If you are hunting for an affordable but effective night vision scope, then the Sightmark Photon XT is an excellent option to look at. The Photon XT is a digital night vision scope that’s priced below 500 dollars. Obviously at this price some concessions must be made. When you take the price into effect the Photon XT is an impressive optic.
The Photon doesn’t have the sharpest clarity with its 38 lp/mm but you don’t expect it to. At this price you wouldn’t expect much but the Photon surprises you on occasion. LP/MM isn’t everything; the optic uses all glass lenses which greatly reduces distortion. The bright LCD screen does give a good, easy to see picture as well.
The Sightmark Photon XT is a digital model so the view through it is more black and white than green. This is really a personal choice and doesn’t affect function. The optics is very small and compact, so you’re left with a small field of view. You have 22.5 feet at a 100 yards.
The optic is magnified and it gives you an odd but effective 4.6 power magnification. The detection range is 120 yards, and the optic does have a built in IR illuminator. One of the advantages of digital night vision is the ability to connect it to a video output, and the Photon allows this. For an affordable optic it is pretty well made. It has waterproof rating of IPX4 which means it’s weatherproof. The Photon is remarkably skinny and weighs only 1.4 pounds!
Clarity 2 out of 5
This rating has a lot to struggle with. Stacked against Gen 3 and even Gen 2+ optics it has to fight to breathe. The LP/MM is 38, so it isn’t a high definition picture. However, the glass lenses do what they can to help give you a decent picture. For close range target shooting this is a great optic. It’s great for plinking and having fun, but I wouldn’t use it tactically or for hunting anything besides pests.
Ergonomics 4 out of 5
While the optic lacks anything that’s super fancy it is straightforward and easy to use. The Photon weighs a mere 1.4 pounds and its size is the equivalent of a typically day time scope. The LCD display is crystal clear and quite bright. The biggest knock is the 4 to 5 hour run time.
Features 2 out of 5
The Sightmark is an affordable optic and that usually means you have to give up some features. It does have a built in IR illuminator and it comes with a video output cable with case and lens cloth.