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Field Test / Review IR Illuminators and Pulsar Digisight n750 and n550 #4071017 02/21/13 04:34 AM
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As I continue to work with the latest version of the Pulsar Digisight night vision scope I wanted to do a field review using extermal illumination in order to determine if there is variance in the detection range between the previous Digisight n550 and to determine what the maximum effective range is of the scope with an external illuminator.

This is not a "shootout" style review with a handful of illuminators, instead I chose to go with a time tested and proven product that other users report as good to go. Many of these users are combining the TNVC extreme distance infrared illuminator "Torch Pro" with traditional intensifer tubes (Gen 1 / 2/ 3) and I sought to review how the illuminator does with the later version of digital night vision BUT as a bonus I did a side by side comparison with the n550 as well. grin

Conditions: Half moon (Waxing phase) , 45 degrees , review done in full dark conditions , starry night with low humidity.

I used the same decoy setup as in my previous reviews with one change, another user mentioned that the white border on my decoys might enhance the effect of detection - so I made new decoys on a dark brown surface for this field test.

Also I included another illuminator in the review (Bosch AEGIS UFLED) not so much to compare directly with the Torch Pro but rather in an attempt to determine a maximum viewing distance and to portray how the scope responds to static/stationary multiple LED systems, more on this in the conclusion section.

Specifications for the equipment used in the review are available on each products website and are listed in the video description section on the host service webpage.

Here is the link to the video review: IR Illuminators and the Pulsar Digisight

Conclusion:

In my opinion the rated detection range of the Digisight scopes are close to half of what is listed on the website, 400 meters for the n550 and 600 meters for the n750. I would venture to guess that perhaps these detection ranges are based on daytime use of the scope being that the digisight can be used as a day optic. However it was apparent that even with 1.5x digital magnification of the base 4.5x image, which yields 6.75x, that magnification would be a limiting factor in making an ethical kill shot beyond 400 yards on a medium to large animal. Note: There are some companies that offer physical "doubler kits" whereby a telephoto lense can be used in front of the Pulsar's native lense and it is plausible that with that type of configuration that the detection ranges at night could be more inline with the stated numbers.

It is apparent that the sensivity of the digisight n750 is much higher than the n550. I am unable to quantify by what value however the last two video reviews consistenly show that the n750 can see clear and further than the previous model. In my opinion this extra sensitivity is of marginal benifit if you are hunting in thick cover or at short range (<100 yards) but if you intend to utilize the Digisight at extended ranges, or as TNVC states "extreme distance", then certainly you will realize the benefit of the n750's enhancements.

Lastly I would like to mention that the TNVC illuminator really shines amoungst a bevy of options in the market for IR illuminators. I believe it will be getting the nod from me in most of my hunting scenarios based on the ability to weapons mount the light and the total weight being relatively small (10 oz). I did discover that the Torch Pro cannot be mounted on the integrated weaver rail on the Digisight due to the bell housing not clearing the scope body so I you decide to get a Torch Pro be sure you have an available rail on your gun. As for the AEGIS UFLED, I hope that it demonstrates the shear power of the LED bulb and how multiple LEDs can quite simply turn night into day. I would highly recommend a fixed installation of this style of light if you have a dedicated power drop to the hunting blind or if you can attach it to a nearby structure overlooking your hunting areas. The AEGIS is weatherproof and designed to work with CCTV systems which is what the Digisight is at the core (CCD array). The cost and weight is prohibitive for most however I am hopeful that companies will begin making cheaper versions of these systems for mobile/hunting applications.

Thanks for checking out my review(s)

Happy Hunting!

Last edited by Bennybone; 02/21/13 04:43 AM.
Re: Field Test / Review IR Illuminators and Pulsar Digisight n750 and n550 [Re: HuntTXhogs] #4071407 02/21/13 01:45 PM
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Not to hijack your thread, but to also applaud the Torch Pro...

I use a variety of IR illuminators, but have some to use Dipol laser illuminators and my TNVC Torch Pro the most. For my Gen 1 ATN scope (3x), the laser illuminators work better, though they are a bit more high maintenance. With the N550, the lasers can be too much power inside of 100 yards and it is hard to balance the power (even adjusted) with N550. I can get 300 yards out of my get 1 scope with the lasers, not that I have ever shot at an animal at that distance.

