Thermal Camera Buyers Guide

Being able to see in the dark is something that humans are not very good at, and as we all know, carrots don’t help! Our eyes are designed to see very well in daylight – and also work very well in artificial light – but once the light is dim or dark, we become highly inefficient.

This is due to the way our eyes and brain operate. Our eyes are constructed of millions of tiny receptors, which process the light and send the result to the brain. This creates the image we see. In the dark, there is no available light unless we create it, so we cannot see well at all.

Some animals are adapted to being able to see in the dark; those that live nocturnally have eyes of a different construction to ours, with larger pupils to let in more light. If we want to see in the dark, we need to use sophisticated equipment to make sure we can.

This is often in the form of night vision goggles, scopes, cameras and other devices. These use enhanced and processed imaging to give the viewer a very clear vision of the image they are looking at, and are extremely effective. They are used in both military and civilian organisations, and by individuals who may need night vision for their work – Thermal Imagers provides plenty of options.

The other option is thermal imaging. This is the image you may have seen when watching TV programmes following the police and fire services. A thermal imaging camera provides an image as a series of colours, and is used to find living things both at night and in circumstances where our normal sight may not be of use.

Who Uses Thermal Imaging Cameras?

The advantage of a thermal imaging camera is that it can spot heat sources a long way off; this is why the police use them on their helicopters to track people below. The camera looks for heat in the infra-red spectrum and, by way of sophisticated trickery, changes this into a view of the person or other object in a colour-coded picture.

The image presented is not a clear and defined one, but it is one that is precise and from it you can tell if there is a living thing in the image area. For this reason, they are used widely by fire and rescue services in collapsed buildings, in order to find and rescue survivors.

They are also used in some commercial applications by heating and plumbing engineers, as they can be useful in finding hidden leaks, and in other areas where a heat signal may be a sign of something that needs attending to – as Powerpoint Engineering do.

What to Look For

There are two different types of thermal camera, so you need to know which one you want if you are buying one. These are the un-cooled, and the cryogenically cooled types of cameras.

The un-cooled model is the most common type of thermal imaging camera, and also the most affordable. In these models, the infra-red camera sensors work at normal room temperature. Un-cooled cameras tend to have an in-built battery – it will be rechargeable – and also work immediately they are switched on, and are very quiet.

Cryogenically cooled cameras are more expensive, and are used in mainly professional situations. These have all the elements in a specially cooled unit, and are far more accurate and precise than un-cooled cameras. They are, however, not as durable as the cheaper models, and are recommended for special use only.

Have a look in more detail at what a thermal imaging camera can do for you, and you will find there is plenty of choice across a variety of different budgets.