Effective night vision photography

I’ve done night vision photography in the past. It involved carefully placing an PVS14 monocular in front of a Panasonic LX3 or Canon 5D2 with 35/2 lens and doing long exposures from a tripod. Getting alignment between the optics was a problem. Vibration was a problem. And getting the camera lens, the monocular eyepiece and monocular objective lens all in focus was a pain. As a result, I took only static photos.

Yankee Hill 16" rifle and suppressor, L3 MVM14 monocular, Aimpoint, Lasermax IR laser.

Recently, Sofradir-EC kindly lend me one of their NVG camera adapters. It fit between my 5D2 body and any lens, preserving all automatic functions. It did act as a bit of a tele-converter, making a 35/2 into a 49mm f4 lens, and 85/1.8 into a f4.5 lens. The 3rd generation device had variable gain but I almost always used it on max due to very low light conditions. I tried to time my photos to full moon but found myself under clouds, in moon-shade and otherwise having almost no ambient light. As with conventional photography, NVG photos can use additional lighting or reflectors, but most of my photos were done without. Since the eyepiece brightness is quite limited, most exposures were ISO800 or higher, 1/30s at f2.8. For this type of imaging, that’s “instant”. The degree of improvement compared to using stand-alone monoculars is like going from a glass plate camera to a modern dSLR.

Same rifle, with 40rd Magpul magazine visible. You can just see the Lasermax IR laser in operation.

The main use of IR lasers is to permit aiming without using optics, through wearable night vision goggles. Even the 5mW versions are bright enough to be plainly visible — through NVG — out to several hundred meters. The Lasermax model I have installed activates with an instantaneous pressure switch, which is important to avoid lighting up the shooter’s immediate environment by accident.

Quietly effective.

As you can see, camouflage works pretty well.┬áNot actually set up for night use at this time, this would be a great gun with equip with NVG. Suppressed 338Spectre from Teppo Jitsu throws 300gr subsonic slugs with the report resembling Red Ryder BB gun and shoots 1MOA groups. Lacking NVG, this shooter can still set the scope to 1.5x, the lowest available magnification, turn the reticle illumination to the lowest level and use it as an improvised red dot with both eyes open. Parallax error won’t be too significant out to about 50 yards. The configurable load bearing gear is from High Speed Gear. Their pouches can fit anything from AR to FAL to Grease Gun magazines.

Suppressed Tavor with 1+ Gen night vision scope and IR flashlight.

1+ Gen is adequate for hunting, especially with additional illumination. Unlike portrait photography, hunting benefits from the “red eye” — direct reflections of the IR illuminator that help spot varmints. Halo suppressor works great and causes no blowback.

As you can see, even with suppressed 18" barrel, the bullpup is still very portable.

Short rifles definitely rule for walking around in the dark — they snag less. So far, my experience with Tavor has been entirely positive. Apparently, many others feel the same: I am seeing accessories made for it on the market already.

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3 Responses to Effective night vision photography

  1. Pingback: SayUncle » Gun Porn

  2. HeavenlyFeel says:

    “So far, my experience with Tavor has been entirely positive. Apparently, many others feel the same: I am seeing accessories made for it on the market already.”

    Anyone offering to improve the trigger?

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