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When all you need is a solid riflescope for hunting, you need look no further than the Sightmark Photon XT.
I probably should have preceded that remark with a “spoiler alert” because now you might not feel the need to read the rest of this article about the 4.6x42S version of this digital night vision scope.
And that’s okay. Perhaps you already know that this is the scope you want. If so, check out its availability and latest pricing at Amazon.
If you are still researching, read on to find out more details about the Photon XT Digital Night Vision scope. You can click one of the links in the box below to jump right to that section.
How Far Can I See with the Photon XT?
This is likely one of the most important questions to ask about a night vision scope.
You can use the Photon XT both night and day. Even without the infrared (IR) turned on, you should easily be able to see up to 120 yards.
At night with the IR turned on, it will depend a lot on the conditions, both weather and physical surroundings, as to how far you will be able to see your target.
Take a look at this video where this Photon XT riflescope is tested. It might help you decide how far you will be able to see when you have one of your own.
What Are the Prominent Features of the Photon XT?
There are three main features worth noting for the Photon XT – reticles, battery life, and video recording.
You get several reticle options each of which comes in red, green, and white coloration.
Two reticles are specifically intended for crossbow hunters using 320, 350, 370, and 400 fps crossbows.
Two basic Duplex reticles are for hog and varmint hunting.
There is a Mil-Dot reticle for range-finding and holdovers, and there is a German-style reticle. (I don’t know whether this is a German #1 or a German #4, but it’s probably the German #4.)
Sightmark claims that this digital night vision rifle scope has a longer battery life (33%) and is lighter in weight (30%) than other similar scopes currently on the market. That may be true for now but will almost certainly change in the future as other scopes increase their battery life and lighten their weight.
The riflescope has a run time of 5 hours without the IR on two AA batteries. When you are constantly using the IR, the run time may be 4 hours or less. Since there is no external power supply, you will want to have spare batteries along for an all day outing.
The batteries you need to power night vision equipment is sometimes an overlooked component. An instrument like this Photon XT that does have quite a long battery life could be just the tube you’re looking for.
You can record everything you see – day or night – using its video output feature, which uses an RCA type of plug. You can reexamine objects later that need definite identification that perhaps you couldn’t make out at the time you discovered them. The camera’s resolution is 656 x 492 pixels, which is nothing spectacular compared to the camera in your phone, for example. Still, it should do its job well enough.
What Are the Other Features and Specifications of the Photon XT?
This Gen 2 scope has a weaver rail, but you don’t get mounts to attach it to your rifle. If you don’t already have any, you’ll have to figure that into your total cost.
There are no turrets on this riflescope because it uses a digital system for calculating both windage and elevation adjustments. This is supposed to guarantee precision in addition to giving you a more streamlined design.
The LCD display has a resolution of 640×480 pixels, which is about the same as what you’ll see from a video recording (see above).
Your field of view (FOV) while looking through the scope is 22.5 feet at 100 yards. That should be wide enough for you to track down your target and keep it in view.
Close focus is just under 33 feet (10 meters). If your target is closer than that, you probably don’t need to use the scope anyway.
You can have your eye up to 60 millimeters (2.36 inches) away from the eyepiece end of the scope and still use it properly. This is good because you don’t want your eye pressing against the scope when your rifle recoils.
The body of the Photon XT is a glass-nylon composite. It’s sturdy, but it’s not nitrogen filled, so you will want to try to keep it out of areas where it could fog up.
It can stand a maximum recoil of 1000 Gs, so your rifle (or crossbow) shouldn’t shake it apart.
You can use this riflescope in temperatures as low as 5 degrees Fahrenheit and as high as 122 degrees. It will work properly is all but the coldest winters and the hottest deserts.
The tube measures 1.2 inches (30 millimeters) around, is 15.7 inches long, is 2.9 inches wide, and is 3.1 inches high. It weighs 23.6 ounces when batteries are inserted.
What’s the Verdict on the Photon XT?
This is a really good night vision scope. One downside besides the small points mentioned above was pointed out by this owner.
“The only negative is the IR washes out the scope when you hit leaves on trees at close range. Still five stars [out of 5], those leaves will fall.”
Sightmark offers a lifetime limited warranty on all their products. You can see the details here.
Note that, if you try to take apart a Photon XT scope, you will void the warranty. If you have a problem with yours, it’s probably better to invoke the warranty rather than to try to fix it yourself.
If, after learning all about the Photon XT, you have found that this isn’t really the scope you want, check out this article that reviews several other scopes for your consideration.