The TNVC Torch Pro is probably good to about 150 yards with my Gen 1 scope. Of course, the Torch Pro is "eye safe" whereas the lasers are not. On the N550, the Torch Pro will illuminate to the limits of the N550's ability to detect deer-sized game which is beyond its ability to identify said game as a particular type of animal. With it collimated beam, I think the Torch Pro is an excellent IR illuminator and a good value for the money. I have used it now on my N550 during my last 2 successful hog hunts and am very happy with its performance and performance with the N550, but it also does pretty well with my ATN.

As far as not mounting the Torch Pro on the rail on the Digisight's housing, that will be variable. I assume you are talking about the Torch Pro with it's own mount. Is that correct? If that is how you bought yours, then you can either mount the light on another rail as you suggested or you can buy an inexpensive short riser. If you bought the Torch Pro without its own mount, then you can simply using an inexpensive high scope ring. You can usually get by with one, but you can use a pair. At Walmart, a set of cheap rings will set you back less than $15. I have done this with several lights with the typical 1" housing.

Just curious, do you find that the Torch Pro adds anything of significance over or in place of the laser illuminator on the N750?


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Re: Field Test / Review IR Illuminators and Pulsar Digisight n750 and n550 [Re: Double Naught Spy] #4071602 02/21/13 02:42 PM
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Thanks for the detailed write-up, Bennybone.

Re: Field Test / Review IR Illuminators and Pulsar Digisight n750 and n550 [Re: Double Naught Spy] #4071628 02/21/13 02:50 PM
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Thanks for the review. The Torch Pro looks like a good add to the 550...

Re: Field Test / Review IR Illuminators and Pulsar Digisight n750 and n550 [Re: dfwroadkill] #4071970 02/21/13 04:35 PM
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@ DNS - I was referring to the mount that TNVC offers for sale with the illuminator. Thanks for posting your thoughts on how the Torch Pro and n550 work for you. That is what these reviews are all about, generating discussion to find the absolute best combination of products. As for whether the Torch Pro adds anything over the n750 laser illuminator, here is my experience and opinion -

Using the laser illuminator causes that screen door effect and chews up battery from the n750. Adding the Torch Pro certainly doesn't take away from the range of detection or targeting especially when in full spot mode. So if I could afford the additional illuminator I would say it does help with making the image of the n750 as clear as possible and prolonging battery life of the scope. Also I noticed with both the Laser (onboard) and the Torch Pro on, with animals (rabbits / skunks) located in brush that the laser really brings out the eyes of the animal.

One last point, the n750 has separately adjustable contrast and brightness which is extremely helpful in combating screen washout or in fine tuning the image for your surroundings. It to me is the subtle change between the scopes that will go a long way in the field.

@ Roxie - You betcha !

@ Dfwroadkill - You will get the most from your n550 with external illumination, I think all my videos have shown that to hold true. Also since I believe you record from the scope, I have found that the n750's RCA connection holds more positively to the line out which reduces video loss (blinking) during recoil. I look forward to seeing some of your vids if you care to share them in the n550 thread.

Thx,

BB

Re: Field Test / Review IR Illuminators and Pulsar Digisight n750 and n550 [Re: HuntTXhogs] #4072233 02/21/13 05:50 PM
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Originally Posted By: Bennybone
@ Dfwroadkill - You will get the most from your n550 with external illumination, I think all my videos have shown that to hold true. Also since I believe you record from the scope, I have found that the n750's RCA connection holds more positively to the line out which reduces video loss (blinking) during recoil. I look forward to seeing some of your vids if you care to share them in the n550 thread.


You remind me that I need to get to work on getting a vid or two posted.

I want to thank you for all your work on this. Your threads on the subject are always an enjoyable read. up

Re: Field Test / Review IR Illuminators and Pulsar Digisight n750 and n550 [Re: dfwroadkill] #4073118 02/21/13 10:55 PM
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BB, yeah, I wasn't even considering the battery eating aspect. That alone would be good reason to go with an external illuminator.

I do like the Torch. I went the cheap route and just purchased the head and mounted it on a Surefire M952 I already had. It is not listed as being compatible with the unit, but it is as is the M951. Like the Torch's own mount, the M952 is too short for use with the Digisight's rail. I used a low riser to deal with the issue.

