When out hunting, a set of binoculars is imperative to success. I know many hunters who still, for reasons unknown to me, continue to use their riflescope to scan for game at extended distances. A quality set of 8x or 10x binoculars can be had for a few hundred dollars and, as the price increases, you benefit from improved light gathering, image crispness, colour and contrast. Believe me, the number of times I’ve spotted game through my normal 8×42 hunting binoculars when the naked eye couldn’t distinguish it from the background is simply astonishing.
Advances in sports optics coupled with electronic technology has spawned a new generation of riflescopes and binoculars which can be used around the clock, day and night. Infrared and thermal technology has opened up new hunting optics and applications, as well as use in many scenarios away from the hunting field. ATN is one such company which continues to develop leading edge binoculars and riflescopes embracing infrared technology while being within monetary reach of the average sports hunter.
Outdoor Sporting Agencies, Australian ATN distributor, sent Australian Shooter one of their premier day/night products for review in the form of the Binox 4K 4-16x Day/Night Smart High-Definition (HD) binoculars. While I’ve had some familiarity with infrared riflescopes in the past, reviewing day/night infrared binoculars would be a new experience.
At a glance
The binoculars were packed in a sturdy cardboard box with ATN’s branding and logo along with contents and features printed on the flaps. Upon opening, the binoculars have a separate carrying pouch with detachable strap and data/recharging cable as well as an excellent user manual and quick-start guide.
These are certainly not a compact affair, measuring 240mm x 125mm x 60mm and weighing 1165g, however the layout is neat with a central function keypad on the body of the unit, easily accessible with the index fingers as well as a ‘ranging’ button just forward and left of the central function consul.
The objective lenses up front come with a protective cover to shield the delicate optics within, the left objective housing also containing the rangefinding componentry while the image seen within the internal LED screen can be easily focused by turning the bell of the right objective. To the rear, the ocular eyepieces are fully adjustable for focus and intra-pupillary requirements.
On reading the excellent user manual the great features of the unit are described and their functions explained. This model features:
● Laser rangefinder
● Video recording capability
● Day/night mode
● Built-in infrared illuminator
● Dual core processor
● Dual stream video
● Capability to share images on social media
● Ultra-low power consumption
● Bluetooth connectivity with micro SD-card data storage
I spent several hours familiarising myself with the role of the central keypad which does everything it states with a few pushes of the correct buttons. For a traditionalist like myself, having the day/night capability, 4x-16x magnification range and rangefinder would be all the features I’d use personally, though plenty will embrace the dual stream video and image sharing options via Bluetooth connectivity.
One pleasing aspect I must point out is the internal, rechargeable lithium-ion battery as a major bane of mine in other electro-optics is having to install AA batteries as a power source. The lithium-ion internal battery gives up to 15-plus hours of use on a single charge and avoids the need to carry additional batteries.
In the field
From the outset my intention was to use the ATN Binox binoculars from my vehicle or stationary position, be it a ground blind or deckchair. The ability to mount the binoculars to a tripod was used immediately which saved me having to hand-hold them, at the same time giving a steady image of the internal colour LED screen.
That screen is fully adjustable for brightness and focus and places minimal strain on the eyes. Image quality both day and night is good – you must appreciate you can’t compare this to ordinary binoculars with glass lenses and prisms. The electronic circuitry generates the images day and night and the infrared illuminator dictates the effective range as to what you can see at night. The rangefinder is perfectly adequate for day and night use and, as always, can be tailored to suit the user’s requirements.
I took the binoculars on a trip to the seaside and also used them at my brother’s olive grove during a few sessions trying to intercept some cunning foxes which did their best to evade us, rabbits and hares easily picked out and ranged at distances up to 200m. The beauty of the ATN Binox unit is users have a huge array of features at their fingertips and it’s their call if they push the binoculars to their full potential or simply choose what facets they require.
The ATN Binox 4K 4x-16x Day/Night Smart HD Binoculars retail for $1675 and are available through all good firearms and sports optics retailers. More at osaaustralia.com.au
Model: Binox 4K 4-16x Day/Night Smart HD Binoculars
Display resolution: 1280x720x2
Angle of view: 6 degrees
Interpupillary adjustment range: 60-70mm
Focus range: 10ft-infinity
IR illuminator range: 300 yards
Laser rangefinder: Built-in
Video recording resolution: [email protected]/60/120 fps
IP rating: Weather resistant
Charging: USB, type C
Wi-Fi (Streaming, Gallery and Controls): iOS and Android
3D Accelerometer/3D Gyroscope: Yes
Smooth zoom: Yes
Night vision mode: Yes
Micro SD card: 4 to 64 Gb
IR illuminator: Built-in
Battery life (Li-ion): 15-plus hours
Distributor: Outdoor Sporting Agencies