We have compared some of the important specs from some of the main models available in New Zealand.

This page is probably best viewed on a Tablet or on a computer – We have added notes to each section

Thermal Scopes are complex and they are ALL expensive.

You should be aware of some basics before you consider purchasing a scope. Have a think about what you want and why and how you are going to use it

As you can see from the tables below all these scopes are in the same class but there are some very significant differences.

If you would like to know more or compare what you are thinking – talk to us or even experts from a competitor that should all be able to answer your questions.

 Brand / Model Pard SA45 Pulsar Thermion XQ50 Burris BTS450 NiteTech MS42 HIK Thunder TH35
Thermal Core Specs 384×288 pix. @ 17 µm 384×288 pix. @ 17 µm 400×300 pix @ 17 um 384×288 pix. @ 17 µm 384×288 pix. @ 17 µm
Country of Origin – Thermal Core France France China China China
Battery Type 1 x 18650 Internal 1x 18650 2 x CR123 2 x CR123


There are a few Thermal Core Manufacturers in the World – FLIR in the USA is probably the most well known, PARD and Pulsar use French cores from ULIS. Guide IR makes the Burris in China.

All except for the Burris are 384×288 sized cores – the Burris has 8 extra pixels in each direction over the others. They have the same pitch spacing (Resolution) so this isn’t a real consideration point


The best batteries are those with a good capacity, are easy to change.

  • 18650 – hold around 3100-3200ma per battery; can also be used in your torches and are the best choice
  • Internal batteries limit your selection and are often expensive to replace or carry spares as they are limited to 1 design and supplier
  • CR123 while they are small they lack the battery capacity and more are required – Typically 650ma per rechargeable battery; this will result in much shorter run times than the box says unless you use expensive non-rechargeable versions

Batteries are also affected by cold weather and often the higher run times are quoted at temperatures of 25c or so – How many of you have been night hunting in that sort of temperature?! Real world run times are going to be less than the box says.

 Brand / Model Pard SA45 Pulsar Thermion XQ50 Burris BTS450 NiteTech MS42 HIK Thunder TH35
Lens Type 45mm F1.0 50mm F1.2 50mm F1.2 42mm F1.2 35mm F1.0
Aperture Size 45mm 41.67mm 41.67mm 35mm 35mm
Optical Magnification 3.9x 3.5x 2.9x 2.0x 2.14x


So what does F1.0 and F1.2 mean?

Just like the pupil in your eye, a larger aperture lets in a lot of light – Any number larger than F1.0 is losing ‘light’ and therefore reducing the performance of the scope

A F1.0 allows 44% MORE light than a F1.2 of the same size

So the PARD SA45 45mm Lens actually has a larger Aperture for light than the 50mm F1.2 used in several models which only have effectively 41.6mm; which means the PARD SA45 gathers 15% MORE light even with its smaller lens than the 50mm, and a massive 40% MORE than the 42mm lens

Why do they make F1.2 Lenses – its cheaper, the material they are made out of is expensive, also for larger lenses say 100mm they become quite heavy and bulky too – so sometimes its worth sacrificing some performance.

Optical Magnification – What’s Important

Most people are using a minimum 3-4x day rifle scope at the lower level.  So it stands to reason that if you are used to this level; likely you are going to want that at night.

However some scopes have significantly less magnification to start with is this really going to work for you? maybe if you are shooting rats in a barn?.

We recommend that you put your normal scope on 2-4x power and see the difference

Remember you cannot optically zoom these scopes

Digital Magnification

Digital scopes (including Thermal) can digitally zoom to higher levels – HOWEVER in doing so the image is degraded with each step – If you require a higher level of magnification with your scope you should look further into your options.

When you use digital zoom, it ONLY enlarges the pixels AND reduces the image resolution and the image quality. And the further you zoom the worse it gets

The more steps you use in Digital Zoom the worse the image will be from the base optical level – The size of the sensor reduces this at the beginning if it is more pixels recorded, but once the image is smaller than the sensor there aren’t any extra pixels to make up the image and from then its all down hill for image quality.

For example if the 384×288 sensor is on 8 times zoom you are using just 48×36 pixels displayed on your screen at 21×21 pixels for a SINGLE real pixel

Bottom Line – be very wary of claims of huge Zoom ranges as to if they are really usable or not at real shooting distances

 Brand / Model Pard SA45 Pulsar Thermion XQ50 Burris BTS450 NiteTech MS42 HIK Thunder TH35
Waterproofing Level IP67 IPX7 IP67 IP66 IPx7
Weight 420g 900g 720g 420g 415g
Size 170x51x65mm 407x78x80mm 250x90x75mm 195x60x60mm 187x62x59mm
Warranty 3 Years 3 Years 2 Years 2 Years 3 Years

Prices and Specs taken as of 15-2-2021

Environmental Ratings (Waterproofing)

IP ratings are shown as 2 numbers, the first relates to Dust and Particles, the second is Water – higher is better protection

  • 6 for Dust is Dust-tight – However the X means there is no data available to specify a protection rating.
  • 6 for Water means: Powerful water jets
  • 7 for Water means: Immersion, up to 1 meter (3 ft 3 in) depth

You read more about IP ratings online; BUT Thermal scopes are electronic devices and we use them outdoors, its wet, humid, damp etc It would pay to have the best protection from that or you may have issues


These are expensive electronic devices, used outdoors and on rifles – not the best environment for sure – You need to protect your investment!

3 years warranty is class leading, why settle for less?


What about service if something does happen – ask the dealer what happens – for PARD Backup and support is important for us and a requirement for our other work ask about HOW LONG it will take to resolve a issue – It should also be a concern for yourself before investing in Night Vision equipment.

Detection Ranges

A word on Detection ranges given, they don’t really represent real world distances and it just sounds amazing to see a deer at 2000m!! – reality is a detection can just mean a few dots!

Nor do these great big animals in marketing images represent what you will see – those are often so close you can hit them with a rock!!

Ever seen a bear in New Zealand?

If the NZ Agents aren’t showing you real images taken in NZ are they supporting and understand the Technology?