I believe this is what I am using, but there are a variety of alternatives.
http://www.amazon.com/UTG-Profile-Riser-...tinny+low+riser


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Re: Field Test / Review IR Illuminators and Pulsar Digisight n750 and n550 [Re: Double Naught Spy] #4074274 02/22/13 12:53 PM
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Hog #420 in the Hog Kill Count and #3 for me for this year taken with the benefit of the TNVC Torch Pro.
http://www.texashuntingforum.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/3902219/6/2013_Hog_Kill_Count


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Re: Field Test / Review IR Illuminators and Pulsar Digisight n750 and n550 [Re: Double Naught Spy] #4074791 02/22/13 04:10 PM
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Originally Posted By: Double Naught Spy
Hog #420 in the Hog Kill Count and #3 for me for this year taken with the benefit of the TNVC Torch Pro.
http://www.texashuntingforum.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/3902219/6/2013_Hog_Kill_Count


up Gotta love the 250 lb boar, they are tough sons uh guns.

BB

Re: Field Test / Review IR Illuminators and Pulsar Digisight n750 and n550 [Re: HuntTXhogs] #4075044 02/22/13 05:32 PM
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I've went through illuminators, but best short and long range, the Luna Optics IR Laser Illuminator. No comparison to anything that uses an LED for illumination.

Last edited by DavidK; 02/22/13 05:33 PM.

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Re: Field Test / Review IR Illuminators and Pulsar Digisight n750 and n550 [Re: HuntTXhogs] #4075119 02/22/13 06:01 PM
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You know, where I hunt, I don't see a lot of hogs, big or otherwise. So I don't get a lot of choice of what I shoot at, only what I shoot with...and the TNVC Torch Pro is one of my choices.

DavidK, the Luna Optics are the same IR laser illuminators as the Dipol I noted above. I didn't mention LO by name as I didn't think they sold them anymore. I have units from both sources and they are the same units. They are nifty and for my Gen 1 Paladin, definitely the way to go, but at least for my needs and out to 200 yards or so with the N550, I would prefer the Torch Pro. It isn't just an LED light, but a collimated LED which means having a tight beam that can be constricted down (not as far) like the laser illuminators.

I think you would be impressed if you tried a Torch Pro.

Last edited by Double Naught Spy; 02/22/13 06:10 PM.

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Re: Field Test / Review IR Illuminators and Pulsar Digisight n750 and n550 [Re: Double Naught Spy] #4075245 02/22/13 06:58 PM
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I've got a torch pro, as well as a LO EIR, and ELIR and numerous homemade configurations I have been trying with lasers, interfaces and power supplies. There is no comparison.

Here is my point, I run a thermal for spotting, sometimes from the road, if I pop up my NV gear which is either a Gen III PVS-14 with pinnacle tube or the N750, I want to be able to see what I seen on the thermal before I hike all the way out to find out they are deer.

That being said, there is some shape to the lasers beam and not on the torch pro, which I prefer the led. Both great units, my setup generally has been a 5w IR flashlight for almost all worth and the IR laser for longer work.


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Re: Field Test / Review IR Illuminators and Pulsar Digisight n750 and n550 [Re: HuntTXhogs] #4075264 02/22/13 07:06 PM
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Thanks for the review bennybone! We are proud of our Torch Pro and we love hearing good detailed feedback from the guys that are using it. Again, thank you! smile

Re: Field Test / Review IR Illuminators and Pulsar Digisight n750 and n550 [Re: ericTNVC] #4075419 02/22/13 08:00 PM
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Originally Posted By: Double Naught Spy
It isn't just an LED light, but a collimated LED which means having a tight beam that can be constricted down (not as far) like the laser illuminators.


Excellent point, a quick turn takes from spot to wide beam for a close up shot and a softer image.

Originally Posted By: DavidK
I've got a torch pro, as well as a LO EIR, and ELIR and numerous homemade configurations I have been trying with lasers, interfaces and power supplies. There is no comparison.


Is the Luna an eye safe illuminator, do you have a link for specs? I don't mind adding products to the review but I would need to be sure they are devices engineered for safe operation...


Originally Posted By: ericTNVC
Thanks for the review bennybone! We are proud of our Torch Pro and we love hearing good detailed feedback from the guys that are using it. Again, thank you! smile


You bet, I had read alot of good comments on the Torch Pro and Pulsar n550 so I thought a video might bring it home for some.

