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Night Vision vs. Thermal Sights – ATN Experts Explained

Byadmin

Feb 28, 2023

Introduction

You get a traditional bow and a compound bow, both are bows yet very different. A rifle and a pistol are both firearms but they serve different purposes and operate differently, the same can be said about binoculars and scopes, they are both optics but don’t necessarily perform the same function.

A common misconception is that night vision and thermal are the same thing, yes they both assist in seeing in the dark but the way in which they operate and how they are used differs. We are going to explain the differences and highlight the best thermal and night vision scopes that ATN has to offer so you can select the best option for your late-night stalks.

What is thermal imaging?

Thermal imagery is all about heat signals. It is designed to detect heat and reflect it as either a white or black color depending on the user’s preference. So, for example, the heat generated by a deer would show up white while everything else that is cold will be black.

Thermal imaging is increasingly popular amongst hunters because it does not rely on any light to function and can detect the smallest amount of heat that is being generated by an animal, but it does come with its drawbacks and we will touch on those later.

Best ATN thermal scopes for hunting

1.    ATN MARS 4 640 1-10x

Specifications:

Sensor Gen 4 640×480, 60Hz, <25 mK
Magnification 1-10x
Field of View, degrees 32×25
Core ATN Obsidian IV Dual Core T
Micro Display 1280×720 HD Display
Eye Relief 90 mm
Video Record Resolution 1280×960 @ 60 fps
Ballistic Calculator Yes
WiFi & Bluetooth iOS & Android
3D Gyroscope & Accelerometer Yes
E-Barometer & Electronic Compass Yes
RAV (Recoil Activated Video) Yes
Reticles Multiple Patterns & Color Options
Micro SD Card 4 to 64 GB
Mount 30 mm Standard Rings
Battery Life 16+ hours
Waterproof Rating Weather resistant
Smart Mil Dot Value Range 4.0-10
Human Detection Range 830
Human Recognition Range 350
Human Identification Range 225
Operating Temperature -28’C to 48’C
Dimensions 332x76x76 mm
Weight 1.93 lb / 0.88 kg
Warranty 3 years

 

Great Features:

  • 4th Gen 640×480 Ultra Sensitive Thermal Sensor
  • Video recording capabilities with Recoil Activated Video (RAV) technology
  • One Shot Zero
  • ATN’s innovative social radar function
  • Internal ballistics calculator for enhanced accuracy
  • Smart Mil-Dot Reticles
  • Dual stream video options
  • Built tough with recoil resistance materials to withstand the pressure of high caliber rifles

2.    ATN MARS 4 640 4-40x

Specifications:

 

Sensor Gen 4 640×480, 60Hz, <25 mK
Magnification 4-40x
Field of View, degrees 8.3×6.2
Core ATN Obsidian IV Dual Core T
Micro Display 1280×720 HD Display
Eye Relief 90 mm
Video Record Resolution 1280×960 @ 60 fps
Ballistic Calculator Yes
WiFi & Bluetooth iOS & Android
3D Gyroscope & Accelerometer Yes
E-Barometer & Electronic Compass Yes
RAV (Recoil Activated Video) Yes
Reticles Multiple Patterns & Color Options
Micro SD Card 4 to 64 GB
Mount 30 mm Standard Rings
Battery Life 16+ hours
Waterproof Rating Weather resistant
Smart Mil Dot Value Range 1.0-10
Human Detection Range 3300
Human Recognition Range 1450
Human Identification Range 800
Operating Temperature -28’C to 48’C
Dimensions 375x76x76 mm
Weight 2.35 lb / 1.06 kg
Warranty 3 years

 

Great Features:

  • 4th Gen 640×480 Ultra Sensitive Thermal Sensor
  • Video recording capabilities with Recoil Activated Video (RAV) technology
  • One Shot Zero
  • ATN’s innovative social radar function
  • Internal ballistics calculator for enhanced accuracy
  • Smart Mil-Dot Reticles
  • Dual stream video options
  • Built tough with recoil resistance materials to withstand the pressure of high caliber rifles

3.    ATN MARS 4 384 2-8x

Specifications:

