Pulsar has released a bunch of extraordinary optical devices in the last few months, and it does not seem that this innovative Belarussian company is keen on calling it a day. Today, they have announced a release of another interesting device of theirs – Proton, a thermal imaging attachment. It will replace the Pulsar Core units which have been incredibly popular in the last few years. Krypton remains their flagship thermal attachment, but Proton is sure to attract attention given its many qualities.
A unique appearance
Krypton FXG50 which was released last year bore strong resemblance to the F455 digital attachment units. Proton, on the other hand, has a brand-new design, a completely different form to what we are used to from Pulsar. It is their smallest thermal clip-on attachment yet, measuring 248 mm in length, 59 mm in width and 75 mm in height. It weighs 300 grams. The housing is made of magnesium; the construction can withstand harsh recoil. The device is waterproof (IPX7) and can be used at temperatures as low as –25 °C.
There are 3 buttons on the device altogether. Two of them, the power button, and the image capture & recording button are flush with the housing, while the menu navigation button sticks out of the housing on the left side. It is incredibly versatile, though, as it can be both pressed and turned – every function in the menu can be accessed with it. The use of buttons is intuitive – you will not have difficulties using the device in complete darkness. There is no LED-indicator on the housing.
Rubber eyepiece and objective cover are included but are not strapped to the device, so the Proton owners will have to be careful not to lose them.
The adapter is no longer fixed to the device by the means of a bayonet as was the case with Core. Instead, there is a thread for mounting purposes, just like on Krypton. The same PSP-adapter is used to mount Proton on a riflescope. You can also purchase an adapter made by other renowned manufacturers such as Rusan and Smartclip.
Once the adapter is fixed on Proton, the lowest part of the adapter is the lowest part of the assembly – you do not have to worry about the device touching the barrel as it rests higher than the lowest part of the adapter. This was much more problematic with Core as it bulged towards the barrel more than the adapter.
Proton does not have to be zeroed in contrast to Core. The screen can be aligned to the centre of the riflescope’s field of view.
There are two models available for now, XQ30 and FXQ30. The standard, XQ30 model costs 2690 EUR while FXQ30 is 2590 EUR. If you get the standard model and later conclude that a monocular is a great accessory to have, you can purchase it extra.
Proton is powered by the APS5 battery which also powers Axion XQ38 and Axion XQ38 LRF. It is simple to install; insert it into the circular battery department at the front and fix it in place by applying some pressure and rotating the battery handle clockwise. 2 batteries are and the charger are included in the box. The battery life is up to 6 hours.
As the number in the name suggests, Proton has a lens diameter of 30 mm. The sensor’s resolution is the same as that of Pulsar Core’s sensor – 384×288 (17-μm pixel pitch), but the NETD (Noise Equivalent Temperature Difference) has been improved from <60 mK to <40 mK (compared to Core), providing the user with more details, especially in rain, fog, and in cold environment. The display resolution is far better than on Core, 1024×768 instead of 640×480. The display is of the AMOLED type. The refresh rate is 50 Hz, meaning that the image is fluent, even when observing moving objects. The detection range of the device is 900 m. One of the biggest improvements has to do with the colour modes. Core only had two colour modes whereas Proton has eight. The focus is fixed at 100 m.
Image capture & Recording & Stream Vision
Many hunters complained about the lack of these features on Pulsar Core. It is nice to be able to capture your hunting moments and share them with your friends. Proton has all these handy features. With the black button on the left (the one above the blue power button) you can capture images and record videos whenever you wish. The files are stored on the device’s internal memory (16 GB capacity); the images are stored in the .jpg format while the videos are saved in the .mp4 format. You can pair the device with a smartphone app Stream Vision which remains one of the most sophisticated apps in the field of night vision & thermal imaging. Once paired, you can stream the image from the device to your smartphone’s screen, browse through images and videos, configure device settings, etc. You can also update the device firmware over the phone.
Scope of delivery
The device comes in a compact, padded bag. The middle part is reserved for the device, and this section is separated from the other one with a soft band. You get two batteries, a charger, a power adapter, a strap, a USB-cable, a lens cloth, an instruction manual, and a warranty card.
The device is covered with a 3-year warranty period.
Proton VS Core (recap)
Proton costs 350 € less than Core. These are the notable improvements that it brings:
- Compact, light form
- Improved NETD and display resolution
- simple handling (intuitive placement of buttons)
- image capture & recording
- Stream Vision compatibility
- APS5 battery compartment
- 8 colour modes
The only notable downsides are the lens size (at this price, one would expect a bigger lens), and the fixed focus at 100 m.
Pulsar has yet again come up with an excellent device that is sure to sell just like its predecessor. Krypton remains their flagship thermal attachment but the price gap between Krypton and Proton might convince many to give the latter a try. It does, after all, feature an incredibly compact housing and comes with plenty of features. It is only inferior to Krypton in terms of optical properties. The price for the XQ30 model is 2690 €, while FXQ30 costs 2590 €. Pulsar will start shipping them out today.