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The reviews are in, and they’re not pretty. As you’ll soon see below, many users of the Firefield N-Vader 3-9x Digital Night Vision Monocular are not particularly pleased with their purchase.
Still, this could be the night vision optic you want, depending on what you’re looking for.
If you are quite sure this is the monocular for you, check the availability and pricing at Amazon by clicking here.
Otherwise, you will want to keep reading the review below.
What Do Owners Say about the Firefield N-Vader?
Let’s take a look first at what a few users have commented on in their online reviews about the N-Vader.
Not all the comments that I found were negative. I think those that were positive were made by people who either had nothing to compare the N-Vader to or who had very low expectations about what they were getting.
One owner said this about the night vision capability.
“This is not really a night vision device that stands on its own ability to amplify existing light. For this scope to actually work at night or in the dark it needs IR (infrared) lighting to see in the dark. So it is a camera that is sensitive to infrared light. That light source is built into the unit.”
It seems this person was hoping to be able to use it more without turning on the infrared light at night. But that’s generally how these work best in the dark.
That user and many others echoed what this person had to say about the quality of the images.
“Magnification is digital and not really optical thus a grainy image.”
What he’s getting at is there is nothing inside that is doing the magnification as there would be in a decent pair of binoculars. It’s all being done by computation instead. So when you expand a small picture electronically, all you get is a blurry or “grainy” picture.
The Firefield specs do mention an adjustable grain control, but I have not been able to find out what that is exactly or if it’s any good. Apparently other users are unaware of such a control too.
Finally, one user in commenting on the 1-3x version of the N-Vader summed up the feelings of many others this way.
“Buy this for the grandkids to play with. It isn’t good for much else.”
It feels (and in many cases, works) like a toy. If that is true, then Firefield’s marketing line…
“The Firefield N-Vader 3-9x Digital Night Vision Monocular is nothing short of combat ready.”
…seems quite overblown. Perhaps you could take it into combat, but these owners would tell you it wouldn’t be of much use there.
The N-Vader is very inexpensive for a night vision monocular. I think much of this discussion emphasizes that you get what you pay for. If you really want a good, useable monocular for night vision, you are simply going to have to shell out several hundred more dollars.
What Are the Features and Specifications of the N-Vader 3-9x?
As the name implies, you can magnify targets from 3 to 9 times their original size. Just remember that the quality of the resulting image might not be that great.
Firefield says you can see objects from 1 meter up to 195 feet away. I sure wish they wouldn’t mix their units of measure like that. One meter is about 3.3 feet.
At the upper edge of that distance, I would expect that it gets quite difficult to make out what you are looking at. Some users had problems identifying object even at closer range.
Another feature that isn’t really explained anywhere that I could find is the unit’s video output capability. Apparently you can record video from your monocular, but I’m not sure what, if any, other equipment is needed to do so. Also unclear is where you would watch the playback of the video.
The field of view for the N-Vader is 7 degrees on the horizontal. That probably won’t matter much to you here. Field of view is normally more important with a good pair of binoculars where it is measured in feet at the distance of 1000 yards. That simply doesn’t apply here.
Eye relief, the distance you can keep your eye away from the lens and still use the instrument properly, is 10 millimeters (1 centimeter) which is quite short. Eyeglass wearers may have some difficulty using this monocular with their glasses on.
You need 4 AA batteries to power the N-Vader. Firefield claims the batteries will last 12 hours without the IR turned on, 6 hours on the low (LO) setting, and 3 hours on the high (HI) setting. Your mileage may vary.
You can use the Firefield N-Vader Monocular in virtually any temperature. It is rated as workable from 14 degrees to 104 degree Fahrenheit. If you are outside in temperatures colder or hotter than that, you probably shouldn’t be.
Even though the N-Vader can withstand a wide range of temperatures, it is not equipped to deal with water, fog, dust, and dirt very well. It is not waterproof, nor are the insides nitrogen purged.
This is a rather small and lightweight gadget. It measures 145 by 90 by 50 millimeters (5.7 by 3.5 by 2 inches) and weighs just 11.6 ounces. Your hand or arm won’t getting tired holding it for a good, long time.
You get a 3 year warranty on the N-Vader.
Verdict on the N-Vader Monocular
If you only have a little money to spend and don’t set your sights too high, you might try the Firefield N-Vader monocular.
If you really want quality equipment though, you are probably better off saving your money for a while longer so you can purchase a better night vision monocular later.
If you have decided the N-Vader isn’t what you are looking for, check out this article that has several others that might be more suited to your needs.