a reply to: lordcomac
Ah, a subject I have quite a bit of experience with (both night vision AND coyotes)...
I'll give you the highlights and you can ask questions from there if you like.
Night vision equipment - NV equipment breaks down into two categories. The first is 'starlight' equipment, and the second is 'thermal'. Starlight
gear requires 'some' light to function properly. Thermal gear requires no light at all as it works on infrared heat signatures. Starlight gear
prices range from cheap to relatively expensive. Thermal is BIG $$$ (think 'thousands', and even 'tens of thousands').
Starlight gear breaks down into three categories. There is Gen 1, Gen 2 and Gen 3 (and there are two types of Gen 3).
Gen 1 - Absolute garbage! Do NOT waste your money on it, it's complete crap! Useless beyond 25-30 feet (often even less than that). Most of it is
Russian and/or Chinese. It's low quality optics even in broad daylight (which will damage it BTW). The market is flooded with this crap, and better
than 50% of it is misrepresented. It's fragile and just outright garbage. Think of Gen 1 as more of a novelty 'toy' than a 'tool'. Price points
for Gen 1 stuff is usually in the $100+/- range.
Gen 2 - Giant leap of improvement over Gen 1. Gen 2 is really where anyone seriously looking into NV should start. Gen 2 is military grade from
about 30 years ago (technology wise). It has good optics out to about 100 feet at night, and the light amplification works decently. Most Gen 2 gear
will have an infrared illumination to augment the light amplification. Prices range from the mid $200's up to over $1,000. Much of the differences
in price are due to the quality of the glass, the technology of the light amplification is the same across all Gen 2 equipment.
Gen 3 - Gen 3 is really where people start to get serious. Something like a rifle scope for example should really be Gen 3 (although some of the
higher end Gen 2 stuff will work in a pinch also). Gen 3 NV gear is mostly all military grade, and most of it was declassified in the last decade and
a half. Prior to this it was only available to military and law enforcement. Prices for Gen 3 equipment range from $1,000 to $2,500. (Prices are
coming down fast, just two years ago this range would have been $1,700 to $3,500). Range on this equipment can be up to 200 yards with high quality
optics (glass). There are no liars in this area of the market; it's either Gen 3 or they can't label it as such. There is also a permutation of Gen
3 called 'Gen 3 Plus' (which I'll cover next).
Gen 3 Plus - Interestingly, Gen 3 plus gears actually starts out life as regular Gen 3, but due to the laws of physics some productions of the Gen 3
equipment result in a higher quality image intensifier. As a result they are graded higher in the final QA inspection process after manufacturing.
There is a significant and noticeable difference too, it's not just a ruse to get more money. Gen 3 Plus equipment will cost $2,500 to $4,000 for
Beyond Gen 3+ is where you get into the REALLY serious stuff, and that is thermal, or IR equipment. This is where it's at (in my opinion), but it
ain't cheap! Thermal gear works off of heat signatures. It compares the heat of an object to that of the background. This stuff rocks! You want to
get into coyote hunting, thermal is where you need to be. Prices are dropping rapidly now with advances in camera technology, but the last time I
looked into thermal pricing for something like a rifle scope you were generally looking at about $5,000 and up (with $10,000 not being out of the
realm of possibilities). Of course, these numbers scare people, but they shouldn't really when you consider some other things required like
suppressors, custom rifles and precision ammunition. These things will cost as much as the optics.
I'll stop here on the NV equipment and make another post about actual coyote hunting.
Hope this helps you.