Well, I finally got the thermal on the gun & sighted in. Guess what? It works!
That was one hurdle. Here are just some random thoughts and I will assign no value to them, just musings; Takes about 30 seconds to power up. However, once powered up you can briefly press the power button again and it goes into "display off" mode which I assume leaves the processor running (low voltage draw) but turns off the display (high voltage draw). From that screen it is another brief press of the power button to illuminate the screen. I found this feature quite handy. When you power it up, if you have it set to automatic adjustment, it makes a sound like a small electrical motor racing and freezes the screen while it does this. Sometimes while looking through it it does the same thing-freezes the screen while it makes an internal electrical motor noise. I assume it is making internal adjustments to get the best sight picture. There are options for setting the background colors, but I find that even after you set them if you power it off, then back on, it defaults back to a kind of copper colored background. Adjusting the reticle color seemed easy enough however when I turned it off, then back on, the color had defaulted back to factory settings. This is probably user error as I have not had enough time to really figure it all out. I am NOT a details guy. Once I get something to a point where it works, my research is done at that point. This leads me to my next statement... The owners manual. It is very short, and for people like me who are kinesthetic learners, leaves an awful lot to be desired. I read that manual and have more questions than answers when I'm done. There is a picture-in-picture mode that I have yet to figure out what exact purpose it serves. Each time I pressed that button and got the p-i-p mode I immediately pressed the button again to get out of it. Maybe it is some type of zoom but I never studied it long enough to figure it out. The button used to activate p-i-p is also used to invert the heat detection signal from white to black. I prefer white hot so I flipped back and forth always opting to keep it as white hot. I will have to figure out how to set it up to permanently stay on "white hot" mode as I had to switch it back each time I powered off then back on.
Over-all the scope works quite well. I went this past weekend hunting with Altez and was able to put the bullet where it needed to go on several running hogs. I got confirmed 3 downed hogs from one group-all running shots. 1 head shot, 1 center of shoulder shot, and the other boar we did not even look to see where the bullet hit. I "think" I connected on at least 1 more in that field but scanning with thermals we could not see another pig down. In another field I also shot at 2 running hogs and heard the tell-tale THWUUMMPPP!! But once we started walking in the field we realized the grass was too tall and our thermals could not see through it. Altez got a decent size boar, and my son shot a decent size boar. In total, we picked up 5 carcasses but I think the number of dead hogs is closer to 8.
Some of you may know that I returned my Digisight for credit and paid the difference towards the thermal. This was a very good deal for me. I LOVE thermal. I love it. Did I mention that I love it? I should have gone thermal from the get go and I regret not having waited and just gone this route from the beginning. If anyone has any specific questions about the scope please feel free to post and I will answer them as best I can. I do have a recorder on the way so I will be able post video after the next hunt.
A hog is nothing more than a bullet receptacle.
I certainly appreciate your review of the XD-50A. I've been very interested in this one myself. I wonder if there is something you need to do to save your settings. If that can't be done, that would be an issue I would not care for. Not too patient with having to be techy in today's world anyway. I like to hunt for the sake of the hunting experience, not the opportunity to fumble with unknown functions on my equipment. Sounds like you proved the capability of this scope pretty well with some solid results. Congratulations on a good hunt!
Forgot to mention that it does have digital zoom. You have to press the round knob on the side in several times until it gets to the magnification screen. Once there you can then turn the knob to increase magnification. I find that anything above about 5X is just too blurry to make out what it is you are seeing. So, on lower magnification the image quality is much better. If you properly identify a target on lower magnification and then want to crank up the magnification for better shot placement that would work. However, attempting to identify a target with the magnification turned up past 5 is almost impossible. You can see the heat signature but the edges of the target/heat signature become cloudy or fuzzy and you can't make out what it is. Essentially it appears as an oblong blob (cow), or fuzzy circle (pig), or skinny stick figure (deer), or glowing softball (rabbit).. You get the point.
A hog is nothing more than a bullet receptacle.
That picture in a picture function as I understand it, is supposed to allow a magnified version of the view for better shot placement. Have you had a chance to find out how that works out? It kinda sounds like it wouldn't be that good if magnified views are so fuzzy anyway. So far, the scope sounds like it is not that easy to use. Sure do appreciate your posting on it.
Loc: Flatlands of NY
I love the quality and weight of Pulsar optics,I just wish they would make them more user friendly. Too many buttons and subcategories in their menus. Been hunting with thermal optics since the early 90's and while the technology has gotten better, the manufacturers need to make the newer scope functions simpler to use in the field. It used to be you had a button for Power,Black/White mode, magnification and two subcategories for reticle selection and sight in. Simple to Operate. I'm not busting on Pulsar alone, as all of the thermal/NV scopes nowadays come with operating manuals thicker than dictionary's. Have fun with the scope and go get some bacon.
