Author Topic: SEEK Reveal Pro FF review by Ultrapurple  (Read 3428 times)

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Offline Ultrapurple

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SEEK Reveal Pro FF review by Ultrapurple
« on: February 28, 2020, 07:43:06 pm »
SEEK is a relatively new name in thermal imaging, though the people behind it have a long and distinguished track record, documented elsewhere on this forum.

The first Seek thermal cameras were relatively low resolution dongle types, now known as the Compact series. These offered 206x156 resolution and in my opinion, at least in the earliest types, had quite poor performance. I believe others have mentioned also that there was a thermal gradient issue across the sensor, though I rehomed my Seek Compact XR before using it enough to spot that.

The next product range was the all-in-one Reveal series, which combined a 206x156 resolution sensor with a battery and LCD display in a hand-held package. These were nice to handle but again I believe the resolution and sensitivity were limiting issues. Slow (<9Hz) export versions gave jerky results, as one would expect; the >15Hz US versions were better in that regard.

940220-0


Further development of the Seek sensors resulted in a remarkably good 320x240 pixel unit. It is offered in various form factors (dongle, OEM module or all-in-one camera as seen above). I’m looking at the all-in-one Seek Reveal Pro here, in the Fast Frame (>15Hz) version. The Fast Frame variant is easy to spot because of the ᖷ 'FF' logo on the top left of the device. The <9Hz version has no such marking but is otherwise outwardly very similar.

The Seek Reveal Pro is an all-in-one high resolution thermal imaging device that fits nicely in the hand. It has something of an air of Star Trek about it. Its sculpted form is thicker at the camera end and the camera is angled slightly downward so it looks straight forward when you hold the screen at a comfortable viewing angle. Ergonomically, it is a superb piece of work. I invited some colleagues to play with it. They have never shown any interest in my various other thermal cameras but this one garnered a great deal of attention. That says a lot about the quality of the design.

Here it is with an old Garmin etrex Legend hand held GPS and a Therm-App thermal camera for comparison.

940238-1


In order to make the device fit the hand so nicely, Seek decided to orient the camera and screen in portrait mode. I generally abhor ‘vertical video’ but in the case of this device it makes sense to use portrait mode and the format works very well. The display claims to be 320x240 pixels – a 1:1 match with the sensor – but the bezel masks a varying proportion of the screen so I guess there are no more than 220 pixels viewable at the ‘bottom’ of the screen. In practice this has no effect on usability. The following image shows an off-screen photo (left) and a saved file (right). You can see that the bottom of the screen crops the image somewhat, but not enough to be troubling. The moire pattern on the photo is an artefact of the photography and there is no such unevenness on the actual display. That said, the LCD has a slightly visible 'shimmer' to it as it refreshes from bottom to top. It is noticeable if you look for it but not intrusive.

940228-2

The Seek Reveal Pro comes in two varieties: regular (<9Hz) and Fast Frame (>15Hz) variants. I found a brand new FF version on eBay for under £500 (though the list price is nearer £700). The temptation was just too much!

It arrived after a couple of days, factory sealed with “Subject to US EAR” security seals. It’s worth knowing that I was not asked to sign anything to accept these restrictions (or even notified of them by the seller). The device has similar wording emblazoned on it and also shows it on the boot screen.

The Seek Reveal Pro is incredibly easy to use. You simply press the centre button to power it up, and thermal images appear within 10 seconds. A faint tick can be heard each time the FFC flag moves into position, but unless you're in a silent place you'll have difficulty hearing it. As is normal, FFC happens every few seconds after the camera is switched on but get further and further apart as the camera temperature stabilises. After several minutes there are long intervals between FFC events.

The user interface is just three buttons mounted above the display (or four if you include the torch button on the side). The central button acts as the power switch and also calls up the menu. Palettes are easily selected from the top level by pressing the left button. As with all menus, the left and right buttons scroll down and up, then the centre button selects the highlighted value. It's simple and intuitive (with the possible exception that the different palettes are selected using the ‘filter’ option). All the defaults are sensible.

Perhaps the most important thing is that the software is very snappy, with no lagging. Saving an image by pressing the right hand button is almost instantaneous. This is in stark contrast to other Seek cameras, which can take a couple of seconds to save an image. About 4GB of non-expandable internal memory is provided, which is accessed as a memory stick via the micro USB charging port. PNG (non-radiometric) images are about 225kB and radiometric TIFF images are about 750kB, so that 4GB will store a very large number of images (well over 4,000). I was pleased to discover that my phone is able to access the images by using a simple USB connection.

I am informed that it's vitally important you never try to format the image memory. Deleting images is fine, but the physical memory device inside the camera is partitioned so part is the user-accessible image memory and the remainder is system memory used to store firmware etc. Formatting the memory runs the risk of wiping the firmware and bricking the device. (Thanks Fraser).

