Someone recently wrote to me, looking to get some cheap night vision binoculars for viewing wildlife in their garden:
I would appreciate one or two suggestions for night time binoculars (two eye pieces) for use in the garden watching wildlife but would like to be able to see to sufficiently well to collect the slugs and snails!
I doubt £50 ($70) is going to get me anything decent but £500 would be too much. I guess £200-£300 ($250 – $350) is about where I think my spend is at
Many thanks for your question, which I will try answer the best I can and to the best of my knowledge:
The problem with Night Vision binoculars in regards to price, is that because they are essentially two NV monoculars stuck together, they tend to cost much more – quite often double.
I have not actually tested or reviewed a NV binocular that falls within your budget, so cannot comment too much, but doing some research I cannot find any that I would call serious NV binoculars at this price. To get some, you will probably have to spend at least £350 ($400).
This means that if you want a cheap night vision device, but still want a good quality image, then I would most certainly opt for a monocular.
Cheap Night Vision Monoculars
Of the ones that I have used, the
Night Owl Optics NOXM42-AL Night Vision Monocular (pictured right) is one of the cheapest (had a list price of £470 / $330 yet is currently available for less than £220 / $170 – see prices here) and yet performed really well.
For more options, take a look at the links to Amazon and other online retailers that I have placed on the right hand menu of this page.
Digital Night Vision
Also worth looking at are digital night vision monoculars, this technology has really progressed and they now work as well or even better than many Gen 1+ or even Gen 2 devices yet cost a whole lot less. Take a look at those from brands like Bushnell and Luna Optics:
For example the Luna Optics LN-DM5 Digital Night Vision Monocular that I recently reviewed really surprised me both in terms of it’s build quality and performance in even the darkest of conditions. Yet at the time of writing will only set you back about £150 / $180 (check current prices here).
I would also keep in mind that it may be easier to reach out and collect small creatures like
slugs and snails with a lower powered NV device. Whilst even the most powerful NV devices have much lower magnifications than binoculars and so should be fine, perhaps you may also consider looking at the 1x or 2x devices out there.
Here again is where digital night vision has an advantage as many of them also come with variable magnification settings. Thus you can use the higher powers to get a better view of the wildlife at the end of your garden and then turn it right down when you need to.
Further Questions & Related Information:
I hope that I have been of some help and that you get what you need. If you have any further questions, or need some advice or even if you want to tell me what you eventually decided to get and how they work out for you, I would love to hear from you. Please just use the comments section at the bottom of this page which will help me to keep it all in one place.
- Main Page on Night Vision Devices
- All About Digital Night Vision
- Best Night Vision under $500 / £500
Need Some NV Advice?
If you are unsure about what Night Vision product to get, or indeed that of any daytime binocular or spotting scope and you cannot find the information here on the BBR, please drop me a line here and I will do my best to get back to you.