From our previous review of the BlazeVideo Trail Cam you would know we have some interesting wildlife around here.
It’s nice to check the Trail Cam every morning to see what transpired during the night on our property but sometimes it’s better to see the action while it is happening.
Hence the Night Vision Binoculars, sent to us, courtesy of the BlazeVideo team.
Let’s have a look – literally
The ability to see stealthily at night is an interesting technology used everyday by the military, police and hunters.
Those are high end devices of course, costing multiple thousands of dollars.
What BlazeVideo offers for about 230 Aussie bucks cannot be but a toy in comparison.
Still, there’s enough there to play with, enjoy and leave you wanting for more.
You know how you look through normal binoculars: yes, you look through the ocular lenses, the rounded bits that you put to your eyes.
Not so with these “binoculars”.
Only one of them is the objective lens, gathering the light. The other one contains the IR LEDs.
So, it’s not really a binocular in the traditional sense. Instead, you are viewing through the 2.3” display, which is a 960×240 TFT screen.
There are actually two screens – the outer one is 98x48mm and has a 4 x optical amplification.
The specs also list a 4 x digital zoom.
The lens angle is very narrow: only 10° and F1.2 with focal length of 25mm.
The all-important viewing distance is from 3m to infinity when there is weak light, like with full moon or twilight.
In complete darkness the IR LEDs will have to light up the viewing area and that can happen in 7 steps of power.
At high levels you can get a couple of hundred metres.
Power comes from 6 non-rechargeable AA batteries.
The unit has some heft to it (576g) so best to use the strap.
After inserting the batteries and the microSD card you’re ready to switch it on.
On the top of the unit are 6 black buttons. Which one is the one to power it on? It’s not that they are not marked but it’s black on black lettering and very hard to read and impossible in the dark.
Fortunately, it doesn’t take long to memorise their functions: On/Off, Menu, Mode, Shot, and the IR Up/Down, Zoom buttons.
Focusing is done on the left ocular piece.
The Mode button switches between Photo (max 3MP – 2048×1536), Video (max 1080p) and Playback.
Setting the Menu parameters is quite easy and the well-written manual helps too in getting familiar with all the functions.
Out in the Field
This time a year it doesn’t get really dark until late in the evening but having a bit of natural light is good.
Checking out the paddocks for prowling predators, like foxes, means a slow and methodical sweep with the night vision cam. As mentioned earlier, the field of vision is very narrow so you can’t just have a glance of the whole area.
With the IR levels turned up high for max range, often the only signs of life are the reflecting eyes of roos, rabbits and foxes.
And they are looking at the red glow of the IR LEDs…
I’m not sure if that scares them or if they are intrigued.
If I were to see that eerie glowing “eye” on a dark night, I certainly would be very apprehensive!
Wonder why they could not use the non-glowing infra-red LEDs like in the BlazeVideo Trail Cam?
UPDATE: I checked with the team at BlazeVideo and they came back with this explanation:
The night vision distance of the trail camera is 100ft (23m) and the night vision distance is 984ft (300m), so the night vision has to use a stronger IR LED to fill in the light, otherwise it will be dark.
Also the trail camera uses over 30 940nm LEDs at the same time, so each one will emit less light, whereas the night vision uses one 3W 850nm IR LED, so it will be very bright.
In fact, if you look closely up close, the Trail camera LEDs are slightly red.
Anyways, I got some shots of our friendly kangaroos. That’s the closest I could get to them.
Do you notice the joey in the pouch of this roo?
Another thing I noticed when walking on my property that my own night vision is impeded by the bright screen.
This means that when I stop looking through the binoculars and want to move to another location, it takes a while before my eyes have adjusted again to the dark.
All in all, the ISHARE branded Night Vision Binoculars from BlazeVideo is fun to play with.
For the price of less than AUD$230 it offers a decent look at what’s happening in your backyard at night.
And there’s probably more activity than we realise as some critters only come out at night!
The good thing is that when you come across something unusual you can immediately record it or take a snapshot as evidence.
Check out the BlazeVideo offerings here.