Buying a thermal imaging camera is always going to be a significant investment, so it's worth knowing your manufacturers as well as the type of imaging that would best suit your needs. Follow your guide to find the best high-resolution thermal imaging camera for your requirements.
Who Are The Best-Known Thermal Sensor Manufacturers?
Below are a few of the best-known names in the business, along with a brief description of their specializations. The companies are listed alphabetically.
Bullard offers infrared solutions to help first responders and firefighters conduct a difficult job to a high standard. In addition to safety equipment, it provides thermal resolution devices used for dangerous work like mining and bridge maintenance. It aims to be the top provider of infrared equipment for firefighters.
FLIR is one of the biggest names in the industry. It specializes in creating high-performance cameras for applications like surveillance, consumer video analytics, and reconnaissance. Its technologies are used by clients like the emergency services and the military. You'll also find them in civil applications like retail.
Perfect Prime is a London-based company specializing in consumer electronics and manufactures thermal imaging cameras for everyday use. It aims to provide affordable solutions for amateur enthusiasts as well as creating technology for industrial applications.
Seek is one of the best-loved commercial manufacturers of thermal imaging equipment. It designs cameras and systems enjoyed by a home audience for activities like hunting and DIY projects. Security teams, first responders, and automotive specialists also use these products, which is a testament to their quality.
An emerging force in the industry, the folk at Sierra-Olympic Technologies seem to have honed their thermal imaging techniques and equipment exploring the mountains and forests of Oregon, where the company is based. Sierra-Olympic specializes in applications for areas like R&D and airborne solutions.
Trijicon specialized in infrared aiming systems for firearms. The company provides solutions for amateur enthusiasts, such as hunters, and professional-level firearms, like the United States Marine Corps and law enforcement departments.
Thermal Sensor Resolution Ranges
Below we outline the different levels of thermal resolution available.
This range includes detectors spanning from 160x120 up to 384x288. These cameras can provide a generalized idea of heat distribution in their images but lack clarity. On the other hand, they are generally affordable for home use.
Mid-range includes products with detectors measuring around 640x480, which was considered high until recently. These are good-quality cameras that provide reasonable thermal resolution but come with a higher price tag.
At the higher end of the scale, you'll find thermal imaging cameras with detectors offering 1024x768. This means 786,432 pixels compared to the 19,600 provided by a 160x120 low-range detector. The image quality is much sharper at this level, and you can use it for more sophisticated thermal imaging applications.
At the highest end of the range, you'll find cameras with detectors that can achieve 1920x1200, which is equal to Full HD and offers mind-blowing clarity.
Who Makes the Highest Resolution Thermal Sensor Currently?
With a Full HD thermal resolution of 1920x1200, the Vayu HD camera from Sierra-Olympic Technologies is the highest-resolution LWIR thermal imaging camera available today. It benefits from an uncooled VOx microbolometer array and weighs only 450g with a 25mm lens, rising to 520g with a 50mm lens.
Where to Buy the Best Infrared Camera
There are many superb thermal cameras on the market today, many at prices that even amateur photographers can afford. However, the Vayu HD camera truly stands at the top of the range.
With its lightweight body and stunning resolution, it's an awe-inspiring piece of equipment. This advancement certainly establishes Sierra-Olympic Technologies as a growing name in the infrared imaging market.