GlassOwl night vision binocular Creative XP brand
Price: $198.22 from Amazon.com at time of purchase, currently on sale for $169.21 as of 3/04/2021
2.25 lbs. 9” x 6.9” x 3.3”
User Manual: https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/C1uyzt7RK8S.pdf
Marketed for hunters and outdoors enthusiasts, this unit also has a place in paranormal investigations. This is not an image-intensifier, amplifying ambient light; it works as a standard night vision (NV) infra-red infrared sensitive DVR/still camera with built-in high-intensity IR illuminator. Only one of the two front cylinders houses the imaging optics, the other is the illuminator. The display is a single 2.31” LCD color screen. There is no 3D effect as with a true binocular.
Features include 3X optical zoom and an additional 4X of digital zoom, if necessary. Low-light response is very good, using it at dusk revealed much detail in darkened areas under trees and shrubs and full color that was already too dark for the eye alone, and this was before even turning on the night vision illuminator. Turning on the illuminator extends the range out to beyond a hundred feet in otherwise total darkness. It then performs like any other night vision camcorder, but for long distances. It can be used in full daylight but only if a pinhole aperture cap is used. It was not included in the example I purchased, and I will be contacting the seller about it. The user is warned to not use the unit in bright daylight conditions without it.
The zoom buttons are shared with the night vision illumination level function, it takes a bit of practice to be sure you are controlling the function you want to be controlling, but it’s not a huge handicap.
Indoor use is limited due to the 3X magnification. Wide fields of view are desired indoors, so this unit will be most useful when investigating larger venues, such as building exteriors, graveyards and cemeteries, ghost towns, any outdoor location with extended distances from one side of the location to the other. If you were investigating a large theater auditorium, airplane hangar, or military base, it would be a useful tool, but leave it home for residential investigations unless the property is expansive. It would definitely come in handy for UFO investigation. Aircraft details and outlines are clearly seen at night with only ambient IR from the ground, when otherwise only the plane’s navigation lights can be seen.
Focus is manual, just twist the lens in the front of the unit. It doesn’t need to turn far to go through the entire focus range.
One of the two cylinders protruding from the front of the unit is the night-vision illuminator. It is essentially just a high-intensity IR focusable flashlight, similar to the type hunters use clamped to their night-vision riflescopes for low-light targeting. It has seven intensity settings, with the maximum setting dependent on battery power. When the battery is at 75%, you can only get 75% illumination. The illumination level drops by 25% in step with the battery level. It will not illuminate at all if the battery is at 25% or lower. The manufacturer claims over 2 hours use on a full charge; I have not run mine this long yet. Power is by 6 AA batteries (not included). Rechargeable NiMH can be used, but there is no provision for on-board charging. Batteries must be recharged externally in a separate charger (not included). Run time can be extended if an external IR light source is used. We have a LUMENSHOOTER A8S Long Range NV torch if needed but it shouldn’t be for 99% of your investigations.
Ours came with a 32GB SD card included. It features the following resolution: Photo & Video, 1280x960/640x480. We’ve been using it in hi-def mode only, there is plenty of storage space on the card. Date/time stamp capable, power-saving auto-off function (selectable delay times). Supports multiple languages, user selectable. An included USB cable allows downloading files without having to remove the memory card, but the manufacturer also includes a nifty little card reader with three different USB connectors integrated into the reader.
There is a standard ¼-20 tripod mounting socket on the bottom. The unit also comes with a removeable, adjustable neck strap and cleaning cloth for the optics and screen.
Files are satisfyingly crisp if sufficient illumination is used. The onboard microphone isn’t the best but will record nearby sounds. If you want to record something at a distance that you are viewing through the binocular, you will need a parabolic mic and separate voice recorder, combining the audio and video files at the computer later. There is no jack for an external mic.
The maker also sells a “Pro” model that is essentially the same but with a slightly larger screen and a couple other features, but this model has everything in it we were looking for, at an affordable price. Time will tell how rugged it is, the manufacturer claims a “110% Satisfaction or Money Back” policy but I found no specific mention of a warranty. If purchased through Amazon, you will have the option to purchase a “Protection Plan” at additional cost.
I look forward to adding this to our paranormal investigator’s tool kit. With weather warming up soon, there are a couple of ghost towns and cemeteries that we are considering, all would be perfect for a shakedown cruise with the GlassOwl night vision binocular.