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A monocular for night vision is not nearly so hard to find today as it once was. You can find a wide range of night vision monoculars – so wide that picking the best night vision monoculars is pretty much an impossible task.
Instead of trying to choose the absolute best night vision monocular, in this review, I’ll give you several from which to choose – any of which would make a great purchase. You’ll then be able to say you have the best nightvision monocular in its class…or something like that.
If you already know which class you can afford and just want to double-check on the pricing and availability at Amazon, you can click (or tap) a link in the list below.
- ATN PVS-14 3 Night Vision Monocular
- Sightmark Ghost Hunter 2×24
- Night Owl Optics 5-Power NOXM50
- Firefield FF24066 5×50 Nightfall 2 Night Vision Monocular
ATN PVS-14 3 Night Vision Monocular
Any PVS-14 monocular is top grade. AN/PVS-14 monoculars are what the military uses. “AN/PVS” stands for “Army / Navy Portable Visual Search”. Along with being the best comes a price tag that’s sky high too.
The PVS-14 model we see here is from ATN, a company that really knows about these high quality instruments. This night vision monocular is one you can use in any of three configurations.
- Head or helmet mounted
- Adapted to a camera or camcorder
This ATN monocular is a Generation 3 tube that doesn’t have magnification but does give you 64 line pairs (lp) per millimeter. That’s nearly twice the resolution of the other monoculars below.
There is a diopter you can adjust – 2 clicks to the positive side and 5 clicks the other direction. I’m not sure why they didn’t just even this out a little more, like to 3 and 4. The net result could have been the same.
Other features include auto brightness control, bright light cut-off, manual gain control, and auto shut-off.
The ATN PVS has a built-in infrared (IR) illuminator that you should be able to use up to 50 hours before replacing the batteries.
It’s rugged, being both water resistant and complying to MIL-STD-810 specifications.
The ATN monocular measures 4.5 inches by 2 inches by 2.25 inches and weighs just over ¾ of a pound (0.78 lbs.).
So, if you need the best there is and can afford it, go for the ATN PVS-14 3 monocular.
Sightmark Ghost Hunter 2×24
These next two night vision monos from Sightmark and Night Owl are more in the price range of the average consumer (probably you).
The Sightmark Ghost Hunter (interesting name, eh?) 2×24 night vision monocular, as you can tell from its name, magnifies up to 2 times real life and has a 24 millimeter objective lens. That lens is on the small side and won’t let much light in.
This is just a Generation 1 device with an 805nm IR illuminator. You get 36 lines per millimeter, which is about average for this class.
There is an automatic shut-off that will help save battery power. When using the IR light, you can expect about 20 hours of use from a set of batteries. Without the IR, you should get closer to 72 hours. Assuming, then, that you’ll be using the Sightmark monocular both with and without the IR, your batteries will last somewhere between those two figures.
Field of view (FOV) at 100 yards is 132 feet. Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to compare this to the other monoculars below because each manufacturer gives the measurement in different units or distances.
The diopter ranges from a nice, even plus 5 to minus 5, so focusing shouldn’t be a problem. Eye relief is 12 millimeters – not bad.
You get a 3-year warranty on the tube and full lifetime (limited) on the housing of the Ghost Hunter 2×24. There is a standard ¼ inch tripod mount built into that housing too.
The Ghost Hunter night vision monocular is rated IPX3 for water resistance, so you can get it wet, but don’t drop it in the lake.
The Ghost Hunter measures 139 millimeters long by 57 millimeters wide by 74 millimeters high and weighs just under 9 ounces. This makes it lighter than the ATN above.
Before you grab this one for yourself, you might want to check out the Night Owl just below.
Night Owl Optics 5-Power NOXM50
The Night Owl NOXM50 comes in at about the same price point as the Sightmark above but has better features.
You get 5 times magnification and a 50 millimeter objective lens in this Generation 1 tube. The image you see shouldn’t be too dark, even at the highest magnification, because this has an image intensifier tube (IIT).
As you would expect, the NOXM50 night vision monocular has a built-in IR illuminator. You get resolution at 35 line pairs per millimeter – about the same as the Ghost Hunter.
The diopter has one less click in each direction, going out to plus 4 and minus 4. That still should be a wide enough range for focusing.
There’s no mention of waterproofing, but the outer shell is rubberized, so it should be fine if it gets knocked around a little.
FOV is 39 feet at a distance of 200 feet. Why Night Owl chose that strange distance, I can’t tell you.
This Night Owl monocular measures 7.75 inches long by 3.79 inches wide by 2.48 inches high and weighs a full pound. So it’s a little bigger and heavier, mostly due to the 50mm objective, but I would gladly put up with that for the extra light it allows in.
Expected battery life is better than the Sightmark too, at 45 to 100 hours, depending on IR use.
Again, I’m not trying to pick the best of these four overall, but I do think the Night Owl NOXM50 tops the Sightmark Ghost Hunter.
Firefield FF24066 5×50 Nightfall 2 Night Vision Monocular
The FF24066 Firefield night vision monocular is the least expensive of this pack, so if your budget is tight, you might opt for this one.
In design, it’s very similar to the Night Owl. It has 5 times magnification and a 50 millimeter objective lens.
You get a built-in IR illuminator, of course, and the resolution is 36 line pairs per millimeter – on par with all but the ATN.
The Firefield 5×50 Nightfall 2 is IPX4 water resistant, which is just a tad better than the Sightmark. Still, don’t drop it in the pond.
Diopter range is +/-5 with an eye relief of 12 millimeters. FOV is 26.5 meters at 100 meters. I’d translate that to feet for you, but it still wouldn’t be an even comparison. Oh well.
There is a standard tripod mount should you need to hold it really steady.
Battery life ranges from 20 to 72 hours, virtually the same as the Sightmark.
The Firefield Nightfall 2 measures 8.07 inches long by 3.74 inches wide by 2.36 inches high. As expected, it weighs virtually the same as the Night Owl.
You do get a 1-year warranty on this tube. There’s no mention of exactly what this covers though.
More Monocular Options
If none of these four monoculars tickle your fancy, check out one or more of these reviews.