Re: Field Test / Review IR Illuminators and Pulsar Digisight n750 and n550 [Re: HuntTXhogs] #4075905 02/22/13 11:32 PM
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Ben, the Luna is eye safe until you remove the filter lol, but as even with the LEDs, I wouldn't look straight in to them. I've got some laser illuminators I built and working on now that will light a match and burn plastic, when you narrow the focus of an IR beam, whether laser or LED, they are truely not eye safe.

I'm working on LED illuminators now, kind of like my torch pro, with a convex type lens that will narrow the beam like a laser, safer to use, but don't look at it and don't shine in someone elses eyes....


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Re: Field Test / Review IR Illuminators and Pulsar Digisight n750 and n550 [Re: HuntTXhogs] #4075958 02/22/13 11:46 PM
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DK, nothing like a person who knows his gear and what works for him in his situation! It really helps to have what you need to make the job most productive. Sounds like your collection of IR goodies is bigger than mine, LOL.

BB, unless you have the brand new LO laser illuminators that are ostensibly Class 1, then they are not eye safe to look at directly. They are Class 3B. You don't need eye protection to use in the field, however, but of course, using NV gear with them is fine. Note that most red and green laser sights aren't Class 1 either. With the integral picatinny mount, they run about $400. So they are more expensive than the Torch Pro and they will definitely light up your IR world. On the downside, I have found that the intensity of the IR laser often gets the attention of animals. While it does not necessarily scare them, they often notice it very quickly if they look in the direction of the laser. My experience is more limited with the Torch Pro, but so far the reactions appear to be less when using it (keeping in mind this is all at less than 200 yards).

I have yet to see the brand new LO laser illuminators, but they seem to be much less powerful in terms of distance a per TNVC's info here...
http://www.ar15.com/forums/t_2_209/22757..._Torch_Pro.html

100 meter max range doesn't sound too handy.

Last edited by Double Naught Spy; 02/22/13 11:53 PM.

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Re: Field Test / Review IR Illuminators and Pulsar Digisight n750 and n550 [Re: Double Naught Spy] #4076045 02/23/13 12:18 AM
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When you guys build a multi LED light with Osram Dragon or Osram Dragon Plus bulbs, let me know and I will test it. smile

There has to be a way to emulate AEGIS light output at a reduced cost...

At this point I would again say that the Torch Pro is the most effective, off the shelf, ready to field, and safe unit for most users.

BB

Last edited by Bennybone; 02/23/13 12:22 AM.
Re: Field Test / Review IR Illuminators and Pulsar Digisight n750 and n550 [Re: HuntTXhogs] #4077235 02/23/13 04:37 PM
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Originally Posted By: Bennybone
When you guys build a multi LED light with Osram Dragon or Osram Dragon Plus bulbs, let me know and I will test it. smile

There has to be a way to emulate AEGIS light output at a reduced cost...

At this point I would again say that the Torch Pro is the most effective, off the shelf, ready to field, and safe unit for most users.

BB


here is in IR Osram for you:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/USA-EagleTac-M3C...=item1e7750b35b

I agree, out of the LED versions, the Torch Pro is the best out there....

I'm trying to modify some of my LED flashlights with Lasers so I can use the zoom feature, but a laser also requires circuitry, and then the lasers are usually 3.2v or 5v


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Re: Field Test / Review IR Illuminators and Pulsar Digisight n750 and n550 [Re: DavidK] #4081085 02/25/13 02:26 PM
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just a correction on the video, the laser IR illuminator operates at 780nm, not 740nm....

thanks for the video, nice to see someone giving a detailed review of the product


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Re: Field Test / Review IR Illuminators and Pulsar Digisight n750 and n550 [Re: DavidK] #4082909 02/26/13 12:41 AM
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Question for you guys since you seem to have a little more experience with this equipment than I do. I have the Pulsar N550 and find that when I use the illuminator that it basically just causes any branches, or grass, or anything between you & the game to glow very brightly thereby obscuring your vision of the game. I have just started using my digisight and find these past 2 weekends that unless you are shooting into an open field with no obstructions between you & the game, it's better to NOT use the IR. Your thoughts?

Also, for you guys that don't already do this, you can purchase a 5MM connector and power your digisight from an external battery. I use a motorcycle battery that I put into my back-pack and made a harness that is long enough to reach the rifle. I ran the scope for at least 2-3 hours 2 weekends in a row without charging the battery. I put that battery back into my sons motorcycle yesterday so we could go riding and it still had enough juice to start his bike right up. I could not tell that the battery had discharged at all. Battery weighs probably 3lbs. so you know it is in your back-pack, but you quickly forget about it.

