At the recent Milwaukee 2015 media event, one of the products they showed off was a new M12 thermal imaging camera with “7.8KP” imaging sensor. It features a lower resolution sensor than the current big-brother M12 thermal imaging camera, and is also smaller, simpler, and will be less expensive.
The new thermal imaging camera has a 102 x 77 pixel sensor array, hence the 7.8 KP (kilopixel) branding. Milwaukee says that the new M12 thermal imaging camera offers unmatched detail and limitless uses.
Learn More: What’s the difference between a thermal imaging camera and an imaging thermometer?
In their promo poster, Milwaukee compared the resolving power of the new M12 thermal imaging camera to competing models which have lower pixel arrays – 80 x 60 and I guess one that has a 13 x 13 resolution.
Many entry-level models have 80 x 60 px sensors, such as the [modifiable] Flir E4, which I own, the pocketable Flir C2, which I am currently testing, and the new Fluke TiS10. Bosch also has an 80 x 60 px thermal imaging camera coming to market, but thus far it has only been announced for the European market.
Dewalt, Fluke, and Flir all offer visual thermometers and imaging thermometers, which typically offer very low resolution thermal imaging sensors. Those products are more intended for guidance purposes, so that there’s some context when taking a temperature reading.
Catch up: Here is all of our Milwaukee new tool coverage from the event!
The samples that we tested at the event were loaded with basic functionality software, and so we’ll have to wait until production models are out before we have a good sense of the imager’s capabilities.
The demo units were speedy to use, and I liked the small size, which makes them much more “point and shoot” capable than Milwaukee’s better featured M12 thermal imaging camera.
It will be interesting to see how much the new thermal imaging camera goes for. Seeing as how other brands’ 80 x 60 px thermal imaging cameras start at $1000 (Fluke) and $1200 (Fluke), I would hope to see this model in the sub-$1000 range. Maybe even $800?
Flir’s pocketable C2 is currently $699 (via Amazon), but I think that Flir and Fluke’s other traditional models might be more reasonable to look at for forming a reasonable pricing analysis.
ETA: November 2015
As mentioned, I bought an early Flir E4 and uploaded user-generated firmware update to unlock the full potential of its thermal imaging sensor. If you look at my comparison of “before” and “after” images, images from the new Milwaukee M12 thermal imaging camera should look slightly better than the “before” images, and of course without the Flir MSX contrast.
I am glad to see Milwaukee broaden their thermal imaging lineup, and am optimistic about the new model. The big brother model is quite decent too, and even though Milwaukee hasn’t lowered the price since it launched, it remains competitive.
I’m curious, do Milwaukee and Bosch have a partnership of some kind? It seems that Milwaukee comes out with a new product and immediately after Bosch releases something eerily similar. I think Bosch is heads and shoulders above Milwaukee in terms of quality, reliability and toughness IMO, I’ve seen several Milwaukee tools burn up, not as many as DeWalt which is the king of overpriced junk tools and I’ve yet to see a Bosch or Makita tool bite the dust. Affordable thermal imaging is definitely cool, I hope in a few more years that it’s within every regular joes budget. Great article like always, I’m always happy to see the newest thing you guys are covering. Keep up the great work.
There’s no partnership that I know of, but there have been products where I wondered if one company sight permission or a deal painter kind from the other.
With the new thermal imaging cameras, I think it’s more about answering the needs of users and responding to the market.
3 years ago, Stanley and then Milwaukee both revealed new magnetic tape measures within weeks of each other at media events. The Stanley was announced under embargo.
Sometimes products are in response to other brands’ offerings, similar to how there are now many heated jackets following Milwaukee’s lead. Other times, there are simply coincidences.
Btw, I’d love to see you guys do a head to head review of all the latest 18-20V lithium ion 1/2″ heavy duty cordless impact guns. I know IR rules the roost and Snap-On’s great too but I’d really like to see a comparison of the Bosch, Rigid, Makita, Milwaukee and DeWalt guns. They’ve become more affordable than ever and also more compact and ergonomic as well, but I’d really just like to see an honest no BS torque /power comparison with those brands as well as Metabo and Hilti, thanks
If you’re going that far, just as well include some consumer brands, as well. I know Craftsman has a cordless impact rated at 300 ft/lb and I think Ryobi just introduced one with similar specs. I also would be curious as to what the real torque figures are. I’ve used pneumatic impacts for years, and have occasionally seen cases where a gun rated at 450 ft lbs broke loose bolts a gipun of another brand rated at 500+ wouldn’t budge. Usually the ratings seem like a decent guide, but not always.
Not sure what the pricing will be for this thermal imager but with stiff competition from the Seek and FLIR One under the $300, I don’t know what use this will be.
My smartphone has a built-in camera, but my separate standalone camera is easier to use and offers more features and greater quality. The differences are quite similar when comparing thermal imaging cameras and smartphone accessories.
Ronald M cMahan
I had a Milwaukee T I C and it was still under warranty when it quit. I got the run around till the warranty was about to go out , they said they didn’t make the tool anymore and couldn’t fix mine.
I finally got a fraction of the cost in a jacket and a pair of gloves.
I’ve got several other Milwaukee tools that are bad but not worth fighting over.
I love there tools but the representatives suck.