Tips for Choosing The Best Thermal Camera

Posted by Speedir Thermal Vision on 22nd May 2020

5 Tips to Find the Best Thermal Camera for Your Vehicle

High quality thermal imaging camera

A high-quality thermal imaging camera can be a very useful addition to your technology toolkit. Originally designed by the United States military, these cameras are frequently used for everything from night surveillance to pest control. They can even detect infections, find electrical defects in your wiring, and identify blockages in your HVAC system. If you're having difficulty seeing everything on the road at night, using a thermal camera that fits inside of your car can give you much better visibility than traditional headlights.

Like any other piece of technology, not all thermal cameras are created equal. Because these cameras have such a wide range of applications, thermal camera manufacturers make many different models for many different purposes.

In this handy guide, we'll be discussing the principles behind how thermal imaging technology works and sharing our top five tips for choosing the best thermal camera to keep you safe on the road. Let's get started.

Tip #1: Make Sure You Understand the Basics Before You Focus on Advanced Features

Thermal imaging is pretty amazing technology, and it can be easy to get caught up in all of the advanced things that a high-end model can do. At the end of the day, all thermal cameras run on the same basic principles. First, the camera uses a lens to focus on the infrared light that is emitted by objects in the surrounding area. This light then passes through an arrangement of detectors that are located inside of the device.

As these detection units receive the infrared light from the lens, they use this input data to reconstruct the temperature profile of the outside environment. The temperature profile is then converted into electrical energy, and this electrical energy is fed through the camera's circuit board and then on to the display screen.

Tip #2: Narrow Down Your Options by Making a List of the Capabilities That You'll Need From Your Thermal Camera

speedir thermal cameraWhen it comes to choosing a thermal camera for your vehicle, you'll want to consider what kind of low-light environments you end up driving in the most. Do you do a lot of camping in the mountains? Do you frequently drive your vehicle off of the beaten path? After you've thought a bit about this, you'll want to drill down on the technical specs that you'll require from your imaging system. How wide does the camera's field of vision need to be? What kind of resolution will you need? Is getting a general picture of the road enough to keep you safe, or will you need to see all of the finer details of your environment to avoid small animals and potholes? Could you benefit from having a camera with artificial intelligence?

Regardless of whether you're purchasing a thermal imaging camera for your vehicle or for another purpose, thinking about the details of your personal situation will put you in a better position to choose the best product for you.

As an aside, these cameras are so versatile that there's no need to stop at just using one in your vehicle. If you're interested in using a thermal imaging camera to detect mold on your property, for example, then you'll want to make sure that the camera can detect moisture. On the other hand, you'll probably want to consider a military-grade thermal night vision camera if you need a model for home surveillance. Several home security companies offer systems that have thermal imaging with night vision, and most of these companies have installation experts on staff that can come out and set everything up for you.

Tip #3: Spend Some Time Getting Familiar With What Separates the Best Thermal Imaging Cameras From the Rest

Before you dive in and make a purchase, you'll want to understand the testing standards that each manufacturer uses before they release a product. The Night Owl Plus, for example, is specifically tested for a 60hz refresh rate, high-definition output resolution, and a heat detection range of at least 3,000 feet. Regardless of which camera you choose for your vehicle, it's important that the manufacturer performs rigorous testing to ensure a quality product.

Tip #4: Research Thermal Camera Manufacturers Before You Settle on a Specific Model

Thermal fog detectionThe best thermal imaging manufacturers tend to have one thing in common: Their cameras are tested extensively in real-world scenarios. Top-tier manufacturers usually have dedicated R&D departments, and they produce as much of their technology in-house as possible.

It can be tempting to look at new models from start-up camera producers with slick marketing, but you'll usually find that the best manufacturers are those with the most experience. Defining the exact capabilities that you need, figuring out which large-scale organizations depend on those capabilities, and then finding out which manufacturers make the cameras that those organizations use can be a very effective strategy.

To find an IR camera for security, for example, you can look at which manufacturers the United States military relies on to make their reconnaissance equipment. If a manufacturer is trusted by a high-performance organization, then they will usually make a point of saying so on their company website.

Tip #5: Only Buy From a Thermal Camera Company That You Can Fully Trust

It's one thing to be able to trust the company that makes your camera equipment, but it's another to trust the company that sells it to you. The best manufacturers don't always sell their own products directly to the consumer, so you may need to buy the camera that you want from a retailer or a distributor.

Finding a trustworthy retailer doesn't take as much research as finding the best camera, but some retailers are certainly more reliable than others. Does the company that's selling you the camera have the expertise to provide real customer support? What kind of return policy do they offer? If they don't offer installation services, then will they be able to direct you to a service provider in the event that you have problems setting up your camera?

These might seem like trivial subjects to think about, but they are all important things to consider.

Closing Thoughts

Thermal cameras have so many different uses that it's impossible to list them all. This isn't to say, however, that every model can do everything. Before you purchase a thermal imaging device for your car, it's extremely important to research the manufacturer, understand the technical specifications of the model that you are buying, and buy from a retailer that has your best interest at heart. If you want a high-quality and affordable thermal imaging camera, buy Night Owl Plus.

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