In fact, it is not necessary to know too much about them to be able to use them and it is not necessary to have much knowledge or experience to choose a quality one.
So you can forget about all those cameras that offer poor temperature detection, with low resolution or that simply can not give precision readings.
Thermographic Camera: How they work and why they may be necessary
A thermal camera is a camera that shows on the screen an image of the heat radiation emitted by a body. In recent years thermographic camera has gone from being a product that only appeared in Hollywood movies and news related to war to be accessible to all, thanks to new production methods that have cheapened the cost of this equipment.
How does a thermal camera work?
All bodies above absolute zero (-273ºC) emit infrared radiation (heat). In general, the greater the radiation emitted, the higher the body temperature. This radiation is invisible to the human eye and its range in the electromagnetic spectrum is between visible light and microwave radiation.
In particular, the wavelength of the infrared is between 0.7 and 1000 microns.
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Within this wide range, the thermal cameras work in a range known as thermal infrared, which is where the most common temperatures on the earth’s surface are found, between 8 and 14 microns, which is approximately between -20 and 350ºC.
What is the best portable thermal camera?
Speaking with several professionals and experts in the area, I have been able to understand things about these cameras that I had no idea of before. For example, it is useless to have a model with a very high-resolution screen or touch function if its temperature range is too poor.
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Nor is a multispectral camera that has little sensitivity, since it will not give you precise readings that allow you to make specific decisions.
All that knowledge helped me to do a little research and choose the best ones in the current market, and then collect them in the comparative list that I will show you next. All are of very good quality and the most recognized brands.
Thermographic camera: Why choose a thermal imaging camera?
Because, while point infrared thermometers show a single temperature from a single point, the thermal imager provides a complete view of the whole situation, with up to 19,600 points!
The acquisition of thermal images is the most effective method to find real or potential problems in a wide variety of applications in many industries.
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What does a thermal camera see? What is a thermal camera?
A Thermal Imaging Camera is a device for measuring temperature without the need for contact. Thermal imaging cameras detect the infrared energy emitted, transmitted or reflected by all materials at temperatures above absolute zero (0 ° Kelvin) and convert the energy factor into a temperature or thermogram reading.
A thermogram is the thermal image of the object that is emitting, transmitting or reflecting the infrared energy, shown by the camera.
Top 10 Thermal Camera [Infrared Camera]
III➤ FLIR E8: Compact Thermal Imaging Camera with 320 x 240 IR Resolution, MSX and Wi-Fi
- Item is a Class II laser product, 1mW power output
- Operating Temperature Range: -15°C to +50°C (+5°F to +122°F)
III➤ FLIR E5: Compact Thermal Imaging Camera with 120 x 90 IR Resolution, MSX and Wi-Fi
- Item is a Class II laser product, 1mW power output
III➤ FLIR C2 Compact Thermal Imaging System
- PORTABILITY - Pocket portable thermal camera with MSX-enhanced thermal images providing stunning detail to help you identify problem areas easier
- IMAGE CAPTURE - Up to 500 radiometric images. 4800 pixels capable of capturing thermal measurements from 14°F to 302°F. Spectral Range : 7.5-14 µm
- IMAGE MODES: "MSX" adds key details from the on-board digital light camera to the IR image adding detail and clarity; "Picture-in-picture" overlays a fixed Section of a thermal image onto a digital photo to clarify problem locations and enhance documentation
- INCLUDES - Infrared camera, lanyard, power supply/charger, USB cable, printed documentation
- SOFTWARE - FLIR Tools professional reporting software included - the industry standard in thermal image post analysis.Storage Temperature Range:-40°C to +70°C (-40 to 158°F)
III➤ Pulsar Helion XP Thermal Monocular
- Ultra-easy operator interface
- 8-hr rechargeable battery supply
- Lightning fast 50Hz refresh rate
- Integrated accelerometer
- Stadiametric rangefinder
III➤ FLIR TG165 Spot Thermal Camera
- Item is a Class II laser product, 1mW power output. Image frequency 9 Hz. Minimum focus distance- 4 inch . Focus free. Object temperature range-: -25 to +380°C (-13 to +716°F). Minimum measurement distance-10 inch
- Featuring FLIR's Innovative Lepton IR Imaging Engine, with 80x60 resolution, 150mK sensitivity, and a 9hz refresh rate
- Intuitive to operate with no special training required, and featuring a safe 24:1 spot size ratio for safer distance measuring
- Easily save images and data to the included 8gb micro sd card for documentation
- Download images fast over USB with included cable or from removable micro SD
- Compact and durable to easily stow in a crowded tool bag, and covered by 2 Years Product, and 10 Years Thermal Imaging Detector
III➤ FLIR E4: Compact Thermal Imaging Camera 80×60 IR Resolution & Wi-Fi
- CRISP RESOLUTION - 80x60 (4,800 pixels); measurement modes include center spot, area box, auto hot or auto cold spots
- DURABILITY - Rugged & lightweight; 2M drop test rated; IP54
- IMAGE CAPTURE - Captures/stores thermal, visual and MSX images with each pull of the trigger. Radiometric JPEG retain all temperature data within the thermal images
- IMAGE MODES - "MSX" adds key details from the onboard digital light camera to the IR image adding detail and clarity; "Picture-in-picture" overlays a fixed Section of a thermal image onto a digital photo to clarify problem locations and enhance documentation
- ONE BUTTON POWER - A focus-free lens and simple button navigation to on-screen settings makes this camera easy to operate
- BATTERY - Quick-release li-ion rechargeable battery - approx. 4 hours typical use
- INCLUDES - IR camera, hard transport case , Battery (x1), USB cable, power supply, FLIR tools reporting software
III➤ Seek Thermal Reveal Thermal Imaging Camera & LED Light
- Note:Thermal imaging is only designed to detect differences in temperature. If there is no fault in the wiring, there will not be a temperature difference
- Note:Units are installed at the factory and shipped with a slight charge due to quality testing of each unit prior to shipment
- Reveal's customizable settings let you choose from dozens of preferences, including image settings, light levels, power usage, and more.
