What is the difference between Night Vision generations?
The key difference between the night vision generations is the intensifier technology. Gen. I devices use an intensifier tube that amplifies ambient light by accelerating electrons and striking a phosphor surface just like a television. Generation II devices add a micro-channel plate that multiplies the number of electrons before they impinge on the phosphor screen, thus increasing gain; Generation III devices further add a Gallium Arsenide photocathode which creates significantly more photoelectrons than Gen. II devices.
Generation II and III devices offer greater light amplification but a price beyond the reach of most buyers. Generation I devices are high quality and provide light amplification adequate for most recreational activities and for many professional uses.
Bushnell has introduced an Advanced Night Vision device that produces images comparable to Generation 2 devices. The Advanced Night Vision device does not contain a Micro Channel plate, but uses fiber optic bundles to eliminate distortion thus providing excellent resolution and a flat field of view. The result is superior image quality comparable to Generation 2 devices at half the cost.