940224-3

The most amazing thing for me was to learn that the Seek Reveal Pro is radiometric. A central reticle can be switched on; the temperature of the spot is shown in centigrade, fahrenheit or kelvin (as per your setup options). Without access to a blackbody source I couldn’t confirm the accuracy but all the readings I’ve seen so far looked pretty realistic. Bravo, Seek!



940232-5 

Battery life is superb. SEEK quote four hours but I managed nearer five. It depends, of course, on how bright you run the screen. I found that setting it to 80% brightness was usually plenty, even outdoors. The 300 lumen flashlight can be set to two different levels. The defaults are something like 90% and 6%. At 90% it is blindingly bright!

Now, the most important thing: image quality. Quite simply, brilliant. I couldn’t believe that I had paid under £500 for such a good picture. There’s virtually no lag; the screen is bright; the FFC flag interrupts are fast and not particularly intrusive; and it’s an absolute joy to use.

Sensitivity is probably in the region of 70mK. That’s not as sensitive as the devices based on Ulis sensors and germanium optics (Therm-App, ThermalExpert etc), but it is certainly more than good enough to visualise small heat leaks in buildings. Once you’re into larger thermal contrast situations the differences between cores tend to become irrelevant anyway. There is very little (if any) fixed pattern noise. The image processing really is very good indeed. The camera copes incredibly well with extremely high contrast scenes that some other cameras have trouble with, for instance it can show cloud detail (effectively ~ -40C) and a hot building (a roof may heat above +40C) in the same image without any difficulty or black- or white-out. (Thanks to Fraser for drawing my attention to this).

I did a side by side comparison of the Seek Reveal Pro, a Therm-App (384x288) with 13mm f/1.0 lens and ThermApp Plus (640x480) with 19mm F/1.1 lens. The Therm-App cameras are definitely a bit more contrasty but (especially in the case of the $3500 Therm-App Pro) we’re not comparing like with like. The Seek has a relatively small chalcogenide glass lens whereas the Therm-Apps were using germanium. I haven’t been able to find out much about the Seek lens but I suspect it’s around  f/1.2. It’s fixed focus, unlike the others I mention, but set up nicely so that everything from a foot to infinity are in good-enough focus.

Left to right: Seek Reveal Pro FF (320x240), Therm-App (384x288), Therm-App Pro (640x480), all sized to 320x240 but click for original size. Note how the handles on the filing cabinets can't be seen in the Seek image but are visible in the Therm-App images.

   940294-7   940274-8

The sensor on the Seek Reveal Pro is made with 12µm pixels, which are some of the smallest on the market. (Therm-App and most other contemporary uncooled microbolometer thermal imagers uses 17µm pixels, whether they are VOX or A-Si). The benefit of smaller pixels include a physically smaller (=cheaper) sensor and a smaller lens because it doesn’t have to create such a large image circle as required by bigger sensors. The downside is that the pixels are only half the area of conventional 17µm sensors, which means there’s less sensitive area. All other things being equal, that means the pixels will be less sensitive than their larger brethren. There’s also the consideration that the pixels are nearing the practical limit for what will actually work in the 7-14µm wavelength range: they are less than one wavelength of light across.

Image resolution is 320x240 pixels, but that may not be the whole story. Particularly when pixels are small in relation to the wavelength, very great care must be taken with the design of the optical system (lens) in order to maximise the spatial resolution. The details are highly technical and Seek don’t release much information about their lens but, all things being equal, I would expect the optical resolution to be less than one would get with a comparable lens on a larger sensor. That said, it’s pretty darned good: Seek clearly have excellent designers who know exactly what they’re doing.

So far so good: everything has been overwhelmingly positive. Are there any downsides? Well, although the pictures flow nice and freely there is no video recording mode nor any way to extract a moving image signal. That could be a deal breaker for some. Otherwise I can’t think of anything else that might be considered a problem. Mike spotted space for a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth module on his teardown video so there may be a new version to come that includes such a facility.

My overall conclusion is that the Seek Reveal Pro Fast Frame is the best budget thermal imaging camera I have ever seen. It weighs next to nothing, is robust, fits in your pocket and gives superb images. I have no hesitation in recommending it.

(Note that these remarks apply only to the Seek Reveal Pro Fast Frame; other variants, such as the Reveal / Reveal XR use a different sensor).

Sample images - click on the thumbnails below. All are as-shot (except the landscape format images, which were turned in an image editor but otherwise not changed).
« Last Edit: March 14, 2020, 12:30:00 am by Ultrapurple »
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Offline Ultrapurple

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Re: SEEK Reveal Pro FF review by Ultrapurple
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2020, 08:19:57 pm »
Some features I forgot to mention. There are three basic display modes: normal, 'full frame' and Span.
  • Normal is precisely what you'd expect - a good quality thermal image
  • Full frame is the radiometric mode. A colour calibration ribbon appears across the top of the screen and the image contains the full dynamic range (Normal mode crops the coolest and hottest pixels to give a more contrasty image)
  • Span lets you set min and max temperatures that will be displayed. Anything below the Min figure wail appear black; above the Max, white (or whatever cold & hot colours your palette is set to

Images are normally stored as non-radiometric PNG. A menu option lets you save all temperature data, in which case the image is stored as a radiometric TIFF.

