IR, or infrared, binoculars are electro-optical devices with telescopic lenses that use infrared illuminators and intensifiers to help users see distant objects in the dark. They do this by combining existing light with light from an infrared illuminator, amplifying the result with an intensifier and sending it to your eyes through telescopic lenses. Since your eyes can pick out more shades of green than other colors, a green tint is added to everything you see.
Yukon YK28041 Digital Ranger
The Digital Ranger won OpticsPlanet.com's Brilliance Award for the best digital night vision in 2008 and 2009. It combines the clarity of second-generation night vision technology with 5x magnification and one of the most powerful IR illuminators available to consumers. You can even connect it to a TV/monitor or record what it sees with an external DVD. The Ranger's rubber armor provides shock, dust and moisture protection and Yukon stands behind it with a limited lifetime warranty. It comes with a quarter-inch tripod and retails for $480, as of January 2010.
ATN Night Scout
ATN also won an award in 2008, when the Night Scout was chosen by OpticsPlanet.com as the best night vision binocular. Its high-resolution IR intensifier multiplies available light up to 35,000 times and a proximity sensor turns it on when you bring it to your eyes and off when you take it away. An IR illuminator allows you to see in total darkness and coated 90mm glass lenses deliver 5x magnification with effective light transmission. ATN offers a limited lifetime warranty for the Night Scout, which costs $530, as of January 2010.
Bushnell Night Vision 3.1x50 or 2.5x42
The 3.1x50 was replaced by Bushnell's 2.5x42. Both units are well-built binoculars that deliver clear night viewing at up to 600 feet. An IR illuminator lets you see in total darkness and the wide field of view keeps you from missing any action. Two AA batteries provide the power and a tripod mount supports serious viewing. Bushnell offers a two-year warranty and the IR binoculars cost $712, as of January 2010.
Night Owl TB400
The TB400 looks and feels like the best daylight binoculars. Its compact size and light weight make it easy to take along, and an IR illuminator is included for results in the darkest conditions. Night Owl's multicoated optics and rubberized body give the TB400 an ability to adapt to many environments. Its wide field of view and 4x magnification through soft-folding eyecups make extended viewing easy. The TB400 costs $310, as of January 2010.
Article Written By Dan Eash
Dan Eash began writing professionally in 1989, with articles in LaHabra's "Daily Star Progress" and the "Fullerton College Magazine." Since then, he's created scripts for doctor and dentist offices and published manuals, help files and a training video. His freelance efforts also include a book. Eash has a Fullerton College Associate of Arts in music/recording production and a Nova Institute multimedia production certificate.