Thermal Imaging for Long-Range Surveillance Cameras | Infiniti Electro-Optics (2022)

Thermal Imaging for Long-Range Surveillance Cameras | Infiniti Electro-Optics (1)

Thermal IR Infrared Cameras (LWIR & MWIR)

Thermal cameras (Infrared imaging) uses cameras that “see” heat instead of light. Sometimes referred to as “FLIR” cameras, they produce an image that portrays objects using their temperature instead of their visible properties.

So how does thermal imaging see heat? All objects warmer than absolute zero (-273°C/-459°F) emit infrared radiation in the MWIR and LWIR wavelengths (3µm–14µm) in an amount proportional to the temperature of the object. Thermal imaging focuses and detects this radiation, then translates the temperature variations into a greyscale image, using brighter and darker shades of grey to represent hotter and cooler temperatures, which gives a visual representation to the heat profile of the scene. Many thermal imagers can also apply color profiles to these images, showing hotter objects as yellow and cooler objects as blue for example, to make it easier to compare temperatures in the image.

Related camera systems:

Eclipse

Thermal Sentry

Neptune

Vega Camera System

(Video) Long Range Thermal Imaging Camera Cooled MWIR IR PTZ Surveillance 360 Night Vision system
Read more about thermal lenses and sensors

In order to “see” radiated heat, special lenses and sensors are needed to focus and detect electromagnetic radiation in the MWIR (mid‑wave infrared) and LWIR (long‑wave infrared) ranges.

Thermal Imaging Sensors

To detect thermal energy, special FPAs (Focal Plane Arrays) are required. These can be divided into two types, cooled and uncooled detectors.

Cooled detectors exist to maximize detection performance. Since we’re detecting radiated heat, any heat from the camera components themselves makes it harder to see the image of the scene. Both our high-definition MCT (Mercury Cadmium Telluride or HgCdTe) sensors and our Indium Animonide (InSb) sensors incorporate a cryogenic cooling system to reduce the “noise” from the heat of the internal camera components and the sensor itself. This allows for detection of thermal energy with an accuracy as fine as0.025°C.

Uncooled detectors are also available which are more affordable and compact due to the lack of a cryogenic cooler. We use vanadium oxide (VOx) detectors in our uncooled cameras and combine them with wide aperture lenses to maximize their performance (see below).

Lenses for Thermal Imaging

For visible light, glass lenses are typically used to focus light on a camera sensor, however glass is not transparent to thermal radiation. Instead, thermal lenses are constructed from a special metal called Germanium (Ge). This is a relatively rare element and thus is quite costly, with raw prices often as high as $2000 per kilogram. Depending on the type of sensor, lenses of different specifications are required.

Our cooled sensor thermal cameras are designed to have the best long-range detection. We have a wide variety of long-range continuous zoom lenses, allowing the operator to smoothly transition between wide angle and long range. Our germanium lenses are available in lengths of up to 1400mm, allowing us to reach detectionratings of over 50km.

Since uncooled thermal imagers are inherently less sensitive than cooled sensors, we maximize the quality of those images by using lenses with an extremely wide aperture of ƒ/1.0. This wide aperture allows more thermal energy through to the sensor for detection; twice as much energy as that of a lens with an aperture of ƒ/1.4, or four times as much as ƒ/2.0 (if you’d like to understand how those numbers work, see this excellent explanation of how f-stops are measured: http://www.uscoles.com/fstop.htm).

Thermal Imaging for Long-Range Surveillance Cameras | Infiniti Electro-Optics (6) DRI Ratings how far a thermal camera will see Whitepaper

Thermal Imaging for Long-Range Surveillance Cameras | Infiniti Electro-Optics (7)

Thermal Imaging for Long-Range Surveillance Cameras | Infiniti Electro-Optics (8)

Thermal Imaging for Long-Range Surveillance Cameras | Infiniti Electro-Optics (9) VEGA HD Thermal PTZ Multi Sensor Camera Systems

(Video) LRTI Long Range Thermal Infrared| Night Vision IR Imaging| PTZ Tracking

Thermal Imaging for Long-Range Surveillance Cameras | Infiniti Electro-Optics (10) VEGA SD Thermal PTZ Multi Sensor Camera Systems

Advantages

Thermal Imaging for Long-Range Surveillance Cameras | Infiniti Electro-Optics (11)

No Illumination Needed

Most cameras require a light source to create an image. But since thermal energy is naturally emitted radiation, a thermal imager is able to “see” the environment regardless of lighting conditions. This passive technology can be used in complete darkness without the need foran illuminator, making it an extremely covert and versatile solution.

