Source: The Magic of True Safari Magazine (07'2015)
Price fall for thermal cameras could not leave unaffected the popularity of night vision devices especially those of higher generations, however it is too early and too bold to speak about the fading of night vision devices. In any case this applies to night vision devices of middle and budget price range especially to the ones in digital segment where manufacturers judging by the regularly appearing new products feel themselves very comfortable.
One of such new products is a digital night vision device Recon 870 that recently got into serial production. Having a more advanced electronics this device replaced Recon 770 model that was produced by Pulsar starting from the end of 2011 till the beginning of 2015.
Recon 870 is built on the basis of CCD array sensitive in the IR wavelength range. The light that enters the objective lens gets to the sensor array, appearing signal is then processed and sent to the display with 640x480 resolution (this is one of the significant differences from the previous model, which had a smaller display with 320x240 resolution).
Device has a fixed 5x magnification and high-aperture objective lens with aperture ratio F50/1.0.
Field of view is about 10 m at 100 m distance (5,5 degrees).
The body design, power and controls setup in Recon 870 are the same as in the previous model. 4 AA batteries are placed in the battery compartment at the back side of the device near the eye piece. It worth spending some time to memorize the battery positioning in the dark to make sure the correct polarity is observed.
This skill can be necessary if the batteries became dead in a very inappropriate moment and there is nothing to light up the scene or when the situation does not allow doing that.
No restrictions for using rechargeable batteries AA type. Having a better capacity they will ensure longer operation time, if the device is used frequently it is possible to save money on the batteries.
Recon’s sensor is monochrome, but it is possible to choose the mode of display’s illumination. After switching on device operates in black and white mode, after pressing a button the palette changes successively to black and white (high contrast palette), green high contrast (resembles the operation of night vision device with a tube) and red. It is considered that red illumination is the most comfortable for an eye during long observation. It is probably so but subjectively black and white and green color modes are considered the most effective.
As majority of night vision units, this device has integrated IR illumination. Illumination of Recon 870 is remarkable for its practically total invisibility – laser diode emits light on the 915 nm wavelength. Generally speaking work with relatively accessible night vision devices in real conditions is often dependent on the use of IR illuminator and in such cases invisibility is a great advantage especially during hunting.
During tests in the night with cloudy sky without moon integrated IR illuminator allowed to identify a boar on the edge of the forest at the distance of 179-180 m. On a side (left side of the body) there is a short weaver rail for attaching additional IR illuminator.
Brightness adjustment wheel and three buttons (On/Off, IR activation, Display color change) – that is all there is to control the unit.
If for some reason it is necessary to switch on Recon 870 during the daylight then it is rational to cover the objective lens with a lid with dark light filter.
It is not the case here that the device is afraid of the daylight – digital devices can be used normally in the daytime. It is just with a lid the image will have more contrast and will not be overexposed.
Recon 870 has an analogue video output – standard option for a digital device. If necessary it is possible to save the observed scene on the external recording device.
One week spent with Recon 870 allows to describe it as easy to control and not overladen with excessive functionality device, which can be easily understood without manual. As any digital device, Recon forgives a certain carelessness in use (day activation, exposure to bright light or headlight of a car) that could damage 1-st generation night vision unit.
On one set of normal batteries device managed to stay active for almost 6 hours in the mixed mode of operation, that is why it is worth mentioning that it is better to use quality batteries or rechargeable batteries. Recon is light, fits hand well, and is easily controlled, it has a very convenient carrying case. Invisible IR illuminator gives an advantage for the use of device when hunting in any lighting conditions without a risk to be disclosed.
Another significant advantage is versatility of the device in the sense of place of application (city or forest) and in the sense of time (night, twilight or day). Recon 870. Short review of digital night vision device from Pulsar.