, in field conditions at ¼ Moon, Exelon allows to identify a person or a wild boar at a distance of 250-300m. At the same time the declared field of view is confirmed. It is 13 degrees, or 23m at 100m distance, that makes the “area” observation possible, for instance, searching or observation of a running animal.

     As a result, having a high image quality, Exelon has a sufficient efficiency supply for its use as an additional observation device on the hunt, not only in a couple with 1st generation riflescopes but with more sophisticated ones; and also it fits within a reasonable price range.

Alexander Smirnov