Author Topic: where can I buy a thermal camera that can see the birds at night?  (Read 1944 times)

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Offline edubz

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I just got a brand new seek compactpro and I took it out at night to see if I could find birds, but everything looks to pixelated to make anything out, basically it seems like thick bushes or vegetation along with the pixelated output from the compactpro makes it impossible to see

I wanted something like this but cant find it , its made by LMIR have you ever heard of the company it looks Chinese. they seem to have all good thermal products these days but I am new to thermal so I dont know




I will send the compact pro back. Someone recommended the HTI 301 but I looked online and saw it was another smart phone adapter but I couldn't find any footage of birds at night with it, and I think its fragile.

if I am going to spend close to $1000 and up I want something with good battery life, and I know I can see the birds and stuff like in the video.

 

Offline Ultrapurple

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Re: where can I buy a thermal camera that can see the birds at night?
« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2021, 09:29:03 am »
Birds can actually be a challenging target. Generally speaking their excellent insulation (feathers) means that they don't radiate a great deal of heat, so they merge into the background. Multi-spectral camouflage, no less.

I have a number of thermal imagers of varying capabilities and have been surprised just how hard birds can be to see in trees. Leaves can hide them particularly well. The couple of images below were taken with an expensive (>US$3000) high resolution high-end-consumer camera with a good quality, 'fast' (f/1.1) germanium lens, in winter (so there were no leaves for the birds to hide behind). In summer I rarely see birds in trees with my cameras.

Just my $0.10.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2021, 10:50:09 am by Ultrapurple »
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Offline Ultrapurple

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Re: where can I buy a thermal camera that can see the birds at night?
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2021, 09:54:39 am »
Note how, in the second image, the birds have motion blur. That image was taken with a 25Hz thermal camera; you'd want something like a 60Hz frame rate to minimise that effect.
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Offline Ultrapurple

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Re: where can I buy a thermal camera that can see the birds at night?
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2021, 10:01:49 am »
And don't forget that if the video came from the manufacturer, they will have cherry-picked some particularly good footage. Just like manufacturers of cheap telescopes who print Hubble images on the box to make you think that's what you'll see.
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Offline Ultrapurple

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Re: where can I buy a thermal camera that can see the birds at night?
« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2021, 10:45:18 am »
First picture: same tree, different winter. This time taken with a high-end science-grade camera.

Second picture: same science-grade camera; see how the birds are screened by leafless branches.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2021, 10:49:02 am by Ultrapurple »
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Offline Vipitis

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Re: where can I buy a thermal camera that can see the birds at night?
« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2021, 11:03:00 am »
The night part night help you, as leaves are cooled down and you have a strong background contrast with the darkness of space (white hot). While I am not sure you will find birds at night, there is a case to be made for bats, which you can find various videos for online

https://media.discordapp.net/attachments/142024954529972224/856928891444658207/MOV210621-170342-000170F_Trim.mp4

Little bird at 3m and one at ~6m is a little test clip I did with my QVGA+ core running at PAL framerates on my 150mm f/1 lens which I took apart and here just reassembled the flange and focussed to the camera. The front element still being handheld cause sing all the collimation issues which result in all the blur. It's also captured rather badly with horrible compression and bad ADC. While I got this set for less than 1k€ it's not in a practical form factor right now and it's not the easiest or safest way to shop of bargains.

Perhaps shop for a spotting device, a thermal monocular. Those are sold for hunters usually and come in different focal lengths. But the good stuff starts at 2k and up. Perhaps you can try a few at a local hunting gear supplier and look for used offers in your area.
 

Offline Scuddles

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Re: where can I buy a thermal camera that can see the birds at night?
« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2021, 01:45:06 pm »
I own a HT-301. Good resolution and framerate for the price, but the resolution may still not be enough for capturing details of birds.
Here's a picture of a zebra dove in a nest taken at about 3m during an afternoon, and what I think are some birds in trees at about 25m taken at night.
 

Online DaJMasta

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Re: where can I buy a thermal camera that can see the birds at night?
« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2021, 06:16:06 pm »
Resolution of an HT-301 is probably good enough, the trick is getting a zoom lens so that the target takes up a substantial portion of your field of view.  You can also probably get better detail by either using a fixed range (instead of autoranging) or by making sure your background is cool.  The buildings or lights in the background, or even the heat of a warm night, will reduce the contrast of the subject from the background.


