Pulsar DFA75 - Trial Use Review of the MKi (MK1) version , digital front attachment unit
Another item is soon to be added to the digital NV menu.
So while I had hoped to do a full field test/review on this digital nv unit, it didn't work out because it the one I received is an early demo/sample unit which lacks a good bit of the features and functionality that are in the current production model.
So I do not plan to get long winded here over a trial run review. Essentially here is what you need to know from a consumer standpoint in order to make an informed decision as these become available in the U.S.
Pulsar released the first production models overseas and we will refer to it as the MK i version. There is no data on how many MK i models are in the supply chain and I would guess that we wouldn't see many turn up in the U.S. BUT be aware that if your unit lacks the side picatinney rail or features such as "Distance" in the menu, well promptly seek a return for the latest version.
The DFA75. while equipped with an OLED 640x480 resolution video display has an camera resolution of 500x582, this is less resolution than the Pulsar Digisight n750 which sports the same video display but a higher camera resolution of 752x782. By use of my naked eye I can see a difference when looking through the scopes.
Mounted on my late Grandfather's Winchester 30-06, lets get this trial use review in gear....
This gun is not a match grade gun nor do I expect it to be but it shoots a well established large caliber bullet so I want to see if I can get consistent groupings with the DFA 75 on and off and on/off again.
The trial use review in illustrated video form : WILL BE ADDED SOON
Reasonable image at 5 - 7x magnification without the use of hardware doublers or digital zoom
Built from the same lightweight and durable housing materials as the Pulsar Digisight with a flat color finish.
Large front objective to gather ambient light
Micro OLED display to provide the hunter with good resolution to the eye
Able to be cross-utilized on many weapons
Able to be adapted to a monocular magnifier and used as a handheld scanner
Efficient on battery usage / uses commonly found double A (4).
Detachable IR laser unit, making it legal to use in States that don't allow illuminator and NV to be utilized at the same time on onboard the same unit.
Alignment of the adapter and DFA to the native day optic isn't exact, there are so many variables and scope sizes in the market, which results in marginal loss of field of view.
Lower sensitivity camera resolution, below the micro OLED display resolution, making low light usage difficult to impossible WITHOUT IR illumination.
Stairstep optical design which places the DFA above the native optics optical center and higher above the barrels bore. Pulsar representation states the stairstep design was utilized to minimize upward/downward force on the day optic and weapons platform during recoil and to make the controls more readily accessible to the operator when engaged in the scope.
I go 5'11'' and had a bit of difficulty reaching the focus knob while engaged on target, maybe my arms are short
When switching between weapons platforms, uncertainty on POI unless the DFA is zero checked. Largely this is based on the wide gamut of chamberings and loads (factory and handload), ballistically it would be near impossible to design a single attachment that can co-align calibers on the fly.
I like the concept of a scanning/shooting NV product - I think Pulsar is close to achieving success in this regards however the lower resolution camera system does leave me wanting more when in handheld scanning mode. I'm unsure what drove the decision of the engineers to choose a lower res system but as I compare it to the n750 there is no competition between the images, the gap is that large.
Interestingly enough when in a shooting configuration, the DFA adapted to the day optic, the image appears clearer and more defined. Perhaps because the magnification is more inline with lower powers (sub 7x) as opposed to 10x and perhaps because the glass in day optics is better / more precise that the handheld monocular unit...
In my opinion this product would be a great product to have in the inventory IF you are an outfitter or a hunter that has a large number of weapons in the same caliber (or close) and shoot to a common point of impact (POI), i.e. have been load developed to be consistent on POI. The adapters are relatively cheap to setup a number of guns to be adaptable to the DFA75 and an overall cost saving could be achieved as opposed to buying dedicated NV riflescopes or more costly image tube technology clip-ons (CNVs).
For my purposes I prefer the dedicated NV riflescope, especially the digital variety that can be utilized day or night. Mainly because of the KISS factor, if I don't shoot often enough due to work/family schedule and/or don't see quarry on each trip - when the moment arises to make that ethical killshot I would rather know that the gun/scope/bullet are going to impact in a certain zone time after time. While I am not skeptical of the Pulsar design, nor its ability to retain zero - because it proved to me that it works, I just can't get my noggin to factor wind/elevation/distance/and two optical axis at distances closer and further than the zero of the system.
Time will tell and perhaps the MKii (MK2) version, specifically the "Distance" feature which was added after the MKi version (the one utilized for this review), will solve or make easier the factoring of these shooting variables.
Heck, you know me - I'd review it if the need arises
Happy Hunting - oh and as always your feedback and experience with these units once they hit the market are welcomed and encouraged.