Choosing the right thermal imaging camera can be a daunting task, but it is essential to ensure that you get the best results for your application. Apart from pricing considerations, here are some tips on how to choose the right thermal imaging camera:
Application: Consider the purpose of your thermal imaging camera. Are you using it for electrical inspections, building thermography, mechanical applications, safety, product manufacturing and industrial applications, predictive maintenance, medical diagnostics, environmental control, or autopiloting systems? This will help you choose a camera with the right features and specifications for your application. See thermography testing
Detector resolution: Indicates the number of detecting pixels on the camera. More pixels mean a higher resolution. Choose a camera with a higher detector resolution if you need more detailed images. Keep in mind that a larger distance to the object generally results in a larger area that's covered by a single pixel, and hence it will be harder to pick up minor differences. Applications with a larger distance to the object generally require a higher resolution detecter (such as building thermography) compared to applications with a shorter distance (such as electrical inspections).
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Thermal sensitivity: Indicates the smallest temperature difference that the camera can detect. Thermal surveys for buildings may require a more sensitive detector compared to industrial applications for instance.
"In every test for building and architecture thermography, we abide by the international standards issued BS EN 13187, the temperature difference ( IR radiations ) inside and out must be taken into consideration to accurately determine the weak points in a building envelope." - Rob Dam
Temperature range: Consider the temperature range of the camera to match your application. Building thermography is typically only measured in the -20C to +40C range, so a larger range (such as 0-1500C) will limit the level of detail that can be picked up.
Lens options: Choose a camera with a lens that is optimized for your application. A wide-angle lens could be useful for building thermography due to limits in distance but will be less useful for inspections of electrical cabinets. Keep in mind that a wider angle lens will also spread the number of pixels per surface area of your object (you'll see a wider picture but with less detail).
Automatic vs. manual: Some cameras have an automatic mode which allows the camera to automatically adjust the level and span (the temperature range). Automatic mode will allow for quicker analyses, but certain applications (such as electrical inspections on identical objects) may ask for a manual selection to avoid the anomalies being invisible due to an automatically changed range.
Image modes: Thermal cameras can display images in various modes, including grayscale, rainbow, iron bow, and high contrast. This pallet of colors is typically mostly a preference. You may see more or less details in certain colors, but it's typically a personal option.
Versatile Thermal Camera for Smartphones allows you to see things that you can't see with the naked eye, it can realize real-time temperature measurement, night vision, photography, video, and other functions through the mobile phone APP. Ease-Switching to multiple scenarios is also an added value to this lightweight camera.
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Battery life: Consider the battery life of the camera, especially if you plan to use it for extended periods.
As technology advances and costs decrease, thermal imaging cameras are becoming more accessible, unlocking new possibilities for innovation and problem-solving. Stay tuned to keep up with the latest developments and tap into the immense potential of thermal imaging technology.
BS EN 13187:1999
International Thermal performance of buildings. Qualitative detection of thermal irregularities in building envelopes. Infrared method (published 15/03/1999)