If you are looking for a thermal imaging camera, you are about to get into a very exciting area of visual technology. These cameras are very clever and have many uses – from security around the home to actively hunting criminals, plus hunting for animals at night and for military purposes – and are becoming cheaper as the technology is more widely used.
They are useful to us because, as humans, we are not built for seeing in the dark. We may have more than adequate eyesight in daylight, but in darkness our pupils do not allow enough available light in, so we fall behind. This is why many people use night-vision devices when they need to see at night.
Night Vision vs. Thermal Imaging
There are distinct differences between night vision cameras and devices, and thermal imaging. A night vision camera – or goggles – works very much on the same principle as a standard camera, in that it uses available light to process an image. However, it does so with suitably enhanced, very clever optics that effectively allow it to ‘see’ in the dark. You may have seen such images; while helpful, they are often not brilliant, and the range of night vision equipment is not vast.
Thermal imaging cameras – often referred to as infra-red or IR – are a different beast altogether. Here’s as simple an explanation as we can come up with: every object, living or otherwise, gives off heat. You, your computer, your cup of coffee, even your desk or chair, all give off heat.
A thermal imaging camera, or other device, uses this heat to create an image. It does so by way of infra-red light. This is not visible to the naked eye, but where a heat source is concerned it is always present. A thermal imaging camera uses a special set of lenses and processors to create an image from this infra-red heat source. You can find the best ones at Powerpoint Engineering.
It ‘sees’ the heat and, via the lens, directs it to the processors. These then create an image that is known as a thermogram, which is then displayed on the imaging screen. It will be seen as a series of images in different colours, each signifying a different level of heat output.
The clever bit is that the camera also analyses the level of heat, and can tell the user what they are likely looking at. You may have seen such images when they show a police helicopter chasing a suspect on the TV; he or she comes across as brightly lit, colourful, human-shaped image, easy to identify and follow.
Which Camera to Buy?
So, back to you, and why you want to buy a thermal imaging camera. Are you looking for one to install as part of your home CCTV system, or as security in a system around some commercial or industrial premises? Or are you looking for a camera to use when out hunting at night?
In either case there are some important factors to consider, but perhaps the one that confuses most people is in the resolution.
What you need to be looking at is the detector resolution first and foremost. Many will boast of cameras with such and such a super display resolution; this is great, but will mean nothing if the detector resolution is poor. You need to get the best combination of these two factors that your budget allows, and you will find there is plenty of choice.
Thermal imaging cameras are a very useful item if you need to enhance the security of your premises, so check them out now, and you will find one that suits your needs at a surprisingly affordable price.