Thermal imaging cameras see through the dark and are not fooled by camouflage. Wildlife observation equipment has evolved a lot over the last century. Binoculars are now commonly used throughout the world, followed by light-intensifying night vision systems that can be used to see animals at night. Today the market has been enriched with a new tool for observing wildlife: the FLIR Scout TS-Series handheld thermal camera.
Unlike all other night vision systems, thermal imaging cameras need no light to produce a clear image. Many animals are active mainly at night, protected from darkness. Now, they will no longer be able to hide in the dark of night if the observer has a FLIR Scout TS Series portable camera. All warm-blooded animals will stand out clearly in the thermal image, in total darkness and in virtually any weather.
Thermal imaging cameras are widely used by professional documentarists and hunters around the world. Until recently, they were prohibitively expensive. With TS-Series portable thermal imaging cameras, FLIR Systems now offers an affordable product for both nature and wildlife enthusiasts and hunters.
The naturalist photographer and journalist Michele Costantini was among the first to receive a FLIR Scout TS-Series portable thermal camera to be tested. He wrote a review on this new wildlife survey tool for the Swiss hunting magazine Jagd & Natur.
“Until a few years ago, a thermal imaging camera was more expensive than a mid-sized utility car,” explains Costantini. “In recent years, however, some accessible models have come onto the market. Although the resolution of these cameras is lower than that of most traditional cameras, the high-contrast image of a thermal imaging camera is really useful for tracking the game. These devices allow you to clearly see the profile of animals and people even in total darkness and with a slight fog. ”
Extremely useful even during the day
FLIR Systems thermal imaging cameras offer unsurpassed night vision. The TS-Series portable models will help you find the animals in total darkness, but they are also very useful during the day. for nature lovers. With a FLIR Scout TS-Series portable camera, despite their camouflage abilities, these animals stand out very clearly in the thermal image. ”
Costantini discovered that there was more wildlife in his area than he expected. “Most wildlife blends very well, so it cannot be detected with traditional instruments such as binoculars or light-intensifying vision systems. As keen naturalists and hunters know all too well, it is almost impossible to see or follow a young deer, in a hay field, to give just one example. With a thermal imaging camera, however, even the most camouflaged animals are clearly visible “.
Save the puppies from the assault of the motor mowers
According to Costantini, the FLIR Scout TS-Series thermal imaging camera can be particularly useful to prevent many puppies from being killed every year by hay mowers, says Costantini. “With a thermal imaging camera, hunters and naturalists can more easily find the little ones hidden in the hay to rescue them before mowing begins”
Like all thermal imaging cameras, the portable FLIR Scout TS-Series, based on the heat emitted rather than the light, is used to create the images. The sensor records the minimum differences in heat emission and is converted by the camera into a visible image. Based on the thermal contrast rather than the contrast in the visible image, thermal imaging cameras provide perfect vision even when mimicry or darkness makes natural vision completely useless.
Thanks to his experience and the FLIR Scout TS-Series thermal imaging camera, Costantini has succeeded in identifying practically all warm-blooded animals. “From a good point of view, identifying heat sources in the meadows is very easy and fast. And we have discovered that it is not only warm-blooded animals like cats and rabbits that emit heat, but the thermal image has even revealed us presence of ants and mounds of manure ”
Designed for harsh outdoor environments
The thermal camera tested by Costantini is a FLIR Scout TS32 Pro with 2x multiplier, supplied by the distributor of FLIR products Pergam-Suisse AG. The small portable thermal imager is equipped with a uncooled vanadium oxide (VOx) microbolometer, which produces clear thermal images at a resolution of 320 x 240 pixels. Waterproof, compact, light and shock resistant, this robust thermal imager perfectly withstands the most difficult outdoor conditions.
According to Costantini the FLIR Scout TS32 Pro is extremely easy to use. “The use is very simple and particularly intuitive. All the functions of the thermal imaging camera can be controlled simply with the 5 buttons at the top. All the controls are practical and easily accessible, even when wearing gloves. The protected eyepiece ensures operator the most complete darkness, preventing spurious light from coming out of the viewfinder and avoiding alarming the animals.
Most TS-Series cameras offer a 24 ° field of view which is an excellent combination of scope and context awareness. With a FLIR TS-Series portable camera with a resolution of 320 x 240 pixels, it is possible to locate a deer about 450 meters away, in total darkness. For situations that require a greater range, a 2X multiplier is available, which allows a deer to be identified at around 790 meters. This is the version tested by Costantini. “The version of the TS-Series I tested is ideal for detecting animals in the wild, in adverse weather conditions and in complete darkness.”
The TS32r model is suitable for more demanding needs. This long-distance wildlife survey tool is equipped with a 7 ° lens. With this narrow field of vision it is possible to detect a deer about 1,450 meters away.
Very long autonomy
All versions of the TS-Series can operate independently for 5 hours. They are equipped with 4 rechargeable batteries (NiMH), which can be replaced with normal AA batteries. >
The FLIR Scout TS-Series thermal camera is equipped as standard with a “Hot Shoe” attachment that allows not only to mount the TS-Series on a tripod, but also adds a power connector and a video output jack. Thanks to this component it is possible to place the TS-Series so that it is inconspicuous, to observe without disturbing the fauna. Besides avoiding coming out of the closet, it also allows you to follow the scene on a large monitor, making it even easier to spot the animals you are interested in.
According to Costantini, the thermal imaging camera is particularly useful for hunting wild boar. “Wild boars can be easily spotted at over 500 meters away. However, the thermal imaging camera alone is not sufficient for a hunt, as a good telescope is also required. But finding well-camouflaged boars is much easier if you use a thermal imaging camera.”
Costantini believes that hunters or naturalists should also wear binoculars in addition to the FLIR thermal imaging camera during the day. “If you only rely on a thermal imaging camera, you might have unpleasant surprises. In simple terms, thermal imaging cameras are extremely useful for identifying wildlife and even understanding which animal it is, but to determine sex or health status. always need binoculars ”
For hunters, the thermal imaging camera can be very useful even after pulling the trigger. “Often the blow is not fatal and the animal tries to escape. It will probably die in the escape, and it could be difficult to trace it and managed to blend into the environment. It happened to me with a fox while I was testing the camera. Thanks to this camera “I managed to find her in a few seconds, dead on the lawn next to her. Even if a thermal imager never replaces a good hound, it is undoubtedly a fascinating device in any situation.”
According to Costantini the FLIR Scout TS32 Pro with 2x multiplier is one of the best thermal imaging cameras on the market. “I think it is an excellent investment for both hunters and wildlife conservation associations. It is easy to use and I think it is one of the best ways to find and save baby animals before haymaking. The user must be aware that these devices do not replace binoculars and rifle scopes, but to identify wild animals they are a truly exceptional instrument “.