“Night Vision” Binoculars?

scam10x25A customer pointed out this ad (at right) on Facebook for “Rated #1 Best Nightvision High Powered Waterproof Binoculars”. Just in case you might take the seller’s word about this, I’d like to explain what’s really going on here. Frankly, this could be the most blatant example of false advertising I’ve ever seen. Let’s break it down-

1) “Night Vision” implies “active” light amplification, using either image intensifiers or digital cameras and electronics (requires batteries). This binocular is a “passive” optical device, it is not amplifying light.  The seller claims the “night vision” qualities come from “special coatings” on the lenses. Nonsense- these coatings are simply anti-reflection coatings that are used on all modern binoculars.  Lastly, this binocular uses very small 25mm (just 1″ in diameter) objective lenses, so the amount of light captured is significantly less than most binoculars on the market. Any Oberwerk binocular, even our smallest and least-expensive models, would greatly out-perform this “night-vision” binocular at night. But these are all “passive” optical instruments- we would never claim any of our binoculars had “night-vision” qualities.

2) “High Powered”? This binocular is delivering a modest 10x magnification. Actually 10x magnification is just fine for a hand-held binocular. If it was much higher (more than 12x), you’d probably need to use a tripod, in order to have a steady view. But to call a 10x binocular “high powered”, especially when coupled with such small objective lenses is just ridiculous. Read this to understand what it takes to make a high-powered binocular.

3) “Rated #1 Best”? Rated #1 best “by who?” you might be ask. Answer is- by the seller of course.

4) “Regular $109.95. Only $49.95 while supplies last.” This binocular might be worth $49.95, as long as you understand that with 10x magnification, yet just 25mm of light-gathering surface area, at best it’s barely-adequate for daylight usage, and would be lousy choice for trying to see anything at night. It would never sell for anywhere near $109.95. For that price, you could buy an Oberwerk 12×60 LW binocular, and have 20% more magnification, and a whopping 577% more light-gathering power (objective lens surface area = pi*r2)!  Not to mention a wider field of view (5.7° vs. 5.2°), much higher optical quality, perfect collimation (alignment), and a 2-year warranty.

-Kevin Busarow, Oberwerk Corp.