My first pair of NV goggles are a pretty high-end pair. I purchased two different but similar pairs of Gen 3 goggles. I tested them both and returned the ones I didn’t want. The ATN NVG7-3A goggles are military grade stuff! I can see it almost total darkness, without the IR emitter on. And turn on the emitter, and then it CAN be total darkness SInce I often lead the pack, and I am the WooFDriver, I use this pair of goggles.
Latter on when we decided to do the Midnight Musher series, I purchased a couple more goggles, this time Gen 1 by Yukon. Wow what a difference between those and the Gen 3 goggles. The Yukons are less sensitive and the image is more washed out. Plus the Yukon’s are much heavier. To be fair, the ATN goggle are well more than 6x as expensive.
The down side to any NV goggles is the weight. Both how it throws your head off-balance, and the weight makes adjusting the head straps challenging. Once properly fitted, it is possible to wear them for several hours as i do. In colder temperatures, wearing a hat or helmet underneath greatly improves comfort.
It really is not a fair comparison. All Gen 3 goggles will beat any Gen 1, no matter the manufacturer.
The ATN goggle’s are one of my favorite purchases over the years. They have opened up the trail at night for me. At certain times of the year, the trails are really crowded during the day, and difficult for me to navigate. At night the trails are wide open.