Lastly, how are you guys attaching cameras, or otherwise filming THROUGH your digisight? I'd like to try this next hunt and have footage of hogs being taken, and the ensuing follow up shots. The weekend of 2/16-2/17 I probably fired over 50 rounds at fleeing hogs. Would be neat to be able to review the video after the fact. Is it as simple as having the right connector and attaching it to a video recorder? I need to check my Nikon digital camera and see if it has an video in port.. What do you guys do for sound?

Last edited by Kawabuggy; 02/26/13 12:44 AM.

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Re: Field Test / Review IR Illuminators and Pulsar Digisight n750 and n550 [Re: Kawabuggy] #4082916 02/26/13 12:43 AM
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Forgot to mention that having an external battery makes the rifle lighter as you don't have the extra weight of the batteries inside the scope.


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Re: Field Test / Review IR Illuminators and Pulsar Digisight n750 and n550 [Re: Kawabuggy] #4083803 02/26/13 01:35 PM
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Hi KawaB -

Thanks for joining the discussion, I'd be glad to give you input on your illuminator question.

The n550 illuminator has a wide throw of light, you can see this effect in the video link at multiple ranges throughout the demonstration. When you add foilage up front it will reflect back the IR light to the digisight and cause the effect that you mention. The VGA screen in my opinion doesn't have enough resolution depth to render the bright foreground with focus on the darker background (further distance). With an external illuminator with a tighter beam you will find that you can overcome the issue because the light output is now being delivered on target as opposed to wide throw.

For your other questions about the DVR and your advise on the external battery pack, can you post those in the other thread so that we keep this one on track for illumination. PLEASE

Pulsar n550 thread

http://www.texashuntingforum.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/2693414/4

Thanks,

BB

Last edited by Bennybone; 02/26/13 01:37 PM.
Re: Field Test / Review IR Illuminators and Pulsar Digisight n750 and n550 [Re: HuntTXhogs] #4087831 02/27/13 11:20 PM
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BennyBone -

Have you had any experience with an EagleTac T100C2 MKII - IR (Infrared 850nm) 3.4w (see link below). I have been using this with my 550X but I wondered if the TNVC is worth the upgrade cost ($65 v. $267). I figured I would ask the expert.

Your posts are appreciated!


http://www.illuminationgear.com/14322/26971.html

Re: Field Test / Review IR Illuminators and Pulsar Digisight n750 and n550 [Re: Doe boy] #4088061 02/28/13 01:14 AM
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Hey Stunna, thanks for the compliment.

I have not had any direct experience with the EagleTac light.

I read over the link and notice the 3.4w version has two Osram bulbs which should equate to some serious light output.

Your pricing of 65.00 doesn't include the weapons mount but it doesn't look like it is much more $$$.

I don't see a warranty on the light posted on the website...

Does the one you have for the 550X have an adjustable wide and spot focus, a collimator function?

IF so I'd say they look good on paper but not having one I couldn't tell you for sure.

Doesn't look like I will be getting ahold of one either being that most of their inventory is out of stock.

Thx,

BB

Re: Field Test / Review IR Illuminators and Pulsar Digisight n750 and n550 [Re: HuntTXhogs] #4088509 02/28/13 03:47 AM
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I have a similar light to the EagleTac, but mine is 5W, while it does through off a good amount of light, it is an ok light for 100 yards and under. The thing about the EagleTac and my 5W light, they do not have a zoom feature. I have been in contact with some of the chinese manufacturers about producing a zoomable IR Flashlight, with a high powered IR LED, but they all say that it isn't in their best interest, i.e. they can't make enough money at it. My words to them is that it will, I think we will see it one day, as they make many cree LED lights that are zoomable, all I use for night white lights.

The Torch Pro, even though it is expensive, works great for longer distances. My need is using the thermal and checking fields at night, for far objects, even though I can pick up on the thermal, I can't tell if they are deer or hogs, if they were within 300 meters I could. I flip on the Torch Pro and looking through either my N750 or PVS-14, I can tell what they are, but not with the less expensive IR Illuminators. Better yet, my Luna Optics IR Laser will light up further than these old eyes can see lol.


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