In a worst-case scenario, proper vision can be the difference between life and death.
In these extreme circumstances, having either thermal or night vision is essential for safety and success in any situation. But which one should you choose? With all things considered, what’s the best option – thermal vs night Vision SHTF?
The answer to this depends on several factors, such as visibility range, level of detail accessibility, and cost. These are all things we’ll be looking at in order to come up with a comprehensive conclusion as to which vision aid is more advantageous when it comes to the survival of humanity in a disaster.
Let’s dig in.
What is Thermal Vision?
Thermal vision, or thermal imaging as it is also called, enables us to see and interpret thermal radiation from objects that we would normally not be able to detect with our eyes alone.
Thermal cameras capture the infrared spectrum, which are wavelengths of light beyond what humans can naturally detect. These wavelengths allow for differentiated temperature detection on various surfaces so features and structures like vehicles in a night battleground or hot, moist air rising from a power plant can be picked up with a thermal vision.
Thermal imaging technology depends on the same principles of thermodynamics and is based on how bodies or objects emit energy in the form of infrared heat waves.
The temperature differences between various bodies are translated into video signals by using advanced algorithms to interpret an image whose representation is similar to shades-of-gray pictures but exaggerates various temperatures so that humans can easily recognize them. Thermal imaging cameras are. Therefore, used in many different applications to make tasks easier or even possible through the help of this technology.
The biggest perk of thermal vision is that it allows for improved visibility in the most extreme conditions – like no light or limited illumination. For example, firefighters can use thermal vision to detect hotspots of a burning structure and ensure they don’t enter areas that are too dangerous due to heat buildup.
The application doesn’t stop there as law enforcement officers also gain access to an invaluable tool when pursuing suspects at night since infrared cameras often times extend their field of view adequately enough by cutting through foggy climatic conditions with ease.
What is Night Vision?
Night vision is a technology that enables humans to see in dark or dimly lit conditions. It works by amplifying available ambient light, including starlight and moonlight, so it’s possible to detect objects even when there isn’t sufficient visible light. Using night-vision devices also allows people to conserve their eyesight at night since they don’t have the need to look around without illumination.
When viewing through these special goggles, you typically get a green hue from the light amplification process. However, these can come in other colors as well.
They amplify a small amount of available light and turn it into an image that is seen on a screen or monitor. Night vision goggles typically take photons (or particles) captured in low-light conditions and increase their intensity for better visibility – also known as Image Intensification Technology.
The most common type of night vision technology most countries use is the Image Intensifier Tube (IIT), which uses an electron multiplier to amplify the light that enters a vacuum tube. This type of vision technology has been used since the early 1900s, and its performance has increased over time as new improvements, such as multi-alkali photocathode, are added for improved image intensification in low ambient light conditions.
Thermal imaging provides better resolution than night vision gear when there’s minimal visible lighting or difficult atmospheric conditions because it functions using infrared radiation instead of illuminating artificial lights as IIT does.
Whereas night vision goggles work well under starlight or moonlight, thermal imaging cameras can detect and monitor heat from living creatures. The military also uses thermal goggles to track down enemy personnel in low visibility situations since they don’t show up on night vision scopes due to their limited body temperature compared with surrounding objects.
Comparison of Thermal vs Night Vision SHTF
Now, we’ll compare the benefits of thermal and night vision technologies in a SHTF scenario. These two advanced capabilities give users increased perception at nighttime, before sunrise, or after sunset when visibility is drastically reduced.
It is important to look at both technologies’ advantages and disadvantages when deciding which would be best under certain scenarios.
In a SHTF scenario, thermal imaging offers definite advantages for detection. It can detect stationary objects and people at long distances during both the day and night with high accuracy. This makes it well suited to scouting possible threats in challenging environments such as thick vegetation, fog, or smoke.
Thermal imaging can also be used to detect animals at night, which makes hunting easier and reduces the need for large amounts of ammunition to take down targets in poor visibility conditions.
