Night Vision vs Thermal Imaging: What You Need to Know

Night vision and thermal imaging are very different technologies. Let’s explore both:

Night Vision

Night Vision devices take in small amounts of visible light, amplify it greatly, and project that on a display to provide the user with a clearer picture in low light situations. Night vision devices need some type of light in order to work. This light can be as subtle as moonlight or as expansive as an infrared lamp. If there is absolutely no light, your night vision device will be useless.

Night vision devices often offer greater image clarity than thermal devices. However they still have the same challenges that the human eye faces. For example, if objects are camouflaged, they will not be any easier to see with night vision. This is a situation where thermal imaging would be a good device to use. The thermal devices will be able to detect camouflaged objects just fine. Another challenge is that night vision will not work in daylight or in lighted rooms. Night vision devices are also not able to see through obscurants in the air such as fog, dust or sand.

Thermal Imaging

Thermal technology operates differently than night vision. It does not aggregate light. Instead thermal imaging operates off of heat and captures the “heat” that is emitted by all objects, including people and animals. Everything gives off thermal energy/heat, even ice. The hotter an object is, the more thermal energy is emitted. The emitted thermal energy from an object is called a “heat signature”. The thermal imaging devices detect the temperature differences of objects and translate them into image detail.

Everything we encounter in our day-to-day lives gives off thermal energy, even ice. The hotter something is the more thermal energy it emits. This emitted thermal energy is called a “heat signature.” When two objects next to one another have even subtly different heat signatures, they show up quite clearly to a FLIR regardless of lighting conditions.

Unlike night vision, thermal imaging works in both day and night, in light or in complete darkness. It also allows you to see through obscurants such as fog, dust, smoke or sand.

Thermal imaging devices also have the ability to track residual heat (warm spot left behind). For example, the device will be able to see handprints or footprints that are left behind from a person or animal.

In conclusion, thermal imaging detects the thermal or infrared energy emitted by various objects and turns that into an image. Night vision operates very similar to the human eye, and requires much less light to function.

This article comes from nightvisionscope edit released

Raytheon Thermal Weapon Sight


The Raytheon uncooled thermal weapon sight enhances mission performance by helping to spot personnel and equipment at greater ranges, adding a critical margin to survivability and lethality. The thermal weapon sight gives the war fighter the ability to shoot equally well both day and night, and is combat proven by U.S. and allied armed forces. The uses Raytheon’s long-wave uncooled infrared technology to sense differences in heat emitted by objects in its field of view. It separates people and other objects from cluttered backgrounds and foliage, in either full daylight or the darkest night – even when there is absolutely no light.


Detect objects through battlefield obscurants and adverse weather situations. No visible light is required for operation, allowing 24-hour applications. Undetectable, no illuminators or IR lights needed Combat proven by U.S. and allied armed forces. Use as a hand-held imager or rifle-mounted sight. Compatible with a broad range of weapons.

The uncooled thermal weapon sight’s thermal imaging also cuts through dust, smoke, fog, haze, and other battlefield obscurants. Its use cannot be detected as it emits no visible light or RF energy and operates without the use of illuminators or IR lights. Because it senses only heat and not light, it will not shut down or “bloom” when hit by direct light. The W1000’s compact, lightweight (under 1.7 kg) design allows it to be used effectively as a rifle-mounted sight or as a handheld imager. The thermal weapon sight features an RS-170 or NTSC VCR video format output for external displays. Power can be supplied by military or commercial batteries, or through an optional external AC or DC power converter. The thermal weapon sight is compatible with a broad range of weapons, including the M16, M4, AR-15, Dragunov, and others.

Operational Specifications:

  • Reliability High, no scanner or cooling motor
  • Operating Temp. -32 C to +49C
  • Storage Temp. -46C to +71C
  • Moisture 1 M of water
  • Mechanical Shock Full automatic weapons
  • Turn-on time less than 60 sec
  • Image polarity White or black hot
  • Maintenance Surface cleaning
  • Battery life 8 hrs lithium ion rechargeable BB-28474 hrs commercial “AA” (ten)
  • Mounting Picatinny 1913 rail grabber
  • Video Output NTSC
  • IR Detector 320 x 240 BST IR FPA8-12 um Uncooled ferroelectric

Performance Specifications

  • P/N
  • Detection Range Man: 1.0 Km
  • Vehicle: 2.4 Km
  • FOV 9 deg horizontal
  • 6.75 deg vertical
  • Dimensions L x W x H 14.1 x 4.3 x 4.7 inches
  • Weight with batteries 3.7 lbs

This article comes from identmarking edit released

Military Thermal binocular camera with Rangefinder and GPS​

The Thermal Binocular Camera is a multi-purpose hand-held infrared reconnaissance system, which uses a variety of advanced sensors, processing circuits and optical components to compose.

It can get the precise coordinates and direction of the targets in day and night with thermal imager or day sight Camera. With advanced 640*512 long wave un-cooled detector, the system can offer high-quality high-resolution infrared images.

In the full night, haze days and fireworks, the target can be searched and detected at all. Optional high-performance low-light CCD visible detector can be used independently with the infrared detectors, so that help users discover and compare hidden goals. Thermal Binocular Camera also integrate long distance laser ranging, GPS and digital electronic compass to help users locate geographic information such as location and target coordinates, so as to quickly identify and dispose goals. Meanwhile using the advanced image compression algorithm to record images, helping users to synchronically sampling evidence.

Thermal Binocular Camera has a professional function and easy to control, to meet the different needs of users. Can significantly reduce the the number and weight of users to carry reconnaissance equipment, and improve capacity of dealing with a variety of information data, in time, as well as shorten the response time. The system has waterproof and dustproof performance, compact, light weight, durable, shock and anti-interference, can be used in a climatic environment.

This article comes from mh-elec edit released