As an aside, I wonder if bats are any easier to see with less insulation and no gliding (probably more energy use).
 

Offline svgurus

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Re: where can I buy a thermal camera that can see the birds at night?
« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2021, 07:29:52 pm »
I think you need used thermal monocular, if you need long lens and not fragile case) good ones that record photos and might cost closer to 1000$ used are:
1. Pulsar Helion XQ 28/38/50 (all axions are less sharp) I currently own Pulsar XP, you can swap batteries on it and with some tricks - lenses.
2. Iray xeye 3 plus/pro/max v1/2, Iray cabin 19 is new model, specs look kinda nice but used xeye 3 would be better i think) Iray finder FL is smaller but more expensive. I never read about changing lenses on xeye or finder series, thats a problem)
3. Flir hs-307 or ts32r - heavier and bigger but batteries are swappable, lenses too but with more effort than Pulsar. Photos that I found in net are softer than Pulsar XQ but less noisier - btw anyone has samples to share?) Going to buy one of these soon
4. maybe Flir Scion, they use Boson core, not sure if they are better than Axions in sharpness/noise)
Hikmicro and Guide make monoculars with recording too but for me they are less interesting but might be cheaper.
I attached:
1 photo from 307, its not mine
2 my photos of ducks at water from XP + most likely, 50mm lens, 501 is made in late evening, 502 at bright day in hot season, contrast is low.
1 photo from some xeye 3-1 model, its from this Hungarian site - https://www.vadasz-blog.hu/category/hokamera_teszt/ google translate is readable)
« Last Edit: July 24, 2021, 01:17:03 am by svgurus »
 

Offline edubz

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Re: where can I buy a thermal camera that can see the birds at night?
« Reply #9 on: July 23, 2021, 10:09:20 pm »
I think you need used thermal monocular, if you need long lens and not fragile case) good ones that record photos and might cost closer to 1000$ used are:
1. Pulsar Helion XQ 28/38/50 (all axions are less sharp) I currently own Pulsar XP, you can swap batteries on it and with some tricks - lenses.
2. Iray xeye 3 plus/pro/max 1/2/3, Iray cabin 19 is new model, specs look kinda nice but used xeye 3 would be better i think) Iray finder FL is smaller but more expensive and i guess impossible to find about 1000$ used. i never read about changing lenses on xeye or finder series, thats a problem)
3. Flir hs-307 or ts32r - heavier and bigger but batteries are swappable, lenses too but with more effort than Pulsar. Photos that I found in net are softer than Pulsar XQ but less noisier - btw anyone has samples to share?) Going to buy one of these soon
4. maybe Flir Scion, they use Boson core, not sure if they are better than Axions in sharpness/noise)
Hikmicro and Guide make monoculars with recording too but for me they are less interesting but might be cheaper.
I attached:
1 photo from 307, its not mine
2 my photos of ducks at water from XP + most likely, 50mm lens, 501 is made in late evening, 502 at bright day in hot season, contrast is low.
1 photo from some xeye 3-1 model, its from this Hungarian site - https://www.vadasz-blog.hu/category/hokamera_teszt/ google translate is readable)


so your saying if I get a pulsar XP 50 I will be able to see the birds like the  LM6P-25? is the pulsar the best 640 sensor there is out there?




its pretty expensive, and I will have to get it off ebay. I guess I should be able to see squirrels  too?

can it see through vegetation? like bushes and stuff?


I own a HT-301. Good resolution and framerate for the price, but the resolution may still not be enough for capturing details of birds.
Here's a picture of a zebra dove in a nest taken at about 3m during an afternoon, and what I think are some birds in trees at about 25m taken at night.

