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Pulsar RECON 550R Digital Night Vision Monocular

Pulsar RECON 550R Digital Night Vision Monocular

Though digital NV observation devices have been around for some time, the success of the Pulsar N550 rifle scope has shown us that this technology is gaining momentum. Using a CCD (Charge Coupled Device) chip to create the image means they cost far less than a comparable tubed unit and they are lighter too.

The 550R is one of eight models in the RECON range of handheld NOD (night observation devices). All models are classed by a three digit number referring to magnification and size of objective lens.  But certain units offer more, with an integrated digital video recorder with SD cards and an enhanced, high sensitivity CCD array and SUM LIGHT signal processing program. This ensures better resolution and a greater viewing range.

Kit Check

All models come in a carry case with shoulder strap, (out/in video plug and SD cards for certain models) and they can also be bought as kits. This includes a higher power IR illuminator with Weaver base that attaches to a short run of integral rail. There’s an optional tripod bracket so it doesn’t interfere if you want to use any units with an extra IR fitted.

Measuring 176 X 83 X 62mm the RECON 550R is relatively compact, lightweight with a superb image quality. There are four working display modes that are chosen using the pressure pad button arrangement on the top of the rubberised casing. All switches are well sized and marked as to their functions. The one closest to the eyepiece is the ON/OFF, then you have three set further forward, two to the left of the main. One operates the onboard (805nM illuminator) and another two ‘mode’ pads are positioned at the front, side-by-side.

Ease of Use

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To the right is the rheostat wheel, its serrated outer edge makes it easy to use. Power comes from 4 X AA alkaline batteries housed at the rear. Being digital it matters not if the objective lens cap is on as this type of NV is not harmed by daylight. However, there is an automatic safety cut-out to stop internal damage. Once switched on a green LED lights up at the rear, which turns red if the batteries are low.

Like all NV you need to adjust both eyepiece and objective focus until a sharp/clear image is obtained. I did this in daylight, and like similar units you get an oblong sight picture, in the dark, as soon as you switch the IR on it becomes circular. When changing range turn the objective housing in conjunction with the rheostat. Don’t adjust the eyepiece as it’s now set for your eye, though the rubber shade can be moved independently to suit.

In good ambient light you get a good image even without the IR at sensible ranges. You are able to transmit images viewed to an external LCD monitor and soon get the hang of operating the video camera mode. Thankfully the instruction booklet is very comprehensive.

Black & White and…

The digital monochrome image can be changed using the button set forward of the IR. One touch enhances the colour contrast, a second and it changes the sight picture to green and a third to red! This doesn’t affect range and is very clear. Red is recommended to reduce eye-strain for prolonged observation, which is a real breakthrough!

Personally, I’d purchase a non-recordable version, as I just want to see what’s going on, but you might feel different. I’d presume most hunters would do the same. Unfortunately, I didn’t get chance to use the latest 808nm illuminator but those who have say it’s an incredible boost.

The RECON range has lots of uses from hunting to anti-poacher patrols, so I recon there’s a model to suit your needs.

For: All the advantages of digital NV in a practical package
Against: Not a lot
Verdict: A well-priced and effective NOD

PRICE: £589.95

  • Pulsar RECON 550R Digital Night Vision Monocular - image {image:count}

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  • Pulsar RECON 550R Digital Night Vision Monocular - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Pulsar RECON 550R Digital Night Vision Monocular - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Pulsar RECON 550R Digital Night Vision Monocular - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Pulsar RECON 550R Digital Night Vision Monocular - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

gun
features

  • Model : Pulsar RECON 550R
  • Magnification : 4X
  • Maximum detection range without extra external IR : (Approximation) 250m
  • Run Time : (Approximation) 5.5hr
  • FOV : 5.5°
  • Weight : 430g

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