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The Firefield N-Vader 3-9x digital night vision monocular: Fun and affordable

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Jon Kelly's picture
The N-Vader’s habit-forming onboard push-button digital zoom allows close-ups from three times optical through six and nine times digital magnification.

An exclusive video posted to YouTube on June 4, 2013, offers never-seen-before images from the new Firefield N-Vader 3-9x digital night vision monocular. This entry-level CMOS-based sports optic provides fun, pocket-sized day and night spotting in a hand-held scope.

Click here to watch “Firefield N-Vader 3-9X Digital Night Vision Monocular,” featuring an exclusive two-minute demonstration with never-before-seen images from this fun and affordable digital night vision gadget on YouTube’s SecretMessageTV.

Great Usability

Suitable for daylight UFO and indoors night vision paranormal investigations (including orbs, rods and luminous beings), the N-Vader will find also find applications in camping safety, home security, emergency preparedness and wildlife observation.

While this device is rated for a 195-foot viewing range, the built-in switchable 500-1000mW illuminator (providing full-frame edge-to-edge illumination) can be augmented with the use of additional external light sources to act as range multipliers. And because the N-Vader’s digital night vision is safe for daylight use, a 20-50 mile viewing range (dependent upon the observer’s elevation) is possible under sunlit conditions as well.

While the N-Vader may not offer the battery stamina or starlight sensitivity of Sightmark’s Twilight or Ranger monoculars, the inclusion of switchable color to night vision, 500-1000mW illumination, push-button digital zoom and user-selectable frame rates offers unbeatable value in a small, easy-to-use monocular that runs on four AA batteries and is priced under $200.00.

Fast Spotting

While this scope provides night vision users with an amazingly wide array of features, some implementations of its clever design may fall short of expectations.

Power management for stamina observation is not one of the N-Vader’s strong points. There is a default built-in power-saving mode that switches power off after five minutes of non-use. Because this mode cannot be overridden (and with no option to power the unit from an external power source) users will have to periodically click buttons to prevent the scope from going to sleep.

To get the most out of this product, users will want to power it on, conduct a sweep of the area under observation then shut the unit off. With this technique, batteries can be used for several days without the need for replacement.

Users requiring four to six hours of continuous unattended daylight or night observation, however, will need to consider an upgrade.

Limited Coatings

There are significant lens flares when the N-Vader is used under bright city light conditions. It can be understood how a value and economy-focussed sports optic does not employ the costly flare-reducing lens coatings found in more expensive products.

While the result is still usable night vision, the flares are distracting and can detract somewhat from the user experience.

Video Insecurity

While the Firefield N-Vader 3-9x digital night vision monocular ships with a built-in composite video-out port, the test unit used in the demonstration video was not able to maintain secure, reliable transmission at this connection point.

This required the operator to manually hold the partially-inserted cable in place, after first spending time tweaking the connection to find its usable “sweet-spot”. While it is possible that this performance shortfall may not be representative of the bulk of units in production, users who are serious about acquiring video images for archival and publication purposes need to be forewarned that they may not be able to realize one hundred percent value from the video-out feature.

After all, who has time to fuss with a feature that by all practical means should be simply plug-and-play?

Three Year Warranty

The Firefield N-Vader 3-9x is a solid-state device with very few moving parts and thereby a low likelihood of mechanical failure. The body is made of plastic covered with extensive rubberized surfaces for slip-free hand-held operation. The control buttons on the test unit used in the video demonstration responded with a tactile “click” when depressed offering consistent and reliable performance.

The overall feel of this instrument during use suggests that it will perform well beyond Firefield’s included three-year manufacturer’s warranty. However, a propensity for flaring under city lights, absence of stamina observation and the test unit’s less-than-reliable video-out port will lead some users with bigger budgets to focus their resources on more expensive brands such as Sightmark and Pulsar.

Features

• Enhanced low-light digital imaging

• See up to 195 feet

• 3x optical with 9x digital zoom

• Adjustable gain control

• Use during the day and night

• Full color display

• Compact/ergonomic design

• Video output capability

• Powerful built-in InfraRed illuminator

Specifications

Magnification 3x

Digital zoom 9x

Camera resolution 640x480

Display resolution 96x46

Video output resolution 640x480

Objective dia. 14mm

FOVº 7 horizontal

Eye relief 10mm

Exit pupil 5mm

IR wavelength 850nm

IR power 1000mW

Range of detection 195 ft

Dimensions 145x90x50mm

Weight (w/batteries) 11.6oz

Battery type 4xAA

Disclosure

This reporter is an international consultant to the sports optics industry and an authorized Firefield reseller. Interested parties who wish to receive more information concerning opportunities in the digital night vision marketplace are invited to write with their questions and comments to Optics@YourInnerVoice.com.

Invitation to Industry

If you are a manufacturer or distributor of quality, affordable digital night vision and would like to see your products reviewed in the Vancouver UFO Examiner, please send a letter of inquiry to Optics@YourInnerVoice.com.

Read this review and more in the Vancouver UFO Examiner for Examiner.com.

 

Extra information about the article: 
Because the N-Vader’s digital night vision is safe for daylight use, a 20-50 mile viewing range (dependent upon the observer’s elevation) is possible

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