On top of this, thermal imaging devices are less costly than traditional night vision goggles yet provide comparable detection capabilities making them a great choice when the cost is an important factor in SHTF scenarios.
Night vision has some advantages in certain SHTF scenarios. When there is ambient light or a moon, it can detect targets accurately at long distances. However, this is not always the case since you’ll need sufficient lighting to make accurate shots which may otherwise be impossible with thermal imaging devices.
On top of that, night vision requires no additional equipment, and IR illuminators are often less expensive than thermal imaging devices. Furthermore, night vision is less likely to alert nearby targets of your presence, thus offering you stealth capabilities in mission-critical scenarios.
In an SHTF situation, reliable and timely identification of objects in the dark is essential to safety. Both thermal imaging devices and night vision equipment can be used for this purpose, with each having its own strengths.
Thermal technology allows users to detect various targets during the day or night due to its ability to outfit infrared, which identifies heat sources emitted by people and animals from a distance without being hindered by natural barriers such as temperature variances, foliage cover, and more.
Despite these advantages, however, recognition at longer distances using thermal imaging can be more difficult, and identifying exactly what you’re looking for may need to be done up close.
Night vision devices can penetrate complete darkness, amplifying existing light sources like starlight, some moonlight, and even artificial lighting from campfires or lanterns nearby to provide a clear image of the target that is easier discerned at further distances due its use of true optics rather than heat signatures as with thermals.
Therefore, night vision is the best option for truly discerning targets at long distances, but it can be hampered by hiding in shadows or camouflage.
For most preppers on a budget, price is going to be an important factor. Night vision units are often more easily available and much cheaper than thermal imaging ones. Even high-end night vision mountable models can usually cost less than $500 compared to the $1500+ a thermal imager usually costs.
As the SHTF, environments can quickly become unpredictable and chaotic. In this instance, thermal imaging is a much more reliable choice than night vision for finding out what’s going on around you.
Whereas night vision systems require nearby visible light to work properly, thermal imagers do not need any illumination source. This means that even if conditions such as dust, smoke, overcast nights, rain, or fog impair the performance of night vision systems.
Thermal imagers can still perform with no problems whatsoever due to their ability to detect and interpret infrared radiation emitted from a human body or object up close, regardless of external lighting.
Furthermore, compared with night-vision goggles which can become blinded by bright lights depending on where they point in an environment (causing “light washout”), thermal imaging is not affected by these issues as they analyze the heat signature of a given object or person instead.
Does the military use night vision or thermal?
Many branches of the military use both night vision and thermal imaging. Night vision devices utilize image intensification technology to allow users to see in low-light environments such as darkness or smoke, while thermal imaging devices detect heat emitted from objects and are useful for detecting movement even in complete darkness.
Can you see at night with thermal?
Yes, thermal imaging is a technology that can detect radiation in the infrared range of light and be used to produce images of objects at night. Thermal imagery gives users clear visibility even when other forms of light are unable to penetrate the darkness, allowing for enhanced nighttime surveillance capabilities.
Can you shoot a thermal scope during the day?
Yes, you can shoot a thermal scope during the day. Thermal scopes are powered by infrared technology, which is able to detect differences in temperature and heat sources when used under various conditions, including daytime hours.
Can thermal see through walls?
No, thermal cannot see through walls. Thermal imaging is the technology of using infrared radiation to “see” and measure heat instead of visible light in order to create an image.
The infrared waves that are emitted from a person or object can be detected by this type of equipment, but it will not provide detailed images because thicker materials absorb most, if not all, IR rays. Thus creating a barrier for thermal detection devices, making them unable to pass right through solid objects such as walls.
Both thermal and night vision can be great options for SHTF scenarios.
Thermal imaging is an excellent choice if you need to detect heat signatures from people or animals in total darkness and have a decently high budget.
Night Vision allows light amplification so that you can see better at night while avoiding detection due to its lower level of brightness than traditional lights such as flashlights.
Ultimately it comes down to personal preference — some might prefer one over the other depending on specific needs during a disaster situation. They are both valuable tools for keeping yourself and your family safe in the event of a disaster.