- Store, transfer, and share your images.
- With it's ergonomic grip and angled, heads-up display, Reveal lets you focus on what's in front of you without losing clear sight of what's around you.
- State-of-the-art technology, tough enough for the toolbox. 12μ pixel pitch
- See more, and know more all from the palm of your hand. Ergonomic grip with an angled heads-up display
- State-of-the-art technology, tough enough for the toolbox. Rugged, rubberized casing, intuitive controls to go and work where you do
- See through the dark. Light optional. Reveal has advanced infrared technology and when you need it, a powerful 300-lumen LED light
- Capture images in 7 different color palettes. Store, transfer, and share your images with the included microSD card & USB cable
- 1-year warranty: Only available if purchased from Seek, not from third-party Amazon sellers
III➤ FLIR C3 Pocket Thermal Camera with WiFi
- PORTABILTY - Pocket portable thermal camera with MSX-enhanced thermal images providing stunning detail to help you identify problem areas easier
- IMAGE CAPTURE - Up to 500 radiometric images. 4800 pixels capable of capturing thermal measurements from 14°F to 302°F
- WIRELESS CONNECTIVITY - Wifi Connectivity transfers images wirelessly to mobile platforms
- MEASUREMENT MODES - Center spot or Area Min/Max allowing you to quickly measure within a defined area box.
- IMAGE MODES: "MSX" adds key details from the on-board digital light camera to the IR image adding detail and clarity; "Picture-in-picture" overlays a fixed Section of a thermal image onto a digital photo to clarify problem locations and enhance documentation.Spectral Range:7.5 - 14.0 µm
- INCLUDES - Infrared camera, lanyard, pouch, power supply/charger, tripod mount, USB cable, printed documentation
III➤ FLIR ONE Pro Thermal Imaging Camera for Android
- POWERFUL - Infrared camera mobile accessary with adjustable OneFit Connector, find hidden electrical problems, energy loss, water damage, and other heat-related issues. Visual resolution: 1440x1080
- FREE FLIR ONE mobile app (recently updated) with exclusive content, real-time professional tips, multiple spot meters, and automated reporting to document findings -USER REGISTRATION NOT REQUIRED
- PROFESSIONAL FEATURES - MSX and VividIR enhanced image and video processing gives the sharpest mobile thermal imaging performance. Measure temperature accurately (-4F to 752 F) from a distance.
- NOTE - Not compatible with Samsung S8, S9, Note 8, Google Pixel 2 XL, Nokia 8, OnePlus 5T, Razer Phone, Sony XZ, and Xiaomi Mi6. USB-models are not compatible with Snapdragon 835/845 handsets
- This product is for commercial purposes only and is export controlled under US regulations for non-US military end-users and military end-uses. Battery life- Approximately 1 hour. Battery charge time- 40min. Battery charging- 0 °C - 30 °C (32°F - 86°F). Battery charge monitor -0 - 100%
III➤ Seek Thermal Compact Imager for Android
- Seek Compact is a highly portable, versatile and durable thermal imaging camera that plugs directly into your smartphone. This device translates thermal energy (infrared light) into a visible image on your phone.
- Compact's wide, 36 degree field of view is ideal for use both indoors and close-range outdoors, allowing you to detect thermal energy up to 1000 feet away.
