If you are looking for an inexpensive pair of night vision binoculars, the Sightmark SM15070 is one of the cheapest around.
These are entry-level Gen 1 binoculars designed mostly for hobbyist applications such as ghost hunting, MilSim games, and night hiking.
The binoculars provide a pretty good view on a quarter to full moon night with a range of about 87 yards. On moonless nights, you can use the integrated IR illuminator to see around.
The binoculars come with an ergonomic head mount. You can also attach them to a helmet using a rhino mount (not included).
Read on for our full review.
If you are looking for higher-performance night vision binoculars for more demanding outdoor applications, read our reviews of the best night vision goggles for other recommendations.
Sightmark SM15070 Noteworthy Features
30 lines/mm Resolution
A resolution of 30 lines per mm is on the lower end compared to other night vision goggles, even those within the Gen 1 classification.
Most Gen 1 devices offer at least 35 lines per mm.
The lower resolution is why we recommend these binoculars mostly for hobbyist applications like ghost hunting.
If you are looking for a night vision binocular for hunting, security,or other intensive applications where image quality is essential, look for a more capable alternative.
You can detect a human-sized object from about 87 yards away. But it won’t be a clear image.
The clearest you can see someone is when they are about 50-75 feet away. Beyond that, it’s just some hazy outlines.
Again, only get these for fun and hobbies, not for applications like hunting where long range is important.
Integrated IR Illuminator
Unlike thermal scopes, night vision binoculars require some ambient light to produce a brighter image. It can be from the moon, stars, or artificial light sources.
But it doesn’t become useless on completely dark nights. The binoculars can also use invisible infrared light to create a visible image.
You can turn on a built-in IR illuminator that sends light out, which the image intensifier tubes in the binoculars then collect.
Note that you’ll experience a shorter detection range when using the IR illuminator.
72 Hours Battery Life
Without the IR illuminator on, the two AAA batteries can last through 72 hours of continuous use.
Considering that you’ll probably be using them for just a few hours at a time, the batteries can last for days or weeks.
With the IR illuminator turned on, battery life drops to 20 hours.
In reality, you’ll get a battery life somewhere between those two figures since you’ll sometimes be using the binoculars with the illuminator on and other times with it turned off.
Just make sure you don’t forget to turn the illuminator off when you are done using it to avoid draining the battery.
You can hold these binoculars in your hand if you want. But if you prefer to have your hands free to hold something else, you can attach them on the included head mount.
If you have a helmet, you can also attach them to it though you’ll need a compatible rhino mount.
The binoculars are lightweight, so they feel comfortable whether you choose to hold them in your hands or mount them on your head.
In fact, they are some of the lightest night vision binoculars we’ve seen, weighing just 0.8lbs.
Sightmark SM15070 Limitations
Sightmark SM15070 night vision binoculars have limited performance overall.
The image is not very sharp or detailed, there’s some blurring around the edges similar to other Gen 1 devices, and the range is fairly short.
As I mentioned, look for a more capable pair of night vision binoculars if you plan to use them for hunting, security, or wildlife observations.
- Resolution: 30 lines/mm
- Detection range: 87 yards
- Magnification: 1x
- Weight: 0.8lbs
- Type: Gen 1
- Battery life: 72 hours without IR, 20 hours with IR
Despite their limitations, the 72 hours w/o IR, Sightmark SM15070 night vision binoculars are a great choice for ghost hunters and other fun-seekers looking for a cheap pair of night vision goggles.
If your hobby involves observing short to medium range targets (no more than 100 feet), these binoculars are a good bargain.