SightMark Ghost Hunter Review

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Do you want to pick a dependable night vision device at an affordable price?

If so, you’re in the right place.

As a hunter, having a night vision binocular in your arsenal can be a real gamechanger. However, the high price tag of night vision devices is often discouraging.

Enter the Sightmark Ghost Hunter 4×50 night vision monocular. A dependable performer that offers night vision at an affordable price. 

Sightmark has designed it specifically for budget-conscious hunters who still need the best performance.

Check this out: it has a good quality photocathode, good detection range, solid battery life, and much more.

Like everything else, it’s not perfect. The image quality doesn’t offer the high level of detailing that many users seek.

And after testing the features, we will tell you all about it in this Sightmark ghost hunter review. In addition, we will add a few more details to help you pick the right monocular.

So does the Sightmark ghost hunter monocular offer the right value?

Keep reading to find out.

Sightmark Ghost Hunter 4×50

Sightmark Ghost Hunter 4x50

Features

  • S25 multi-alkaline photocathode
  • 180-meter detection range
  • 4x magnification
  • Resolution of 36 lines per mm
  • 50mm objective lens
  • 12 mm eye relief
  • 75 mW IR illuminator power
  • -20 to 40-degree Centigrade operating temperatures

Pros

  • A rugged design
  • Automatic shut-off feature
  • Multicoated optics
  • 72 hour battery operating time
  • Affordable price

Cons

  • Image quality isn’t the best
  • The focusing mechanism isn’t smooth
  • Not best for professional hunters

Pros and cons of a Night Vision Monocular

Buying a monocular for the first time?

Thought so.

Before buying, you might want to know about the specialties of the device.

A common notion is- a monocular is half of a binocular. But there is more to them than that.

In reality, monoculars have many advantages, including good portability and lightweight build.

They are also extremely versatile and can be used for a wide range of activities. These include hunting, surveillance, birding, and even astronomy. The other thing is, it leaves one of your eyes free to examine the surroundings.

But I’m jumping ahead. Here’s a detailed look at the pros and cons.

Advantages

  • They are compact hand-held devices and offer great portability
  • They can even be mounted on the head or on a weapon with attachments
  • They allow you to preserve the night vision in one eye. This helps in moving around in the darkness.
  • They are a good option when you don’t want to keep an object under constant observation
  • They are cheaper than binoculars and can offer the same levels of magnification

Disadvantages

  • It takes time to get used to viewing through monoculars with both eyes open.
  • They offer less relaxed vision and can result in eye fatigue 
  • They can result in decreased depth perception while viewing
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Things to Consider Before Buying a Night Vision Monocular

As with all devices, you need to keep in mind a few points before picking a monocular. Here’s a look at them.

  • The first thing is making sure that you choose a monocular that matches your requirements. Consider the environment in which you will be using it and the range that is needed.
  • Balancing the magnification with the objective lens diameter is important. For example, with the Sightmark Ghost Hunter 4×50, the magnification is 4x and the objective lens diameter is 50mm. 
  • Field of view or the FOV is the total area that you can view with the scope while keeping the frame fixed. It can vary between 10 degrees to 40 degrees depending on the instrument. With lower magnification levels, you get a better field of view.
  • Image quality is another important factor that needs to be taken into account. A higher mage quality will provide more detail even in complete darkness. However, better image quality will also increase the price of the device.
  • The next thing is the detection range. For long-range viewing, you need to pick a monocular with a higher detection range.
  • Most affordable night vision devices are not designed for rough use. Still, it’s best to pick a device with high durability levels that can be used outdoors without any restriction.
  • The last thing is the price. The overall optical performance of the device and the features depend on the price tag. If you are looking for the best clarity and sharpness levels at longer distances, you’ll need to spend more.

Why Should You Consider the Sightmark ghost hunter 4×50 monocular?

I’ve to admit that the term ‘ghost hunter’ does sound cool. Beyond that, they are a compact and reliable option for medium-range observation.

Sightmark is well-known for its top-notch design features and great performance. They also use state-of-the-art optics in all their products designed for outdoor use.

So what it’s all about? 

Let’s take a closer look.

A Durable Build Quality

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The Sightmark ghost hunter is built from a durable polymer that makes it lightweight. There’s also double glass filling for better performance.

Even though there’s no metal present here, the device feels solidly built.

It should withstand knocks and bumps without any issues. Still, as with all other optical devices, it’s best to handle it with the right amount of care.

The overall design is somewhat low-profile but great for one-handed use. The position of the buttons is within easy reach. That makes the unit ergonomic.

In addition to that, the monocular also has an IPX3 rating. That means it can survive water sprays from angles up to 60° when measured from the vertical axis.

The operating temperature range is between -20 to 40 degrees Centigrade. You won’t be heading out with this unit for a hot desert, but for most users, the range is good enough.

What about portability?

Here are the dimensions- 7.28 x 2.36 x 3.27 inches. With the batteries, the unit weighs 14.1 oz. That makes it light enough for carrying in your backpack.

It turns out, the unit also comes with a 1/4” socket for mounting on a tripod.

On the downside, the eye relief is 12 mm. Considering that 15 to 16 mm of eye relief is the optimum, this is on the lower side.

Also, Some users had problems with the focusing ring. With time, the ring might get loose and fail to hold on to sharp focus.

We also took feedback from a few long-term users. They were satisfied with the overall durability of the device.

Generation 1 Imaging Technology

The simple truth is, this Sightmark ghost hunter night vision monocular is a Generation 1 device. It has a EP33-U tube and a S25 multi-alkaline photocathode for image generation.

Needless to say, the devices of this generation use the oldest form of night vision technology. However, there isn’t a specific standard for Generation 1 devices and the quality varies from one product to another.

