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Comparisons of Gen1, Gen2 and Gen3 technology.

These are comparisons I've done in the past and a few new ones. Each illustrates the difference between the technologies under difference circumstances.

Gen 1/2 comparisons. 

This is an older direct comparison of a good quality Gen1 compared to a Gen2 Inverter Tube ( Standard Gen2 ) - Note that this particular Gen2 tube struggles under rural starlight conditions, while the Gen1 gives no image at all under such conditions, to either the eye or the camera. Gen1 isn't practical outside of the metropolitan areas at all.

Gen 2/3 Comparison...

Battle of the fives: XR5 vs OmniV ( XR5 was the high-spec tube most commonly used by the Australian Military - although now we're buying Gen3 from the US as well ) 

The XR5 tube is a Second Generation tube but is roughly equivalent of US Gen3 Omni V technology in terms of typical performance. It's slightly better in higher light and not quite as good when it's really dark. 




During a recent wide area power outage, I was able to get some comparative images through Gen2 and Gen3 scopes of different generations.

The conditions were starlight and almost no clouds to reflect light back in.

As a result, it was pretty dark, except for vehicles travelling the area and candles and the like. It's also very easy to see who is using candles on nights like this, because their houses glow and flicker!

Anyway, the below comparison may help with understanding the technology for those who are looking at Night Vision in the next few years but don't understand what performance levels are like.

There are NO gen1 images here - it's far too dark and they would not produce an image at all.  All Gen2 and above. The approx range to the white king-cab in the image is probably close to 100m.

Below. A Gen2+ ( Extended Red S25R Photocathode ) - from a Milspec AN/PVS-5B tube/lens. This is about as Gen2+ gets.

This next image is taken through an AN/PVS-5C Commspec Aviation goggles. It's Gen2+ High Performance ( and resolution ) S20ER Extended Red. This scope is a Milspec scope that has one of the best lenses ever attached to a NV scope.

Below an image from a contemporary US made Gen2 Super High Performance tube. These tubes can perform as well as early Gen3 tubes and outperform most tubes available on the market, except for DEP Photonis High End tubes.

This is the type of tube that is regularly found in military exports from the US to other countries during the past two decades. Australian military NV is presently slightly better than this.

Below is an image taken through a third generation recent technology military spec tube (GenIII Omni V ) and commspec housing. It's pretty much up there with the best image intensifiers currently in use. 


Edge of darkness...

How well does the Omni V stack up against the XR5 under extreme dark conditions?  Here's an interesting image.

Omni V is on the (information as to which is which temporarily withheld). Conditions, exposure and focus are identical for both images. Both are as good as I can make them. Taken in a sealed room with only a small amount of diffused starlight entering through a skylight at the far end of the room ( behind me ).

And here's a brightness corrected version ( image on right adjusted brightness curve to increase dynamic range.)

Starlight Pics ( Rural ) - ZERO moon, little cloud cover ( nice night - very dark )

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