L3 Unfilmed WP disappointment

Just got my tube in after 5 months of waiting and I’m...underwhelmed by the specs. My calculation of the FOM is 1888 with an EBI of .5.
There are two visible “pepper” specks in the field of view as well. Are my expectations too high for what should be, IMO, a top of the line tube?



Regular Member
What exactly did you buy? What "grade" was it supposed to be, mil-spec or commercial? Who did you get it from?

Specs are specs; the figure of merit can vary wildly, depending on the individual numbers. How does it look outside, where you intend to use it?

Those spots are no big deal; you won't even see them outside.

I'm sorry you're under-whelmed; wizard eyes usually make me very happy, in a tactical kind of way. I have ten-year old ITT
"Pinnacle" -14's, which are no where near the state of the art, but still work very well.

If you think something's off, you could send them to someone like Ed Wilcox for a physical, and make sure it was assembled correctly, with no greasy fingers on the lenses, or specs of dirt, etc. When there is a rush on this stuff, like theses days, sometimes QC will slip, as the big push is to get this stuff out the door.
This is a milspec tube purchased directly from one of the largest retailers in the industry - I’m reluctant to put them on blast immediately. I’m regularly seeing guys post FOMs well over 2k for less than I paid for this tube. The blemishes, which are clearly visible during use, along with the low SNR and poor HALO have me feeling like I have a lemon.


Id test them against other units with higher and lower specs to see if you can tell a difference. You very likely wont be able to. Are you sure you have the tubes actual spec sheet and not the sheet that just shows the bare minimum to meet milspec?

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Regular Member
Hmmm.... Well if it's "mil-spec" then it meets certain criteria, but lots of tubes surpass that at the time. How does it work outside? Can you take a pic? Lots of "lower spec" tubes look great in the wild. But if you're this upset about it, then talked to them; it's all about what you think, not everyone else.


Regular Member
Why don't you contact your retailer/vendor? There's not alot to be done on this forums with the limited amount of info you have presented. Understanding those two little specs might be on the MCP and still pass QC for ground/aviation use. I have aviation L3 unfilmed tubes with one spec like yours and I've never noticed it in CQB or field environments. Theres a sheet that shows where/how many blems can be in each zone. Did you request certain performance specs or just merely select L3 WP Unfilmed?
After speaking to the vendor the pepper is under the size that would qualify on the bIemish chart. I’m still not thrilled with the fact that it’s there and the overall specs of the tube.


Regular Member
You know that the pepper marks are part of the manufacturing process and its rare that you get tubes that don't have any specs at all. They are obviously going to be visible if you stare at white walls, but I promise when you actually use them for shooting or moving etc, you wont notice them. Out of curiosity, is this a PVS-14?


Regular Member
Well, have you taken them outside and used them in your intended location? That's the kicker right there. If they work, GTG, if not then what's the return policy? You seem really disappointed here. Have you seen other units, talked with other users, or otherwise have a baseline to base your disappointment on, or were you just making some assumptions? Some guys get really wrapped around then axle about the specs, which are important, but if it WORKS, then the problem is they want bragging rights about how cool their tube is. Not saying that's the case here, but you seem awfully disappointed by what should be a very good tube. Can you tell us exactly what the tube you were supposed to get is? Just because it's mil-spec isn't saying much, really. That's a huge range of what's acceptable. You can do much better than that by specifying what you want; in your case you could say hey, I want the cleanest tube you can get, or I want a low halo for work in urban areas, or I want the best resolution for dimly lit rural areas. So I mean what exactly did you think you were buying, and why does it not measure up? I can't understand your level of disappointment in something that should blow my tube out of the water. Not to be a dick, but how much time do you have behind NV? I say that because of all the hype, some people think they are buying Predator eyes, which can magically see through anything, but that's not really the case. They do work really well, in a certain band of light levels, but need additional illum in others. They don't work for shit in heavy fog, rain, heavy forest canopies, caves, etc. So you have to use active illum, which is another kettle of fish. Not trying to be a smart-ass here; I'm really not, but I grew up on cheesy special effects, so when I first looked through NV, I was amazed. You guys (I'm assuming) grew up on pretty fantastic special effects, so when you look through NV, you might be disappointed. I'm just guessing here, but perhaps your expectations were too high? If I'm way off-base, just say so; I'm diagnosing from the internet for cryin' out loud.


I'll add to this: without looking through it, just from your photo, I'd be thrilled at that. It's a very blem-free tube. And I have aviation and video production NV systems around here, so have top-of-the-line comparisons.

Yes, what everyone is saying is that your expectations are apparently unrealistic. Try it out, for real, not on white walls.

And if you want more feedback, share what exactly you were supposed to get. Some of the experts here may be able to explain and guide as to what that should be expected to provide, and what it doesn't.


Regular Member
Yeah I mean not to beat a dead horse here, but, wizard eyes are a definite game-changer, but only if you are already proficient in some things, like night movement with your natural night vision. You need to "patrol" in your night-time environment and be very comfortable moving around in low light before you put on NV. It should not be a crutch you depend on, because you're helpless in the dark, rather an enhancement of the skills you already possess. I have spent a little time out in the woods at night. It takes time to get comfortable out there. NV is definitely nice to enhance the light levels so you can see more out there, but it doesn't replace your awareness of things like sounds and smells which oftentimes alert you way before you "see" anything. So I don't know exactly what you were looking for here; the reality being they are awesome tools that enhance your abilities, but there aren't really "wizard eyes" like you see in the movies and so forth.

I don't know you or your environment, but as for myself, I spend a lot of time out in the national forests around me. No big deal; I just like being out there. Sometimes NV works great; sometimes it's just dead weight. Sometimes thermal is awesome; sometimes it's not. Sometimes my natural night vison works pretty good; and then it doesn't. You can smell wood or cigarette smoke from a long way off, and stay away from it. You can hear things way before you see things and avoid them as well. The point being it's the whole experience out there, not just NV. It's not some predator helmet you put on and go omigod, I can see everything now. And again, I'm not saying that's the case here, just spit-balling in the dark, based on what I'm hearing.

I spent the vast majority of my time active and in the reserves without NV. Real old school stuff. So while there are times and places NV really shines, there are also times and places where it's useless. It doesn't replace knowing what the fuck you're doing out there. What I'm suspecting here is that you were thinking you were getting the all-seeing eye of mordor, and were a little underwhelmed. And you know I can understand that, by the amount of media hype out there; you don't have any realistic expectations of what it can, and cannot do.

This is really a big problem with this stuff, because it's a very small community, and hard to find guys in your area to show you the ropes. All you have is all this noise on line, with guys talking about ebi or whatever, and pictures of white closet walls. I don't know if one of them in ten actually go out and use the stuff. So looking through the damn things in your closet isn't going to tell you jack-shit; get outside and have a look around; with and without NV. And if I sound like a grumpy old man, that's because I am a grumpy, old man. No offense meant.


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Staff member
After speaking to the vendor the pepper is under the size that would qualify on the bIemish chart. I’m still not thrilled with the fact that it’s there and the overall specs of the tube.
Yep, PVS14. It’s going back to the vendor. Thanks for the perspective everyone.
Just some general information.

Black spots are cosmetic blemishes in the image intensifier which are an unavoidable characteristic of tube manufacturing and are not to be confused with burn marks. Black spots that are in the image intensifier do not affect performance or reliability of the night vision device and some number of varying sizes are inherent in the manufacturing process.

It sounds like the original poster has contacted the company/assembler.