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Night Vision Equipment: Binoculars, Goggles and Cameras

Rita Putatunda Feb 11, 2020
Night vision equipment such as goggles, binoculars, and cameras, are excellent for surveillance purposes after dark. Read on to know more.

How Do Night Vision Equipment Work?

Night vision equipment refers to electronic-cum-optical devices which work by amplifying or intensifying whatever light there is in existence, rather than depending on a source of light built into them. They are sensitive to a wide spectrum of light, which ranges from visible to infrared.
The light that is available at the infrared part of the spectrum can be increased by an accessory illuminator, which casts a light beam that is invisible to the human eye.
Hence, when viewing something with a night vision device, you do not look through it. Instead, you are viewing an electronic image that is amplified on a phosphor screen. The light enters via an objective lens and then falls upon a photo cathode, which has a high energy charge via the power supply.
This charge of energy accelerates through a vacuum that exists in the intensifier and falls upon a phosphor screen, similar to a TV screen, which is the place where the image is focused. The image is magnified by the eyepiece.
The phosphor screen of a night vision device is green in color, since the human eye has the ability of differentiating more green shades compared to other phosphor colors.
Similar to cameras, night vision gadgets have a variety of image magnifications. The length at which a figure about the size of an adult human can be discerned clearly under normal night lighting conditions, such as star light and moon light, without any fog or haze, is dependent on the strength of the image intensifier, and the power of the objective lens.

Equipment Technology

Thermal Imaging Technology

In this technology, the upper part of the spectrum of infrared light is captured. This is given off as heat by objects, rather than being reflected as light. Warmer bodies, such as humans and animals, give off more of this light compared to colder objects such as buildings or trees.

Image Enhancement Technology

Here miniscule amounts of light are collected, which includes the lower part of the infrared light spectrum, which are in existence, but may not be perceptible to human eyes, which is them amplified to the extent that the image is easily visible to us.

Different Types

Binoculars or Goggles

They have two eye pieces and can either be equipped with a stereo lens or a single lens, according to the model. These gadgets are ideal for having a constant view of any object, and also while walking around in a darkened building.
These are very useful for night surveillance, home surveillance, home security, viewing animals or hunting them after dusk, keeping watch at night, stargazing, and watching comets or shooting stars.


Usually handheld or attached to a weapon, these are monocular devices, or single eye pieces. Since the user does not wear them like goggles, they are ideal for getting a better look at a particular object and then returning to normal viewing.


Cameras that are equipped with night vision technology have the ability of sending images to a monitor where they are displayed. These cameras are used in areas where permanent surveillance is required, like in a building.

Digital Night Vision Equipment

These can be used in the night as well as the day time without the sensitive imaging tubes being harmed. There are digital binoculars, monoculars, goggles, scopes, and so on.


Night vision technology was originally created to find enemy targets in the dark. The military still uses it extensively for targeting, surveillance, and navigation.
The police too use it for surveillance, as do nature enthusiasts and hunters. Many businesses install such equipment for monitoring purposes. Private investigators and detectives too find these gadgets useful in their line of their work.