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Thermal stuffs


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Old November 16th, 2016, 00:03   #1
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ThunderCactus's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2007
Thermal stuffs

K guys, those of you that know wtf you're talking about, cause I don't know shit about thermals.

List of best affordable (say $15-18k?) to cheapest usable (torrey pines?)

-Why refresh rate matters
-Image properties (sharpness, focus, effective range?)
-Things to stay away from

Then I guess I'll just compound it all into one post and credit you guys.
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Old November 16th, 2016, 02:13   #2
EastCoastShooter's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Charlottetown, PEI / Fort Lauderdale, FL
I certainly don't know it all but do have some experience behind both low and mid/high end thermals. Hope this helps.

Bad news, this stuff is expensive. Good news, prices are coming down. Bad news, ITAR still exists.

Refresh rate
- AKA "Hertz". Think frame rate in video games if that helps. Very important if you or the subject you are viewing is moving. Image looks choppy and laggy at slower rates. Can't say an exact number but I wouldn't go below 25hz. Most stuff you find in Canada (if it came from the US) is 7-9hz as this is legally exportable in ITAR.

-Literally the number of pixels you are looking at on the screen. Higher resolution, higher detail. This will be the difference between seeing some white blob versus identifying it is a person. Be aware that having a high display resolution is only valuable if the sensor is also high. For instance the Seek thermal uses your phone's screen as a display which is probably very high resolution but the sensor is only 206x156. Not the lowest on the market but nowhere near as high as your phones display.

There is more to be said about different brands regarding sensor quality, lens quality and and all the image processing that can be done in between but I am no expert in this dept.

Also keep in mind:
-Effective range will go up as price goes up. Germanium objective lenses are pricey and needed for increased magnification.
-You cant just put a polycarb shield in front of the objective lens. You will need either a mesh or very special material (I forget the material) to make a shield and both will degrade image quality. Not running a shield and you risk busting that pricey Germanium lens, plus good luck getting service if its something made in the US.
-If you are thinking of weapon mounting, unlike I2 you can not place the thermal unit behind a day sight, only in front.
-Don't plan on head mounting your thermals. Yes it can and has been done with VERY high resolution and framerate and therefore cost. It's fine if you are static but then whats the point.

My 2cents
-Invest more in quality Image Intensification(I2) aka "night vision" before thinking of thermals. They are very cool to play around with and can make a big difference in the right settings but don't offer the advantage that night vision does over unaided vision. I2 for navigating and engaging, thermals for spotting.

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Old November 16th, 2016, 03:44   #3
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Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Southern Ontario
Originally Posted by EastCoastShooter View Post
Most stuff you find in Canada (if it came from the US) is 7-9hz as this is legally exportable in ITAR.
ITAR has been updated for awhile now to allow 30hz monoculars for export
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