Documentary filmmakers, hunters and game wardens have one thing in common: they are looking for wild animals. But animals usually hide in deep thickets and use darkness for protection. Their camouflage was given to them by nature. The color of their fur often matches the colors of the environment, so that wild animals are difficult to recognize during the day. What to say about seeing them at night.
Now in recent years, we have substantially replenished the luggage of knowledge about the surrounding nature and behavior of wild animals. Even about those that lead a nocturnal lifestyle. People used to be limited in their observations and conclusions that they could make. But with the advent of new technologies, this process is facilitated. Previously, a person had to understand and know the behavior of animals in order to hunt prey. Even in our time, hunters also use this golden rule. But there are curious people who are just curious to connect with nature and learn more about the wild world.
And night vision devices are a cool device that can definitely help to achieve this goal. The problem is that even such a device is not always effective. Because if we talk about a conventional night vision device, it usually needs at least a weak light source. Usually such a source is either small lanterns or moonlight. Because objects around are able to reflect it. In conditions where even such lighting is not available, the researchers decided that a thermal imager would be useful in this situation. Using infrared images, animals can be tracked even in poor visibility and in complete darkness. If we consider the principle of operation of thermal imagers, they are infrared radiation recorders. In this case, the device has the ability to translate the perceived wavelength range into a spectrum visible to the human eye. If the object unevenly distributes the temperature, different areas on the display will be highlighted in different colors. The device transmits the registration data online to the display, where the operator sees this distribution in the visible spectrum.
Thermal imaging binoculars and scanners
The first thing we have to emphasize is that in general, modern models of new generation thermal imagers, regardless of their type and shape, have a recording function. So, if you intend to use this device to explore the environment and the life of nocturnal animals, then this is a very important function. A lot of details can slip out of your attention due to concentration, workload and the need to be responsible for other processes. Therefore, it is good to have the opportunity to watch the recording later on a screen that has a larger scale and you can share your research materials with others.
The question is whether it is better to use binoculars or a scanner. It all depends primarily on your needs and purpose. They have different designs. But with these devices you are guaranteed to get the desired result.
Practice shows that binoculars are a good solution for long-term observation of previously unknown terrain of a large area and complex landscape. With its help it is easier to detect not only large-sized animals, but also smaller ones. Therefore, most likely you will need to take breaks in your observations to rest your hands.
As for thermal scanners, they are much smaller and have different shapes. But in general, they are a camera that you can control from your phone and immediately view the objects of observation on the display. So, if necessary, you can hold them in your hands or mount them on a tripod. A significant argument in favor of thermal scanners is their mobility. And modern technologies allow to provide such small devices with a wide range of functions.
Autonomy, image quality and type and other additional features depend on the specific model and manufacturer.
Thermal imaging monoculars and scopes
Both a monocular and a scope are one tube that has all the necessary mechanisms to collect environmental information using infrared radiation, processing it into an image showing objects that emit heat.
In simple words, a monocular is half of a binocular. It seems so, because with quite similar technical characteristics, this device allows you to observe with only one eye. Its main advantages over other optical systems are compact size and light weight. It is easy and comfortable to wear, which will especially appeal to users loaded with ammunition. However, there are some limitations to its use – due to the “single-eye” design, it is difficult to conduct continuous surveillance over a large area. However, if the landscape of the controlled area and the object of observation is known in advance, you can get used to using the monocular without a certain amount of discomfort.
The sight, like the above-mentioned devices, allows you to detect a target at night and in the evening in any weather much faster than with conventional night vision. Such a sight is the same as a thermal imager, but differs from it by the presence of sighting and its installation on the weapon.
Such a device will not be difficult to find a target even in dense bushes or tall grass. In addition, thermal sights have a reticle, which allows the shot to be as accurate as possible. It is worth noting that this type of sights are equipped with adjustment of brightness, contrast and heat sensitivity, which is also very convenient. The function of image magnification, the ability to adjust palettes, switching color modes – all this makes the use of weapons with a sight as comfortable and simple as possible. Therefore, in fact, this type of thermal imager is best used directly for hunting.
So we have just seen that each of these designs, which has the ability to process infrared radiation into an image, has its advantages and disadvantages. How to facilitate your choice and what are the key points to pay attention to when choosing a device for observation.
First, understand what detection range the device has. That is, how much information it can show you. Cheaper options, such as binoculars or scanners, will have lower performance. But high-quality sights will have the same indicators. Simply because of the difference in its design and its capabilities. If you know the specific area that you will inspect, then a monocular and a scope, for example, should be enough for you. But if you understand that you want to cover as much area as possible, then of course pay attention to thermal imagers with a larger detection range.
Next, pay attention to the temperature range of the device. The wider it is, the more accurate your experiments will be, but the price of such devices will be higher. After all, remember, if there are additional objects between your object of observation and you directly, they can significantly degrade the quality of image transmission. And your picture will not be clear enough. This applies, for example, to birds. Low-quality thermal imagers are not able to show the real body temperature of the animal because of the density of its feathers, which can become a barrier. By the way, in this case, an important role is played by the color scheme thanks to which you see the temperature. Experienced researchers note that you need to be able to distinguish when it is more appropriate to use a black and white image, and when in bright colors where there are more shades and degrees of heat radiation.