Skip to content
Why Infrared Binoculars Are Not What You Think

Why Infrared Binoculars Are Not What You Think

In the world of near-infrared night vision, consumers seeking binoculars can easily find a variety of binocular products (like the Mileseey BNV21, NightFox 100V, or Helius Sight) scattered all over the internet. While these products may initially seem like bona fide binoculars, a closer look at them reveals something entirely different.

You see, the word binocular has a very specific meaning. In fact, the distinction between a monocular and a binocular can be seen in the word itself. A monocular uses a design predicated on a single (mono) optical tube. A binocular, as the name suggests, should contain two optical tubes. 

And indeed, if we take a look at one of these binoculars, you will notice what appears to be two optical tubes. However, upon closer inspection, you can actually see that one is different from the other.

This is because infrared binoculars do not actually contain two optics. In most cases, they are nothing more than a regular monocular that has been turned sideways!

Just take a look at this picture above. It can be seen clear as daylight that the design of the binocular on the left is fundamentally the same as the design of the monocular on the right. It's nothing more than a single optic paired with an infrared illuminator.

Looking at the design of another product also reveals something similar. At first glance, what may look like a dual optical system quickly reveals itself to be yet another design predicated on just a single optic.

Now, to be clear, I am by no means singling out, or making any sort of statement, about these companies or their products. I think this is just an inherent part of any infrared binocular design. In fact, every single infrared binocular I have been able to find (including our own Apollo Infrared Binocular) is built the same way. This just happens to be an interesting factoid about infrared binoculars that I wanted to share.

It's also worth noting that infrared optics, also referred to as digital night vision, are not even true optics in the conventional sense. For the most part, these are electronic devices that are ergonomically, and perhaps even practically, not much different from a standard camcorder.

So, this naturally leads us to the obvious question of: which pair of night vision binoculars should you buy? Well, we recommend ours, the TAKLITE Apollo Binocular, but we might be a bit biased. 

Previous article Introducing Our Next Generation Digital Night Vision
Next article What Is The Best SureFire Flashlight?