More sample images:
« Last Edit: February 28, 2020, 08:28:21 pm by Ultrapurple »
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Offline Fraser

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Re: SEEK Reveal Pro FF review by Ultrapurple
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2020, 09:26:10 pm »
Thanks for the review and pictures Ultrapurple.

I am tempted but just can not justify such a purchase at the moment.

Fraser
 

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Re: SEEK Reveal Pro FF review by Ultrapurple
« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2020, 10:42:21 pm »
I couldn't justify it either.

It's bad enough being impecunious; one can hardly be expected to compound the misery by denying oneself the occasional treat...
« Last Edit: February 28, 2020, 11:33:29 pm by Ultrapurple »
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Offline IwuzBornanerd

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Re: SEEK Reveal Pro FF review by Ultrapurple
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2020, 10:52:07 pm »
Thanks @Ultrapurple

Gee, this has got to be the most "glowing" review of a Seek product I have seen on this forum!

But before anyone gets too excited, can you show us a photo of a low contrast scene with the entire gray scale spread over a ~3 degree C span?  ...Or even a 3 degree Fahrenheit span.   :D

Given the low cost business model I expect the lens is the same as on the Compacts.  Check the aperture; if it is 5mm & the FOV is the same as the Compact Pro then it is likely F/1.4

Fortunately you corrected your file size typo before I got logged in.  ;)

Anything from Seek on how to get the data out of those TIFFs (which I already did)?
I am not opposed to exercise, unless it is an exercise in futility.
 

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Re: SEEK Reveal Pro FF review by Ultrapurple
« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2020, 11:48:12 pm »
@IwuzBornanerd thanks - yes, I am aware it's a very positive review. I considered the camera from a position of experience with many other thermal cameras and it is impressive, offering an unmatched price/performance ratio. There is no doubt that there are better small form-factor cameras out there - for instance some based on the FLIR or DRS cores - but the cost of those is significantly higher (×10 or more in many cases) and none come in such an ergonomically pleasing package.

Perhaps we will see even better cameras at lower cost from the Far East in due course. Meanwhile I think this is the all-in-one to beat.

As I mentioned here and elsewhere, I was not at all impressed with the earlier Seek devices. I wonder if they will leverage their present sensor technology to make 640x480 or even higher resolution sensors in the future? It will be exciting to see.

As soon as I get the chance to set up a suitable scene I will make some images in a low-span environment. Most people are aware that low-contrast scenes are the 'torture test' for thermal cameras and it will be interesting to see how it compares with other devices. I am particularly keen to compare it to my FLIR SC-660 science-grade camera! The Therm-App cameras also provide a useful benchmark.
« Last Edit: February 29, 2020, 09:37:04 am by Ultrapurple »
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Re: SEEK Reveal Pro FF review by Ultrapurple
« Reply #6 on: February 29, 2020, 09:23:00 pm »
Now for some relatively unscientific test results. I compared the Seek Reveal Pro against
  • A science-grade FLIR SC-660 (640 x 480, ~25mK NETD, f/1.1 lens)
  • A regular Therm-App (384 x 288, ~70mK NETD, f/1 lens)
  • A Therm-App Pro (640 x 480, ~30mK NETD, f/1.1 lens)
  • The Seek Reveal Pro (320 x 240, ~70mK, standard lens)
I chose four scenes for the tests and made the images as close to each other (in time) as practical. All of the cameras were allowed to warm up for at least five minutes before any images were made and (in the case of the Therm-App cameras) a manual FFC was performed immediately before the images were made. The FLIR and SEEK devices have automatic FFC.

The scenes are:
  • A small piece of concrete 'stone' pathway with a small cast iron hatch that gives access to a water meter (thermal span ~4°C)
  • A brick wall that was shaded, for minimum thermal span (thermal span <4°C)
  • A UPVC door (external side), shaded for minimum span (thermal span ~4°C)
  • An ordinary outdoor scene of a couple of parked cars - the one in the background has been warmed by the sun whereas we are looking at the shady side of the one in the foreground (thermal span ~34°C)

The FLIR SC-660 is a high class science grade camera. Although it is not in calibration, a recent check against a good blackbody source (thanks, Fraser) indicates that its temperature indications are within about 1°C of correct, so this is what I'm using as the 'definitive' reference standard.

The following results are scaled to a total of 640 pixels wide; click on the images to see them full size.