So if you’re looking for the latest night vision technology, look elsewhere.

How’s the performance?

That depends on your requirements. If you are looking for short-range observation on a half-moon night, the performance is pretty good.

The EP33-U tube is a single chamber device that uses an electrostatic focusing system. Combined with the S25 multi-alkaline photocathode, it delivers reduced distortion and better image resolution.

However, the image resolution is limited to 36 lines per mm. Frankly, it’s not the best that you’ll find. Generation 2 and Generation 3 night vision devices offer much higher resolutions.

Actually, they use Gallium-Arsenide (GaAs) or a Gallium-Arsenide-Phosphide (GaAsP) photo-cathodes that offer much better performance.

Sightmark claims the range to be 180 meters. On dark nights, the Sightmark ghost hunter night vision will struggle to deliver clear images at that range.

Still, you can expect grain-free images at 100 to 120 meters.

At this price point, we felt the image quality to be good enough for the average user.

Superior IR Illuminator

Now, the IR Illuminator is one thing that enhances the overall performance of a night vision device. 

Basically, all night vision devices need some amount of ambient light to generate an image. In the absence of ambient light,  infrared light can do the job.

If you don’t know this already, the IR illuminator emits infrared light. Infrared has longer wavelengths than visible light and acts as an additional light source for these devices.

The Sightmark ghost hunter 4×50 comes with an integral  75 mW IR illuminator. The emitted wavelength is 75 mW.

What about the performance?

Once switched on, the illuminator does a good job of delivering a bright and vivid image. The objects with 80 to 90 meters are sharply visible and the image is free from blemishes.

The performance falls when you stretch the range close to the 180-meter limit. But that’s expected from a Generation 1 device.

Keep in mind that the IR light isn’t invisible. It can be seen from a distance of 25 to 30 meters.

Great Battery Life

Undoubtedly, battery life is one area where the Sightmark ghost hunter 4×50 shines. As the monocular lacks any fancy features, the battery life gets extended.

The battery life without the use of an Illuminator is close to 70 hours. Quite simply, that’s one of the best in this category.

With the use of IR, you’ll get close to 18 hours of run time.

Don’t expect a rechargeable lithium battery though. It runs with 2x AA batteries that make it a versatile choice. The good thing is, with a backup of AA batteries, you can head into any remote terrain for days.

Things to Know About the Sightmark ghost hunter 4×50 Monocular

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Magnification

The device comes with 4x magnification. That won’t give you a detailed view of an object but it doesn’t restrict the field of view by much.

There’s some amount of grain in the image when you use the full magnification on dark nights. So we wouldn’t recommend using it at the highest detection range.

That said, the field of view is 15 degrees ( 26 m at 100 m) which isn’t much. Using the magnification will narrow it down even further. Keep that in mind if you are planning to track animals at night.

Objective Lens

Firstly, the optics in the Sightmark ghost hunter monocular is crafted from high-quality multicoated glass. The result is better image quality.

Next, with a larger objective lens diameter of 50mm, the light transmission is good. So you can expect more detail and better clarity.

Beyond that, the 50mm lens also has a larger exit pupil. That increases the brightness of the images in dark.

So what’s it all mean?

We feel that a 50 mm objective lens is one reason behind the sharp image quality that this monocular delivers.

Warranty

Honestly, it always feels great to have a product backed by a solid warranty. And Sightmark does well in this aspect.

There’s a three-year warranty on the image intensifier tube and a limited lifetime warranty on the monocular housing.

Keep in mind, the warranty will not cover damages caused by improper handling of the device. Modification or maintenance of the device by a third party will also void the warranty. Also, you need to register the product within 30 days of purchase or have proof of purchase.

Automatic cut off

If you’re planning to use the Sightmark ghost hunter 4×50 in bright daylight, don’t. These include powerful flashlights, car headlights, and even the sun.

The point is, accidental bright light exposure can damage the sensitive equipment inside the device. This is especially important in the case of generation 1 devices.

But the good news is, the Sightmark ghost hunter is equipped with a special circuit. It automatically shuts off the device when it’s exposed to bright light.

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FAQs

Do I choose a binocular or a monocular?

The fact of the matter is, just because binoculars come with two viewing tubes, they aren’t always the best choice. The choice will depend on your exact activity. For thoseon a budget, the monocular is definitely the better option. In addition, they are lighter and easy to carry around. But if you need a bigger field of view and minimal eye fatigue, the binocular is a better choice.

Is picking a Generation 1 device worth it?

As we have already mentioned, night vision technology is classified into three generations. The fact of the matter is, Generation 1 isn’t the best or the most advanced. But the thing is, they are more affordable. Also, even with their limited range, they can be quite effective for the average user. Moreover, using a Generation 1 device is better than going without any night vision at all.

How long does a generation 1 night vision device last?

In reality, Generation 1 devices like the Sightmark ghost hunter 4×50 also have a shorter life span. They can last anywhere between 1500 to 1600 hours. In comparison, a Generation 2 device can have a life span of over 5000 hours.

What are some of the other night vision monoculars to check out?

There are quite a few night vision monoculars that are based on different technologies. You can take a look at our detailed review of the same for a better understanding.

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Final Words on Our Sightmark ghost hunter 4×50 Review

Time to sum up the facts about this Sightmark ghost hunter monocular.

What really stands out is the good build quality and the strong battery life. The illuminator has a good range and a large objective lens adds to the image clarity.

The image quality within the limited viewing range is also clear and distinct.

Let’s not forget, that being a Generation 1 device it has a limited range. The field of view isn’t the best either.

Still, the Sightmark ghost hunter 4×50 performs well within its limitations.

Those looking for an affordable night vision device with a reliable performance will find it a competent product. 

In the end, we feel that it offers the right bang for your buck.

The choice is yours.