Sensor Gen 4 384×288, 60Hz, 60Hz
Magnification 2-8x
Field of View, degrees 12×9.5
Core ATN Obsidian IV Dual Core T
Micro Display 1280×720 HD Display
Eye Relief 90 mm
Video Record Resolution 1280×960 @ 60 fps
Ballistic Calculator Yes
WiFi & Bluetooth iOS & Android
3D Gyroscope & Accelerometer Yes
E-Barometer & Electronic Compass Yes
RAV (Recoil Activated Video) Yes
Reticles Multiple Patterns & Color Options
Micro SD Card 4 to 64 GB
Mount 30 mm Standard Rings
Battery Life 18+ hours
Waterproof Rating Weather resistant
Smart Mil Dot Value Range 4.0-10
Human Detection Range 960
Human Recognition Range 480
Human Identification Range 300
Operating Temperature -28’C to 48’C
Dimensions 343x76x76 mm
Weight 2.03 lb / 0.88 kg
Warranty 3 years

 

Great Features:

  • 4th Gen 384×288 Ultra Sensitive Thermal Sensor
  • Thermal detection range up to 960 meters
  • Video recording capabilities with Recoil Activated Video (RAV) technology
  • One Shot Zero
  • ATN’s innovative social radar function
  • Internal ballistics calculator for enhanced accuracy
  • Smart Mil-Dot Reticles
  • Dual stream video options
  • Built tough with recoil resistance materials to withstand the pressure of high caliber rifles
  • Ultra low power consumption with up to 18+ hours of use

What is night vision?

The simple definition for the term “Night Vision” is that it allows the user to effectively see and identify objects and the surrounding environment with the use of technology under very dark conditions that otherwise make them impossible to see.

Night vision takes minimal light from the environment, whether it be starlight, moonlight, or nearby city lights (ambient light), and enhances that light for the user. The same as with thermal imagery, night vision has its restrictions, and those we will highlight later.

ATN’s best night vision scopes for hunting

 

1.    ATN X-SIGHT LTV 5-15x

Specifications:

 

Magnification 3-9x Micro Display 1280×720 HD Display
Field of View 1,000 yd 460 ft (9°) Eye Relief 90 mm
Sensor ATN QHD+ M584 Sensor Video Record Resolution 1280×720
Core Obsidian LT Core 3D Gyroscope Yes
3D Accelerometer Yes Night Vision Mode Yes
Reticles Multiple Patterns Micro USB, Type C Yes
Micro SD card 4 to 64 Gb IR Illuminator Included
Mount 30 mm Standard Rings (included) Battery Type Internal Lithium-Ion Battery
Battery Life 10 hours Dimensions 310x55x55 mm
Waterproof rating / IP rating Weather Resistant Warranty 2 years
Operating Temperatures -28°C to 48°C Weight 745 g

 

Great Features:

  • QHD+ (2688×1944 PX) Sensor with HD Optics
  • Enhanced HD night vision offering the best clarity and focus in the darkest of conditions
  • Record quality videos at 720P/30 fps
  • Energy efficiency with ultra low power consumption
  • Recoil resistance that comes from hardened aluminum alloy
  • One Shot Zero
  • Extremely lightweight at 780g making it ideal for crossbows and air rifles

2.    ATN X-SIGHT 4K PRO 3-14x

Specifications:

 

Magnification 3-14x Micro Display 1280×720 HD Display
Field of View 1,000 yd 460 ft (9°) Eye Relief 90 mm
Sensor 4K M265 Sensor Video Record Resolution 1080p @ 30/60/120 fps
Core Obsidian IV Dual Core Ballistic Calculator Yes
System Resolution 600 lp/mm WiFi iOS & Android
Bluetooth Yes 3D Gyroscope Yes
E-Barometer Yes Smart Range Finder Yes
Recoil Activated Video Yes Electronic Compass Yes
Smooth Zoom Yes Night Vision Mode Yes
Reticles Multiple Patterns & Color Options Microphone Yes
Micro SD card 4 to 64 Gb Micro USB, Type C Yes
Mount 30 mm Standard Rings (included) IR Illuminator Included
Battery Life 18 + hours Battery Type Internal Lithium-Ion Battery
Waterproof rating / IP rating Weather Resistant Smart Mil Dot Value Range 1.0-10.0
Operating Temperatures -28°C to 48°C Dimensions 350x76x76 mm
Weight 0.94 kg Warranty 2 years

