Flir C5 Review – New Compact Pocket Thermal Camera 

 September 22, 2020

By  Randy Angwin

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Last updated on September 17, 2022

Founded in 1978, Flir is a market leader specializing in thermal imaging, diagnostic and threat detection devices. Its diverse product range is utilized across various markets including government, industry and commercial sectors.

Flir uses advanced technology to design superior products that don’t disappoint where performance, reliability and durability are concerned. 


FLIR C5 Pocket Thermal Camera with Wi-Fi

Flir strives to upgrade its product offering by introducing better devices that operate more efficiently for optimal results. The Flir C5 is the latest addition to the brand’s line of pocket thermal cameras. It’s a powerful but affordable thermal camera that can withstand daily use.

This new edition of pocket thermal cameras promises to offer better functionality and performance for users. The compact Flir C5 features a slim and light profile that allows for easy handling. This compact thermal camera is small enough to fit into your pocket. No need to lug a heavy unit around.

The compact thermal camera has a 2-year warranty that covers parts and labor. And as a bonus the unit's thermal imager detector is covered for 10 years. 

Technical Specs

The Flir C5's functionality is best explained by outlining its technical specifications.

  • Thermal resolution: This compact thermal camera has a powerful resolution. It has a 160 x 120 thermal imager to provide you with clear pictures. Designed to produce 19 200 pixels, images are sharp and easy to interpret which is handy when analyzing data. 
  • Thermal sensitivity: The thermal camera has a high thermal sensitivity of <70 mK. It can detect even the slightest temperature differences, making it ideal to use for building inspections. 
  • Display: The 3.5” inch screen size found on this compact thermal camera is sizeable enough to view images displayed with clarity. The camera display shows images in four modes; infrared for detecting temperature differences, visual image, MSX for detailed images and picture-in-picture.
  • Construction: Despite being compact and lightweight, the Flir C5 is surprisingly sturdy thanks to the rugged construction. With an IP54 rating against water and dust, the thermal camera can survive a 2m drop.
  • Storage: The device can store more than 5000 images and it utilizes cloud connectivity that allows for automatic file storage and back-up.
  • Battery life: The Flir C5 has a considerable 4-hour battery life but it does depend on usage and settings. It comes complete with an integrated rechargeable battery that takes up to 2 hours to fully charge.

Suitable Applications

With regards to applications, the Flir C5's reliability and impressive thermal imaging properties make it suitable for professional use. It’s a highly versatile 3-in-1 compact thermal device that serves as a visual inspection camera and floodlight.

The tool is effective at finding hidden problems and can be used for applications such as building inspections, HVAC issues, facilities maintenance & electrical repairs. The thermal camera can also be used to assess water damage, detect hot fuses, air leaks, plumbing issues and electrical faults.

Data recorded is easily documented for future analysis and easy to share with relevant authorities using cloud connectivity. The latter is made possible by connecting the device to the internet since it’s Wi-Fi enabled. 

What is FLIR Ignite?

The Flir Ignite cloud is a revolutionary software that allows the compact thermal C5 camera to operate optimally. Flir Ignite is an application that allows images from the device to be uploaded directly to the Flir Ignite cloud fast. Retrieving images from the Flir Ignite cloud is equally fast. Simply find them by searching on the name or text annotation.

This software doubles as a security and organizing feature by keeping your thermal data secure and organized on your device. Flir Ignite also helps you share your images from the Ignite cloud with relevant parties with the use of cloud connectivity.

To access the Flir Ignite cloud, simply download the application from your browser onto your smart device which can be a tablet, phone or desktop.

FLIR C5 vs C3

Flir C3 – Compact Thermal Camera with Wi-Fi

The Flir C5 is an upgrade to the Flir C3 thermal camera. While they have a few similarities, the Flir C5 excels in certain areas as we’ll outline below.

  • Both are compact thermal cameras and can easily fit into your pocket.
  • Designed for day-to-day professional use and detecting hidden problems thanks to the thermal imaging aspect.
  • Both Flir devices are affordable.
  • Both Flir gadgets use MXS technology for clear and detailed pictures.
  • The Flir C5 is waterproof but the C3 isn’t.
  • The Flir C5 has a more powerful thermal imager. It has a higher thermal resolution of 120 x 160 and the C3 has a lower 60 x 80 resolution.
  • While the C5 and C3 can be used for similar applications such as HVAC and electrical repairs, the C3 isn’t powerful enough for certain industrial applications such as detecting hot fuses air leaks.
  • C5 is a thermal camera that can be used for long-range viewing and the C3 is best suited for close-up inspections.
  • C5 has a 3.5” inch screen size and C3 has a slightly smaller screen size which is 3”.
  • C5 is a thermal camera that can accommodate over 5000 images and uses cloud connectivity while a C3 holds only 500 images.
  • The C3 thermal camera has a short 2-hour battery life while the C5 can operate for 4 hours.

FLIR C5 vs Flir One Pro

FLIR ONE Pro - iOS - Professional Grade Thermal Camera for Smartphones - with VividIR and MSX Image Enhancement Technology

The Flir C5 and Flir One Pro are both compact thermal cameras that are more or less in the same league with regards to function and performance. But they do however have a number of similarities and differences as we’ll highlight below:

  • Both Flir thermal cameras have an IR sensor of 160 x 120.
  • Both are portable and compact thermal cameras that can easily fit into your pocket.
  • They use MSX technology for sharp and detailed pictures.
  • Both have a thermal camera that produces 19200 pixels.
  • The units feature durable construction and are designed to last.
  • They're designed for similar applications such as detecting air leaks and plumbing issues and are helpful with water damage inspections.
  • Flir One Pro can operate for 45 minutes to an hour while the C5 has a four-hour battery life.
  • Flir One Pro doesn’t support video streaming but C5 does.
  • Flir One Pro can survive a 1.8m drop while the C5 can withstand a 2m drop.

What Customers Are Saying

Customers are generally impressed with the Flir C5’s design and performance—especially for the price. They appreciate the compact thermal camera's design that makes it easy to handle. Customers also like that despite being a compact thermal camera, it features a solid construction which promises durability. The camera produces clear picture quality thanks to the high resolution and bright screen. They appreciate the fact that it's suitable for multiple applications, like detecting fuses air leaks plumbing issues and other hidden problems, making it versatile & convenient.

The unit’s ability to switch on quickly and respond to the touch also appeals to customers.

The major gripe associated with the Flir C5 lies in the operating software efficiency—or lack thereof. This camera tends to freeze regularly and requires frequent calibration.

There are mixed reviews regarding the unit’s ease of operation. Some users feel the device presents a huge learning curve while others feel it’s easy to use once you master its operation. 

  • Inexpensive
  • Portable
  • Clear images
  • Sturdy construction
  • Can’t use certain features without software
  • Freezes often
  • Battery drains fast (depending on usage)

Closing Thoughts

Overall, the compact Flir C5 is a thermal camera worth considering. It’s portable enough to allow for effortless handling thanks to the compact design. This compact thermal camera can be used for a wide range of applications and is fairly easy to operate. It’s not among the best high-end thermal imagers which may explain the reasonable price tag. But it is a powerful compact thermal tool that operates as intended if you want a basic thermal camera for troubleshooting.

About the author 

Randy Angwin

Randy Angwin holds a master of science degree from University of Florida. He is an expert in infrared and night vision technology. His knowledge helps us staying on top of the latest trends in the thermal industry. When not working, Randy likes to hunt and spend time with his two German shepherds.

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