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Thermal Scope Comparison

Comparison of Thermal Scopes

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

Thermal Core Specs

Country of Origin – Thermal Core

Battery Type

PARD SA45

384×288 pix. @ 17 µm

France

1 x 18650

Pulsar Thermion XQ50

384×288 pix. @ 17 µm

France

Internal

Burris BTS450

400×300 pix @ 17 um

China

1x 18650

NiteTech MS42

384×288 pix. @ 17 µm

China

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

Batteries

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

Brand / Model

Lens Type

Aperture Size

Optical Magnification

PARD SA45

45mm F1.0

45mm

3.9x

Pulsar Thermion XQ50

50mm F1.2

41.67mm

3.5x

Burris BTS450

50mm F1.2

41.67mm

2.9x

NiteTech MS42

42mm F1.2

35mm

2.0x

Optics

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?.

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.

Brand / Model

Waterproofing Level

Weight

Size

Warranty

Price

PARD SA45

IP67

420g

170x51x65mm

3 Years

$5,799

Pulsar Thermion XQ50

IPX7

900g

407x78x80mm

3 Years

$6,099

Burris BTS450

IP67

720g

250x90x75mm

2 Years

$6,399

NiteTech MS42

IP66

420g

195x60x60mm

2 Years

$5,799

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

Warranty

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 are class leading, why settle for less?

Servicing

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?