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FLIR vs Fluke

Which is the best thermal camera, FLIR or Fluke?

This is a question we get asked all the time by those who are either looking to purchase a thermal camera, or use our thermal imaging service.

To start with we are a FLIR distributor in Perth, Australia and only offer and support FLIR products, so I’ll try to be as unbiased as possible. Secondly, we don’t have access to the full range of Fluke products like we do with FLIR products, so we’ve reviewed two cameras that are as close as possible in functionality.

Both the FLIR E4 and the Fluke Ti90 are entry level thermal cameras, so they share many traits, although they each excel in certain areas.

Scantherma FLIR E4 vs Fluke Ti90 Thermal Cameras

 FLIR E4

The E4 is the lowest spec thermal camera in FLIR’s Ex range. With the release of the Ex series FLIR introduced the world to a new thermal imaging type, MSX or Multi-Spectral Dynamic Imaging. This was a great leap in thermal imaging as it enhanced the thermal image to a great degree. With the MSX function now standard on all new cameras and firm-ware updates, the user could make out detail that previously only the highest range of cameras were able to produce.

FLIR MSX

As can be seen from the images above there is a great improvement in image fidelity when the image mode is set to MSX. You can make out detail that is usually impossible with standard thermal images. Things such as labels, surface detail and even objects behind glass are now visible. These details don’t show any temperature difference and are therefore invisible in standard thermal images, especially items behind glass, which is treated as a solid object by thermal cameras. But with MSX turned on you can see it all.

Below is a video showcasing FLIR’s MSX thermal imaging mode.

 

 Fluke Ti90

What sets the Fluke Ti90 aside from some of the other thermal cameras in the same price range is that it has wireless capabilities through Fluke Connect™. With Fluke Connect one can link to a mobile device and review the data that’s been captured and analyse it in the field. This functionality is available on FLIR cameras in the Exx series and above, but not the Ex series. However bear in mind that Fluke Connect™ is not available in all countries.

 

The two cameras side by side

Function FLIR E4 Fluke Ti90
Imaging and Optical Data    
IR Resolution
(the level of detail within each thermal image)
80 x 60 (4600) pixels 80 x 60 (4600) pixels
Thermal Sensitivity/NETD
(the camera’s ability to adjust to temperature changes )
<0.15°C (0.11°F) /<60mK ≤0.15°C at 30° target temp (150mK)
Field of View (FOV)
(the angle of which the camera lens can see)
45 x 34° 19.5 x 26°
Spatial Resolution
(governs how far away the camera can be from a measurement point and still determine accurate results)
10.3mRad 5.6mRad
Focus Type Focus-free Fixed focus 46cm (18″) and beyond
Minimum Focus Distance 48cm 122cm
Display Type 3.0″ 320 x 240 colour LCD 3.5″ diagonal LCD screen (portrait format)
IR/Overlay Fusion Image MSX No
Temperature Measurements
Measurement Range –20°C to +250°C (–4°F to +482°F) -20 °C to +250 °C (-4 °F to +482 °F)
Accuracy ±2°C (±3.6°F) or ±2% of reading, for ambient temperature
10°C to 35°C (+50°F to 95°F) and object temperature
above +0°C (+32°F)
± 2 °C or 2% (at 25 °C nominal, whichever is greater)
Measurement Analysis
Colour Palette Options
(switch between these to change the appearance of thermal images)
Black/white, iron and rainbow Ironbow, blue-red and greyscale
Digital Camera 640 x 480 pixels 2 megapixel industrial performance
Connectivity
USB Yes Yes
WiFi No Yes (Fluke Connect™)
General Data
Memory System Internal memory storage of at least 500 sets of images
Micro-USB data transfer to PC and MAC
Removable 4GB SD card and 8GB wireless SD Card
Direct download via USB to PC connection
Battery Type Rechargeable Li-Ion battery 1 x lithium ion smart battery pack with five-segment LED display with charge level display
Battery Life Approx 4 hours at +25°C (+77°F) ambient temperature and typical use 4+ hours continuous use per battery pack (assumes 50% brightness of LCD/average usage)
Dimensions 24.4 x 9.5 x 1.4cm (9.6 x 3.7 x 5.5 inches) 28.4 x 8.6 x 13.5cm (11.2 x 3.4 x 5.3 inches)
Package Includes
Power Supply AC Charger/ Power Supply with Mains Adapters AC Power Adapter
Battery Lithium Ion Battery Lithium Ion Smart Battery
Interfacing USB Cable USB Cable
Memory Built-in SD Card
Fluke Connect Wireless SD Card
Carrying Case Hard Carrying Case Soft Transport Bag
Software FLIR Tools Software (Free Download) Fluke SmartView Software
Calibration Certificate Yes No
Pricing
RRP Australian Dollar (ex GST) $1350 $1950

 

As can be seen from the above table the two cameras are very close in functionality and packaging, but we think there’s a clear choice if you had to choose between the two.

