Night Vision Viking
“My “Pulsar Starship” – says Night Vision Viking fondly of his Pulsar Talion XQ38, Merger LRF XP50, and Thermion 2 LRF XP50 PRO. A professional hunter and an avid thermal and night vision tester, he always gets his hand on the best devices on the market. Today, Night Vision Viking shares more about his relationship with nature, the means for testing thermal imagers, and, of course, his favorite Pulsar devices for each outing.
Evaluations must be credible to have meaning for the reader and potential customer. It’s vital for me that any assessment is done in a fair and fact-driven way. When writing about new thermal devices, it’s, therefore, necessary to review them both independently and with other devices side-by-side. Even slight variations in the weather and the time of day can create quite large differences in the image quality. For instance, it wouldn’t be fair to judge one thermal device in full sunshine, the other in the rain, and point out a winner.
Most of the time, I’m “hunting” with my thermal camera only, so there’s no firearm attached or involved. It’s just me trying to get the best possible image or video so that the reader gets an understanding of the potential of the product.
I’m more of a nature photographer than I’m a hunter. This means I want to get really close to the wild animals, to get as good and interesting videos as I possibly can. Unfortunately, wild animals have no understanding of this, and they run away at their earliest opportunity.
I always use a tripod for stability, and I bought a special platform to be able to mount both riflescopes and spotters in parallel. That way, my eyes can jump from ocular to ocular, and it makes it easier to discover the differences in image quality between the units. When possible, I use friends as a second opinion. I never tell them my conclusion before they have told me theirs to avoid any bias.
Another important aspect is to try out the ergonomics and user-friendliness in full darkness. Thermal devices are primarily made to be used when humans lose one of our most important senses – our eyesight. So how easy is the device to operate blindly, relying on your fingers only? Last winter, in freezing -16C, I had to do a battery change on a Thermion 2 LRF XP50 PRO while filming wild boar at distances down to 15 meters in complete darkness. Even with gloves on, it was possible to change the battery and do it quietly. I hope the experiences like these make my recommendations more reassuring and credible when a potential buyer asks about a certain device. Because I have “been there, done that”.
As a photographer, I challenge myself to get as close to various wild animals as possible. It’s interesting to discover and analyze various animals’ comfort zones. Where they know you’re there, but they accept it, when they move away, and when (and how) they flee in distress.
Then you have the occasions where the animals don’t know you’re there, and you get really close because the wind is in a favorable direction, or they walk right into you. Recently, I had a beautiful roe buck get as close as 12 meters, a fact I know due to the scanning mode of the laser rangefinder of the Thermion 2 LRF XP50 PRO. But you must be careful, especially when it comes to wild animals like moose and wild boar.
What impresses me is that as the thermal devices keep improving, there is always that “wow” factor every now in a while. This “job” never gets boring! There’s always something new to discover and get amazed about.
Currently, the Pulsar Merger LRF XP50 is my favorite choice when it comes to image quality; it really sets the bar. The Thermion 2 LRF XP50 PRO is the winner when it comes to thermal rifle sights. The ability to use a laser rangefinder has added a dimension to the evaluation, and I’m impressed by how accurate they are. If I was on a budget, the Axion XM30F spotter and the Talion XQ38 thermal riflescope would also be excellent choices. The Pulsar Axion 2 XQ35 offers a little more ”sophistication”, and if you need to know the distance, then go for the LRF version.
Before purchasing any night or thermal vision device, please make sure you adhere to the local legislation and only use it when it is allowed. Our ambassadors come from various countries and travel a lot, which allows them to test different devices. We do not encourage or support the illegal use of our devices in any events. If you wish to learn more about export and sales restriction policy, please visit the following link: Export and Sales Restriction Policy.