Detect Threats at Long Range

Humans, animals and vehicles are typically warmer than their environment, providing a high contrast that allows for fast wide-angle detection of threats from a much further distance (sometimes up to 50km) than what can be achieved with optical imaging.

This silent video demonstrates how much easier it is to detect and track people (because of their heat) with thermal imaging.

Thermal Imaging for Long-Range Surveillance Cameras | Infiniti Electro-Optics (13)

Consistent Day/NightCoverage

A visiblecamera’s image quality is dependent on good lighting conditions, and in areas where contrast is poor or dynamic range is too wide, visiblecameras can become practiallyuseless. Thermal, however, is completely immune to changes in light,allowing it to see consistently in any lighting environment for true 24/7 day/night imaging.

Thermal Imaging for Long-Range Surveillance Cameras | Infiniti Electro-Optics (14)Thermal Imaging for Long-Range Surveillance Cameras | Infiniti Electro-Optics (15)

See Through Smoke & Light Fog

Thermal energy passes through many visible obscurants including smoke, dust, light fog, and light foliage. The comparison image shown here demonstrates how effective this can be when viewing a forest fire.

(Video) Ultra Long Range 15x Zoom 1000mm HD MWIR Cooled Thermal 1280x1024 55+km detection PTZ Gyro Camera

In addition, the precise temperature differences that thermal imaging detects can sometimes reveal objects underneath the surface of other materials, such as joists behind a wall or items under clothing, since they affect the temperature of the surface material.

Thermal Imaging for Long-Range Surveillance Cameras | Infiniti Electro-Optics (16)

Monitor Temperatures

The precise temperature sensing capabilities of thermal imaging can be used to monitor critical equipment in areas like datacenters or manufacturing plants to ensure that it remains in a safe operating state, triggering alarms if temperatures exceed set levels.

Disadvantages

While thermal imaging has many great advantages, it’s not a perfect or complete solution for every situation. This is why Infiniti believes in multi-sensor systems that can benefit from the multiple advantages of thermal while still providing a visible imaging system that covers its drawbacks. Here are some limitations you should be aware of with thermal technology.

Doesn’t Show VisibleContrast

Thermal imaging relies on contrasting temperatures to clearly define objects, whereas humans are used to using contrasting colors and shadows to see definition in objects. This can make thermal imaging less effective in situations where definition is expected but the surface temperatures of objects are very uniform, such as printed text and images.

Can’t Identify People

Humans also look very different in a thermal image, and lack the shadows and highlights that we use to see the shape of someone’s face. Additionally, at long ranges thermal imaging often lacks the resolution needed to identify a person. So while thermal makes humans easy to detect, it is not an effective method for identifying individuals.

*Please see our whitepaper on DRI ratingsto properly understand what “detection” means in thermal camera ratings.

Can’t See Through Glass

Since glass emits its own heat and is also partially reflective of thermal energy, thermal imaging is unable to see through glass, which means thermal cameras can not see into building or vehicle windows and cannot be installed behind a window looking out.

Limited Resolution

Thermal sensors for security purposes are often limited to a resolution of 640×480, which is much lower than most current visible sensors. However, it’s important to know that the types of details detected by thermal and visible cameras are very different; a high level of detail isn’t as critical with thermal cameras.

ContactUs

Every situation is unique, and we excel at designing camera systems that deliver the specific performance you need at the best competitive price. Whether your priority is top-of-the-line cutting edge technology or a precise and cost‑effective solution, we can design a custom surveillance system that is a perfect fit for your project. Get in touch with us today to see what we can do foryou.

Fill in Our Contact Form orcall1-866-969-6463

(Video) Best Long Range Camera Zoom Night Vision Surveillance Camera PTZ IR Thermal + ZLID HD Gyro LRF EO/IR

Related camera systems:

Eclipse

Thermal Sentry

Neptune

(Video) Long Range IR Thermal PTZ Surveillance Camera with Infrared IR Laser Illumination s

FAQs

What is the max range of a thermal camera? ›

Depending on the camera configuration chosen it may be possible to detect humans beyond 15 km distance, ground vehicles or small boats beyond 20 km, larger ships or vessels and aircraft beyond 30 km.

How far can thermal imaging See? ›

Detect Threats at Long Range

Humans, animals and vehicles are typically warmer than their environment, providing a high contrast that allows for fast wide-angle detection of threats from a much further distance (sometimes up to 50km) than what can be achieved with optical imaging.