The Good, Bad and Ugly

FILR E4

Pros
— Higher Thermal Sensitivity at <0.15°C (0.11°F) /<60mK
— Wide Field of View (FOV) at 45 x 34°
— Minimum focal distance of 48cm
— MSX
— Hard Case
— Price
Cons
— Low Spatial Resolution
— Digital Camera very low res at 640 x 480 pixels
— Internal Memory limiting images taken and expandability
Ugly
— No WiFi Capabilities

 

Fluke Ti90

Pros
— Higher Spatial Resolution
— Larger LCD screen
— 2 megapixel Digital Camera
— WiFi with Fluke Connect (limited to some countries)
— Removable memory cards (SD card and WiFi SD Card)
Cons
— Low Thermal Sensitivity at ≤0.15°C at 30° target temp (150mK)
— Tight lens viewing angle
— 122cm minimum focal distance
— No image overlay eg, MSX
— Price
— No Calibration Certificate
Ugly
— Soft Transport Bag

The Winner is…

Although the Fluke Ti90 does come with some very nice features and is fully capable of doing the job, the FLIR E4 takes it all a step further. Both cameras share the same IR (Infrared) resolution of 80 x 60 pixels, arguably the most important factor when comparing thermal cameras, but the E4 has a far more sensitive sensor, which enables it to take more accurate readings. It also has a wider angle lens that comes in handy in tight spaces, allowing you to capture a larger area without the need to step back too far from your target. But what really sets it apart from the Fluke Ti90 is FLIR’s MSX feature, which as can be seen from the above images enhances the thermal image considerably, allowing you to see detail not visible in standard thermal images.  Finally, the FLIR E4 sells at a much lower price, making it the most affordable thermal camera in its range.

If you would like more information on our FLIR range of cameras please visit our Thermal Camera website at www.australianthermalcameras.com.au. If you would like further help deciding which camera is best for your business and project, you can contact us at info@scantherma.com.au or call 0434 065 203 any time and one of our friendly technicians will assist you.

Alternatively if you would like to test the power of thermal imagery before you commit to purchasing a camera, Scantherma also offer thermal imaging service. You can find out more here.

The FLIR Ex Series

The FLIR Ex Thermal Cameras

FLIR has an ever growing range of thermal cameras that meet any need you could think of. From tiny little thermal sensors that fit onto your iPhone, to large scale surveillance units, they’re used by scientists, military, law-enforcement, educational institutions and trades-people. If you’re the latter, there’s a particular series that’s perfect for you. Say hello to the Ex Series Thermal Cameras…

 

FLIR-Ex-Series

 

What’s under the Hood?

There are a total of four cameras in the Ex series. The E4, E5, E6 and E8.

Physically all the Ex series cameras look identical except for the model name displayed directly above the 3″ LCD screen, but internally they’re very different. Let’s take a closer look…

Common Specs

Imaging performance
Field of view/min focus distance 45º x 34º / 0.5 m
Spectral range 7.5 – 13 µm
Image Frequency 9 Hz
Focus Focus free
Focal Plane Array (FPA) Uncooled microbolometer
Image Presentation
Display 3” 320 x 240 color LCD
Image adjustment Automatic adjust/lock image
Measurement
Object temperature range -20°C to +250°C
Accuracy ±2 °C or ±2% of reading , for ambient temperature 10°C to 35°C and object temperature above + 0°C
Measurement analysis
Spotmeter Center spot
Emissivity correction Variable from 0.1 to 1.0
Emissivity table Emissivity table of predefined materials
Reflected apparent temperature correction Automatic, based on input of reflected temperature
Setup
Color palettes Iron, Rainbow and Black/White
Set-up commands Local adaptation of units, language, date and time formats
Image Storage
Image storage capacity Internal memory store at least 500 sets of images
Image storage mode Simultaneous storage of images in IR, visual and MSX
File formats Standard JPEG – 14 bit measurement data included
Data communication interfaces
Interfaces USB Micro: Data transfer to and from PC and Mac device
Power system
Battery Type Li-lon rechargeable
Battery voltage 3.7 V
Battery operating time Approx. 4 hours at +25ºC ambient temperature and typical use
Charging system Battery is charged inside the camera or in specific charger
Charging time 2.5 hours to 90% capacity in camera. 2 hours in charger
Power management Automatic shutdown
AC operation AC adapter, 90-260 VAC input, 5 VDC output to camera
Environmental specifications
Operating temperature range -15°C to +50°C
Storage temperature range -40°C to +70°C
Humidity IEC 60068-2-30/24 h 95% relative humidity
Physical characteristics
Dimensions 244 x 95 x 140 mm
Weight 575 g, including battery
Shipping size 303 x 206 x 128 mm
Shipping weight 2.7 kg (FLIR E8: 2.95 kg)
Standard package

