Thermal Imaging and night vision technology – Testing, comparing and differences

Night vision and Thermal Imaging  devices are different techniques, for both there are advantages and disadvantages. Our team wrote a great article where it goes in details for both of the products.


Night vision devices or residual light amplifier:

Night vision devices work on the principle of residual light amplification. This is specially useful if one wants to see exact details, as with a night vision device only the existing residual light is amplified. Here the range of amplification is from about 1000-fold to over 80.000-fold, depending on the generations.


The generations of night vision devices or image intensifier tubes


Night vision devices are divided into generations, there are image intensifier tubes of GEN I, GEN II or GEN III. But here you have to differentiate very clearly, because not every device of a GEN I or GEN II+ or GEN III is the same. Important factors/parameters for the evaluation of a device are resolution, light amplification, brightness and noise behaviour. You should only consider devices that have an original measurement sheet of the installed picture tube with them. Do not rely on types of tubes, but always ask for the exact parameters. But these are also only values on a sheet of paper, trust a qualified salesman to select a tube for you. For hunting a tube with good resolution is absolutely sufficient, it does not have to meet military requirements.


The colours of image intensifier tubes:

To put it simply, night vision devices or image intensifier tubes come in different colours: yellow, green or black and white. Which tube/color is the best for you can never be said in general, here a test under real conditions is always the first choice.


What can you see with a night vision device?

With a night vision device you can see all details as during the day, even with game such as horns. This can be an advantage, but also a disadvantage, for example if dense vegetation obstructs the view. An advantage of this technique is that you have a “real” detailed picture without any time delay.


Advantages of Thermal Imaging  devices

Thermal Imaging  devices have the advantage that heat sources (game) can be located immediately. Unlike night vision devices, they are light independent. The devices work on the principle of temperature differences. Therefore you can use these devices even during the day or in fog. But this always depends on temperature and humidity, the quality of the image can vary greatly.


Differences in Thermal Imaging  devices / Thermal Imaging cameras for hunting

As with all devices, there are differences in Thermal Imaging  devices. Important factors are the pixel size, the resolution of the chip and the display resolution. Certainly the quality of the processing also plays an important role in the Thermal Imaging  field. Here you should definitely compare devices with each other or get extensive advice. Technical data in particular are often confusing, and real “miracles” with x-fold pixel resolution are constantly being promised and offered. Especially here you have to compare the devices directly. With pleasure we advise you. We have tested and approved every device that you find in our product range ourselves.


What do you see with a Thermal Imaging  device?

With Thermal Imaging  devices or Thermal Imaging  cameras you can see every heat source, even at great distances. The detail recognition is device dependent. However, exact details are only visible at close range, so it is difficult to see fine details at longer distances. In addition to details, “cold things” such as hearing cannot be addressed. For example, at long distances it is visible whether the piece is single or, for example, whether there are newborns with it. But even in the 70-100-meter range, precise details such as strokes at streams are hardly visible. Here a night vision device would be better suited again.


Differences between night vision and thermal imaging

Many customers ask themselves where the decisive advantages or disadvantages of the respective technology are. This is often difficult to answer, as it is simply a matter of defining the intended purpose of the device.


Thermal Imaging  cameras are ideal for locating heat sources. Thus, game can be detected early on, even at long distances. A search in high grass is also possible without any problems. Furthermore, the devices can be used during the day.


Night vision devices or residual light amplifiers have a very detailed image. In addition, night vision attachments, for example, do not need to be adjusted. You can easily combine them with any standard daytime optics.


Conclusion of the two techniques

As already described, night vision and Thermal Imaging  technology offer advantages and disadvantages in your fields. According to our practical test, you can best use the devices as follows:


If you are looking for a device for observation, i.e. locating wildlife/heat sources, a Thermal Imaging  device is a very good choice.


If you are looking for a device with which you can see exact details or use it as an attachment, you are very well served with a night vision device (residual light amplifier).