I have an XD38a here for testing. Boot time is only about 15 seconds. I had a 50 earlier in the year and really liked it. I think Kawabuggy's description of the unit will become more clear as he comes to understand it more. Based on his description and admission, he is still quite new to the unit and just hasn't figured out things. He will, and I think he will have a different appreciation when he does.
When you power it up, if you have it set to automatic adjustment, it makes a sound like a small electrical motor racing and freezes the screen while it does this. Sometimes while looking through it it does the same thing-freezes the screen while it makes an internal electrical motor noise.
That Zeet-Zeet sound is the little solenoid moving the shade in front of the microbolometer (thermal sensor) so that the unit can NUC. NUC (non-uniformity correction) is a sort of screen-refresh. The Apex scopes can run then on automatic, semi-automatic, or manual. Most folks run it on Automatic or or semi-automatic. I prefer semi. Basically, when you see the image deteriorating, you press the NUC button and the unit NUCs and you are good to go.
There is a picture-in-picture mode that I have yet to figure out what exact purpose it serves. Each time I pressed that button and got the p-i-p mode I immediately pressed the button again to get out of it. Maybe it is some type of zoom but I never studied it long enough to figure it out.
The PiP is COOL! K may not understand it yet and he may not like it. You have the option of running one of the buttons to activate PiP or go to full screen zoom. I like the PiP as it provides a small but zoomed picture with crosshair while still giving you the nearly full image with crosshair view at native magnification. In the 38a, it is 1.5x. This allows you to both pinpoint aim at distance while at the same time giving you the wide field of view of native resolution to deal with runners. One of the problems of too much zoom is losing track of your prey, either in trying to get on target, or after the shot, be it a single wounded animal that runs, or other members of a sounder that you want to try to take out as well when they run. It is neat, Neat, NEAT!
Here is an example vid showing PiP being used...
It used to be you had a button for Power,Black/White mode, magnification and two subcategories for reticle selection and sight in. Simple to Operate.
Ah yes, like the days of the venerable W1000, designed for the military. Each setting had its own switch or knob and there were not many. No doubt today's scopes are more complicated, but by and large, 95% of what they can do is stuff you aren't likely to mess with more than 5% of the time, if that much. Most people figure out what options that they want to use and then don't fiddle with the scopes very much.
The problem from a manufacturer perspective is not giving enough choices and then consumers won't buy because of not enough choices. More choices may make things a bit more complicated, but as noted, most folks figure out what they like and then run their scopes very simply.
Personally, I would be happy with a simplified scope as well, so long as the simplifications matched what I like. Those simplifications, may not be the choices that the next guy likes and what the next guy likes may not be what the 3rd guy likes, and so on. So it is good to have choices.
Is the only difference between the xd38a and the xd50a the lens size? Seems like they are priced pretty close to the same. I've been looking at the specs, and can't see anything else listed. Wonder how they work relative to one another.
They should be exactly the same except for lens size and magnification. The extra lens size is going to give you a bit more distance and a better image. The XD38a is 1.5x (native) to 6x (digital zoom) and the XD50a is 2x (native) to 8x (digital zoom). Oh and the additional magnification/zoom should mean a slightly smaller FOV for the XD50a, IIRC.
I have not seen the two scopes side by side, so I can't tell you how much better the image is in the XD50a or how much the extra magnification helps, but 33% more power is noticeable.
1.5x to 2x doesn't seem like much, but when you add the digital zoom, that becomes significant. I use a ps32 and it zooms to 2x which is a pretty comfortable magnification at night. Seems to me like the xd50a is a pretty decent scope for the money even given the learning curve on the buttons. Hope you come back with some more of your experience with it Kawabuggy. Did you get the save function working for you?
I have one of the XD50a's and have had it since July. If you had a Pulsar N550 or N750 the learning curve is quite easy. I have not had any issues with it saving any settings. And I use the feature that allows me to sight in 3 different bullets. The one lesson I had was that it does remember the last setting you used. I was actually expecting it to go back to the first setting when I shut it down and back on again. My bad for not checking. I must have an older model as I did not have the picture in a picture function. So I contacted Sellmark and guess what. They said if I pay for shipping to them they would upgrade the Firmware and send it back for free. That is what I like about the Pulsar line. They are so willing to help the customers.
BTW .. If you want to see some videos of some of my hunts using this XD50A they are posted in the "Hogs, Varmint & Small Game Hunting" forum.
NRA Life Member - NRA Certified Instructor
It's me, I'm back! I have played with the PIP screen mode some more and I agree that it is a good tool. I finally feel comfortable using the PIP mode. Each time out I'm getting more & more comfortable with the scope.
Went hunting this past weekend but got skunked. Saw no pigs at all. Either we were too early, or the pigs were too late. Will have video from my next hunt-if I can figure out the settings on the camera! So far, I'm very pleased with the scope.
A hog is nothing more than a bullet receptacle.