Best night vision equipment for 2021
9/20/2021

Sailing unfamiliar waters after dark can be intimidating even for an experienced boater. Radar and AIS (Automatic Identification System) are great help but nothing takes the place of being able to see what’s ahead and around you almost like it was daytime. Night vision cameras have become must-have equipment for boaters of many stripes, especially since prices have come down on most brands and models. Five of the best are described below.

The lineup is part of an exercise Marine Electronics Journal does every year as part of our Buyers’ Guide. It works like this: We ask the top manufacturers to identify the one model they produce in a particular category (17 in all) that they consider to be their Best & Brightest—not necessarily the most technically advanced or newest but rather the one they rate highest in the product line for one reason or another. Could be the functions and features it offers, or maybe it breaks new ground in maximizing effectiveness or utility, or maybe it’s the most popular as measured by sales to boaters.
 

FLIR M364C

Featuring a high-definition low-light camera and one of the most advanced FLIR thermal imaging cores ever, the M364C provides an elite level of awareness on the water. M364C uses multispectral imaging to deliver exclusive FLIR Color Thermal Vision (CTV) technology. CTV blends visible camera details with a thermal image, overlaying vital color imagery that allows captains to positively identify navigation aids and other vessels within the thermal scene. Outstanding imaging performance, intelligent object recognition technology, and enhanced gyro-stabilization make the M364C an indispensable tool for law enforcement professionals, commercial mariners, and serious recreational boaters.

Iris Sentinel

Available in a number of models depending on your requirements and your budget, and available also in a range of colors to suit your application, Iris Sentinel cameras take their style cues from Iris’s popular NightRunner range and build them into a far more robust cast, anodized and powder-coated aluminum housing. Everything about the Sentinel range has been subject to a major overhaul, improving motor strength, internal temperature management, repositioning connectors centrally to simplify installation and much more. There are currently two thermal resolutions to choose from (384×288 and 640×512) with a higher resolution IP device in the pipeline featuring Augmented Reality built into the camera. Cameras are available as either single-payload or in dual-payload formats, pairing up the thermal core with a high-quality daylight camera.

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