Home Optics Night Vision Review: Armasight Spark CORE

Review: Armasight Spark CORE

Armasight Spark Core

Outdoor Empire pick for best NV monocular for the money.

The Armasight Spark CORE is aiming to bring night vision to the masses.

Most high-quality night vision devices are quite expensive. The Armasight Spark CORE stands apart from these devices by affordably retailing it while providing a surprisingly clear picture.

 

CORE Technology

It is categorized as Generation 1 because it does not contain a microchannel plate. But it brings it to the very brink of Gen 1 technology. Its Ceramic Optical Ruggedized Engine, also termed as CORE, is the unit’s image intensifier tube.

What sets the Spark CORE apart is the fact that it doesn’t use glass in its tubes. Instead, it uses a blend of ceramic fused with metal alloy as lenses. This is the same technology used to build the clearer Generation 2 and 3 designs.

What it specifically does is increase the total resolution of the optic. Your average Gen 1 monocular has a resolution of 35 lp/mm. But the Spark CORE doubled that with its 60-70 lp/mm resolution.

Gen 1 tubes often have edge distortion. Usually while looking through the tube, there is a clear picture at the center with distortion around the edges of the lens.

The CORE technology removes almost all of this edge distortion, with only a slight distortion being noticeable.

 

Specifications

The Spark CORE is not a magnified optic and can be used as a helmet-mounted system. With optional adapters, it can be attached to a rifle although it is not a rifle scope and it needs something like an ACOG or Aimpoint to provide a reticle.

The device is also very light so using it on a helmet or HALO mount is comfortable. The system runs off a single CR123 which helps reduce the size and provides up to 40 hours of battery life.

40 hours isn’t too bad of a battery life, but using the integral IR illuminator drains the battery faster. The IR illuminator is a small unit that is useful when using the monocular to see and move at the same time.

A more powerful IR illuminator paired with an optional threaded 3 or 5 power magnifier turns the monocular into a more suitable long range observation unit.

The Spark can also be paired with a digital camera to take pictures. Just don’t leave the flash on. Digiscoping is possible with an adapter provided by Armasight, and it’s easy to do it with a simple point and shoot digital camera.

Magnification: 1x (3x to 5x optional)
Resolution: 60 – 70 lp/mm
Eye Relief: 20mm
Weight: 14.4 oz
Battery Life: 40 hours
Field of View: 35 degrees

 

Comparison to Similar Products

ProductArmasight Spark CORE
Armasight Spark CORE

Night Optics Guardian
Night Optics Guardian

Pulsar Challenger
Pulsar Challenger

Resolution60-70 lp/mm40 lp/mm min42 lpm
Magnification1x standard (3x to 5x optional)1x1x
Angular Field of View 35°40°36°
Weight14.4 oz13 oz10.6 oz
Battery LifeUp to 40 hours30 hoursNot indicated by manufacturer.
Cost$$$$$$

 

Night Optics Guardian

Night Optics Guardian

The Night Optics Guardian is another unit that attempts to bring Gen 1 device into the modern day.

  • It has an impressive recognition range of 330 feet but still slightly falls short of the Spark.
  • The resolution has a max clarity of 40 lp/mm that noticeably affects the resolution difference.
  • Weather resistant
  • Comes with an integral IR illuminator
  • Compatible with cameras and camcorders

The Guardian has a 40-degree  angular field of view that is 5 degrees wider than the Spark. The Guardian and the Spark are almost identical in price as well.

 

Pulsar Challenger 

 

Pulsar Challenger

 

The Pulsar Challenger is a slightly affordable option for Gen 1 night vision.

  • It uses their proprietary CF-Super Image Intensifier tube which eradicates image distortion around the edges of the lens.
  • Uses an excellent 30 mW IR illuminator.

This presents a noticeable difference between the Spark and Challenger.

The Challenger is still limited to its 42 lp/mm, giving the Spark a massive resolution advantage. The Challenger is a little smaller and a little lighter too. The main advantage is its readiness for a tripod mount.

For the same price as the Spark, it can include a headgear for comfortable wearing.

 

Rating the Armasight Spark CORE

This is based on a 1 to 5 stars rating.

Clarity

three star rating

60-70 lp/mm is quite impressive for a Gen 1 optic and for the price, the resolution is amazing. The problem is, you still meet the same Gen 1 clarity issues — the picture has edge distortion.

An IR illuminator is needed with anything less than a full moon or close to a full moon. Looking through windows is difficult unless the inside or outside is well lit. It’s not a bad picture but it definitely can’t replace a Gen 3 optic. 3 stars for its clarity.

 

Ease of Use

four star rating

As a beginner’s night vision system, everything about it is easy to use. The controls are simple, focusing is easy, and turning the IR illuminator on and off is simple. Overall, it is comfortable to use even when it’s mounted to a helmet and right in front of your eye.

A point was docked because the battery port faces outwards and is difficult to access while it’s worn and while it’s mounted to a rifle. 4 stars for its ease of use.

 

Versatility

four star rating

The unit is adaptable and versatile to a variety of needs.

It can be easily mounted to a helmet, a rifle, or used to digiscope with a camera. It can utilize a 3- or 5-power lenses to increase magnification. Attaching a powerful IR light is also possible. 4 stars for it being versatile.

 

Summary

The Armasight Spark CORE received an overall rating of 3.7 stars.

If you are just getting into night vision and looking for an affordable unit to do so, this model is one of the best choices. It allows you to see what night vision can do and lets you experiment with it in various ways.

It can be used for hunting, surveillance, nature observation, shooting, and even home security.

 

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Clarity
Ease of Use
Versatility
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Travis Pike
Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record setting 11 months at sea. He’s trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines and the Afghan National Army. He serves as an NRA certified pistol instructor and teaches concealed carry classes

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