- With a detectable temperature range of -40 to 626 degrees Fahrenheit, pinpointing energy loss, spotting missing insulation, and identifying overheated circuitry are just a few of its thousands of use cases.
- Compact's focusable lens allows users to fine-tune their thermal imagery. It also comes with a pocket-sized, waterproof carrying case.
- Seek Compact is perfect for contractors, professional trades, inspectors, structural auditors and DIY homeowners.
Frequently asked questions about the use of a thermal imager
Why should I use a thermal imaging camera to measure the temperature in my application?
The thermographic camera allows users to measure the temperature in applications where conventional sensors can not be used.
More specifically, in those cases in which there are moving objects (for example, rollers, mobile machinery or a conveyor belt), in which it is necessary to make measurements without contact due to the presence of contamination or certain risks (for example, high voltage) or when the temperatures to be measured are too high for thermocouples or other contact sensors.
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The thermographic camera offers an image that shows temperature differences of the object being measured. This allows you to immediately see the hot spots, compared to the infrared guns, which show an average image of the area being measured.
Why is the resolution important?
A higher resolution camera will allow you to find smaller problems at greater distances. You may encounter significant problems that may go unnoticed with a lower resolution camera. For example, if a printed circuit board has a superheated component, a thermal imager will instantly find the hot spot.
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What should I keep in mind about my application when choosing a thermal imager?
The key considerations of any thermal imaging camera include the field of vision (target size and distance), the type of surface to be measured (emissivity considerations),
the spectral response (for atmospheric effects or transmission through surfaces), the temperature range and the type of assembly (handheld or fixed mount). Other considerations include response time, the environment, mounting limitations, peephole or window applications, as well as the desired signal processing.
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What does “field of vision” mean and why is it important?
The field of vision is the angle of vision with which the instrument operates and is determined by the optics of the unit. To obtain an accurate reading of the temperature, the object to be measured must enter completely within the field of vision of the instrument.
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What is emissivity and what is its relation to infrared temperature measurements?
Emissivity is defined as the ratio of the energy radiated by an object at a certain temperature to the energy emitted by a perfect radiator, or blackbody, at the same temperature. The emissivity of a black body is 1.0.
Therefore, all emissivity values are between 0.0 and 1.0. Most infrared thermometers are capable of compensating different emissivity values for different materials.
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In general, the greater the emissivity of an object, the easier it is to obtain an accurate measurement of temperature using the infrared. Objects with very low emissivities (less than 0.2) can be difficult to apply.
Some polished and shiny metallic surfaces, such as aluminum, exhibit such high reflection in the infrared that it is not always possible to make accurate temperature measurements.
What should have the best portable thermal camera
Although it is true that they are very technical devices with specifications that are sometimes difficult to understand, the truth is that finding the best portable thermographic camera is not impossible. It’s like with any other product, you just have to know what you’re going for and what you want to use it for.
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So you can buy the most sophisticated or even the least expensive and you will be completely at ease with your decision.
So let’s take a look at all those features that you should know and look for in the best-infrared camera:
Thermal camera or image viewer?
A thermal camera can capture thermal images and save them to see them later, so it is the essential option for construction experts, professional electricians, and others. These devices store the images on SD cards and may even have functions that facilitate the analysis of the captures.
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For its part, a thermal viewer helps you to see a thermal image in real time, without saving it for later. That’s why they are perfect for maintenance or simple tasks.
Make sure you have the resolution necessary for the task you will do. The issue is that the most affordable models tend to have low resolution, so you will not see so many details and may even have somewhat blurred results. If you have to work with electrical components or intricate spaces, it is best to look for a camera with high resolution.
If you have good resolution and also have a large screen that is consistent with it, you will be winning. At the same time, these larger screens usually come with a touch function, which makes things much easier.
Weight and size
As we are talking about portable cameras, you always have to look for it to be compact and quite lightweight. Remember that you should also consider the box or bag where you will carry it, which must withstand vibration, shock and more.
This refers to the temperatures that the camera is able to capture, from the lowest to the highest. Ideally, your model can read a wide range for greater reliability. In this sense, the ideal camera will have a range between -15 and 110 ºC.
In the case of industrial or scientific needs, firefighters or other emergency uses, the most recommended cameras usually have a much wider range.
It is also known as thermal resolution and is that which refers to the smallest temperature difference that a thermal camera can read between two different objects.
At this point, you will have to look only at your needs and where you will use the camera.
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For example, a mechanical inspector needs to detect small differences to make precise repairs, just as firefighters need to be able to discern between burning objects or hot bodies.
The most sensitive can detect differences of up to 0.0045 ºC, although the most common have a sensitivity of 1 or 2.
Some models can join images and facilitate their analysis and processing. Overlaying images is a function that allows you to place a normal light image on another thermal image to give you more information.