Here is a complete guide that will answer all your questions if you are thinking of buying a monocular, binocular or thermal viewfinder for hunting. In it you will find the main elements of a thermal vision of leading brands, our opinions after having used them personally in the field, how they work and many other curiosities that will clear your doubts when you get a thermal vision device as a hunting partner.
There is no doubt that thermal vision accessories for hunting have evolved a lot in the last few years, being used more and more for hunting as well as for the control and census of populations in farms. That is why deciding between the multitude of monoculars, binoculars and thermal viewers that currently exist on the market can be a very laborious and almost infinite task.
Although the price of this type of thermal vision elements is usually very high and more when we go to first level brands, its advantages once they are well used deserve this effort; being able to go to devices of different generations or brands at more reasonable prices, which offer a very high performance and that will make us enjoy equally our days in the field, besides increasing the probabilities of success with good trophy animals.
How does thermal vision work?
The first thing we need to be clear about when buying a thermal viewer, monocular or binocular is how it works and how it differs from night vision.
Thermal vision elements take advantage of the thermal radiation given off by different objects, achieving a contrast between them based on their temperature. This makes it easier to locate animals and even objects at very long distances, no matter what time of day or night we are.
Although the best results will obviously be achieved on cold winter nights when the temperature between the ground and different elements of nature such as trees and bushes is clearly different, more and more clients are using thermal binoculars and monoculars for daytime hunting.
With any of your options we will be able to differentiate the silhouette of an animal even if it is lying behind a small bush or branch, highlighting its higher body temperature with a more vivid color.
On the other hand, the night vision takes advantage of the little light that exists at night, multiplying it through infrared light, but we will not be able to easily see those that are covered behind objects like rockrose or oaks. In its favour, we can say that this is usually much cheaper than thermal vision and can be a very good option to buy if we are waiting for wild boars.
We enter the world of thermal vision with one of the new products of best brands in 2019, a reference in the manufacture of monoculars, binoculars and hunting scopes with this type of optics.
At the beginning of 2019, the long-awaited monocular arrived. Although we had the opportunity to test it at the last edition of the IWA hunting fair, we were eager to offer it to our armory customers.
It is a small size, which can be comfortably handled with one hand and stored in any pocket; its lightness with a weight of only 270 grams and its incredible range up to 1,700 meters in the top model.
It features a 12 µm thermal vision sensor with 320×240 pixel resolution, which is impressive for a thermal vision monocular that fits perfectly in your hand.
Its powerful professional-grade lens allows us to easily distinguish, with amazing definition, animals at amazing distances depending on the model we choose when we buy it. It can reach 1,700 meters in the top model which we will talk about later.
It offers a greater field of vision than its direct competitors, as well as a digital zoom that will bring the image closer to us and that is added to its up to 22 magnifications in the most powerful model.
This is a thermal vision monocular designed for hunters, taking into account their needs when they go hunting. A lightweight magnesium alloy housing makes the structure very resistant to shocks; this, added to its IPX7 waterproof certificate, which allows it to be submerged at a depth of 90 centimetres for 30 minutes, makes it perfectly able to withstand any rain or snow that may arise while hunting.
One of the problems that the new thermal vision monocular solves perfectly is its autonomy. This type of hunting gadget can withstand continuous use during a day of hunting, in which we also turn the device off and on many times.
This fact makes the battery wear that it supports quite high, so it has incorporated a fast and instantaneous start up system that besides comfort manages to take advantage of its autonomy. But as if this was not enough and we do not want to cut our hunting stalk, it offers interchangeable batteries that can be put in an easy and fast way, being able to charge with some of them in our hunting backpack and not worrying about finishing the hunt earlier than expected.
It is also convenient to highlight its powerful high-resolution AMOLED HD screen, which will offer us clear and vivid images at all times in each of the 8 colour palette options it offers for viewing the images during our stalking or waiting.
As if that weren't enough, we can always record videos and take photos that will be stored in its internal 16Gb memory and then we can easily pass them to the phone or computer through an Ios and Android application or its USB cable, so we can see the photos at any time to analyze them in detail or pass them to friends and show off the sets and animals.
Thermal Monocular Models
The most economical models are the XM30 and its little brother the Key XM30, with which we can see up to 1,200 meters and enjoy up to 16 magnifications in the first and 10 in the second model, to which we will add the digital zoom that we mentioned before. With a weight of 250 grams and its small size it will be our best hunting partner and we will be able to work with it for hours without our arms getting tired.
The big brother, Axion XM38 model, offers more powerful qualities in terms of range, and can distinguish animals up to 1,700 meters away and at 22 magnifications. Qualities worthy of thermal binoculars, but in a comfortable and lightweight monocular weighing only 270 grams.
Our opinion of the Axion monocular
After testing them in the field in first person, our opinion about the monocular is more than positive.
It is a highly recommended option in terms of technical features, resembling many thermal binoculars currently offered on the market by other brands, but in something as small and light as a rangefinder. If we add to this its price, we are faced with a great option to buy if we are looking for a thermal vision monocular for this coming season.
But we must also emphasize when making our opinion that the fact of using any monocular continuously during a hunting day can be somewhat annoying and tiring for our vision, being forced for hours in one eye. So if we know that the use is going to be for something more than a quiet wait in which we look around from time to time; and we are going to use them during a long stalking or census in which we spend many minutes using them our recommendation would be to go to a thermal binoculars.
The latest generation of thermal binoculars has revolutionized the market in 2019. The binoculars have become the brand's masterpiece and no wonder.
