The Flir i7 is the top of the range model in Flir’s new entry level “i” series thermal imaging infrared cameras. As such it supports the larger sized 120×120 which provides a respectable 14,400 pixels of resolution. This is significantly greater than the Flir i5 and Flir i3 which are 6,400 and 3,600 pixels respectively. And boy, does it show! The image is far superior to that of the fledgling models and you might actually consider this camera as a serious contender in the entry level infrared camera market. Being part of a trio, it is virtually impossible to consider this camera in isolation, and as such the review reads more as a compare between the 3 models in the series.
Without the ability to focus, it’s hard to describe the images as crisp but it appears leagues ahead of the other two models. I know it’s nearly double the price of the Flir i3 and about 30% more than the Flir i5, but in real terms it is night and day. If you are using this camera for the intended purpose of predictive maintenance, condition assessment, quality assurance, or forensics, it’s real return should far exceed the additional outlay. Quite simply, if you can see more you will find more.
As I mentioned the inability to focus really lets this unit down and almost all the imagery I obtained with the camera had a blurry effect to it. In my opinion this really limits the camera’s use to in-house applications, as the results will never be sharp enough to be considered acceptable for commercial purposes. As I have mentioned in a review of the Flir i3, focus free should not be confused with autofocus, and the fact that the focal point cannot be adjusted means that most images will be slightly out of focus. I found the best focal length to be around 1 – 2 meters, however anything outside that tended to get worse. It would be impossible to use on Printed Circuit Boards or looking at small components. The min focal distance is specified as 0.6 meters. This camera simply can’t compete against those that have a focus adjustment.
Learn about Flir i7 Thermal Imaging Camera for General Inspection. Call 602-795-8292 to speak to Certified Thermographer or visit us at: http://www.thermalim. FLIR Tools.exe, FontMap.exe or RoxioCentral36.exe are the frequent file names to indicate the FLIR Tools installer. This free software is an intellectual property of FLIR Systems, inc. The software lies within Photo & Graphics Tools, more precisely Viewers & Editors. Our built-in antivirus scanned this download and rated it as virus free. Featuring the new FLIR i7, now with 36% higher thermal resolution than before and a wider 29° field of view to help you image more clearly and scan more quickly. All FLIR i-Series infrared cameras help you catch problems immediately, diagnose them correctly, and work far more efficiently. FLIR Screen-EST™ is an efficient, accurate desktop software for performing skin temperature screenings in high-traffic areas. Simplified Screening for the Fight Against COVID-19 FLIR thermal cameras are forming the first line of defense for public health organizations and industries faced with managing the risks associated with a global pandemic.
Example: Server Motherboard
Flir i7 (0.2m)
Flir i7 (0.1m)
IPI-R1 (0.1m: alternate pallete)
Testo 875 0.1m
Testo 875 0.1m (alternate palette)
The thermal sensitivity is a very respectable 0.1°C, which squarely places this unit in the build
ing thermography territory. Another aspect of this camera which makes it better suited toward building thermography is the 25° angle lens which is just a little wider than standard. It is miles ahead of the very narrow 12.5° and 17° lenses featured on the Flir i5 and i3. The wider the better!
How does this affect the spatial resolution? Well apparently it doesn’t! According to the specifications, all the Flir i series have the same geometric resolution of which is 3.7 mrad. We can’t work it out, as side by side comparo’s have the Flir i7 creating a much better (not just bigger) image. It must just be a visual illusion.
As with all the i series, this is still a 9Hz camera so the refresh rate is a little stuttered. It would probably frustrate those wanting to walk along conveyor lines etc, and certainly wouldn’t be great for monitoring moving or rotating equipment. But these have never really been entry level applications.
So, what’s it like to use?
Akin to the Flir i3, a major part of it’s appeal is simplicity. The start-up time is very quick, meaning that the camera is a handy to “reach for” tool. The screen is bright and easy to read, but again I am put off by the cluttered display. Of the available 2.8 inch colour LCD screen, I would say 1/3rd of it is taken up with graphics, menus, analysis information etc. The fonts are big and easy to read, but that doesn’t leave much space for the single most important aspect… the image. All the essential information is readily displayed such as the centre point analysis, battery indicator, temperature scale, date and time and the ALL important emissivity setting. While this unit doesn’t have a full screen hot/cold seeking cursor, it does have a very handy “box” analysis tool which does display the user selectable hot/cold spot within the box. Again on small targets things start to get a little cluttered onscreen, but at this price point you have to be prepared to compromise.
