The Gen 1 cost about $370 after looking up reviews on what was the best gen 1 I could purchase at the time. Things have changed since then and I read very good reviews about Armasite's "SPARK" gen one monocular, though they are around $500.
The D112 worked decently well but as with all Gen 1s it will only work as well as the IR illuminator you have. Without the illuminator I'd honestly say your own eyes might work better over all.
The main problem with the Gen 1 is that it doesn't amply light as well as later versions, so the IR illuminator has to use a lower frequency to be detected by the Gen 1 goggles.
I don't remember the specifics, but generally the IR light that comes with Gen 1s are around the 800 something range. Gen 2s and 3s are capable of picking up 900+frequency IR light though. Gen 1s cannot see the 900+ frequency light well enough.
While both lights are not visible by the human eye, the main difference is that the ~800 frequency light bulb on the Gen 1 glows distinctively red, so if you're looking directly at someone they will see a very visible red dot. This is visible from a pretty good distance away. I'd say that it's actually visible from further away than you could clearly make out anyone with the NOD.
The 900+ frequency however doesn't glow at all really. You may be able to see a VERY small red glow if you look directly into it from point blank.
However, because Gen 2s are so much more better than Gen 1s regarding light amplification the 900+freq light is all but useless unless you are in a completely black room (no night vision will work in a completely dark room without some sort of IR light).
The difference between Gen 1 and Gen 2 is the greatest leap. Gen 2 to Gen 3 is definitely a upgrade and Gen 3 but Gen 1 to Gen 2 feels like using something completely different while stepping up from Gen 2 to Gen 3 feels more like an upgrade from Gen 2, if that makes sense?
I'll post another post with some comparison photos at around 5-10 ft. I plan to do another set of photos at a longer distance as it shows more clearly how much better Gen 2 and 3 are but have been unable to.
Though, realistically, for a night time game, a cheap set of Gen 1s are going to work better than a flashlight in some instance. Red dots (you can only see while looking directly at) are still a bit less visible than a flashlight. I would just be aware that what you're buying with Gen 1s won't be anything like what you see on movies or games (those are more like Gen 3).
I'd still suggest saving your money though and possibly just looking around for some used Gen 2s at least. I've been told if you're patient you can get them for around $600 - $700 sometimes.
All pictures were taken with an Iphone 5. The item of focus was a SUN laundry detergent bottle 5ft or 6ft away.
Gen 1 - D-112 ($370)
Gen 2 - Armasight Sirius Standard Definition $1,100 (after discount coupon)
Gen 3 - PVS 7 MilSpec $3500?
First off here is a picture of the location with the lights on.
Gen 1 (IR light off)
Gen 1 (IR light on)
Gen 2 (IR light off)
Gen 2 (IR light on)
Gen 3 (IR light off)
Gen 3 (IR light on)
The IR light shown does not show a beam of light but does give off a red glow from the lens itself and is visible to the human eye. I believe it runs somewhere in the 850 range.
The gen 2 and 3 both had internal 940 range IR lights but showed no change.
The biggest difference here is that the Gen 2 and 3 is capable of visual confirmation with the IR light thus making the wearer undetectable.
I have found night vision to be mostly useless in Airsoft engagements. If you are holding an area in a defensive situation and have others WITHOUT night vision to back you up they can be a helpful first alert to "snakes in the grass". HOWEVER, in my experiences night vision in an offensive situation are more a hindrance than an assist. First, most night vision available to an airsofter are an monocular meaning it is designed to be used by only one eye. This means one eye is in near total darkness while the other is blasted by the over bright reflections of the IR caster. In the event of an engagement the operator will find accurately firing their weapon through a monocular just as effective as trying to find their target by sound. Shortly after discovering this the operator will tuck away their night vision only to discover that their eyes are now "out of sync" with one eye fully dilated from the darkness and the other eye fully restricted from the night vision making for a whole world of awesome in a firefight. Night vision also is less than helpful when traversing complicated environments. There is obviously no depth perception in a monocular; however, just to compound this fact the focal length of night vision is not "set to infinity" meaning that what is from 0 - five feet in-front of you is very blurry and out of focus, what is 5-7 feet in-front of you is a mix of blur and overexposure, from 7-15 feet is very nicely in focus, and beyond that is questionable.
Please note: My experience with Military Grade NVG of a Gen4 or better is very limited; that said, the one time I had them at my disposal I quickly stowed them just like my civilian monocular.
i would have to take the middle ground usually in our settings (ie woods) i find NVG's useless without external ambient light source (moonlight, enemy campfire, flashlights etc). but use in an urban enviro is quite useful finding doors and walls in pitch black. i would only go with gen 2+ or greater (i did a wee bit of research on the plus on the 2 and its a wee bit crisper and has some differing auto-gate settings that dim instead of bloom out or completely shut down). now that being said i still prefer what i was already equipped with
I am in agreement with you Scramble. There are people who don't have as good of natural night sight as you and I. Perhaps they are better suited to NV equipment?