Budget Night Vision POV Camera
A while back on TFB Ted Colegrove posted up a mini-review of a Night Vision POV Camera setup. The camera is a cheap Chinese spy camera with a custom 3D printed holder that positions the small lens over the eyepiece of your night vision. The clip is designed to work with the ubiquitous PVS14. If you don’t want to spend big money, this might give you an idea of whats possible at the bootstrap level.
$55 POV Camera
I have dabbled with something similar. My friend Irfan helped me acquire a similar setup that he uses and he made his own lens holder. I found the pov camera to be lacking in image quality. Also, it was hindered by the fact that it is really designed as a wifi camera and requires an app to control and access the camera. The camera set up above seems simpler as it is just controlled by a small key fob remote control.
Here is a video sample that Ted posted up from this pov camera setup.
Quick down and dirty review of the “PVS-14 Active Night Vision Recording Unit” on eBay. (I believe the maker is on here? not sure.)
The unit itself from what I understand is 3D-Printed. It comes with a large battery, a small spy cam, 3 (at least mine did) 3D Printed mounts, a key chain clicker and a USB cable to charge it.
• It’s super flimsy and very reminiscent of the Gen1 FPRS.
• 3D printed mount falls off my optic (I have MOD3 Bravos) so I had to secure it on to the outside
• Wires looks to be soldered on very thinly, so BE CAREFUL pulling or pushing anything too much.
• Wires are not long enough to reach the back of my helmet so I had to figure out how to mount a battery pack closer
• Obstructs your eye a little
• It’s $55 so not a huge drop in the bucket compared to other ways of filming your night pew pews.
• Video recording system does work
• wireless trigger your night vision, I should put it on my gun or something, that would be cool
• Does 1080p, at 30fps
Overall: 7/10 not bad for the price and it works. Just wish it was a little more robust, see photos of what I did to make it a little more action ready. I’m sure it will look better under a helmet cover.
The pov camera setup is sold on ebay and you can check it out here.
If you are interested in getting night vision check out Richard L. article on buying NODS.DEAD FOOT ARMS
One benefit to this setup is that it is unobtrusive. The spy camera lens is small and even though it looks like it blocks the eyepiece, I can confirm that it blurs itself out being that close to your eye. If you are running bino dual tubes then the second night vision will overlap and you really would not notice it.The system is not that water proof and you have a tethered battery pack and camera brain which requires some management on your helmet.
TNVC NVG Adapter
TNVC has their own POV Camera setup that works with a prism from Wilcox and a GoPro. However this setup is not as compact nor as inexpensive. The GoPro prism mount costs $409.99 and that does not come with the GoPro. Another issue with this setup is the image is slightly compromised due to the compact prism by Wilcox.
DIY SmartPhone POV Mount
With the help of my friend Brian Miller, he made a 3D printed coupler so I could mount a prism to the back of my PVS14 and a attach my iPhone to the side. By using an iPhone I can zoom in to get the best image possible and I can adjust brightness/exposure. The only downside is now you have a phone on the side of your night vision.
Here is a video recorded from my iPhone pov camera setup while testing a red dot for aiming with night vision.
My first prototype just attached an airsoft corner shot prism mount to the back of the PVS14. This positioned the prism about 1/2 an inch from the eyepiece. Then the distance from the prism to the iPhone camera lens caused the camera to see less than what I could see. So even though I could see what I was aiming and shooting at, often it was cut off by the cropped image in the phone. So I had Brian Miller help me make a completely custom housing that positions the prism as close to the PVS14 eyepiece as possible.
Now I Can Show You what I’m looking at
You can certainly mount a phone to the back of the eyepiece and get a pretty good image. Here is a video I made to show how best to film night vision with a phone.
Before I had Brian help me with my prism setup I would mount the phone to the back of my PVS14 and wear it on my head. This would get me the best possible image through the PVS14 but I could not focus on the iPhone screen being that close to my face. So I would have to shoot vis lasers and aim with my right eye which defeats the purpose.
POV Cameras allow you to film hands-free what your night vision is seeing. However, there are compromises. Often the image suffers or you are hindered by bulky setups. My DIY prism setup is not perfect but it has given me the best image I can record while wearing the PVS14 and shooting.