The onscreen menu prompts correspond with 2 buttons beneath the screen, and the obvious Up/Down, Left/Right keypad provide intuitive navigation through the menu. A dedicated “play sign” > button gives immediate access to stored images which is a very handy feature and the illuminated on/off button can’t be missed.
Like the Flir i3, the i7 does not allow for manual level and span adjustment. This is only a limitation if you had greater expectations for this unit than it were otherwise intended, and for most entry level users this should not be a deterrent. Instead, the FLIR i7 has a “auto/locked” span feature. When in locked mode this fixes or “holds” the temperature range/span so that you can easily perform qualitative comparisons on targets without your temperature scale constantly adjusting. Unlike many cameras that bury this function deep in secondary menus, this is immediately available on the Flir i7’s primary interface and simple to effect.
All importantly when saving an image to the micro SD card, the Flir i7 displays the image number temporarily so it can be transcribed to your running sheet. This 2GB card will store thousands of radiometric images, in a convenient JPG format. The JPG format is extraordinarily convenient on this style camera, as most users will share images and information outside of the formal report generation format. That is to say, most will just email or share on network drives images of interest. In JPG format the image can be easily viewed by any standard image viewing software (standard with all OS’s) without requiring proprietary software to be installed. This is particularly handy in large organisations where IT departments are reluctant (or slow) to install proprietary software.
The battery time is absolutely amazing. The brochure claims up to 5 hours… it just seems to keep going and going. Even better, recharge time seems to be less than the in-use time.
Compared to similarly priced models, such as the Fluke Ti9 and Testo 875, I would have to be honest in saying the build quality is average. It is hard to pin point the dissatisfaction, other to say it falls short of the physical impressiveness and quality of the aforementioned two. While there is a decent amount of soft rubber around the screen and lens it is not applied with the same finesse or sculptured appeal as it’s rivals, nor does it feel as good in the hand. Despite sharing the same body as the Flir i3 and i5, at this price point my expectations are higher and I would expect more. The plastics feel cheap and there is that noticeable ridge all the way around the unit that makes it feel very ordinary. I can see where they were going with the integrated lens shutter/cap, as it’s one less to dangle or flap around as most lens protectors do. . But it does still feel like the mechanism on a kids toy.
At just 340 grams, the Flir i7 is ergonomically quite petite, and those with bigger hands and/or fingers might find it a little compact. While I applaud the single handed operation, my thumb struggles to navigate the closeness of the keypad. I do find that “rocking” my thumb on the keypad, as opposed to pressing the individual buttons was a better technique that resulted in fewer “miss hits”. One advantage of the small and slim design is that it does easily fit into the average trouser pocket, which is brilliant when scaling ladders, plant equipment, or carrying a multitude of other test equipment.
The Flir i7 comes complete with a very respectable Quickreport PC Software. As we’ve said before this is very basic reporting and analysis software, but it has everything that at entry level user would require. Flying spot meter, area analysis, palette selection and image level and span adjustment is all very easy to find and adjust. The layout is very user friendly and intuitive to use. Reporting is a simple drag and drop affair to generate a multi page document. A minor level of customisation is available, such as changing logo images etc, but otherwise the layout is relatively fixed.
Is it value for money?
When you compare the Flir i7, to i3 and i5 it is certainly a step up. In my opinion the higher and much more useable resolution of the Flir i7 makes this a much better value proposition than the other two. At the time of release, Flir undoubtedly delivered some serious value for money. However, since then Flir’s rival manufacturers have responded with some very stiff competition and you now have some serious contenders in this space….
I’ve seen this camera being flaunted as a step into the “professional or commercial” realm, however i would proceed cautiously. The inability to focus and get a sharp clear image will certainly limit the quality of your presentations.
If you were already using Flir equipment onsite you would definitely stick with the same brand for purposes of continuity (think software, training, familiarity with brand traits etc). If not, it would pay to shop around.
Forward-looking infrared (FLIR) cameras, typically used on military and civilian aircraft, use a thermographic camera that senses infrared radiation.
The sensors installed in forward-looking infrared cameras, as well as those of other thermal imaging cameras, use detection of infrared radiation, typically emitted from a heat source (thermal radiation), to create an image assembled for video output.
They can be used to help pilots and drivers steer their vehicles at night and in fog, or to detect warm objects against a cooler background. The wavelength of infrared that thermal imaging cameras detect is 3 to 12 μm and differs significantly from that of night vision, which operates in the visible light and near-infrared ranges (0.4 to 1.0 μm).
