|Of the Night Owl night vision binoculars range, the Night Owl Pro Nexgen Night Vision Binoculars (5x) (NOB5X) is the flagship model. You have to be impressed at first glance by the 5x magnification. This is very high for a night vision equipment. But you also have to ask what have they cut back on to achieve this? Image quality? Field of view? Build quality and parts?
First Look & Feel
The first thing I like about theses Night Owl 5x night vision binoculars is the finish. Its dull. Of course I meany total lack of shine rather than boring. It’s something that’s often forgotten. If you are in a hidden position at night for what ever reason you don’t want glossy reflective surfaces giving away your position. The final overall soft rubberiesed feel is okay for grip but nothing revolutionary. Satisfactory is what I would say. They do feel pretty solid and robust though when you hold then and that does give a bit of confidence
Looking at the size the dimensions of 7.8in (19.8cm) x 5.8in (14.7cm) x 2.9in (7.4cm) (LxWxH) are pretty compact actually and I was impressed. This is about average size for a set of night vision binos despite the technology packed in. This is mirrored in the lower than usual weight of 38.8 oz (1099g).
The buttons and layout of controls is pretty sensible and handy overall. Indicator lights for power on and active IR illuminators are convenient to see by the eycups. The on/off for power and IR illuminators buttons are on the top surface of the right barrel and easily reached as is the single single focus wheel on the bridge. I love this! no messing around with focusing each eyepiece which is just a pain in the dark, time consuming and could result in lost viewing opportunities.
But having said that some could find it awkward as it lies nearer the front of the bins, doesn’t protrude very far and is heavily geared making it quite stiff to turn. Now the weighting does help reaching it as your hands are naturally further forward but it could be an issue if you have smaller hands or need to wear gloves in colder conditions
My biggest concern though is lack of clarity of weather and waterproofing. Neither is mentioned so you would have to assume they’re neither weather or waterproof. This could be an issue in wet conditions or if like me you are a bit clumsy. Drop these in a big muddy puddle or stream and goodbye $400-500! Come on Night Owl this is important! Big mark down I’m afriad.
Key Features Of Night Owl Pro Nexgen Night Vision Binoculars (5x)
Uses For The Night Owl Pro Nexgen Night Vision Binoculars (5x):
How The Night Owl Pro Nexgen Night Vision Binoculars (5x) Shapes Up
50mm Objective Lens
The biggest challeng when designing night vision binoculars is what size objective lenses to use. They have such an impact. Bigger lenses let in more ambient light or IR. But they are heavier affecting the overall balance, and more expensive. So you have to choose your payoff point. The Night Owl Pro Nexgen night vision binoculars (5x) has 50mm lenses.
I think Night Owl have got this about right. The weight of the lenses does produce a front heavy pair of NV Binos but not too much. Once you get used to this it’s second nature to adjust your grip position to compensate. I had this cracked pretty much by the end of the second night of testing. Plus I have to say the 50mm glass lenses combined with the tubes and magnification were pretty impressive with images bright and crisp
The lenses themselves also have an anti-reflective coating. This ensures as much light as possible gets gathered in and not reflected back out
Whilst the Night Owl 5x Nexgen bins are only Gen 1 technology you shoudn’t be put off by that. A lot of the time quality Gen 1 devices can out perform their much more expensive cousins. So that price leap may not even be worth it. This pair is equipped with Night Owl’s Gen 1 high quality image intensifier tube.
This focuses any reflected light onto a screens which then transforms this into electrons that hit the phosphorous screen and form the image you see with your eye. The whole group of technology required needs to marry up nicely and work well together to get a good image. Its a bit like getting the right balance in chip speed and power, hard drive speed and graphics card in a PC.
I am pleased to say that Night Owl have done a very good job here. The image produced by the screen in moonlight for example is really top quality for a Gen 1 device. This applies to both the brightness and sharpness right out to the edge of screen where you can typically get a lot of dullness and blurring.
The actual decent viewing range is around 200m for clear images. But you won’t see smaller creatures or objects at this effective range. For that you are going to have to come down to nearer 80-100m. This is pretty much on a par with Gen 1 night vision binoculars such as the Bushnell Nightvisions. Especially with the closest focal distance of 6.6ft
The 5x Magnification
Magnification is a funny thing in night vision circles. If you only ever used daylight binos before you might look at 5x and think it was pathetic. But during the daytime there is plenty of light available. Because greater magnification powers means you have to have a lot thicker lenses. This in turn makes your night vision binoculars heavier with little return in performance due to lack of light. So there is always a trade off.
The Night Owl Pro Nexgen Night Vision Binoculars seem to have it about right. 5x magnification with a good quality performing image intensifier tube and 50mm lenses. Its a good and top performing combination.
Using The Infra Red Illuminator
The infrared illuminator has now become pretty standard, especially on Gen 1 devices like this. It just allows the ‘painting’ of the area in question to provide some reflected light back in total darkness or low normal reflected light.
The Night Owl Nexgen IR illuminator is said to be effective up to around 80-100m. That is fairly accurate. When tested I was able to ‘paint’ and view a fence line about 90m away and also pick out couple of cattle sleeping alongside it at the time.
Manufacturers 1 Year Warranty
Always check with the retailer to see if he can offer even more
Manufacturers recommended price is around $800. But there is no way you should be paying more than £400 for a pair of Bushnell 2.5×42 Nightvisions Binoculars.
You could go on Amazon right now and find them at that price and often lower on offer or if you are happy with a used pair.
Customer Comments On Night Owl Pro Nexgen Night Vision Binoculars (5x)