In my previous post (Gen 2 is the new Gen 3) I expressed my opinion of Gen 2 Photonis image intensifier tubes. To sum it up, I stated my opinion that they are not as good as USA made Gen 3 tubes whether Harris (ITT) or L3. This was mainly due to my experience with older Gen 2 devices but also based on what I had been told by industry people.
Because Photonis makes several types of tubes with different grades of performance, I'll specifically explain the ones in question. The two of most importance in relation to Gen 3 are the Intens and Echo. Intens is the top of the line which are used for military applications just like Gen 3. Echo are Intens "fallout" tubes that fail to meet the military specifications requirements for any number of reasons. This doesn't mean that anything is wrong with them or that they don't function well. They just didn't meet one or more of the requirements which could be spots, resolution, etc.
Echo tubes are the same as Intens tubes. They come from the same production. It's exactly the same way Harris and L3 operate. They make image intensifier tubes for military applications and tubes that fail to meet Milspec are sold commercially. Civilians can buy Intens and Milspec L3/Harris tubes but those demand a higher premium price compared to Echo or commercial Harris/L3 tubes.
I saw recent pictures taken with Photonis Echo tubes and I was very impressed. On a popular night vision forum there were heated exchanges regarding Echo vs L3 vs Harris with some answers more akin to "he said she said".
So, I decided to man up and just get one to see for myself. I really don't like giving opinions, advice, etc. without having my own firsthand knowledge. I'm of the firm belief that you don't know something until YOU know it for yourself. Being told doesn't count and means shit.
I ordered it from Robert at JRH Enterprises (www.jrhenterprises.com) who was in the middle of the Echo web forum fight. He openly lists the important specs (Resolution & Signal to Noise Ratio) of the Echos he's sold, which were impressive, so I felt it best to get a unit from him, as from somewhere else it's possible the specs could be different based on where the tubes are sourced from. I wanted to specifically see the Echos Robert was referencing. He can sell you a device with whatever tube that floats your boat inside not just Photonis Echos. Surprisingly, the Echo came with the Night Vision Devices 10 year warranty. I honestly wasn't expecting that.
Our next video coming up will be a review video on this PVS-14 with Photonis Echo tube I purchased from JRH Enterprises. I'm not going to give any spoilers because the video isn't up yet but I will let this picture taken on a moonless night in very dark conditions through the eyepiece of the Photonis Echo speak for itself.