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Dec 25, 2020 | 09:31 am 3518 0

Top things you should consider before buying a thermal imaging device

Top things you should consider before buying a thermal imaging device

Buying a thermal imaging device is most often quite an impressive investment. Every potential buyer wants to be sure that they bought a thermal imaging camera with an optimal price/quality ratio. For some people, the price of the instrument is the determining factor, while others are primarily looking at hardware and software features.

 In our opinion, the best solution is a camera that combines the following advantages:

·         Acceptable price;

·         High quality and reliability;

·         Availability of the necessary functionality;

·         High level of technical support.

Let's deal with it.

Purchase advice for thermal imaging devices

There are both the simplest models on the thermal imaging market that are ready to use immediately after the start button is pressed, as well as more complex specialized devices.

We advise you to choose a device with good overall specs , so you don't have to buy another one in the future just to provide some new features. However, since an infrared camera are a universal instrument for measuring temperature and analyzing thermal fields, you may be very tempted to use it for a maximum number of measuring and diagnostic tasks. This is the first thought you should get rid of when choosing a camera. When you buy a thermal imaging camera, the first thing you should clearly see is the main areas of its further application, the second is to decide on the budget.

Let's take a brief look at devices by area of application.

Thermal imaging cameras for hunting

The most popular thermal imaging cameras for hunting are:

1.    AGM PYTHON TS75-640

2.    Pulsar ThermionXP50 

3.    NVision Halo LR 640 

Thermal imaging cameras for surveillance, security, and safety

The most popular thermal imaging cameras for surveillance are:

1. AGM ASP TM25-384

2. EOTech Model X640

3. AGM ASP TM35-640

4. Pulsar Helion XQ50

There are many other applications for thermal imaging cameras. But to understand and buy your ideal device, it is enough to take a closer look at the parameters of a particular camera. And if we have more or less figured out the areas of application, then we should look at the budget. What does the budget consist of, except the manufacturer's brand? First of all, the parameters.

The key parameters when choosing a thermal imaging camera are:

·         viewing range;

·         target size and thermal contrast;

·         type and model of weapon (availability of interchangeable barrels and desire to use the sights on them);

·         temperature conditions of use.

Now let's analyze all the parameters by points and define the key concepts affecting the image quality.

Field of view

This is a parameter of the thermal imaging camera lens that describes the size of space when taking a photo of an object. Most often it is measured in degrees. Simple geometry is used to calculate the basic field of view parameters. The smaller is the field of view angle, the further you may move away from the object without loss of image quality.

The bigger the field of view, the better the thermal imager works.

Zoom Capacity

Optical multiplicity and digital zoom are used to obtain a detailed image of objects at a great distance. Optical multiplicity for portable thermal imaging cameras usually does not exceed 4-5x, and digital zoom - 2x/4x/8x. On average, you can increase the ratio to 20x. The minimum multiplicity provides a wide field of view and displays the real size of the target.

Resolution and pixel size

The main parameter of the thermal imaging camera determines its sensitivity and image quality. The larger the size and resolution of the sensor, the more temperature points are displayed. At a resolution of 160x120 pixels, a thermogram of 19,200 pixels is displayed, and at a resolution of 320x240 - 76,800. The maximum value for commercially available thermal imaging cameras - 640x480 pixels, forming a picture of 307 200 points.


A spectrum of thermal radiation - invisible infrared range - 780-100 thousand nm wavelength.

You should therefore pay attention to the wavelength when purchasing a thermal imaging camera. It is important to realize that the bigger the wavelength, the better your thermal imaging camera will perform.

Calibration time

Calibration of the image allows you to equalize the temperature background of the microbolometer and eliminate deficiencies in the image (such as vertical stripes, "frozen" outlines of objects, etc.). Shortcomings appear in the process of operation of the microbolometer, as well as due to heterogeneous heating of the microbolometer. Calibration intervals depend on the duration of operation: the longer the thermographic instrument runs in continuous mode, the less calibration is required.

This parameter should be as small as possible. The faster the calibration is done, the better.

Display size

Why do I need a large display of my thermal imaging camera? First of all - the bigger the display, the less load on your eyes. This is because the bigger the screen, the more pixels it has. The best thing about modern screens is a minimum of 1000 pixels and, of course, the expansion. Take 1280x960 pixels. This is good!


The thermal sight lens differs from lenses of other devices operating in the visible spectrum of electromagnetic radiation. The lens of the thermal imaging camera lens must transmit thermal radiation, so it is made of germanium (Ge). This material is transparent to infrared waves.

Thermal sensitivity

An indicator showing the difference in recognized temperatures between neighboring points. The highest sensitivity is considered <30 mK, high <60 mK, and average <80 mK. AGM technology is typically registering at 35mk while other companies like Pulsar are usually at 40mk. The minimum difference that can be detected by the thermal imaging camera depends on its class. The smaller the difference, the wider the diagnostic capability of the instrument. Amateur infrared cameras capture a difference of 1-1.2°C, while professional thermal imaging cameras capture a difference of 0.02-0.05°C.

Refresh Rate

Indicator of the frame rate at which the image on the display changes. The standard range for portable thermal imaging cameras and sights is 7.5, 9, 25, 30, 50, 60 Hz. For inspection of territory and observation of fixed objects, the frequency may be minimal. For dynamic hunting, it is better to choose a thermal imaging camera with a frequency of 30-50 Hz.

Reticle Pattern

The use of a complex sighting grid implies distance estimation and bullet drop compensation – along a ballistic trajectory. The sighting grid is intended for precise aiming of the weapon at the target. Many reticles are available in all common thermal scopes on the market. 


The duration of the autonomous operation is determined by the battery capacity and energy consumption. Portable devices have an average life of 4-6 hours. At minus temperatures, operating time is significantly reduced. We recommend lithium ion batteries when available, especially in the US. .Thermal imaging cameras can be equipped with rechargeable or conventional replaceable batteries. Most models have the ability to connect an external power supply for long term use.

Data transfer

The fact is that many thermal imaging cameras can be wirelessly connected to Apple mobile devices (iPad, iPhone, iPod). Most often it is Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. Find out if your thermal imaging camera has a connection.

Game identification

You should always be very careful with this technology. Technology is quickly reaching its limit, the more often it is used. The smaller the distance to the game, the more reliable the identification. use the rangefinder to carefully guess how far away a target might be. this feature is not a guaranteed distance and all shots should be taken with care. 

Warranty and Guarantee

The infrared camera manufacturers with a good reputation try to make sure that their products serve you well for many years. Therefore, many offer extended warranty programs.

You can find more information about thermal imaging here:
Interesting Facts About Thermal Imaging Scopes
How to choose a thermal rifle scope

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