May - June 2005 Volume 3, Number
3 ISSN: 0 Number 13
cover... Cover photo by Donald M. Jones
Weaver® NightView Monocular
Hunting in British Columbia, we made spike
camp a full days ride from Lake Kluayaz, where the Otter had dropped us off the day
before. In the early morning hours, a chorus of wolves briefly roused us from our sleep.
The howling seemed right next door Id never heard it so loud.
The next evening during supper, guide Reg
Collingwood made an exciting announcement. I found an active wolf den not a
half-mile away. I even spotted a couple of young wolves hanging around. Thats why
the neighborhood is so doggone noisy.
A few of us quietly made our way to the den,
then did our best to watch for activity. We could approach no closer than 100 yards
without giving our presence away. My 10x 40mm binocular did its best, but the moonless
night revealed only fleeting, half-imagined images. Im pretty sure I saw a couple of
wolves, but I couldnt swear to it in court.
I had no intention of shooting a wolf
(Id neglected to buy the proper license), but I wouldve loved to watch these
animals in greater detail as they went about their business. The Weaver Night-View
Ive recently been testing wouldve made all the difference.
Night-vision optics have been around for
decades but were first used exclusively for military applications. Civilian versions have
been available for several years but labored under two drawbacks. Vary-ing from poor to
downright lousy image quality left a lot to be desired in the early units I tried. Too,
everything appeared bathed in a sickly green light.
Weavers NightView monocular is a big
step in the right direction. Images still lack the clarity a good binocular delivers in
daytime, but thanks to Weavers advanced digital imaging technology, theyre
crisper and cleaner than those Id seen with early night vision equipment.
The NightViews array of controls is
confusing, at first. Both the eyepiece and the objective lens can be individually focused.
I had to fiddle with each, in turn, before getting a sharp image to look at. Once the
NightView is properly focused, you need to shift your attention to the twin rocker
switches atop the unit. The left switch is marked + and -, indicating how much (or how
little) infrared energy youre illuminating the target with. This energy is projected
from an infrared light array at the front of the unit. You have 100 different levels of
brightness on tap.
Projected infrared light works pretty much the
same way the built-in flash on your pocket camera does. Up-close illumination is pretty
bright, but beyond 10 or 15 feet it quickly fades away. If youre unimpressed with
the brightness of an image 100 yards downrange (the units maximum effective range),
focus the NightView on a blank wall a dozen feet away. The bright, round circle
youll see shows both the illumination pattern and relative brightness
The right-hand rocker switch works exactly the
same way to control display brightness. According to Weaver, the NightView unit uses a
Sony high-sensitivity CCD image sensor and displays through a premium
ferroelectric liquid crystal ocular viewer. I was a physics major during my first
three years of college, but Im still trying to figure out what that description
means. Resolution is listed at 400 pixels (horizontal) by 225 pixels (vertical), which is
Speaking of pixels, the unit can be connected
to a video monitor through its RCA cable port. Lack-ing an RCA cable, I didnt test
this for myself. However, Ken Baun, Weavers senior vice president of engineering,
tells me images displayed on a video monitor show greatly enhanced detail. The
result is so good, some sheriff departments are employing NightView units for surveillance
work, he said.
In addition to infrared energy, the NightView
unit also takes advantage of illumination provided by virtually omnipresent ultraviolet
radiation. Ultraviolet energy helps you see animals or objects that are otherwise
invisible because they’re in deep shadow.
The first thing I noticed when tracking my
coal-black cat acrossthe back yard just before midnight was the absence of green tinting.
The image was unadorned black and white, although filters furnished with the unit can
provide different effects. The gray, neutral density filter reduces the sometimes overly
bright illumination level, while a red filter helps preserve your night vision. You
couldn’t prove it by me, but the green filter is supposed to increase contrast.
Magnification is a nominal 1.5x, although
pushing the “zoom” button just ahead of the eyepiece doubles that to 3x. I found
3x images – while useful – were of markedly lower quality.
It takes practice and experimentation to get
the hang of Weaver’s digital night vision monocular. Every time I use it, I get
better results. I’ve heard worries that night vision technology makes a great
poacher’s tool. After testing several night vision units afield, that no longer
concerns me. Poachers far enough into the back country to muffle rifle reports are far
more likely to use truck-mounted searchlights to illuminate illegal prey. A night-vision
monocular can’t help you aim a rifle.
I see the Weaver NightView and similar viewing
devices as recreational tools for anyone who simply wants to be privy to the animals’
The Weaver NightView measures 7.2x2.2x2.9
inches and weighs just 9.3 ounces. Power is supplied by six AA batteries, which provide
three hours of continuous full-power illumination. Suggested retail is $249.
For more information, contact Weaver Optics,
Dept. SH, 201 Plantation Oak Drive, Thomasville GA 31792-3548; call toll-free:
1-800-285-0689; or visit online at www.weaveroptics.com