Sightmark SM18008 Photon XT 4.6 Digital Night Vision Riflescope Review 

 August 19, 2019

By  Daniel Gray

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Last updated on September 17, 2022

Using state of the art optics can turn your hunting trips into thrilling experiences. Now you’re able to hunt like a nocturnal predator. This is because you’ll be able to see landscapes, objects and animals in low light conditions using the Sightmark SM18008 Photon XT.

But the premium Sightmark SM18008 optic isn’t simply for hunters. They’re also designed for professional trackers or people who manage nature reserves. Some animals only come out at night and so the optic gives you more advantage than standard day scopes when you want to keep an eye on them.

This is possible because the Sightmark SM18008 is a digital night vision optic with an integrated infrared illuminator. This will be explained shortly in our Sightmark Photon XT 4.6 review. But before giving you a full breakdown of what the Sightmark SM18008 can do for you, let’s take a look at how the manufacturer started the business. 

About Sightmark 

The founders of Sightmark saw a growing market in modern shooting, hunting and optic technology. They decided to develop premium optic solutions for hobbyists and professionals in the firearm industry.

Sightmark wanted to develop a device that will allow the firearm user to aim accurately to perform precise shots. The company then went on to introduce the Sightmark brand at a convention called SHOT show in 2007. Since their inception, they’ve developed their headquarters to handle all the materials and research used to make their high-quality optics. Each device has a unique structure and purpose for specific role players in the firearm market.

The Sightmark company has also developed numerous accessories for professional hunters, policemen, marines and of course the avid hobbyist. Currently, the Sightmark Brand is one of the top developers and service providers for premium optics & sights. 

Sightmark SM18008 Photon XT

Sightmark Photon XT 4.6x42S Digital Night Vision Riflescope

The Sightmark Photon XT is a digital night vision optic. This means it can be used during the day and night. A digital night vision scope is ideal if you want to go hunting at night because analog night vision scopes can only be used during the day. 

When selecting the type of optic you want for your rifle night vision scopes will always be the ideal options because of all their capabilities. Most digital night vision optics allow you to take videos and capture pictures whereas analog applications don’t have these advanced features. 

Sightmark Photon XT 4.6x42S Digital Night Vision Riflescope

What is the Sensor Resolution?

The CMOS sensor resolution on the Sightmark Photon XT is 656x492 which provides quality detailing of your surroundings for up to 150-175 yards. You’ll be able to see everything through the optic in crisp detail during the day or night.

Sightmark Photon XT 4.6x42S Digital Night Vision Riflescope

Display Resolution

Sightmark’s Photon XT has a high-resolution LCD display that provides 640x480 pixels for videos. With the premium resolution of the Sightmark Photon XT, you can view detailed images of your targets and landscapes directly on the built in display.

Sightmark Photon XT 4.6x42S Digital Night Vision Riflescope


The Sightmark Photon XT 4.6x42 digital night vision refilescope has a magnification range of 4.6x42. With its 44mm objective lens, you’re able to zoom in on objects, animals and landscapes while providing maximum crisp detailing at distances as far as 150-175 yards. 

If you think that you need more powerful optics, there is a 6.5x50 version of the Sightmark Photon XT with a native 6.5x magnification.

Field of View

Sightmark’s SM18008 Photon XT 4.6x42s digital has a horizontal field of view of 4.3. The magnification field of view is 7.5 at a distance of 100m. You’ll be able to see larger landscapes through your lens rather than a single focal point.

Built-in IR Illuminator

This Sightmark Photon XT digital night vision riflescope has a built-in wavelength 810nm LED infrared illuminator with the equivalent power of 100mW. The IR illuminator emits light into an infrared spectrum and this is what allows you to see in low light conditions.

Most night vision optic devices come with a built-in IR illuminator that allows you to see objects at far distances at night. To see further you’ll need to upgrade your infrared illuminator. 


The eye relief has dimensions of 60mm and the tube is 30mm. The dimension of the entire optic device is 398mm x 75mm x 80mm.

Sightmark Photon XT 4.6x42S Digital Night Vision Riflescope


Sightmark’s SM18008 is 23.6oz with the batteries. The night vision scope is light so it won’t weigh you down and can also be used on crossbows.


The Sightmark Photon XT has a weatherproofing rate of IPX4 so you’re able to use your optic in any weather conditions.

The Sightmark Reticle Options

There are up to six preloaded reticles on the Sightmark Photon XT digital night vision scope. Select the reticle you need and feel comfortable with to sight your targets. These reticle options will provide precise target shots and they will optimize your sighting process. 

Sightmark Photon XT 4.6x42S Digital Night Vision Riflescope

Battery Life

Without the use of the IR illuminator, your Sightmark Photon XT night vision riflescope will provide up to 5 hours of battery life per charge using regular 2x AA batteries. With the IR illuminator, you’ll be able to use the optic for up to 4 hours per charge.

Options for Video Out

You’re able to capture everything you see through your optic using the video output feature. You can save these videos on your laptop or PC using the video output cable.

Detection Range

The range detection can be between 150-170 yards with the 1.7 high illumination levels with a 0.05lux.


Can it be used on crossbows?

Because the device is light in weight and streamlined you can attach it to your crossbow.

Does it have an option for external power? 

The device doesn’t come with external power as it uses AA type batteries. Luckily the AA batteries last long and they are very easy to replace. 

Final Thoughts

The Sightmark Photon XT digital night vision scope is designed to provide you with the utmost precision. It’s also a versatile optic as you’re able to capture high-resolution videos and images during the day or night.

You can use the Sightmark SM18008 Photon XT for hog hunting, tracking and sighting. This digital night vision riflescope was designed to provide a comfortable and easy optic for hobbyists & professionals. It’s light in weight and it’s streamlined design provides comfort & an optimized fit for any rifle.

Is this what your next hunting trip needs?

About the author 

Daniel Gray

As a digital marketing manager, Daniel is responsible planning and managing marketing campaigns at Smart Scouter. He has a masters degree from Indiana University and over 20 years of experience in the thermal imaging industry. In his spare time he likes hiking and traveling around South America.

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