1.) What’s the deal with Photonis Tubes?
Many companies and influencers in the world of night vision hate on Photonis. The basic premise is people like to say that Photonis is not GEN III tubes. While this is “technically” true, it is simply because Photonis tubes and their construction method do not fall under ANY “generation”, and they cannot be classified as any generation of tube. This is why you will hear people call them Gen 2, Gen 2+, etc. This is not correct. Not only that, “generation” of a tube does NOT equate to better performance! You can have a low spec 1344 FOM Elbit that is technically GEN III, but a photonis tube that is 2000+ FOM can walk all over the low spec Elbit. As you increase the performance, you get diminishing returns for your dollar. Photonis has always been a budget friendly and AVAILABLE option. Often, we have little to no lead time on units built with Photonis tubes.
2.) Would we recommend Photonis?
Absolutely. They are one option of many. Are they the best? No. No image intensifier or unit will be the best at everything. In some situations, the Photonis tubes will absolutely outperform L3 and Elbit. When it comes to maximum gain, the L3 and Elbit will sometimes outperform the Photonis. Real world situations are where it matters most. Don’t get caught up in the hype battles from keyboard warriors who probably don’t even own Night vision anyway.
3.) What is manual gain?
Manual gain refers to units that have the ability to manually adjust the gain. Think of gain as increasing the brightness within the unit. This CAN be helpful depending on the situation, but often adds some bulk and added cost to the unit. The Vyper binos are NO-GAIN meaning they do not have manual gain adjustments. The image intensifier tubes will always be at maximum gain levels.
4.) Can I hand pick a unit?
There are four options for Photonis Vyper binos. Lightweight glass and standard, and 2000 MIN FOM and 2200+ min FOM. Those are the selections you can choose. We do not offer further hand selection for this product.
5.) Lightweight Glass or Standard?
That will completely depend on the end user. If weight is an issue and you desire the lightest, smallest unit possible, get the lightweight. There are upcharges. Weight saved will be around 90g.
6.) Are the Photonis Tubes AutoGated?
Yes, Photonis NAILS the autogating. The tubes react swiftly and precisely in higher lighting environments. While the 4G tubes perform extremely well in higher lit areas, and they have many safety protocols in place to protect the tube, it is important to never subject the units to high lighted areas or sources of lights.
7.) I have heard that Photonis Tubes do not compare to L3.
We have content all over our YouTube and instagram pages and our site comparing all tube options. It is unfortunate that many companies, for whatever reason, have decided that Photonis isn’t a contender. Not only is this untrue, we’d argue that those vehemently against Photonis either haven’t used them at all or there is some sort of ulterior motive at play. In many cases the Photonis tubes have been clearer than our L3 units. This is not to say that the L3 units are bad and Photonis is better, we are simply stating that the Photonis 4G tubes ARE an effective option and will offer amazing performance. We take great pride in what we do. We don’t recommend products we don’t believe in.
The cool part: If you are 100% set on L3 in a Bino, we can get you set up as well.
8.) Is a helmet mount included in the price above?
No. You will need to purchase a helmet mount separately. Photonis does have their own helmet mount and it works well. If you purchase the photonis mount it has a magnetic arm that will power the unit on anytime the unit is lowered into position, even if the power switch on the unit is off. For more information on the Photonis mount, click here: Helmet Mounts.
9.) BNVD vs Vyper Bino vs PD PRO Bino?
All three options have their strengths and weaknesses. The BNVD is a powerhouse and has a TON of options available like onboard IR, Manual Gain, and various tube options. It can sometimes be a bit bulkier, but it makes up for that in performance. The Vyper binos are extremely simple to use, but tube types are limited to Photonis. The PD PRO is one of the only (if not the only) all aluminum 7075 housed binos on the market. The PD PRO’s are beautiful, high performance units. They are a no-gain Bino but feature onboard IR.
Ultimately, compare pricing of all three. Each will do what you ask of it. If you have questions, email us at CS@Arkayne.com