Infrared light falls into two basic ranges: long-wave and medium-wave. Long-wave infrared (LWIR) cameras, sometimes called 'far-infrared', operate at 8 to 12 μm and can see heat sources, such as hot engine parts or human body heat, several kilometers away. Longer-distance viewing is made more difficult with LWIR because the infrared light is absorbed, scattered, and refracted by air and by water vapor.
Some long-wave cameras require their detector to be cryogenically cooled, typically for several minutes before use, although some moderately sensitive infrared cameras do not require this. Many thermal imagers, including some forward-looking infrared cameras (such as some LWIR enhanced vision systems (EVS)) are also uncooled.
Medium-wave (MWIR) cameras operate in the 3–5 μm range. These can see almost as well, since those frequencies are less affected by water-vapor absorption, but generally require a more expensive sensor array, along with cryogenic cooling.
Many camera systems use digital image processing to improve the image quality. Infrared imaging sensor arrays often have wildly inconsistent sensitivities from pixel to pixel, due to limitations in the manufacturing process. To remedy this, the response of each pixel is measured at the factory, and a transform, most often linear, maps the measured input signal to an output level.
Some companies offer advanced 'fusion' technologies that blend a visible-spectrum image with an infrared-spectrum image to produce better results than a single-spectrum image alone.
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Thermal imaging cameras, such as the Raytheon AN/AAQ-26, are used in a variety of applications, including naval vessels, fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters, and armored fighting vehicles.
In warfare, they have three distinct advantages over other imaging technologies:
- The imager itself is nearly impossible to detect for the enemy, as it detects energy emitted from the target rather than sending out energy that is reflected from the target, as with radar or sonar.
- It sees radiation in the infrared spectrum, which is difficult to camouflage.
- These camera systems can see through smoke, fog, haze, and other atmospheric obscurants better than a visible light camera can.
Origin of the term
The term 'forward-looking' is used to distinguish fixed forward-looking thermal imaging systems from sideways-tracking infrared systems, also known as 'push broom' imagers, and other thermal imaging systems such as gimbal-mounted imaging systems, handheld imaging systems and the like. Pushbroom systems typically have been used on aircraft and satellites.
Sideways-tracking imagers normally involve a one-dimensional (1D) array of pixels, which uses the motion of the aircraft or satellite to move the view of the 1D array across the ground to build up a 2D image over time. Such systems cannot be used for real-time imaging and must look perpendicular to the direction of travel.
In 1956 Texas Instruments began research on infrared technology that led to several line scanner contracts and, with the addition of a second scan mirror, the invention of the first forward-looking infrared camera in 1963, with production beginning in 1966. In 1972, TI invented the Common Module concept, greatly reducing cost and allowing reuse of common components.
- Surveillance and/or capture of mammals
- e.g. Detection of illegal immigrants hidden in lorries/trucks
- Warning drivers about sudden road obstructions caused by deer
- Location through smoke and/or haze
- Search and rescue operations for missing persons especially in wooded areas or water
- Target acquisition and tracking by military or civil aircraft
- Drainage basin temperature monitoring and monitoring wild game habitats
- Detection of energy loss or consumption, or insulation defects
- e.g. in buildings in order to reduce HVAC energy consumption
- Search for drug labs and/or indoor cannabis producers (especially at night)
- Piloting of aircraft in low visibility (IMC) conditions
- Pinpoint sources of ignition during firefighting operations
- Monitoring active volcanoes
- Detecting faulty or overheating electrical joints, connections and components
- Night driving
The cost of thermal imaging equipment in general has fallen dramatically after inexpensive portable and fixed infrared detectors and systems based on microelectromechanical technology were designed and manufactured for commercial, industrial and military application. Also, older camera designs used rotating mirrors to scan the image to a small sensor. More modern cameras no longer use this method; the simplification helps reduce cost. Uncooled technology available in many EVS products have reduced the costs to fractions of the price of older cooled technology, with similar performance. EVS is rapidly becoming mainstream on many fixed wing and rotary wing operators from Cirrus and Cessna aircraft to large business jets.
In 2001, the United States Supreme Court decided that performing surveillance of private property (ostensibly to detect high emission grow lights used in clandestine cannabis farming) using thermal imaging cameras without a search warrant by law enforcement violates the Fourth Amendment's protection from unreasonable searches and seizures. Kyllo v. United States, 533 U.S. 27, 121 S.Ct. 2038, 150 L.Ed.2d 94 (2001).
