Atomic Beam Night Hero Binoculars Review
I have found it beneficial to keep certain aphorisms in mind when looking at manufacturer claims about their products. One of those is the Sagan standard (named after the late astronomer Carl Sagan) and it states, “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” These words ran through my mind when I first heard of the Atomic Beam Night Hero Binoculars and what they are supposed to offer consumers. Let’s take a closer look at these binoculars and determine if they work as advertised.
Starting With The Basics: Night Hero Binocular Optics
Two types of optic designs dominate today’s market, Porro and Roof Prism binoculars. A quick look at the Night Hero Binoculars shows that they are a Roof Prism build, but what exactly does that mean? A quick look at the types will give us a better understanding of the product’s build.
Porro Prism binoculars are a more traditional design, with a distinct “dog-legged” shape. That shape is necessary as the ocular lenses are offset from the objective lenses, with the prisms facing 45-degree angles. The more complex Porro design increases bulk, weight, and makes it less durable. They do offer a clearer image with more depth and width at a cheaper price, however.
Roof Prism binoculars are less bulky and the ocular and objective lenses are more in-line with one another. The angles of the interior prisms allow the light path to be elongated without the need for offset optics. They are less clear, have smaller fields of view, and will cost more. This design does provide greater durability with less weight, stronger magnification, and they can be protected from moisture more easily.
The Roof Prism design of the Night Hero Binoculars allows them to more compact and durable while weighing less. This product should cost more, which is the first red flag. What this indicates is that Atomic Beam has cut back on features like water resistance (the lenses have a protective coating on only one side). The housing and optics will also be made with less-expensive materials that lack the quality found at higher price points.
Atomic Beam’s Night Hero Binoculars have a 10 x magnification power. This indicates that the image you will see is 10 times larger than it appears with the unaided eye. That level of magnification is considered by many to represent the highest level that can be used effectively for hand-held observations. Going beyond this magnification will require some type of support to keep the image steady in the optics, such as a tripod.
The next specification to look at is the objective lens diameter, which is 40mm on the Night Hero Binoculars instruction that can be downloaded from the product webpage (It is worth noting here that many online reviews have 30mm listed for the objective lens diameter. This might be due to a change in optics y Atomic Beam or an error in an early review that has simply been repeated).
Objective lenses are used to gather light, with larger lenses able to pull in more. More light will make the image brighter, giving it a clearer and sharper look. More light gathering is also an advantage in low-light conditions that may require every photon you can gather to see something.
Finally, you can divide the objective by the magnification to determine the exit pupil. The Night Hero Binoculars have an exit pupil of 4mm (40mm divided by 10). An average human pupil ranges from 1.5mm in bright conditions to nearly 8mm in darkness. A pupil exit should be larger than your pupil and if it is not the image will seem to be viewed through a peephole instead of a full field of view.
Considering all of the above, these binoculars have adequate optics for normal daylight use. They should perform as advertised in this regard when it comes to viewing birds, events, or landscapes. You might even find that the optics offer you some low-light observing ability.
Beyond The Basics: Night Hero Binoculars And Night Vision
Most of you are familiar with night vision optics, having seen the news and movie images generated by the technology. Pictures of various levels of clarity in a green light are offered by military, movies, police, and video games. The question here is, does the Night Hero binoculars by Atomic Beam offer night vision? The answer is no, no matter what spokespersons may say or what color of laser light is used.
Three Types Of Night Visionn
The first type of night vision you may have seen is called Digital Night Vision. Here, photons of light are converted to a digital signal instead of electrons. That signal is then transferred to an LCD screen for viewing.
Another version of night vision you could be familiar with is called Phosphor Screen Night Vision. This more traditional imaging converts the light photons into electrons. These are then amplified before they are projected onto a phosphor screen.
Lastly, there is the Thermal Night Vision design. Heat differences are detected in the field of view. The differences are displayed in various colors, with higher temperatures in brighter colors and cooler temperatures in cooler tones.
When looking at the Night Hero Binoculars, Atomic Beam states clearly that they use none of the systems mentioned above. Instead, a green-colored laser is activated that broadcasts light onto objects up to 150 yards away. That green light reflects off of objects and that is how this product lets you “see” in darkness. This is another red flag, as the green light will vary in its ability to properly light up an object due to a multitude of environmental factors outside of your control.
Seeing This Product Clearly
The Night Hero Binoculars represent a low-cost Roof Prism design that should be adequate for beginners and children. Avid users will need something of higher quality. Those looking for true night vision optics might start here for better options.