 

Great Features:

  • Ultra HD sensor with ATN’s innovative 4K M265 sensor, 3864×2218
  • ATN Obsidian IV Dual Core
  • Enhanced HD night vision offering the best clarity and focus in the darkest of conditions
  • Record quality videos at 1080P/Full HD
  • Energy efficiency with ultra-low power consumption
  • Recoil resistance that comes from hardened aluminum alloy
  • One Shot Zero
  • ATN’s social radar function
  • Ballistics calculator for improved accuracy
  • Smart Mil-Dot Reticle
  • Dual Stream Video capabilities
  • Recoil Activated Video

 

3.    ATN X-SIGHT 4K PRO 5-20x

Specifications:

Magnification 5-20x Micro Display 1280×720 HD Display
Field of View 1,000 yd 240 ft (5°) Eye Relief 90 mm
Sensor 4K M265 Sensor Video Record Resolution 1080p @ 30/60/120 fps
Core Obsidian IV Dual Core Ballistic Calculator Yes
System Resolution 600 lp/mm WiFi iOS & Android
Bluetooth Yes 3D Gyroscope Yes
E-Barometer Yes Smart Range Finder Yes
Recoil Activated Video Yes Electronic Compass Yes
Smooth Zoom Yes Night Vision Mode Yes
Reticles Multiple Patterns & Color Options Microphone Yes
Micro SD card 4 to 64 Gb Micro USB, Type C Yes
Mount 30 mm Standard Rings (included) IR Illuminator Included
Battery Life 18 + hours Battery Type Internal Lithium-Ion Battery
Waterproof rating / IP rating Weather Resistant Smart Mil Dot Value Range 1.0-10.0
Operating Temperatures -28°C to 48°C Dimensions 379x76x76 mm
Weight 1.01 kg Warranty 2 years

 

Great Features:

  • Ultra HD sensor with ATN’s innovative 4K M265 sensor, 3864×2218
  • ATN Obsidian IV Dual Core
  • Enhanced HD night vision offering the best clarity and focus in the darkest of conditions
  • Record quality videos at 1080P/Full HD
  • Energy efficiency with ultra low power consumption
  • Recoil resistance that comes from hardened aluminum alloy
  • One Shot Zero
  • ATN’s social radar function
  • Ballistics calculator for improved accuracy
  • Smart Mil Dot Reticle
  • Dual Stream Video capabilities
  • Recoil Activated Video

Night Vision vs Thermal Imaging

Deciding on which is best is always tough to do because regardless of which option you go with you will not be disappointed, while deciding to go with one will always leave you wondering what exactly am I missing out on with the other choice?

Let’s compare the two and highlight the best and worst features and shed a little more light on the topic of night vision vs thermal imaging.

Night vision optics will in most cases come in cheaper than a pair of thermals, which although it should not be a deciding factor does still matter to those who are on a tight budget.

A great feature of thermal imagery is that it works under zero light conditions as long as there is a heat source, whereas night vision requires a small amount of light to operate.

Using thermal imagery on a warm night or after a hot day could hamper its full potential. Objects such as trees and rocks will show up bright white or black (depending on your settings) and could make it difficult to pick the heat signs of animals.

A negative for both night vision and thermal imagery is that the presence of smoke, heavy mist, and humidity in the air will decrease the effectiveness of the device. In the case of smoke or humidity, it may be a better option to select night vision.

Because the image the user sees while using a thermal imaging device is a digital image (similar to that produced by a camera) it is measured in pixels and this image can distort and change as the pixels are adjusted, usually while zooming in and out. Night vision produces a true optical view of what the user is looking at by using an image intensifier tube, which makes for a clear picture. However, thermal imaging may work better in day light under cold conditions when compared to night vision.

Conclusion

There are great pros and understandable cons for both thermal and night vision devices and each has certainly earned its place under the night sky. Choosing one or the other will greatly rely on your budget and what purpose you need the night-enhancing device for.

Thankfully with ATN’s innovation and attention to detail, there are options available to the everyday outdoorsman.

By admin