Ouch.. Five months of waiting and high hopes of getting the Mod 3 binocular before my trip to Colorado, and at the last minute, a snag.
On final inspection, the vendor noticed that he could see a pattern in the screen of one tubes that showed up under brighter skies. Knowing that I am going to be using it for astronomy, the vendor contacted me and offered to ship it to me anyway and exchange it when the new tubes arrive, but i suggested that it would be better for me to wait on the next shipment of tubes than to use the tube with the pattern. As long as I have waited, I did not want to vendor to suffer the loss of profit from having to turn this new tube into a used tube when it might be fine for someone using it in other applications. As it was, he said it was difficult to see, but knowing my particular application, he just decided to not risk shipping it.
Ok, the Mod 3 though is a binocular that converts into two monoculars, and while I can''t get the complete binocular, after the decision was made to not ship the binocular with the tube showing the pattern, we both agreed that there was no reason not to go ahead and ship one of the monoculars and I am excited to say that it arrived today!
The Mod 3 has been around a while, but the previous versions used the PVS-14 style or ANVIS aircraft style objective lens and these lenses are not easily removed in the field to convert to telescope use. I contacted Adam Baker at ABNightvision several months ago and asked if he had a plan to produce the Mod 3 in C mount, and while he indicated that he had thought about it, it was back burner stuff.
I asked them to contact me though if they got around to making it in C mount, and about 8 weeks ago, I got the word that production had started.
As a stand alone monocular, the price will be higher than would be the case with a Micro and the package, while still small enough to fit in a jacket pocket is just enough larger than the Micro that the Micro is still (in my own mind) the undisputed champ of portability.
On the other hand, for someone using this in urban conditions, the Mod 3 can be (optionally and more expensively) fitted with manual gain, and this makes it kind of unusual in having both manual gain capability and C mount The Micro can be used with the CCTV lens in urban conditions and here, the aperture ring can kind of substitute for gain control to supress glare and while the mechanisms are different.
Who should buy the Mod 3 C instead of the Micro? Well, if you think that buying a Micro is expensive, then I doubt that a binocular is in your future. If you think you need manual gain, then the Mod 3 C might be of interest.
The real target market for the Mod-3 C to me is the person that already has NV and knows that they love it, but wants to move from a PVS-7 for low power work to a true binocular. Here, they can work their way up by adding the pieces as the go along. If they start with the Mod 3 C as a pod, they can add the second Pod in the future, or even just accullate the parts a little at a time and save the tube purchase for last but still be getting the benefit of the monocular along the way.
This one has manual gain, and the tube is an L3 Filmless White Phosphor.
The device is heavier and bulkier than the Micro and while in absolute terms, the difference may be small, but to the hand, the Mod 3 feels much bulkier. While the Micro could be shirt pocket carried, this one is maybe just past that limit, but jacket pocket and around the neck are both about the same. The Micro is the Micro though, and in my mind, the Micro still reins supreme to me as the ultimate in Grab and Go in terms of size and weight. Here are pics of each in the hand for size comparison... The manual gain control adds kind of a big nodule on the top of the housing and the power supply has to contain the space for the contacts and dovetail. Again, while the difference in size is not great, when the small and petite package of the Micro is compared in the hand, no one would mistake them in a blindfold test. The difference in size and weight is quite immediately apparent. Not that the Mod 3 pod is "big and bulky" in absolute terms,, but when comparing small things, one has to be relative to the size domain involved.
If I were not going for gain control and a binoviewer upgrade, I would not have left the Micro. I loved my micro. The only reason I sold it was to move to a true binocular and I have missed not having the Micro. It was so small and so light that I thought nothing of taking it with me whenever I stepped out of the house at night. It would fit in a pant pocket. The Mod 3 though is just just just a midge to big to do this in anything but shorts or pants with a loose fit.
I know I may be over-stating the importance of this, but I could put the Micro even in a Jean pocket and that meant it went everywhere I did at night...
And once get the ability to see in the dark, you don't like being without it..
Fit and finish are excellent. The Mod 3 uses a dovetailed power pack to run the device when it is demounted from the binocular bridge and fit on this is tight and free of slop. It is easy to demount from the binocular frame by a plunger type lock, and it is removed from the battery pack the same way. The latch is on the battery pack or the bridge an not on the tube housing.
Objective in in this case ENVIS or whatever C mount lens desired, and the eyepiece is the all glass optics type used on the Micro or PVS-14.
Have not tried it under the stars, but the dark room test showed the crisp, clear monocular view of the Micro ULT. Not that the crispness and clarity of a Monocular is so much better than a PVS-7 that it is worth using one eye to get, but it does to my eye, appear to have a crispness and clarity that none of the PVS-7 I owned could quite match.
The L3 filmless tube worked great in my not so dark dark room, but in this rather bright setting, any difference between this and the Micro ULT (from memory) was not apparent though under the dark sky, things may of course be different. .
As to the color... Not white on a pure white ceiling. Kind of a bluish cast.. I suspect stars will appear white, but a full scene view is a very slight pale blue cast and a flat white ceiling is not flat white in the view.
We are under haze and clouds a lot, but there is usually a break here and there, and I hope to get it out tonight and post my half a binocular impressions tomorrow.
Edited by Eddgie, 19 July 2016 - 02:14 PM.