 

Functional Comparison

FLIR E4 FLIR E5 FLIR E6 FLIR E8

IR resolution

x 60 pixels x 90 pixels x 120 pixels x 240 pixels

MSX resolution

x 240 pixels x 240 pixels x 240 pixels x 240 pixels

Thermal sensitivity

0.15°C 0.10°C 0.06°C 0.06°C

Spatial resolution (IFOV)

10.3 mrad 6.9 mrad 5.2 mrad 2.6 mrad

Image modes

IR image, visual image,MSX®, thumbnail gallery IR image, visual image, MSX®, picture in picture, thumbnail gallery IR image, visual image, MSX®, picture in picture, thumbnail gallery IR image, visual image, MSX®, picture in picture, thumbnail gallery

Colour alarm

NA NA Blue below or red above set temperature Blue below or red above set temperature

Image Comparisons

FLIR-Ex-series_comp-1

Ex_Comparison_No_MSX

Ex image comparison: Image mode-Thermal Only with Rainbow colour pallet.

 

Ex_Comparison_MSX

Ex image comparison: Image mode-MSX with Rainbow colour pallet.

 

Video tour of the FLIR Ex-Series

Which camera is best for me?

As you can see from the information above, the four thermal cameras in the Ex range do share some common functionality, but they also differ in many ways. This can be a little confusing when choosing a camera from the Ex series.

The first thing you must take into account is your budget as there is quiet a price difference between the four camera models. Ranging from approximately AUD $1400 to $5500 it is important to make the right choice.

The second point that must be addressed is your purpose. What are you going to be using the camera for? Are you going to require a sharp image or will a low detailed image give you the information you need? This is where you have to consider the camera’s “Thermal Sensor”. As the images above show, the higher the thermal sensor’s resolution, the higher the accuracy of the image.

The E4

This is the baby of the series and is a good camera suitable for a wide range of situations. If you require basic temperature gauging and inspection then it will achieve that with no issues. But don’t expect the sort of detail, or clarity you may get with the higher models.

The E5 & E6

For most trades related projects (plumbing, electrical, building structure, moisture investigations, energy efficiency, etc) an E5 or E6 are perfect as their features and thermal sensor resolution along with their price tag make them good value for money. The E5 functions are closer to the E4 while the E6 is closer to the E8.

The E8

This camera is the most advanced, equipped with the highest resolution thermal sensor with the most accurate thermal range. The E8 is ideal for all the above stated trades as well as the veterinary, medical and mechanical fields, however naturally this all comes with a much higher price.

At the end of the day your budget may dictate your choice of camera, but have in mind that buying the wrong camera for the job may end up costing you more in the long term.

Where do I go from here?

If you would like more information on the Ex series, including current pricing and downloadable brochures you can visit our thermal camera website here. Or if  you would like a closer look you can contact one of our helpful technicians at our Perth office on 0434 065 203 and organise a demonstration.

Using Thermal Cameras for Pest Inspections

No matter where you live in the world, you share your habitat with other creatures. Some are tolerable, but others like the termite are pests.

Although there are approximately 4000 termite species, only about 10% are a nuisance to humans.

Scantherma_FLIR_Termites_1

Those that pose a threat to our homes are mostly subterranean and have very specific environmental needs, such as . As a colony moves in on a targeted area it constructs a tunnel system or  “gallery”. These galleries are rapidly humidified, as they’re dug out and the temperature is actively regulated.

Scantherma_FLIR_Termites_3

Traditional, common investigatory techniques have to excavate or destroy entire areas to detect and eradicate an infestation, but there is a way all of that can be avoided.

With FLIR’s thermal cameras the slightest temperature variations in the termite galleries can be detected without the need to destroy parts of your home. Using the camera you can simply point at a suspected infested area to see the damage clearly and trace it back to the source.

IR_1157

FLIR thermal cameras are available in many shapes and sizes; although all models will do the job, it’s best to get the camera with the highest thermal sensor resolution your budget will allow. Remember you are dealing with tiny pests, so the more powerful the thermal sensors, the easier it will be to capture the smallest details and accurately lead you to the most minute termite traces.

Linkedin banner TCams

 

For more information on our FLIR thermal camera range and accessories please visit our thermal camera website at www.australianthermalcameras.com.au.

You can also check out our FLIR Thermal Camera videos on our YouTube channel here.

Our FLIR building inspection video.

