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Affordable night vision for viewing birds/animals

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Affordable night vision for viewing birds/animals

Postby dpadams on Sat Dec 29, 2007 3:56 pm

I'm looking at buying some night vision gear for the first time to help with wildlife spotting. I live in Australia where we have many night animals and I'm planning a trip to southern Africa where I'm guessing night vision would be a big help. I've looked into night vision gear off-and-on for the past three years but haven't gotten very far. I can't seem to find and/many third-party reviews, sample pictures, or first hand reports from birders. (Am I missing something? Any links would be welcomed.)

I've spent some time in the archives here and the Bushnell 5x42 Stealth View Night Vision Digital Monocular Scope 260542 sounds interesting. Here are the features I like the sounds of:

-- Lighter than many units. I need to take this through airports as carry-on and am carrying other optics year. Small and light is a Very Good Thing.
-- Decent sounding image quality.
-- Not restricted technology (?). I don't want gear being seized at a border because of export/munitions restrictions.
-- Relatively cheap. I have never even looked through a night scope before so don't want to put down a lot of money on my first effort.
-- Standard batteries. (I carry around rechargeable AA batteries for other gear already.)

The unit gets a couple of bad reviews at Amazon but, to be fair, the reviews look bogus.

Can anyone make suggestions or comments? I guess I'm wondering:
-- Will this unit perform acceptably in the field for viewing animals/birds, understanding the limits of night vision in this price range.
-- Is there something better/cheaper/lighter?

Thanks for any comments, advice, or suggestions!
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Postby Steven_L on Mon Dec 31, 2007 4:46 pm

I think it will be a good choice, and as you may know, the unit is completely useable in daytime as well. The technology is not restricted as far as we are told because there is no intensifier tube. The ruggedness has not been proven, although I have loaned mine to a few of our sales/customer service monkeys and it works perfectly. I really like these units mainly because of excellent picture quality compared to gen one and two units and the price. Besides, you can easily record from it. I don't know how well rechargable batteries will work, and I would suggest you bring some alkalines as well after testing the unit with the rechargables. Will the standard 110v AC plug work where you're going? Sounds like a great trip. Have fun.
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Postby dpadams on Mon Dec 31, 2007 5:00 pm

Steven-L wrote: Will the standard 110v AC plug work where you're going? Sounds like a great trip.

Thanks for the helpful reply. Regarding your question above, 110/120 AC is fairly uncommon outside of the US so, no, I won't be able to use it. What is the AC used for? Plugging the unit into the mains and keeping it on? If I'm on batteries, I guess I should be right. I've faced the same story with digital cameras, many of which have US power supplies. Does that sound like it should work?

I'd still love to hear form any end-users that have tried this unit in the field for wildlife spotting.

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More questions....

Postby dpadams on Tue Jan 01, 2008 1:34 am

I've been doing a bit more hunting and it sounds like I'm getting to a question a lot of people face: Bushnell Stealthview 5x42 vs Yukon Ranger 5x42 - Digital NV. What I gather from the forums:

The Yukon Ranger 5x42
-- gives you a better image
-- costs a bit more
-- includes a DC power adapter
-- isn't in stock

I'm willing to pay a bit more for the better image and a delay is not a problem as I don't really need to collect the unit before May. Given that, it sounds like I should go for the Yukon Ranger. A few questions:

-- Am I missing something here?
-- Is the Yukon Ranger simply in short supply or is it going out of production?
-- Can someone explain the power adapter options? I'm not clear at all about when they're used.

I've tried downloading user manuals for the two units and have only been able to find a small manual for the Bushnell which doesn't seem to discuss the power adapter. As a reminder, I'm planning on using the unit in areas with 110/120 or 220/240 power adapters.
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