In the 2004 R. v. Tessling judgment, the Supreme Court of Canada determined that the use of airborne FLIR in surveillance by police was permitted without requiring a search warrant. The Court determined that the general nature of the data gathered by FLIR did not reveal personal information of the occupants and therefore was not in violation of Tessling's Section 8 rights afforded under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms (1982). Binnie, J. distinguished the Canadian law with respect to the Kyllo judgment, by agreeing with the Kyllo minority that
public officials should not have to avert their senses or their equipment from detecting emissions in the public domain such as excessive heat, traces of smoke, suspicious odors, odorless gases, airborne particulates, or radioactive emissions, any of which could identify hazards to the community.
Flir I7 Rental
In June 2014, the Canadian National Aerial Surveillance Program DHC-8M-100 aircraft mounted with infrared sensors was instrumental in the search for Justin Bourque, a fugitive who had killed three Royal Canadian Mounted Police members in Moncton. The plane's crew used its advanced heat-sensing camera to discover Bourque's heat signature in the deep brushwoods at midnight.
During 2015 Baltimore protests, the FBI conducted 10 aerial surveillance missions between April 29 and May 3, which included 'infrared and day color, full-motion FLIR video evidence' collection, according to FBI spokesman Christopher Allen. A FLIR Talon multi-sensor camera system equipped with an infrared laser pointer (which is invisible to casual observers) for illumination purposes was used to gather data at night. The American Civil Liberties Union raised concerns over the fact that new surveillance technology is implemented without judicial guidance and public discussion. According to Nathan Wessler, an ACLU attorney, 'this is a dynamic we see again and again when it comes to advances in surveillance. By the time details leak out, programs are firmly entrenched, and it’s all but impossible to roll them back – and very hard to put in place restrictions and oversight.'
Flir I7 Review
- ^'Night Vision & Electronic Sensors Directorate'. US Army CERDEC. Archived from the original on 2014-10-04. Retrieved 2014-04-24.
- ^'Three-Band Video Fusion Demo : Sarnoff Corporation'. Sarnoff.com. Retrieved 2011-11-24.
- ^'Multiscale thermal refugia and stream habitat associations'. Ecological Applications. 9: 301. 1999. doi:10.1890/1051-0761(1999)009[0301:MTRASH]2.0.CO;2. ISSN1051-0761.
- ^Niklaus, F., Vieider, C., & Jakobsen, H. (2007, November). MEMS-based uncooled infrared bolometer arrays: a review. proceedings of SPIE - The International Society For Optical Engineering, March 2008.
- ^Infrared Technology and Applications XLI, 20–23 April 2015, Part of Proceedings of SPIE, Vol. 9451.
- ^Dr. Don Reago, Director, Night Vision & Electronic Sensors Directorate, CERDEC, U.S. Army. Current Directions in Sensor Technologies at NVESDArchived 2016-03-04 at the Wayback Machine, Keynote Presentation at SPIE DSS IR Technology & Applications XLI Conference, Baltimore, 20–23 April 2015 (Distribution Statement A: Approved for Public Release)
- ^Willardson, R. K., Weber, E. R., Skatrud, D. D., & Kruse, P. W. (1997). Uncooled infrared imaging arrays and systems (Vol. 47). Academic press.
- ^White Paper: Uncooled Infrared Detectors Achieve New Performance Levels and Cost Targets, Archived 2015-12-07 at the Wayback Machine Sofradir EC, Inc.
- ^'KYLLO V. UNITED STATES (99-8508) 533 U.S. 27 (2001) 190 F.3d 1041, reversed and remanded'. Law.cornell.edu. Retrieved 2008-12-11.
- ^'R v Tessling, (2004) 3 S.C.R. 432, 2004 SCC 67'. Archived from the original on 2012-04-03. Retrieved 2011-04-06.
- ^ctvnews.ca: 'Funeral for 3 fallen RCMP officers to be held Tuesday in Moncton' 7 Jun 2014
- ^ abFBI spy planes used thermal imaging tech in flights over Baltimore after Freddie Gray unrest, The Washington Post, October 30, 2015
- ^Talon High Performance Multi-Sensor
- ^FBI Documents Reveal New Information on Baltimore Surveillance Flights, ACLU, October 30, 2015
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- Thermal Imaging Sensors (Defence Today) [page not found]