These powerful thermal binoculars allow you to see animals up to 1,800 meters away comfortably and without tiring your eyes, using the 20x magnification offered by the most powerful model. All this in binoculars weighing just 600 grams. A real revolution that has placed this model as the most powerful thermal binoculars on the market.
A powerful thermal image sensor of high resolution will make us see the images with a resolution of up to 640×480 pixels that we can see in its screen HD Amoled, which gives us a great sharpness and definition at the time of hunting, being able to distinguish perfectly the size of the wild boars and if they were males or females by the making.
Its great advantage over monoculars is its comfort when spending long days using them, since when using it with both eyes they suffer less. In addition, it offers a practical regulation of distance between the eyepieces to adapt them perfectly to us, eliminating with this uncomfortable adjustments or duplicities of image.
It incorporates a function of stadia telemeter with which it allows to calculate distances by means of the comparison with known objects, calculating this one fast, simple form and without need to change of apparatus.
With a colour palette of up to 8 different options, you can easily adjust your zoom in two different ways with a simple button. A gradual and fast way to gain meters almost instantaneously and another smooth way to increase in a controlled way and get a better detail in the image.
The battery life is not a problem for this either. Like the monoculars, it has a simple interchangeable battery system with which we can insert an extra battery quickly even in the dark of night. Even so, we have to expect that each of these batteries can have up to 8 hours of operation with continuous use.
It also adds the option of taking photos and videos that are recorded in its internal memory and we can pass comfortably to the mobile phone through the app for Ios and Android or the computer via USB cable, always remembering each day or sharing with friends images of the animals in our reserve.
In addition, with the option of the app we will have another series of advantages, as it is the one to be seeing in real time the images of the thermal binoculars and to handle it by remote control, a very entertaining option to share waits with friends in the same position. As well as the one of updating its software in an easy and fast way from time to time.
The Accolade model thermal binoculars includes two models that differ in their distance and magnification for identifying objects.
The XQ38 is the smallest model in the range, but it offers extraordinary imaging possibilities up to 1350 metres with up to 12.4x magnification.
While the XQ50 increases the range to 1800 meters and 20x magnification, really amazing numbers when it comes to thermal binoculars.
Both models are in 600 grams weight, which equals any of the comfortable binoculars we wear while stalking and hold for countless hours during our hunting day.
Our view of the thermal binoculars
We must say that when we tried this model we were really surprised by the power and image quality it offers in some size and weight of any normal hunting binoculars.
Comfortable to look at, simple to use and very addictive, they are today the best option on the market for thermal binoculars.
Other very economic options of thermal vision for hunting
Although nowadays this brand is a reference in everything related to thermal and night vision elements, there are other brands that we also sell in our armory that offer extraordinary results at much cheaper prices.
A good example in terms of economical thermal vision is the binoculars and scopes that the Guntec brand offers this 2019. We will talk about them in more detail as they are an option that many of our customers choose for their good value for money.
Guntec Thermal Vision Monoculars
As for monoculars, it offers different models that, like Pulsar's Axion model, we can carry and use comfortably with one hand and enjoy a high quality image at a significantly lower price.
A good example of this are their Infiray models by Guntec, thermal monoculars with ranges of up to 1,200 meters and a range of almost 7 hours of use in the simplest models. Guntec's Infirmary models stand out for their ease of use, with only 4 buttons, making them easy to use with gloves or in dark nights.
Within the thermal vision range of Infiray we find the Xeye E3m and E6+ models, in addition to their Pro versions with even better features; all of them offering the option of recording video and taking photographs during use.
With a better quality thermal image sensor, which translates into better vision and range, we find the Guide range, designed for more demanding people who are looking for a better image and a more than long-lasting range for a long day's hunting.
Models such as the IR510 Nano N1 and N2 or the Guide IR-517G, offer not only a high-quality image, but also a very resistant structure, simplicity of use and a wide range of colours that adapt to every hunting situation, from black and warm white to 3 bright red options.
In gun shops, we have these and other models of monoculars of the Guntec brand, as well as different options of thermal viewfinders that you can easily use together with your rifle if the legislation allows it.
In our gun shop, we have these and other models of monoculars of this brand as well as different options of thermal viewfinders that you can easily use together with your rifle if the legislation allows it.
Therefore, we recommend you to visit our gun shop in Madrid and contact us so that, together with our expert in thermal and night vision, you can decide on the option that best suits your hunting and your needs.
Is it legal to use thermal vision for hunting?
Once again, and as we have said with other products, we recommend that each client consult the legislation of their autonomous community or country where they are going to use this type of thermal vision device.
There are many national and international clients to whom we offer our services and products and logically we cannot know the legal situation of this matter in each place, even more so given the changing situation that our legislation is currently undergoing in all matters relating to the world of hunting.
Buy Second Hand Thermal Vision
As it is evident we can find an infinity of viewfinders, monoculars and thermal binoculars in many of the forums and second-hand pages.
In our opinion, we should try to avoid this type of purchase, as these types of products are highly sensitive to knocks and misuse, so we may be surprised when trying them out or have in our hands elements that have diminished the quality of the image they offer.
Therefore, we always recommend buying from specialized gun shops like ours, which offer a brand guarantee that is a reference in thermal vision, as well as experience in their professional use.
If you are thinking of buying a thermal viewfinder, prismatic or monocular, we recommend that you visit our gun shop in Madrid. You will be able to see these and other models together with our experts in night and thermal vision, solving doubts and making sure you buy something in perfect conditions and with a guarantee.