I was looking at the ht-301 but they are fragile, the compactpro I got from amazon already broke, plus the price range is almost to $1000, I think I might be able to find something with a bigger sensor and less fragile.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2021, 10:17:32 pm by edubz »
 

Offline svgurus

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Re: where can I buy a thermal camera that can see the birds at night?
« Reply #10 on: July 24, 2021, 12:16:36 am »
so your saying if I get a pulsar XP 50 I will be able to see the birds like the  LM6P-25? is the pulsar the best 640 sensor there is out there? I would think it would be better then the LM6P-25 on paper at least

 its pretty expensive, and I will have to get it off ebay. I guess I should be able to see squirrels  too?
 can it see through vegetation? like bushes and stuff?
First of all, what for do you need imager for? to make thermal photos of birds/stuff? videos? or just count/locate them?
LM6P-25 is 17m 40mk 384 sensor with 25 f1 lens, helion XP is 17m 50mk 640 sensor with 28 38 or 50mm f1,2 lens, it gives more detail but due to lower 50mk  sensivity and slower f1,2 lens it has less thermal contrast/resolution. But it allows you to change contrast of image and has more palettes, that can help. Also XP1 and XP2 have image output like sensors resolution and have lower noise suppresion so they have superb image details, but with noise. Chinese superb technologies(I mean Iray, their new imagers are best-sold and most advanced not only IMO)suppress noise, add anti-aliasing aaaaand change resolution from 640 to silly 768, so details get washed out, same for 384 but 2x upscaling is less idiotic and can be reversed.
Buut Chinese xeye 2-3 generation are 12m so 50mm has same angle as 70mm for 17micron or 100mm with 25 micron(hello hs307)
First generation IRAY xeye had superb details and lower noise but are hard to find used in my country, I mean 6's.
And Chinese technologies usually mean non-swappable lenses and batteries, Apple style;)
Helion XQ 1 might be cheaper but it interpolates photos from 384 to 640 so details get lost a bit too.
So yes, for me Helion XP 1-2 is best for now :D for outdoor shooting
And to add more fun, Ultrapurple's therm-app pro has less noise, more sensivity and goes well with in-app superresolution, but I traveled in north regions of Russia and felt like frozen idiot while assembling my regular therm-app shooting setup and changing lenses, so ergonomics are important too) plus, i never saw therm-app pro on sale in Russia or even ebay.
about bushes - it cant see through see through stuff that fully covers the objects like tree trunk. if its like mesh - thin leaves etc, it can
attached:
my XP +28mm photo of Russian birdman, cropped a bit
xeye 6 v1, good details - taken from Hungarian blog
xeye 6 v2, washed out details and funny resolution - taken from Hungarian blog
xeye 6 v2, a bit better details and funny resolution - taken from Hungarian blog
« Last Edit: July 24, 2021, 01:13:47 am by svgurus »
 

Offline eKretz

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Re: where can I buy a thermal camera that can see the birds at night?
« Reply #11 on: July 24, 2021, 03:07:34 am »
Birds in leafy branches will be difficult regardless of which camera you use, the leaves block IR pretty well. Bats are very visible, here's one I discovered in my attic while checking for roof leaks!
 

Offline edubz

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Re: where can I buy a thermal camera that can see the birds at night?
« Reply #12 on: July 24, 2021, 03:56:52 am »
so your saying if I get a pulsar XP 50 I will be able to see the birds like the  LM6P-25? is the pulsar the best 640 sensor there is out there? I would think it would be better then the LM6P-25 on paper at least

 its pretty expensive, and I will have to get it off ebay. I guess I should be able to see squirrels  too?
 can it see through vegetation? like bushes and stuff?
First of all, what for do you need imager for? to make thermal photos of birds/stuff? videos? or just count/locate them?
LM6P-25 is 17m 40mk 384 sensor with 25 f1 lens, helion XP is 17m 50mk 640 sensor with 28 38 or 50mm f1,2 lens, it gives more detail but due to lower 50mk  sensivity and slower f1,2 lens it has less thermal contrast/resolution. But it allows you to change contrast of image and has more palettes, that can help. Also XP1 and XP2 have image output like sensors resolution and have lower noise suppresion so they have superb image details, but with noise. Chinese superb technologies(I mean Iray, their new imagers are best-sold and most advanced not only IMO)suppress noise, add anti-aliasing aaaaand change resolution from 640 to silly 768, so details get washed out, same for 384 but 2x upscaling is less idiotic and can be reversed.
Buut Chinese xeye 2-3 generation are 12m so 50mm has same angle as 70mm for 17micron or 100mm with 25 micron(hello hs307)
First generation IRAY xeye had superb details and lower noise but are hard to find used in my country, I mean 6's.
And Chinese technologies usually mean non-swappable lenses and batteries, Apple style;)
Helion XQ 1 might be cheaper but it interpolates photos from 384 to 640 so details get lost a bit too.
So yes, for me Helion XP 1-2 is best for now :D for outdoor shooting
And to add more fun, Ultrapurple's therm-app pro has less noise, more sensivity and goes well with in-app superresolution, but I traveled in north regions of Russia and felt like frozen idiot while assembling my regular therm-app shooting setup and changing lenses, so ergonomics are important too) plus, i never saw therm-app pro on sale in Russia or even ebay.
about bushes - it cant see through see through stuff that fully covers the objects like tree trunk. if its like mesh - thin leaves etc, it can
attached:
my XP +28mm photo of Russian birdman, cropped a bit
xeye 6 v1, good details - taken from Hungarian blog
xeye 6 v2, washed out details and funny resolution - taken from Hungarian blog
xeye 6 v2, a bit better details and funny resolution - taken from Hungarian blog

