Author Topic: The ultimate thermal camera wish list  (Read 615 times)

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Offline ThermoDude

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The ultimate thermal camera wish list
« on: June 14, 2018, 10:44:27 pm »
I thought it would be fun to hear feedback on what in your opinion would make a thermal camera the ultimate camera? Sort of a wish list….

Price/quality/features?
 

Offline Vipitis

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Re: The ultimate thermal camera wish list
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2018, 04:58:00 am »
so all of it basically.

but be realistic. I want a camera for photography, not imaging. I do not care about your calibration, thermal accuracy or tools to make reports. I would prefer low noise, different exposure options, lens options, and most improtant, resolution of at least 0.5MP. Post processing raw data to stacking for even lower noise or higher resolution(or both), creative palettes and more control over histogram equalization, and real time processing that can be turned of, and stills gives you raw data.

or an astro camera that gives you pure data in real wavelenghts, allows for long exposure and noise reduction, should work with a coated newtonian.

and I want a rugged phone that has a basic camera with something like 240x320 resolution and a normal lens.
 

Offline mahony

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Re: The ultimate thermal camera wish list
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2018, 08:26:49 pm »
Easy!  ;D
Boson 640x512 lens-less plus one of the Ophir 15-75mm f/1.2 Ultralight zoom lenses: http://www.ophiropt.com/optics/lens_sub_assembly/catalog/680386.pdf
 

Offline in.Vitro

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Re: The ultimate thermal camera wish list
« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2018, 09:49:45 pm »
 and with 240 fps and RAW-Data Output for around 350€
 

Offline Vipitis

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Re: The ultimate thermal camera wish list
« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2018, 11:43:27 pm »
You don't even get that for visible light stills cameras. If you would look for a comparison. I would grab something like the Sony RX100 in terms of size, features and price.
 

Offline Ultrapurple

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Re: The ultimate thermal camera wish list
« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2018, 10:31:01 pm »
Quoting oneself may be infra dig, but I've editied the following from the original post.


I think thermal imaging is presently roughly 30 years behind visible light cameras. About 25 years ago my employer needed a digital camera for taking location reference pictures in the field. Only two models were really available - one offering 320 x 240 and the other 640 x 480 pixels. That's visible, not thermal. We chose the higher resolution because, while all agreed that the photos from the 320 x 240 were just about good enough, the extra resolution was better. I think we paid something like £1000 for the camera, which may well have been a QV-10. Either way, the price of the camera was a very small part of the whole project cost.

320 x 240 resolution is roughly the same as a NTSC VHS video tape. 384 x 288 (as per Therm-App et al) equates broadly to PAL VHS, while 640 x 480 is comparable to a DVD or mini-DV video recording. There definitely are 1024 x 768 uncooled sensors on the civilian market, though they're rather expensive (FLIR has at least one range of that resolution, which starts at the price of a luxury car - and a full set of lenses can double that). I have reason to believe there are much higher resolution uncooled LWIR sensors around, for military or at least experimental purposes.

Not all applications require the same aspect ratio: a scope might benefit from a square (or even round!) image, whereas a driving aid might find an extreme widescreen view more relevant (drivers generally don't need to see the clouds). Some relatively commonly available imagers are near-square (5:4, eg 640 x 512) as opposed to the 4:3 of more common types (320 x 240, 384 x 388, 640 x 480 etc).

I'm well aware that there are technical differences between the way thermal and visible light sensors presently work, and that the manufacture of thermal sensors is much harder (not to mention complex, needing a readout IC (ROIC) bonded directly to, and at least the same size as, the thermal sensor matrix). But my suspicion is that there may be a development around the corner with some hitherto-unknown thermally sensitive arrangement that simplifies - cheapens - the sensors. Lenses remain an issue, with nothing presently much better than germanium or zinc selenide (although the chalcogenide glasses may be catching up). Everything after the sensor, in terms of image processing and display, is essentially the same as that used for visible light images. That part is only more expensive because relatively few are made and there are none of the huge economies of scale that you get in, say, phone cameras.

As I've said elsewhere, I look forward to the day we can all buy multi-megapixel thermal imaging cameras. I dream of a high resolution, probably uncooled imager packaged up with a (say) 15–250mm auto/manual focus f/0.5–f/4 zoom lens, all in a package the size, weight and price of a good DSLR. Oh, and just for fun, let's have it respond to LWIR, MWIR and NIR in three channels that map to RGB. On second thoughts, let's also throw in visible and a couple of UV bands as well and make up a new L-M-N-R-G-B-U1-U2 eight-channel image file format.

High resolution thermal images can look good - see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here for just a few examples of the state of the art in stitched hi-res thermal images. Some of these took quite a while to put together. Perhaps it's a pipedream, but  imagine if hi-res thermal imaging was as simple as a point-and-shoot mobile phone camera. And as inexpensive. Time will tell; those few of us today making pretty pictures with thermal cameras are true pioneers.
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Offline ikrase

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Re: The ultimate thermal camera wish list
« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2018, 06:18:59 pm »
It would be kinda nice to have a modular form factor and changeable lenses at a moderate price. Oh, and open developer libraries. Seek seems to have a remarkable sensor in their Pro line, with way more pixels than what is coming out of FLIR. However, it looks like your options are "smartphone module" and "sorta clumsy tablet".


The extreme cost of the sensors means that having a sensor module (IP68 or better, M12 lens) that can be used with multiple display units (Smartphone over USB for the cheapest option) would greatly improve things.

(As far as I can tell, the "outdoor longer-range spotting-scope", the "drone camera" and the "engineering camera" are three pretty distinct and not-interchangable devices. Nobody can afford all three.)





 


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