Results from FLIR SC-660:

941080-0

Results from Therm-App Pro:

941068-1


Results from Therm-App:

941072-2


Results from SEEK Reveal Pro:

941076-3


The results are fairly clear. The minimum span torture test of the brick wall is, realistically, beyond the capabilities of the SEEK Reveal Pro. That shouldn't be seen as too surprising, as the thermal contrast is probably well under 2°C. The SEEK fared much better when looking at the PVC door (the patterning is a reflection of the street scene) and by the time there was some real contrast (on the path), the SEEK's results were very acceptable. Not surprisingly, the wide temperature span of the cars image gave pretty good results on all of the cameras.

I have done numerous other tests on the SEEK that indicate it is sensitive enough to see quite low-level heat leaks in a domestic environment, though it's clearly not as good as the other cameras.

Conclusion: as per my earlier notes, the Seek Reveal Pro isn't as sensitive as the higher-priced alternatives, but in most real-world conditions it acquits itself remarkably well.
« Last Edit: March 01, 2020, 12:43:44 am by Ultrapurple »
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Re: SEEK Reveal Pro FF review by Ultrapurple
« Reply #7 on: February 29, 2020, 09:36:32 pm »
Here are some original image files from the different cameras - the FLIR SC-660 (IR... file names) and Therm-App (T A file names).
« Last Edit: February 29, 2020, 09:54:24 pm by Ultrapurple »
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Re: SEEK Reveal Pro FF review by Ultrapurple
« Reply #8 on: February 29, 2020, 09:37:14 pm »
... and the SEEK and Therm-App Pro (TA Pro) files:
« Last Edit: February 29, 2020, 09:56:15 pm by Ultrapurple »
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Re: SEEK Reveal Pro FF review by Ultrapurple
« Reply #9 on: February 29, 2020, 09:48:57 pm »
More files from the SEEK Reveal Pro:

Small dormer window showing battens where the internal panels are fixed

 

Air conditioner



Flex of a 3kW electric kettle and mains plug



Kettle, just off the boil



Vent from a portable refrigerator, seen in different palettes

             





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Offline Fraser

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Re: SEEK Reveal Pro FF review by Ultrapurple
« Reply #10 on: February 29, 2020, 10:16:02 pm »
Thanks for the comparison and pictures Ultrapurple.

Considering what I remember of my original SEEK phone dongle, this Seek Pro core is vastly superior in terms of image noise. Cameras using the 12um pixels (actually only 10um receptors)  have to work very hard to produce a decent low noise image of low Delta T scenes. I can forgive the Seek Reveal Pro for not excelling in that part of the test.

I would love to see how the SEEK Reveal Shield Pro performs as that unit appears to be a ‘tuned’ version for law enforcement use and it has a very large lens compared to the other models. Sadly there is little chance that I will get my hands on that model though.

https://www.opticsplanet.com/seek-thermal-reveal-shield-pro-thermal-image-camera-rq-lah.html

Fraser
« Last Edit: February 29, 2020, 10:17:47 pm by Fraser »
 

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Re: SEEK Reveal Pro FF review by Ultrapurple
« Reply #11 on: March 01, 2020, 12:21:30 am »
@ Fraser - If you take a look at the Seek site (www.thermal.com) you will find that they offer two types of tiny OEM cores with different lens options. The 'Mosaic' cores are available in 320 x 240 resolution with a variety of lenses including a 9.1mm f/1.0 that looks suspiciously like the one on the Shield Pro. That would give very long range detection (Seek say 750m) and good sensitivity. Other lenses in the series range from f/1.05 to f/1.26. However, none of the listed options quite match the Reveal Pro so I don't know what focal length or aperture it has. (Knowing the pixel size, FoV and measuring the lens entrance pupil diameter should give some clues but I haven't done the sums yet).
« Last Edit: March 01, 2020, 12:33:07 am by Ultrapurple »
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Re: SEEK Reveal Pro FF review by Ultrapurple
« Reply #12 on: March 01, 2020, 01:04:13 am »
I wonder what would happen if one grafted a different lens onto the sensor? Something like one from an Argus 1 or 2 would give excellent long reach and, as the aperture is quite wide, the images would probably be nice and contrasty. Of course, it would mean a severe risk of wrecking the camera and even if it worked the calibration would be way off, but still...

Actually, I guess there would be more issues than just calibration. Even assuming something could be contrived that didn't foul the FFC flag, I suspect Seek is doing something clever to compensate for fall-off at the edges of the image circle: cost engineering dictates that the image circle should be as small as you can get away.with so you economise on lens materials but if it's too small you get objectionable vignetting in the corners - unless you carefully tune the gains in the corners to compensate. You would get more noise in the corners of course,  but normally one is mainly interested in the centre of the image. Just a thought...
« Last Edit: March 01, 2020, 01:06:44 am by Ultrapurple »
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Offline Fraser

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Re: SEEK Reveal Pro FF review by Ultrapurple
« Reply #13 on: March 01, 2020, 01:20:44 am »
Ultrapurple,

I did some reading of the Reveal Shield Pro user manual to see if they detailed anything interesting compared to the standard Reveal Pro. The Shield has a 24 degree HFOV which is a very common figure for professional cameras used in Industry. The only significant differences that I could find were the clearly larger lens and three search specific LUT’s. The unit defaults to ‘night’ mode with a low intensity red monochrome image. This is intended to preserve night vision and reduce the users face illumination. SEEK suggest that this is the default mode to protect officers in high risk situations. There are two other modes, one monochrome and one colour. They are both high contrast modes intended to highlight suspects in a scene.