What are the three different types of thermal imaging technology? ›

Infrared cameras come in three basic types: short wavelength, mid-wavelength, and long wavelength. Each type has its own place in facilities maintenance, depending on use and operation.

What is the difference between FLIR and thermal? ›

FLIRs make pictures from heat, not visible light. Heat (also called infrared, or thermal, energy) and light are both parts of the electromagnetic spectrum, but a camera that can detect visible light won't see thermal energy, and vice versa.

How deep into the ground can a thermal camera see? ›

The subterranean limit for most radar is about 30 feet, El-Baz said. Infrared imaging, which detects surface-level heat differences above buried objects, is most effective to a depth of about five feet, he said, though it, too, has been used to track objects 25 feet down.

How far can the FLIR one pro See? ›

The FLIR ONE Pro operates at 32°F to 95°F (0°C to 35°C) and can detect temperatures from -4°F to 752°F (-20°C to 400°C). Q: How far away can I see a hot spot? A: Thermal cameras, like visible cameras, can see as far as your eye can see in most cases.

Can thermal imaging see through glass? ›

Can thermal imaging see through glass? Thermal imagers cannot pick up visible light. Therefore, Glass is not seen as transparent when viewed through a thermal imaging camera.

What thermal does the military use? ›

The AN/PAS-13 Thermal Weapon Sight (TWS) provides Soldiers with individual and crew served weapons the capability to see deep into the battlefield. It increases surveillance and target acquisition range, and penetrates obscurants either day or night. The TWS systems use uncooled, forward-looking infrared technology.

HOW FAR CAN military cameras see? ›

It has long-range optics that are able to detect a man-sized target as far away as six miles, vehicle-sized targets more than 12 miles away. The cameras have four times the resolution of mid-format systems for significantly greater range performance and image quality, FLIR officials say.

Is thermal imaging the same as infrared? ›

An IR thermometer, also known as a spot pyrometer or a temp gun, gives you a single number—the temperature measurement of a single spot on your target. A thermal imaging camera gives you temperature readings for each pixel of the entire thermal image, and allows you to visualize an entire scene in thermal.

Can thermal imaging see through walls? ›

Pest control companies might use it to find termite activity. Can thermal imaging see through walls? No, it can detect heat from the wall near the surface that there is an issue, but not what is behind the wall. However, if there is something that is causing a difference in temperature in the wall, it will pick it up.

What can thermal imaging see through? ›

Well, no - but to be fair, they don't 'see through' anything at all. A thermal imaging camera detects the surface temperature of the first object in its line of sight; point one at a wall or other solid surface, and it will register the heat being radiated outward by that surface.

What is spectral range in thermal camera? ›

Spectral range is the range of wavelengths that the sensor in the camera detects, measured in micrometers (µm). Most gas detection cameras (such as propane, methane, and butane detectors) are midwave cameras, meaning they have a spectral range of 3µm to 5µm.

Can you zoom a thermal camera? ›

Be aware that using the zoom function on your thermal camera only enlarges the pixels: it does NOT enhance your ability to measure small targets. If the target is particularly small, you may be able to get closer to make sure you have at least 3 × 3 pixels to measure.

What can thermal imaging detect? ›

Thermography, or thermal imaging, detects infrared radiation to help see objects in the dark. Thermal cameras distinguish the relative temperature of objects around us to help us see warmer objects – like people and animals – against cooler backdrops, even at night.

What is a good thermal sensitivity? ›

100mK sensitivity is adequate for most applications where the image temperature span is >10°C, but the image degrades if you narrow the span more than 10°C. 70mK sensitivity lets you set a narrower span to 5°C while maintaining good image quality. 50mK sensitivity creates the most smooth noise free images.

Videos

1. Long-Range Thermal MWIR Surveillance Camera + 135x 2075mm HD VIS/NIR IR Military 40km DRI Detection
(Long Range Thermal Infrared Surveillance Cameras)
2. Long Range IR Camera, Infrared IR ZLID Illumination, EMCCD, HD IP PTZ Surveillance
(Infiniti Electro-Optics)
3. Long Range Thermal Infrared Camera PTZ Surveillance Camera
(Long Range Thermal Infrared Surveillance Cameras)
4. Long Range Thermal Imaging Camera Cooled MWIR IR PTZ Surveillance 360 Night Vision system
(hms311)
5. Infrared Night Vision Thermal Imaging PTZ Surveillance Camera
(Long Range Thermal Infrared Surveillance Cameras)
6. Drone thermal camera
(Long Range thermal PTZ FLIR security cameras)

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