I always wanted heat seeing vision since watching the movie predator. I like birds and feed them at my house im curious to see where they go to sleep.

I am going to look into some of the models you mentioned, cant seem to find any LMIR models anywhere not even on alibaba
 

Offline Bill W

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Re: where can I buy a thermal camera that can see the birds at night?
« Reply #13 on: July 24, 2021, 10:38:23 am »
I would recommend working out the size of a pixel at the range you will be looking for the birds.  That will give you a good idea if you will see them.
You would probably want a 2 x 3 pixels over the bird to be sure.
If under 1 pixel then that is all you will see, a 1 pixel warm dot averaging the temperature.

Attached a spreadsheet to work this out - just school level maths.

regards
Bill
 
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Offline edubz

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Re: where can I buy a thermal camera that can see the birds at night?
« Reply #14 on: July 26, 2021, 12:08:35 am »
Birds in leafy branches will be difficult regardless of which camera you use, the leaves block IR pretty well. Bats are very visible, here's one I discovered in my attic while checking for roof leaks!


what do you think of the AGM? This guy did a review and you can see the bird in the tree. I am thinking, being able to see a bird in the tree with leaves should be good way of seeing if your thermal is good.





I would recommend working out the size of a pixel at the range you will be looking for the birds.  That will give you a good idea if you will see them.
You would probably want a 2 x 3 pixels over the bird to be sure.
If under 1 pixel then that is all you will see, a 1 pixel warm dot averaging the temperature.

Attached a spreadsheet to work this out - just school level maths.

regards
Bill


Thanks for the sheet, so let me make sure im inputing the formula correct


lets take this camera for example

https://www.agmglobalvision.com/agm-taipan-tm25-384


h = 384
v = 288
pitch = 12 um

focal lenght would be 25

now i am confused as you have 2 different places to input the Horiz. F.o.V on line 8 and Horizontal Field of View highlighted in yellow, which one do I put the field of view in line 8 or 21?
« Last Edit: July 26, 2021, 03:21:47 am by edubz »
 

Offline Bill W

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Re: where can I buy a thermal camera that can see the birds at night?
« Reply #15 on: July 26, 2021, 10:18:14 pm »
Sorry should have added a bit more instruction (or locked cells).

Only type in the coloured cells.  Answers are in the white cells

Top red ones to set up the sensor data.
Cell B7 if you have a lens size to get the field of view and pixel sizes.
Cell A21 is a separate calculation to get you from a field of view to a lens size.

So for your example, if you put a 25mm lens (cell B7) in front of that sensor you get a 11 degree horizontal field of view (cell B8), and at 100M each pixel is 50mm square (cell B13).

If you want a 5 degree field of view (cell A21) you need a 52.8mm lens, so in practical terms would get a 50mm.

regards
bill

Offline svgurus

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Re: where can I buy a thermal camera that can see the birds at night?
« Reply #16 on: August 11, 2021, 12:36:14 am »
Update on topic) I bought Flir hs-307, its really humongous, especially with bundled semi-backpack lol) use it mostly with 100m lens bought long ago for friendly price, and that's where you see washed out details and funny 320->720 interpolation)) check attachment. my 201 version loads about 50 seconds from off state and about 5 from standby
One friendly salesman sent me photos from iray xeye 6v2 with spring/summer firmware, and they have 640*480(sensor is 512, hmm) resolution without interpolation) in newest firmware they added cold tint and image contrast(?) adjustment in v2 imagers. got excited but then i looked at video from 6v1 from similar source and it  was... 480*360 resolution! looks like planned aging :palm: so you really need to see files from sold imager before buying
Received my Helion xp from warranty covered repairs, service is good indeed) they even renewed hand strap and lens cap and left me old ones. And they rolled out firmware update for XQ2 and XP2pro models with better image sharpness, so xq2 must be really better than xq now) but maybe still worse than xp1 in terms of sharpness
« Last Edit: August 11, 2021, 12:39:43 am by svgurus »
 