I was wondering whether the Wi-Fi module might be present in the Reveal Shield model for video streaming or image download, but no, there is no mention of it in the user manual.

To be honest, I would not personally use a thermal camera of the Reveals format for law enforcement searches. In the covert mode of observation you want as little of your body visible as possible and standing up with the Reveal at waist or chest height viewing a scene exposes a rather large target if the quarry is armed. A thermal scope such as the FLIR Scout and similar format units plus a military iris type eye cup is my preferred tool for the job. The Reveal Shield might prove very useful in non covert roles though. Searching for missing persons who present no threat comes to mind.

I would still like to see how much difference that larger lens makes to the camera cores noise levels though.

Oh I almost forgot, the Shield is available in <9fps and 30fps versions. Yes 30fps ! However the UK has had Seek Reveal XR30 units for a while now so I knew there were 30fps versions around.

As a side note, these very compact thermal imaging cores might provide improved imaging performance if a better lens were to be fitted. Such an exercise would involve modifications to the camera but might give a worthwhile improvement in performance. The poor little FLIR Lepton is a classic case and would almost certainly benefit from a nice good quality Germanium conventional lens in place of its silicon diffractive optics. I have some very neat little high quality Germanium primary lenses but would I want to carve up my nice new SEEK Reveal to use one on it ? Hmmm now there is a question.

Fraser
« Last Edit: March 23, 2020, 11:35:39 am by Fraser »
 

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Re: SEEK Reveal Pro FF review by Ultrapurple
« Reply #14 on: March 01, 2020, 01:31:40 am »
Ultrapurple,

I just saw your post.... our minds think alike  ;D

I was thinking more along the lines of a Germanium lens from an early model Argus 4 or MiTic camera  ;)

There may be some noticeable difference in the lens characteristics effecting the NUC and measurement calibration but you might get lucky or the improvement might make such still acceptable. The only way to find out is to get myself a sample SEEK camera and test the theory. Not at the moment though as I am resisting further thermal camera purchases. With regard to using a lens assembly from a somewhat elderly thermal camera such as an Argus 1 or 2, there is the issue of resolution to consider. The SEEK pixels are tiny compared to the monster sizes used in the Raytheon BST FPA. IIRC, the BST pixels were 50um but I may be wrong about that. Such large pixels will likely be far less demanding of the lens system illuminating the FPA. Still good quality Germanium lenses, but likely not specified for the tiny 12um pixels.

Fraser
 

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Re: SEEK Reveal Pro FF review by Ultrapurple
« Reply #15 on: March 01, 2020, 11:11:36 pm »
I was thinking more along the lines of a Germanium lens from an early model Argus 4 or MiTic camera  ;)
With regard to using a lens assembly from a somewhat elderly thermal camera such as an Argus 1 or 2, there is the issue of resolution to consider. The SEEK pixels are tiny compared to the monster sizes used in the Raytheon BST FPA. IIRC, the BST pixels were 50um but I may be wrong about that. Such large pixels will likely be far less demanding of the lens system illuminating the FPA. Still good quality Germanium lenses, but likely not specified for the tiny 12um pixels.

Fraser

Indeed, also the Argus 1 lens is f/0.7, as a tube camera was essentially working as around 100µm pixels, with 200 lines over 18mm.

Some brief lens specs:
  • Argus 1 MTF >60% at 5lp/mm
  • Argus 2 & 3 BST >40% at 10lp/mm ( = 50µ pixel, BST was 48µm).
  • Argus 4 MTF >60% at 20lp/mm ( = 25µ pixel)
These are the spec limits, so a typical lens will comfortably exceed these.

One of my 'things to do' is to make some Frankenstein cameras putting various lenses onto modern cores including a FLIR One.  I may even end up making adaptor plates.

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Re: SEEK Reveal Pro FF review by Ultrapurple
« Reply #16 on: March 02, 2020, 12:57:23 am »
Ultrapurple,

Don't want to hijack your thread, but was curious -- are the Flir images straight from the camera, or did you go through Flir Tools?
I am attempting to reconcile the temperatures shown at the center spot with my calculations for temperature. I get slightly different results.

Thanks.
 