Alternatively you can pay us a visit at our Perth office at Unit D2, 33-37 Murry rd South, Welshpool where one of our friendly technicians will help you get started.

 

Tree hugging Koalas

Every one knows how hot the Australian wilderness can get – here at Scantherma we’ve certainly had more than our fair share of experience. We usually slip, slop, slap and find cover to escape the heat, but what if you’re a little furry marsupial?

Most Australian fauna will hide from the sun by burrowing underground, seeking shelter in caves or invading our backyard swimming pools.

Crocodile-in-home-pool

No this is not a pool ornament or a deflated pool toy. It’s a REAL crocodile.

 

But what do you do if you live most of your life in a tree?

Koalas (Drop Bears) have until recently, been thought of as lazy, cute fuzzy little creatures that live in trees, and only come down to find another tree to climb up. They’re often seen clinging onto tree trunks, eating and sleeping. But now, thanks to research done by the University of Melbourne’s Zoology department, it turns out that there’s a deeper reason why Koalas hug trees so tight, especially in the summer. And it’s not because they’re lonely.

Sleepy Koala

During your average heat wave, the temperature in the Australian bush can reach over 50 degrees C, and around 45 degrees C in the shade.  To survive this blistering climate, Koalas do what they do best, hug trees.

The reason is simple. Depsite the unbearable heat, a large tree’s core temperature stays comparatively low. This makes it very convenient for the Koala as the tree is both its shelter and food source.

Below are some thermal images taken by Steve Griffiths that show the Koalas in action, or rather no-action and just laying there cooling down.

Scantherma_Koala_Thermal_Heat_1

It can be clearly seen here that the tree trunk in shades of purple is much, much cooler than the Koala’s body.

Scantherm_thermal-image-of-koala-tree-hugging

Both a cooler and a bed, oh and a kitchen, and maybe many other things. This tree is everything to the Koala.

 

Scantherm_thermal-image-of-koala-tree-sleeping

Looks like Koalas have the ideal life style.

So next time you see a Koala hanging out, remember that it is actually working hard to cool down by using its surroundings and conserving energy and water. Not so lazy after all!

If you would like to find out more about Thermal Imagery and how it can help you visit our Thermal Imaging page here, or come and visit us at our Perth office and one of our friendly technicians will gladly assist.

FLIR revamps thermal camera range – i-Series discontinued, new Ex-Series launches

The new Ex-series cameras

World leading thermal camera manufacturer, FLIR,  are changing the market with the launch of the new Ex-series handheld thermal cameras. The new models E4, E5 E6 and E8 are a leap ahead in the function and flexibility of handheld thermographic tools.

With IR resolutions ranging from 80 x 60 pixels to 320 x 240 pixels for the new E8 model, is the first time FLIR has offered this resolution for pricing under $10,000 here in Australia.

The four new cameras in the Ex-series are replacing the old i Series cameras, which are now discontinued. The Ex-series also introduce new functionality above what the old i Series delivered including a revamped and simpler UI (user interface). In addition, all new Ex-series cameras come with an integrated a 1.3 Megapixel digital camera for additional functionality.

Patented MSX technology

One of the greatest leaps forward with the new Ex-series is the incorporation of FLIR’s patented MSX multi-spectral enhancement feature. This technology is unique only to FLIR cameras and adds an extra dimension to thermal imaging technology, particularly for domestic and industrial users.

Example image taken by the FLIR E8 with no MSX

Example image taken by the FLIR E8 with no MSX

 

Example image taken by the FLIR E8 with MSX. The difference most certainly increases the ability to better analyse thermal imagery.

Example image taken by the FLIR E8 with MSX. The difference most certainly increases the ability to better analyse thermal imagery.

Other changes to the Ex series

The Exx-series has also undergone some changes with the dropping of the E30 and upgrades to the E40, E50 and E60 cameras. While the IR resolution and many aspects such as inbuilt WiFi connectivity and manual focus don’t change. The upgraded Ex-Series cameras all now include:

  • MSX image technology
  • Auto orientation to switch between landscape and portrait views.
The new FLIR E6 thermal camera with MSX technology. At only 575 grams, the new Exx series are an excellent investment for those requiring a reliable, state-of-the-art thermal imaging camera.

The new FLIR E6 thermal camera with MSX technology. At only 575 grams, the new E series are an excellent investment for those requiring a reliable, state-of-the-art thermal imaging camera.

 

Our FLIR Ex-Series videos.

You can view more of our FLIR thermal Camera videos on our YouTube channel here. Or if you would like more information on our range of FLIR products you can visit our thermal camera website at www.australianthermalcameras.com.au.

Alternatively you can visit or contact our Perth office here and one of our friendly technicians will be glad to help.