After trying out the Pulsar Forward F155 digital night vision, which you can read about here: Forward F155 Review, I decided to check out a different digital night vision unit for comparison, namely the Sightmark Photon RT 6.5X50.

Now, these two units are in different classes of both performance and cost, but it’s still worth making a comparison based on the intended use.   Whereas the Forward F155 is a unit meant to be an add-on to an otherwise daylight rifle, the Sightmark Photon is a dedicated night-time optic (with some daytime utility).   With the Forward F155, I found 400 yard hits in the dark very doable with a little help from an external laser illumination unit.  The Photon RT is better tailored for ranges inside of 200 yards.   Based on this, I would primarily think of the Photon as an optic for rimfires, pistol calibers, or rifles dedicated to short-range varmint work.


The Photon RT has several reticles patterns and colors that can be selected.



With a little help from the focusable IR illuminator, even in pitch blackness, the details emerge.


Controls on the Photon RT are very simple: an on/off button, and a selector knob to scroll through various settings like contrast, illumination, reticle selection, and WiFi settings.


The Photon RT takes 4 AA batteries in this side compartment, but an external battery module is also available, which will give longer life than standard AA’s.


The 30mm mounting tube section allows mounting on receivers with short rail sections, like most rimfires, but you will need high rings and you will want to mount it slightly further back than other optics.


The Photon RT also uses the Stream Vision app to download images and videos, as well as live viewing via WiFi.



Value…………………..5/5 The Photon units rank, price-wise, in the same range as most first-generation conventional night vision units, but their performance blows first generation stuff out of the water.

Performance………..4.5/5  Great clarity and visibility on close targets, but somewhat limited past 200yds.

Durability…………….4.5/5  It is sturdy and well-made, I don’t doubt this could hold up to a fair amount of rough field use.

User Friendliness….4.5/5  the controls aren’t bad, fairly intuitive, a little time with the owners manual makes a big difference.

Availability……………5/5    These can be had on Amazon and some of the major optics outlets.

That leaves this unit with a score of 94%.   That is based on selecting this unit with certain limitations in mind.  It’s not a long range optic, it’s a riflescope that gives good clarity and illumination within 200 or 300 yards.    If you need something for close range varmint control (where lawful to use night vision for such purposes), this is a unit that gives the best bang for the buck.  Unlike similarly-priced first-generation night vision units, digital night vision is not damaged by daytime use, meaning your dedicated night-vision rifle can actually get some daytime range time for a change.

I received this product as a courtesy from the manufacturer via Spotter Up so I could test it and give my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal, or implied contract to give this product a good review. All opinions are my own and are based off my personal experience with the product.

*The views and opinions expressed on this website are solely those of the original authors and contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Spotter Up Magazine, the administrative staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

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About The Author

Writer Michael Lake is a Benefactor Life Member of the National Rifle Association and has been actively involved in a variety shooting activities since 1989. In addition to being a certified range safety officer he holds several NRA instructor ratings and armorer certifications. He has received training from the US Army Marksmanship Unit, the US Marine Corps Rifle Team and some of the finest private training facilities in the nation. In 2013 Michael co-founded Adaptive Defense Concepts, a Northwest Ohio-based Training organization. He is currently a contractor for the US Department of Energy, an instructor for Badlands Tactical Training Center, and is an accomplished Freemason.

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