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Re: SEEK Reveal Pro FF review by Ultrapurple
« Reply #17 on: March 02, 2020, 01:13:01 am »
@ BillW - I love the idea of a Frankencamera!  :D

@ JimM - no problem. All the FLIR images are straight off the camera. It looks as though I inadvertently used two different versions of the first image because the one in the composite image has crosshairs and temperature figures but the separate file doesn't. I didn't use FLIR Tools (I don't have a licence code for it).

The IR... jpgs are the FLIR radiometric images so feel free to use them to see if my camera's mileage differs from yours. There are some more SC 660 radiometric images here:
https://www.eevblog.com/forum/thermal-imaging/flir-sc-660-vs-therm-app-pro-thoroughly-unscientific-comparison/
« Last Edit: March 02, 2020, 02:13:49 am by Ultrapurple »
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Offline IwuzBornanerd

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Re: SEEK Reveal Pro FF review by Ultrapurple
« Reply #18 on: March 02, 2020, 10:07:10 am »
 Excellent comparison Ultrapurple; thank you.  That is the way to compare cameras.  Great to see same-scene comparisons from different cameras.

The thing I find the most amazing is the lack of difference between the images of the pavement.  I wonder if the texture of the pavement masks some of the Seek noise.

I notice that the Seek chose a 2 degree span (thus showing more noise) for the brick but the FLIR chose 4 degrees.  Do you know what the ThermApp span was?

It looks like you have the Seek image smoothing off, (judging by the door image particularly).  Is that true?

I suspect images with the standard color palettes will show as much noise with around 2x the temperature span as the gray scale.

For comparison, I'll post a shot from my FFPro with 3.2C span & fully warmed up & fresh 2-point NUC (and no smoothing).  Looks pretty much the same as your door shot noise-wise, although I can't duplicate your scenes.  I make note of this as a way of saying that the Reveal Pro & Compact Pro appear to have the same image performance.  The Reveal may have more stability & repeatability as a result of it's packaging, though.  I wonder if your evaluation will help remove the stigma associated with Seek that resulted from the original units.

The TIFF posted off the Seek app by another user has the temperatures with 5 decimal places, apparently 1/32 degree increments.  Given that, it should be possible to take any image & zoom in on a particular temperature range & see the noise regardless of what span the camera software was using at the time.  If you'd care to post one or 2 of those TIFFs off your Reveal Pro (maybe narrow & not so narrow span) I'll see what I can do with them.  :)

I forgot to mention that I have on my "to do" list getting some form of F/1.0 lens on one of  my Compacts.  As best I can determine from measurements, the "tunnel" in the Seek Compact lid will support an F/1.0 aperture but the bayonet will not.  And about the only focal length I could get F/1.0 in with the cheap ZnSe lenses would be half inch--by using 2 1" focal length plano-convex lenses.  I THINK this can work on the Seek but it might not be possible to focus at long distances.  Going to F/1.0 would double the signal-to-noise & thereby hopefully get the Seeks down to 1LSB of noise.  I figure they started with the 4 LSBs noise & are now at 2 bits of noise.  With F/1.0, though I'd need to figure out how to get the temperatures right.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2020, 10:17:10 am by IwuzBornanerd »
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Offline JimM

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Re: SEEK Reveal Pro FF review by Ultrapurple
« Reply #19 on: March 02, 2020, 07:10:13 pm »
Quote
The IR... jpgs are the FLIR radiometric images so feel free to use them to see if my camera's mileage differs from yours. There are some more SC 660 radiometric images here:
I don't actually own an IR camera...yet. I got interested in Thermal imaging a few months ago from a software development standpoint -- first from the ExifTool forum and then here. Comparing FLIR temperature data from radiometric images posted online, sometimes I get exactly the same temperatures, other times they differ a little. I am basing my temperature calculations on the equations that tomas123 posted in a spread sheet several years ago. I was attributing the differences to possibly the use of FLIR Tools, since in FLIR Tools you can tweak things like emissivity, etc. However, you don't use FLIR Tools, so I can eliminate that possibility. Will take a look at your other SC 660 images. Thanks again for your help.
 

Offline Vipitis

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Re: SEEK Reveal Pro FF review by Ultrapurple
« Reply #20 on: March 04, 2020, 02:30:12 pm »
While almost off topic:

Bill - I managed to put the 18mm f/0.7 Lens I got from you a while ago onto my phone's camera which is a Lepton 2 core, very close to the FLIR ONE spec. I sadly broke one element so I can't test it on my bigger(but older) cores with direct sensor access. The tiny 4.5mm prototype did not cover the Lepton fov at all and removing the integrated lens wasn't an option for me. I will gladly share my CAD model for the lens adapter I printed with my measurements for changing the distance between groups. I couldn't get any results for resolving power.
 