Offline Bill W

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Re: where can I buy a thermal camera that can see the birds at night?
« Reply #17 on: August 23, 2021, 11:23:35 pm »
Just seen a few bats with an Argus2 (doing the videos for camera sale on eBay later)

So this is a 320x240 sensor, 50° horizontal field of view and the bats around 50m away
Stills attached

Video link (30 seconds)
www.fire-tics.co.uk/spares/A2-1558/video2.mp4
The moon is seen in the first 15 seconds
Bats feature from 20-30 seconds

Bill

Offline edubz

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Re: where can I buy a thermal camera that can see the birds at night?
« Reply #18 on: September 06, 2021, 02:19:50 am »
I think you need used thermal monocular, if you need long lens and not fragile case) good ones that record photos and might cost closer to 1000$ used are:
1. Pulsar Helion XQ 28/38/50 (all axions are less sharp) I currently own Pulsar XP, you can swap batteries on it and with some tricks - lenses.
2. Iray xeye 3 plus/pro/max v1/2, Iray cabin 19 is new model, specs look kinda nice but used xeye 3 would be better i think) Iray finder FL is smaller but more expensive. I never read about changing lenses on xeye or finder series, thats a problem)
3. Flir hs-307 or ts32r - heavier and bigger but batteries are swappable, lenses too but with more effort than Pulsar. Photos that I found in net are softer than Pulsar XQ but less noisier - btw anyone has samples to share?) Going to buy one of these soon
4. maybe Flir Scion, they use Boson core, not sure if they are better than Axions in sharpness/noise)
Hikmicro and Guide make monoculars with recording too but for me they are less interesting but might be cheaper.
I attached:
1 photo from 307, its not mine
2 my photos of ducks at water from XP + most likely, 50mm lens, 501 is made in late evening, 502 at bright day in hot season, contrast is low.
1 photo from some xeye 3-1 model, its from this Hungarian site - https://www.vadasz-blog.hu/category/hokamera_teszt/ google translate is readable)


I was looking at the axion xq38 and noticed it is pretty good compared to the XP50 and other models



its half the price of the helions, the helions look good, and yeah you can change the lenses but you only gain so little and the lenses cost alot. the only thing I probably wont like is the magnification on the lens, at 3.5 is pretty close

here is some more footage from the helion vs axion



I can get it for $2500 from ebay with 2 year square trade warranty from ebay

« Last Edit: September 06, 2021, 02:28:36 am by edubz »
 

Offline svgurus

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Re: where can I buy a thermal camera that can see the birds at night?
« Reply #19 on: September 07, 2021, 12:28:30 am »
I tried axion xq38 in shop at winter, picture quality is far from ideal for such serious price, and price of used ones in RF is about 90% from paid in shop, so I'm not interested in buying it. For small form-factor and non-changeable lens iray finder fh25 image quality is better and imager is not much expensive, but apart from changeable lens it lacks handstrap and normal colored palettes, I really like pulsar's ones.
I made comparison of my helion XP with 50 lens, axion and iray 6v2 pro with old firmware, it is far from ideal but i didnt like axion's picture with slanted roof house at all, on iray it is not great too, helion is tolerable. temperature was about -10 degrees celsius, 2 big tubes were mounted on tripod and axion not, because it needs adapter for it and i forgot it in shop. but I chose sharpest pictures from it, 35mm lenses are quite hand-holdable on thermal. corners of XP picture can be soft, there is centering problem with lens but it is fixable)
Axion XM is even worse than xq, it is well seen in your first video. Lenses for XP are far from price of new monocular but if you want cheap small imager you can try to find american variant of iray DL13 or cabin 19/25, dl13 works with thermviewer on android phones, i held it in hand for 5-10 mins) not sure if any photos were left. still it is not much better than HTI301 or xtherm t3s but is more expensive and still hard to change the lens
 


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