Mini vs. D-300 optics

Customer Reviews of Night Vision Equipment

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Mini vs. D-300 optics

Postby fkalich » Tue Jan 03, 2006 12:32 am

I have pretty much concluded that the Mini-14 has superior optics to the D-300. I know that both are military spec, and the specs look similar. The mini lens is 1mm wider, both are f1.2 (whatever that means.) However I now have a new tube in my D-300, with a little better specs than the Mini-14 tube. Not a lot better, 30 vs 28 s/n, etc. Just a little better, probably not of consequence. However the Mini still is superior in view. Brighter, better clarity. Now I have found that the design of the D-300 makes the difference seem more pronounced that it really is unless you notice something. The D-300 has a much thicker rubbber eye piece. Unless you really make an effort to smoosh your eye against the D-300 eye piece you will naturally have a distance of maybe 1/2 inch greater from your eye to lens, than you will naturally have with your Mini (which has a very light rubble eye piece that you just naturally colapse you eye against). That half inch or so of added distance really takes some brightness and clarity away. Still even if you do make the effort (as I do now) to smoosh your eye hard against the D-300 rubber eye piece, the Mini still has noticably has better clarity and brightness. You get more of the "clear window pane" view with the mini, and also better definition. Not that the D-300 is bad, I am just saying that the Mini is clearly superior. I just read a license plate from a distance. I could not quite make it out with the D-300. I could make it out with my Mini. Does anyone disagree me me that the lenses of the Mini are clearly superior in the view they provide to those of the D-300? I remember that the recognition and detection ranges listed for the Mini are 50 yards greater than those of the D-300. I think that I may be noticing the difference more now, even with the better spec tube in the D-300, because my earlier D-300 tube had quite a bit of the hex pattern noise. This new tube has just about none of that, which is real nice :) . I think with that hex pattern gone I am more noticing of the difference in quality between the optics of the two scopes. I have found that you have to be very careful in making evaluations unless you are looking side by side. Even there you have to be careful, you may have some inconsistencies that blow by you and mislead you in your evaluation. My favorite criteria now is "can I walk with the focus set maybe 30 or 40 yards ahead and still see clear enough close up to walk without tripping". That really means "can I set the focus at a setting that really works ok both at a distance and close up, and not have to be messing with it all the time?" That is a pretty objective criteria, you know if you can't to that because you will trip and fall on your ***. That is pretty objective. I can do that with both my scopes now (I don't think I really could with my earlier D-300 tube with 25 s/n). Still, I am of the opinion now that the Mini is simply superior in Optics, and you have to have quite a bit better of a tube in a D-300 to make up for the superiority in optics of a Mini. Or so it seems to me. Feel free to disagree.
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Postby Michael » Tue Jan 03, 2006 10:44 am


Nothing to disagree about :) The D-300 uses mil.spec. optics produced for the AN/PVS-5 goggle (not outdated, but a much older design, compared to MiNi). The MiNi-14 IS the latest and greatest design currently available (in my opinion anyway :) )
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I don't doubt it, nearly crystal clear view on mini

Postby fkalich » Thu Jan 05, 2006 11:28 pm

Now as I mentioned in my above ramblings, in my opinion the rubber eye piece on the D-300 is overly substantial in size and thickness. I have been rolling back the left and right rubber points and resting my eye on the circular rubber surface that is exposed when you do that. The larger point rolls back easily, the smaller one will hold after you do this for awhile. This gets your eye closer to the lens, and you get some of that crystal clear clarity (although not fully, the Mini has superior optics). The light is still shut out on the sides, and you still have protection for the lens so this works well. Another issue is that while the Mini rubber has little holes in it, the D-300 does not. The D-300 is much more likely to fog, and I attribute that to not having that ventilation. When I roll back the two eye tips, you get better ventilation.
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Postby pathfinder » Fri Jan 06, 2006 4:57 am

I found that wearing ANY monocular/google for a prolonged period of time causes it to fog with or without holes in the eyecup. Even with the demist shields on, my PVS-14 had condensation dripping from the demist shield after 5 hrs of straight wear. A better solution mentioned by fkalich is to fold back the eyecup; and maintain a slight gap between the eye and the eyepiece.
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see my other post dated March 21, 2006

Postby fkalich » Thu Mar 23, 2006 12:15 pm

This is a follow up, at the time I wrote this early post, I had not realized that the lens on my upgraded D-300 was out of alignment. When I wrote this earlier post I was trying my best, to love my D-300, but having a hard time doing so. After having the lens aligned, I find the D-300 easy to love with little effort on my part.

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Postby tman » Fri Jun 23, 2006 10:26 am

The mini14 is a great mono and it's optics are super clear. Of all the night vision I owned over the years witrh 1 x lens the mini is the clearest image I have seen. Mine didn't even really have that hot of a tube it was a basic 64lp/mm 21 Sn 1900+ photo not real high numbers but a great unit. My D300 had a hot thin filmed 25sn 2200+ photo 64lp/mm and it produced a brighter image but was not crystal clear like the mini for what ever reason. I still say the d300 is the best unit I ever bought for it's cost. Very flexable with many different mounts and task and priced hundreds below the PSV14 and mini 14 which do offer alittle more performance but you pay for it in cash. Here is a pic of my mini 14, D300, and 443 all thin filmed gen 3 units . And a pic shot through the mini 14 with 1 x lens in the back yard.
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