Buying a best thermal imaging camera may be onerous because you will want to choose the product that will want to pick the one that will allow you to get the best value for your money and serve you on the long term. Some people will go for the cost while the interest of others is with the features and software of the camera. Whatever camera you choose should offer you the best quality and give excellent imagery. The thermal imagery ranges from the point and-shoots to the HD-level cameras. Choosing the right one may be a daunting task. This list below will provide you with various factors to consider when you want to buy a thermal imager. Make sure you look into the future need of your organization or need to determine the best thermal camera investment. If you are a meteorologist, maybe just need a low-cost imaging camera. If your task or job involves energy analysis, you may need a more advanced model that will allow you get a customized report or that have WIFI that lets you send your results to the agency that will use the report. Do you need higher imagery resolution for your business? Or need a camera to track the extent of damage or leakage, will determine the type of thermal image camera to go for. And Facility maintenance or electrician will prefer a camera that can view image around tight corners, or machinery inspection. All of these applications, features determine the various factors that individual may consider in choosing the right thermal image camera. Below are the critical factors to keep in mind when selecting a thermal imaging camera:
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You should always buy a thermal image camera with the highest resolution. Image resolution is determined by the camera focal plane array (FPA). The FPA of the digital camera can be adjusted. The building inspectors should pay more close attention to this than other professionals.
2. Detector Image (FPA) Resolution
The thermal camera has a lower pixel than the digital camera. And the display resolution should not be confused with the sensor resolution. The camera with higher image resolution can measure tiny or small image from a long distance with high accuracy. They have a clear image for analysis and marketing report. Engineers and professionals that will be providing thermal imagery report will need a minimum 320 x 240 FPA camera. Any other resolution will not provide a clear image needed. Higher resolution will output clear and sharper thermal image. The more the resolution, the more visible will be the picture and accuracy.
3. The Accuracy
An infrared camera has different emissivity and reflectivity that allow it to be used in various industries. This is because the accuracy of the camera determines if it will be perfect for your need. The sensitivity is how the thermal camera determines the difference between two objects. The recommended sensitivity is usually pegged at 100mK (0.10°C) and accuracy of 5°C., But the sensitivity at 50mK (0.05°C) or accuracy of 2°C is still considered to be excellent. The thermal sensitivity is necessary especially if it will be used in a climate or a place with the temperature difference. The thermal camera with 50mK or advance sensitivity will be recommended to most professionals especially if U.S West. The regions that have a constant temperature for most of the years, thermal camera with lower sensitivity may not be useful.
4. Range / Span
The temperature range of the camera is yet another factor to be considered. The help detects the minimum and maximum temperature a camera can measure. For most professional the ideal temperature will be around -20°C to 150°C. You may also have higher temperature ranges from -20°C to 250°C or even more. The building professionals and engineers should choose a camera that will be able to measure a broad temperature range when they come in contact with obstacles.
5. The Screen
The display of your thermal imaging camera is another thing to consider. It will be difficult to view large image from a small display thermal image camera. A large display can allow the professional make the right choice on the field rather than waiting to upload such image for inspection by an agency. Your thermal camera image should not be less than 3 inches. The camera with higher resolutions like 4, 5 or 7 inches can be used to view images more and even explain to a customer. The display should also have a refresh rate. A display rate that is slow help focuses more on the picture. Therefore a slower display rate will be more beneficial when you are considering a large image. This refreshes at the rate of 60Hz is good for most professionals.
6. Adjustment and Field of control
The ability to adjust the emissivity, span, and reflectivity of the thermal camera is also essential for the quality of your image. Capacity to adjust all of this part of the camera is important in getting a better accuracy. The most low-cost thermal camera cannot be adjusted which allows it to display a poor image. Every professional should go for the camera that offers field control and adjustment and avoids any camera without it. Other useful features are the area temperature measurements and image annotations. These functions will become more useful as the users become experienced in the use of the thermal camera.
Infrared cameras come in various sizes and shapes. We now have more efficient, portable thermal camera compared to what we have in time past. The thermal camera should be easy to manipulate in a corner. All cameras have their unique qualities and drawbacks. The camera should be manipulated easily. A camera with a programmable button is better than those made with a single button. The weight of the thermal camera will be another thing you will like to consider. This is because you may need to make use of such camera for an extended period of times. A lighter camera will help the professional when they are in the field or use it for inspection. The weight of a camera can make a difference when you are using it for an extended period of times. Lastly, the camera should be using a removable battery that can be replaced with ease on the field. This allows you to work without any power outage during the inspection. An average thermal camera should last for 2 to 3 hours for an extended period.
8. Built in Visible Light Camera
There is no need to carry light when capturing a field, the built in visible light will help with that. The digital will match he thermal image to make an accurate decision. If you or your customer needs a comprehensive analysis or result, you will need these features. But you may need a light in a dark environment. The built-in laser is also another important feature, for locating electrical faulty are you need to distance yourself from. The built in light will help you to capture all necessary image and details.
9. Standard File Format Support
Many thermal camera store information in a form you will need software to interpret. While some have JPEG format with reduced accuracy. FLIR, offer JPEG image format with a full temperature embedded. And you can email the image to the customer directly without losing vital information. Buy an infrared camera that enables you to stream MPEG 4 video on computer and monitor. All these enhance your report.
10. Select Thermal Camera with Wi-Fi App
You can now connect your thermal image camera to an Apple iPad and iPhone wireless. This allows the user import the thermal image to your mobile device for detailed analysis and data sharing. The importance of being able to send the heat image via the app is great, especially when the analysis is time urgent. The new app is now developed for easy data sharing on other devices.
11. Select a Camera with Extended Warranty
An excellent thermal image camera should serve you for many years. This is why you should buy from a brand with an extended warranty. FLIR’s offers about two years warranty, with replaceable batteries. Make sure you go for a camera with a warranty that will keep your mind at rest.
12. Technical support
An excellent thermal image camera brand should offer technical assistance and training. This can help professionals on how they can use the thermal camera. The same goes for engineers also. You will be certified on how to interpret the thermal image.
13. Your budget
The specification of the thermal image camera determines the cost. The thermal camera can now be purchased at the range of $5000. Make sure you get a good thermal image camera at an affordable price.