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Review: PVS-15D 80º WFOV (Not A Pano System)

Updated: Jun 14


PVS-15D

Hello there. Here at Night Chenanigans we take a look at some esoteric night vision. Last week we took a look at a few helmet stands. But today we take a look at a unicorn, the PVS-15D. It is one of the WFOV Foveal Binocular Night Vision Goggle developed by Kent Optronics.

PVS-15D 80º WFOV Night Vision Goggles

Firstly I would like to thank Duncan Greene for letting me check out this unicorn of a night vision goggle system. It was sent to him by a customer to have some work done to it. Here are some photos Duncan sent me.

PVS-15D

PVS-15D

PVS-15D

Take a look at the eyepieces. They do not look like normal PVS-15 occulars.

PVS-15D

Unless you see them upclose they sort of look like PVS-15s.

PVS-15D

Upon closer inspection you will notice the arms for the monocular pods are no longer attached in the middle of the bridge but rather on the back of the bridge. Also the position of the tube has been shifted rearward. There is something going on, optically, with the section between the objective lens and front of the image intensifier.

PVS-15D

PVS-15D
You can see the SAC lenses.

They articulate like regular PVS-15. Take a look at the photo below. See those rubber bumpers bolted to the bottom of the occular? I think those are nose pads for the PVS-15D, since the occular lenses are so much bigger than standard PVS-15 occulars. Also the eye relief is a lot shorter. It is 10-15mm compared to standard carson occulars are 25mm.

PVS-15D

The diopters are aluminum rings with tabs that stick out like a sore thumb.

PVS-15D

You can see the nose pads better in the image below. When the pods swing down together the housing can touch your nose causing discomfort. So the nose pads will cushion the PVS-15D.

What Does 80º WFOV Look Like?

With the short 10-15mm eye relief the PVS-15D looks like you are looking into a key hole. The closer you are the more you can see. The image seems massive in comparison to the normal 40º FOV. The 80º WFOV is not simply a 40º image reduced by 50% with the same overall image size. Something to consider is quad tube panoramic goggles are 40º x 97º WFOV. If you have the Chinese quads, they use 50º FOV optics giving you 50º x 120º WFOV. With 80º WFOV your height and width is 80º. You can see the ground without needing to tilt your head down to scan like you do with 40º FOV nods, even quads need to look down from time to time. Now look at the photo below by Kent Optronics.

PVS-15D

I brought a long my 50º FOV Thales Lucie to compare it to the PVS-15D. Duncan had a 40º FOV monocular with him so I was able to compare all three side by side.

PVS-15D
FOV L-R: 40º, 50º, 80º

I tested the PVS-15D in my driver seat but did not take similar POV photos with my Lucie or the 40º FOV monocular. So I took similar photos at home with the Lucie and a PVS-14. While the image outside the SUV is different, look at how much the dash and steering wheel is visible. Both the 40º FOV and 50º FOV have the gauge cluster outside of my POV. Not the case with the 80º WFOV.

PVS-15D

Final Thoughts On The PVS-15D WFOV

I am very grateful to Duncan for letting me check these out. these are true unicorn status. I talked to some of my friends about the PVS-15D before meeting up with Duncan and they all seemed skeptical about its performance. So I had low expectations. Having seen some bad 50º FOV glass in the past, while the Lucie seems to be the exception. The PVS-15D exceeded my expectations. It performed a lot better than I anticipated. There is a not a lot of distortion and the little that there is, is only at the outer edges of zone 3 at the edge of the image. The occular lenses take getting used to. They are so close to my eyeballs, that I do not think you can wear glasses while using them. Also like the bad 50º FOV occulars I have seen in the past, if the PVS-15D occulars are not centered to your pupil, the image starts to blur.


I have heard some rumors from friends that the original tubes used for this system were 2 micron tubes and allegedly cost around 1 million dollars per tube. I do not know if the tubes inside are those same tubes. I am asking my friends where this information came from. If I find out, I will update this article. Thanks you for reading to the end.

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