Offline Fraser

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Re: SEEK Reveal Pro FF review by Ultrapurple
« Reply #21 on: March 21, 2020, 04:43:09 pm »
I sold a few items on eBay to finance the purchase of a Seek Reveal Pro Fast Frame model  :)

In the past I have been less than impressed with the early Seek Thermal Classic dongle. I sold mine soon after buying it. Since then I have watched with interest as the Seek Thermal products image quality appeared to improve. Noise levels have been lowered and the QVGA Pro core produces decent imagery without the need for fancy post capture PC/MAC image enhancement. I recently asked this forum whether this was indeed an improvement in the cores, as I suspected. It became apparent that Seek have been working on the noise levels present in their systems and also the noise processing elements of their firmware/software. Was it time to dip my toe back into the Seek Thermal waters I wondered.

A pair of friends (fellow forum members) showed me their Seek Thermal Reveal cameras. The first one I saw was a standard Seek Reveal and the second unit was the Seek Reveal Pro Fast Frame belonging to Ultrapurple.  I was pleasantly surprised at the picture produced on the standard Reveal unit and began to question my somewhat negative view of the Seek Thermal products. Ultrapurple very kindly visited me with the Reveal Pro Fast Frame and I was further impressed by the improvements that I saw in imaging quality. Let’s not get carried away though, we are still dealing with a core that struggles to produce a low noise image due to the challenges created by its diminutive pixels that measure barely 10um in true pixel size. The question is, have Seek Thermal done enough to tame the noise to acceptable levels for most users ? My opinion is that with the Seek Reveal Pro they have succeeded in this quest  :-+

The Seek Reveal Pro Fast Frame is quite an expensive item, even though cheap compared to other complete camera systems of the same resolution. Ultrapurple and I had seen an eBay advert by “Yoltso” for the Seek Reveal Pro FF model at a lower price of £489 in the UK. We both thought the price suspicious, especially as the same seller had listings of the same camera at higher prices ! Was it a scam or reconditioned stock we wondered. We independently researched Yoltso and they are most definitely legitimate. Kondor is another name associated with them and they have huge supply contracts with Vodaphone. The price still seemed too good to be true though. Could it be a typo in the listing or incorrect model ? Was it truly a Fast frame model. I was negotiating with another private seller who was asking £500 for a used Reveal Pro FF and he did not believe the Yoltso price and thought it a non FF version. Well as we know, Ultrapurple bought a Yoltso supplied Reveal Pro FF and it was brand new, sealed in the box and the Fast Frame version. I have no idea how or why Yoltso are cheaper than any other UK supplier and effectively cheaper than the USA when UK VAT and Camera Duty is added.

The bad news was that I did not have the £489 spare so had to resist purchasing the Reveal Pro FF. I was considering buying the lesser Reveal standard model instead but held back as I knew I would always want the better specification image and menus etc. Not long after this I restarted my “Grand Clearout” of test equipment on eBay and that has gone well. With all the trouble in the World I decided to give myself a present from my earnings  ;D I took another look at the Yoltso listing for the Reveal Pro FF and suddenly saw an eBay 24 hour limited offer pop up...... Spend over £100 and receive 10% discount up to a maximum of £50. It was a sign ! The time was right, the planets were aligned in my favour and the stars shon on me at 01:15 in the morning ! I pushed the “buy it now” button, applied the 10% discount code, and the Reveal Pro FF was mine for £440  ;D

The camera arrived via DPD and came a day earlier than predicted. The innocent little padded bag got past my wife’s toy detector without comment :) I had to go shopping yesterday but upon return I unwrapped the precious cargo in our bedroom, away from prying eyes  ;D The Cameras box was new, fully sealed and its contents perfect.
You hold that finely crafted Reveal Pro casing in your hand and it just feels ‘right’  :) The charge level was at 70% so it is not old stock. I could find absolutely no reason for the unit being so discounted by Yoltso.

About the Reveal casing and design..... fans of Star Trek will love it ! The casing is, quite frankly, a thing of beauty. The dimensions and curved shape are so well considered for a comfortable grip. The PRO model has the ‘carbon fibre’ pattern effect on the plastics but it does not look cheap as can be the case with some fake carbon fibre effects. The unit is so solid and has an air of quality exuding from it. Tough Gorilla glass is used for the display window rather than cheaper plastic :) It is what I would normally expect to find when handling professional radio equipment used by law enforcement.... solid, dependable and built to last, even in harsh conditions. You can tell that I like the design can’t you  ;D One surprising omission is a 1/4” tripod socket or an accessory tripod mount to fit the two recessed threaded mounts that are used for a lanyard option. I shall fix that with my own tripod mount.

