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Night Vision Photography

Michael Lescord , Mar 09, 2006; 08:48 p.m.

ATN produces a Gen 4 nightvision scope with an adapter for SLR's, though inconveniently sized. Macro lenses are advised for direct photography of the photoelectric screen of the nightvision scope.

My understanding is that a Gen 4 scope has superb resolution and may actually be adaptable to night digital photography. Anyone with experience? Some postings of sample photos would be interesting stuff.

Pricey units though, those Gen 4's.

Responses

Franklin Polk , Mar 09, 2006; 09:32 p.m.

Zeiss produced fuil fledged lens like those. It had a 210mm focal length, and had a built in light amplification system. Supposedly it could only be used on black and white film due to the tint that the image amplifier produced. One went on ebay a little while back, for relative to the price of the ATN scope, really not that much. Its still listed here: (link)

Ron Chappel , Mar 11, 2006; 09:56 a.m.

In principal it sounds like adapting such devices to cameras would idealy follow the same method that the zeiss system that franklin linked above.

That means the NVD would need an input lens (sounds like it has a pretty good one allready) and an output lens (such as a macro lens,so that the camera can focus on the rear screen)
I have no idea what the camera adapter kit includes but it sounds abit like it might be a cheap setup(?).Perhaps it is only a general purpose closup lens which allows a camera to focus on the screen but doesn't fill the whole frame with the image(? ?).Of course i'm guessing at all of this but judging by some adaption setups i've seen for attaching other devices to camcorders and cameras it wouldn't surprise me .

presumabbly the ideal settup would be to use a high quality 35mm macro lens that gives just the right amount of magnification to fill the frame with the NVD's rear screen.
I'll be interested in how this all works out.

By the way,you may want to look into the types of NVD's.I see that even Gen 1 types have pretty good resolution numbers and the extra gain of the newer types may not be an issue with a still camera (depending on what you are photographing of course).

Dave Whoami , Aug 05, 2006; 01:04 p.m.

You can find a lot of stuff on Ebay, however don't waste your time on the 1st Generation gear, the image is inferior by orders of magnitude to 2nd or 3rd generation scopes. 4th Generation (such as the AN PVS 14) is mostly just manufacturing refinements on 3rd generation gear. I have 1st and 2nd and 3rd generation monoculars and the difference between generation 1 and 3 is spectacular. There isn't really that much viewing difference between 3 and 4. (I have tried 4th generation tubes, but don't own one. Some offer a little more resolution, but I don't find the jump to be nearly as large as that from 1 to 3.)

Most of the adapters I have are simple threaded screw on devices designed to attach the NVD to a standard lens. Often a second adapter ring is needed. One first focuses the NVD with it's focus adjuster, then focuses the camera lens on the projected image. As different NVD units emit different amounts of visual light you will probably want to do some bracketing of Fstops, shutter and film speeds till you find the best combination for a particular device. Holding the intake of a lightmeter up to the emitting lens of an NVD should put you in the ballpark as to which settings to use.

Point and shoot digital cameras can be used by simply holding the NVD in front of the camera lens. The attached picture is an example done by simply hand holding a late 2nd generation device in front of an Optio WP.

What is it you wish to photograph? The green image NVD devices see in the near IR while the FLIRS units see in both the near and far IR. It makes a difference. Far IR allows any object with a temperature above absolute zero to be seen. I can tell you that FLIRS units do a better job than the NVDsof seeing through smoke, while at the same time NVDs do a better job of seeing through rain or water caused fog.


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