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Equinox Z series provides cops with affordable night vision solution

The units are ruggedized, water resistant and small enough to be carried in a patrol bag


Let’s face it: Sometimes the patrol officer doesn’t get the same cool kit as officers on special teams like SWAT. Occasionally, the officer on regular patrol needs a night vision device. The Bushnell Equinox Z 4.5 x40mm digital night vision scope/camera is reasonably priced and very portable. 

The Equinox Z series are IR units that use advanced digital technology for low light and total darkness vision. The units have a built-in illuminator and three LCD brightness settings for best ambient light conditions. The units are ruggedized, water resistant and small enough to be carried in a patrol bag. There are three models in the Equinox Z series: 3x30, 4.5x40 and 6x50. I picked the 4.5x 40mm product because it has video capture and the best form factor of the three. 

I know the Equinox Z 4.5 x40mm is a consumer grade night vision device, but the image quality of this unit and zoom capability make previous (and similar) products look like toys. The digital processing allows for brighter light viewing in full color and night illuminated mages in crisp black and white. 

The units are ruggedized, water resistant and small enough to be carried in a patrol bag. (Photo courtesy Bushnell)
The units are ruggedized, water resistant and small enough to be carried in a patrol bag. (Photo courtesy Bushnell)

For users who have not used this type of imager, it has advantages and disadvantages. Foremost, images are crisper than thermal imaging and one can resolve details well, especially at distance. The technology of the Equinox Z allows it to be assisted by active illumination. Thermal can see past camouflage, light cover and smoke. However, with the Equinox Z 4.5 x40mm, I can read a poorly lit label. 

Bushnell uses clear optics for the Equinox Z 4.5 x40mm and it does something that mitigates one of the chief complaints about night vision: one can see in the dark a long ways. In fact, the combined 4.5x magnification gives the officer the ability to scan from a perimeter, a likely application of the product. 

I cannot say enough about the quality of the image and the versatility of this product. With many night vision products, the user often can’t view through reflective surfaces, or resolve interference like a screen door, in the intermediate range of the view. For example, let’s say the officer has a window or reflective surface like a bus stop between them and their desired view. With lesser products, the image cannot be easily resolved. With the Equinox Z 4.5 x40mm, there is definitely an optical advantage. 

I found the viewfinder was a little brighter than expected, especially since the 4xAA cells lasted much longer than expected. In fact, it’s a bit too bright, even at its lowest setting. 

The viewfinder uses a soft compound rubber against the eye. In fact, the soft rubber surrounds the whole unit. The optics are recessed enough for a reasonable level of protection. The unit is water resistant enough to survive wet weather. The switches are intuitive and recessed against accidental activation. 

For a reasonably priced night vision optic (the three models run MSRP $299-$399), this product delivers great value. 

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