I will not say too much regarding the performance of the a Reveal Pro as I have yet to have some serious time using it and studying its behaviour in differing scenarios. What I can say though is that the images that it was producing during a quick test yesterday were more than acceptable and I am hard to please ! The additional resolution over the standard a Reveal is a significant enhancement and it is clear that the noise management routine is working well and is effective. The Reveal Pro apparently uses a Generation 3 imaging core. I am thinking that Seek Thermal may actually have been too ‘honest’ with this camera in that temperature spans as low as 1 Degree C are possible. In a low Delta T scene the camera appears to select a very narrow span and this inevitably brings with it a rise in image noise content. Other OEM’s often limit the minimum span to prevent the camera displaying too much noise on the display. They effectively hide the noise out of sight of the user. This is important to understand when comparing thermal cameras against a low Delta T scene. The Seek Thermal Pro core will have a higher noise output than the larger pixel equipped microbolometers but I understand the physics of the situation so will not be overly critical, especially as the Reveal Pro offers such small temperature spans that are normally only needed for specialist investigations. At more common temperature spans the noise content of the images is more than acceptable, as I have already stated. Image definition may be suffering a little compared to a larger pixel microbolomter but I will need to study this more closely.

I will now get to know the Reveal Pro and do some tests on its imaging performance. I am under no illusions that some image processing ‘magic’ is working very hard inside this camera to tidy up the picture. The question is, does that image processing get in the way of producing decent imagery ? I suspect I will be pleasantly surprised.

For information, I work in monochrome and Iron palettes when thermal imaging in most scenarios. High contrast rainbow palettes can be very unflattering to a thermal camera, especially where noise content is concerned !

Finally, am I happy with what my £440 purchased ? Most definitely !

My thanks to Bill W and Ultrapurple for bringing the Reveal series to my attention  :-+

Fraser
« Last Edit: March 21, 2020, 05:59:50 pm by Fraser »
 

Offline Fraser

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Re: SEEK Reveal Pro FF review by Ultrapurple
« Reply #22 on: March 21, 2020, 05:37:13 pm »
I have also purchased a case for my Reveal camera. Not the overpriced Seek offerings, but one of the many generic camera case offerings at more sensible prices ! It was only £10 but may be a tight fit so hold off buying one until I receive and test it. The case is a horizontal type with strap or belt mounting :)

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Vanguard-BIIN-II-7H-Compact-Camera-Case-Black/401559868700?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649

https://www.cameracentreuk.com/vanguard-biin-ii-7h-compact-camera-case-black

It is also available from Amazon

https://www.amazon.co.uk/BIIN-II-7H-BK-Horizontal/dp/B01CUL1EN8?th=1

Fraser
« Last Edit: March 21, 2020, 05:41:21 pm by Fraser »
 

Offline triplex

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Re: SEEK Reveal Pro FF review by Ultrapurple
« Reply #23 on: March 21, 2020, 11:02:31 pm »
Do you guys know if the lack of video recording is a hardware limitation or they just didn't bother to write firmware for it?
« Last Edit: March 21, 2020, 11:15:26 pm by triplex »
 

Offline Fraser

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Re: SEEK Reveal Pro FF review by Ultrapurple
« Reply #24 on: March 21, 2020, 11:31:13 pm »
Sadly only Seek Thermal can answer that question definitively.

Let us consider the hardware though....

The Seek Reveal standard model running at <9fps does not get very warn in use. The Reveal Pro 15fps does get warm in use. The Reveal has a run time of 10 hours versus the 4 hours of the Reveal Pro. It would be fair to say that the higher resolution Pro model requires more computing power to produce its improved images. This extra computing power could be just for the image acquisition and display, but I suspect it is also the more advanced image processing that the Reveal Pro appears to have. If the camera were to capture, display and record the image data at 9fps or 15fps, it would increase the load on the processor. That could potentially lead to significantly lower run time and additional heat generation that must be dissipated. There is a lot going on in a small casing in the Reveal so heat could be a problem. Too much and the performance of the imaging core could be degraded. There is also the possibility of an overheating processor that then lowers the frame rate to cool itself. Users might also complain of the casing becoming hot !

Those are the hardware arguments but it is possible that SEEK Thermal decided not to equip any Reveal model with a video recording mode. I expected to see such a mode on the Reveal ShieldPro as that is intended for law enforcement. The same applies to the Reveal FirePro. Video recording is a useful feature for both law enforcement and fire fighters during training. Then there is the lack of any wireless data capability in spite of such clearly being planned in the design stages as the PCB has pads for the components. A bit of a mystery that one  :-//

So why would Seek decide to not equip the Reveal with a video recording function ? Well the marketing team may have plans for other cameras that would offer video recording and do not want the Reveal to impact the potential sales of the new product. But since 2016, when the Reveal Pro was released, we have not seen a similar format “Reveal PLUS” model that offers video recording or wireless connectivity. If Seek had really wanted to provide video recording, then they would have found a way. It could just be that the effort to achieve such in the Reveal was just too great to justify the cost. A more powerful processor would likely generate more heat and a redesign of the heat dissipation paths would have been required.

So not a definitive answer, but hypothesis. Only Seek have the definitive answer as a I said at the beginning.

Fraser
« Last Edit: March 21, 2020, 11:33:07 pm by Fraser »
 
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