Night visibility equipment normally doesn't come cheaply, but BSA has put a product on the market that offers a few night visibility options at a competitive price of around R2 000. The ND3 Laser Designator is a multi-purpose laser flashlight or torch that could come in very handy.
Firstly, one should realise that it is a torch. It may be used purely as that and it can be mounted on binoculars or a telescope to provide the effect of night visibility binoculars or a telescope. The torch beams a laser ray that is green which then clearly illuminates the subject looked at - just like a normal torch does. What then is the difference?
The difference lies in the distance the ray can beam. It contains laser technology and, therefore, the ray of light simply beams further than the normal torch. BSA claims it is 250 m. However, there is a caveat attached to this.
Pot-Shot tested the ND3 in static circumstances. It has an adjustable beam that becomes as thin as an ordinary infra red light. It is purported to beam more than three km. But as soon as the beam is adjusted wider, that distance shortens. At 25 m there is very little difference between the ND3 and a normal strong flashlight. From 30 m the difference widens and over 50 m to 180 m the visibility is really similar to an ordinary night visibility product even when adjusted as wide as possible. Everything is green and one sees as well as the telescope or binoculars used allows one to see.
Beyond 180 m it becomes more complicated. For the ND3 to still be effective at this distance, the beam has to be narrowed. Should one use a very large magnifying binoculars or telescope, it shouldn't be a problem. Pot-Shot tested it on a an x10 magnification and it started to bother us. The ND3's light beam should then be adjusted narrower for this distance to ensure good lighting. Then that which is seen is narrower than the sight of the telescope. Because the pupil of the eye then becomes smaller, nothing can be seen that does not appear within the beam. Although it is difficult, it is not impossible to see something at up to 250 m.
Is it as good as normal night visibility? The answer is a qualified "yes"Â�. Up to 200 m it is as good as normal night visibility. There is one thing that is unavoidable. The ND3 is a light beam and anything which is closer to what is looked at, is then much clearer in the field of vision. Therefore, it is optimal if there is a clear field of vision between the subject and the torch.
The advantage is in the price. The ND3 converts your telescope into a night visibility product. Compare it to the same night visibility telescope and that will determine whether it is worth it. Therefore, if you have an x10 magnifying telescope, compare it with an x10 night visibility telescope. The price difference is huge - very huge.
Die mounting is most ferm, and it has to be fixed as precisely as with the mounting of a telescope. We did not shoot with the mounting attached to determine whether it is shock resistant. According to internet reports it doesn't seem to be a huge problem - in any case not with the beam adjusted to its widest range. The adjustment mechanisms are easy to handle and there is no problem adjusting it to the left or the right or up or down.
A nice gift for your hunting companion!
Pricewise it costs between R2 000 and R2 400.
* An afterthought on the Bushnell ordered on the internet last week. Pot-Shot received an e-mail afterwards informing us that the zero shipping costs only apply to wholesale orders and that shipping costs of $60 will be charged. Therefore, that renders the Cybertrek-web site in South Africa cheaper and the order with Opticplanet was duly cancelled.
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