Stop using Generation to Classify Night Vision. - Arkayne


Stop using Generation to Classify Night Vision.

  • January 5, 2024
  • By Brenton

Stop using Generation to Classify Night Vision.

You’ve been lied to. You need to stop using generation to classify night vision. Simply put, generation is a very outdated way of classifying units as “good” or “bad”. There is much more to it than that.

For those wanting to dive deep into this topic, Jared filmed a full video discussing our thoughts on this in detail. You can find that video here.

Why is generation a point of contention?

Generation is inaccurate for many reasons with today’s standard in night vision. Generation is just a way for Redditor “night vision professionals” to try and look like they know more than you. Many of these people have “maybe” looked through more than one type of tube… but many have clearly not. Many have gone straight to whatever tube they are told to buy and immediately claim it to be the best. Confirmation bias runs wild in the night vision industry.

Generation classifications are way too simple.
Photonis vs Elbit
Photonis (left) and Elbit (right)

First and foremost, the standards are just too simple. According to their generation standards, you can have an extremely potent unit and it could fall outside of the bounds of any classification. On the flip side, you could have a pretty sucky unit and it could be technically classified as “Gen 3”.

We have looked through countless different tubes and have found that generation does not matter. Take a tube made by Photonis for example. Their tubes do not fall into any generation because they are made a slightly different way than how the US Department of Defense defines tubes to be made. Photonis tubes are generally called “Gen 2” or “Gen 2+” in the industry… but that claim is wildly inaccurate.

In reality, you can get some amazing Photonis tubes that will outperform many “Gen 3” tubes on the market.

FOM measurements are not accurate.

Generation classification also uses FOM to determine what generation the unit is. Over the years we have realized this can be inaccurate due to the fact that humans are the ones determining the line pairs per millimeter (lp/mm). Depending on how accurate the person rating the night vision is, it will skew the lp/mm. Since line pairs per millimeter are key in measuring FOM, you can start to see how the number can’t always be 100% accurate.

Where do we go from here?

While we can’t give an answer that meets everyone’s specific needs… we want to leave you with one thing. Don’t listen to the keyboard warriors online. If you need help deciding on a unit, shoot us an email at and we will get you into the unit that best fits you.


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