One of the drawbacks of using a thermal imager is that it can be hard to tell exactly what you are looking at. Plus the with small thermal sensor sizes, often less than 320×240, the images can be quite pixelated, further obscuring the image.
Seek Thermal’s new Shot and Shot Pro, have a new technology called Seek Fusion which combines the infrared and thermal images to give you more context in your infrared images.
Below is a short video demonstrating the Seek Fusion technology.
Both the Seek Shot and the Seek Shot Pro thermal imagers have the following features:
- SeekFusion: adjustable thermal and visible image blending
- On device post capture analysis
- 4 emissivity presets
- Photo and video with < 9 Hz frame rate
- Live streaming over WiFi
- -40˚ to 626˚F measurement range
- 3.5” color touch screen with 640 x 480 resolution
- IP-54 rating
- Up to 4-hour runtime on a single charge.
- 4GB internal storage
- 1/4″-20 tripod mount
What differentiates the Pro from the base model is the sensor size and the field of view. The Seek Shot has a 206 x 156 pixel sensor and a 36° field of view, while the Seek Shot Pro has a 320 x 240 pixel sensor and a 57° field of view.
Once you’ve taken the image you can do post analysis right on the device. You can identify up to 3 spot measurements or temperature boxes that display min, max, and average temperature.
The Seek Shot and ShotPRO aren’t available yet, but when they do come out they will retail for $499 and $699 respectively.
Often times the different temperature gradients of an object don’t match up with the details or outline of an object. For instance can you identify what I’m imaging above? It’s the new Milwaukee Axis mid-layer jacket. There’s no context like the outline of the jacket for you to identify the object. The only thing the thermal camera picks up is the heating coils because the jacket is the same temperature as the table it’s on.
Even knowing exactly what you are looking at, it can be difficult to figure out what part of the thermal image corresponds to the actual object. Often when I’m using a thermal camera, I have to move backwards and forwards several times to even understand what I’m looking at. Having the context of the visual image mixed in with the thermal image is going to make the process of identifying what you are looking for much faster.
The idea of mixing visual and thermal images isn’t new, you can combine the images easily on a computer, or I’m sure some of the really expensive thermal imagers have this capability, but as far as I know this is the first sub $1000 imager to have a feature like this. I could be wrong. (And of course I am, a commenter informed me lower cost FLIR have a similar feature.)
Which one would I choose? It’s not as simple as the resolution of the sensor. While more pixels does mean more detail, the Pro only has 2.4x more pixels than the base model.
What I think is even more important is the field of view. Having used images with both 20° and 36° fields of view, I prefer the wider field of view. Most of the time it’s easier to get closer to the object(s) you are monitoring than father away, especially when you are in an enclosed space. I still find myself having to back up when using the 36° field of view imager, and I can really see the utility in an even wider field of view.
Yeah I kinda figured the price would be up there. Hrm. I’d really only get a thermal imager to mess around with, so I can’t justify that price.
Yeah, but it’s still pretty tempting though, huh?
Oh trust me I’ve spent a lot of time looking for cheap ones. Even the ones that attach to your phones. But those are still $300. Grrr.
Hmmm, my FLIR C2 had this technology a couple of years ago when I bought it.
Thanks, I didn’t realize that the some of the lower cost Flir models have this feature also. I was only familiar with the expensive ones.
We have one of these at work as well and it’s got a real problem with offset error between thermal and visual images. The visual gives you an idea of what you’re looking at but it’s not 1:1. There’s a distance adjustment in the settings but it doesn’t seem to do very much at the distances we’re working with (less than 1 meter).
This might finally make Seek imagers useful!
I own one Seek cellphone dongle, and the images are just terrible. Exactly as you said, you can’t tell what you’re looking at. I don’t know why. It’s somewhat better in the grayscale, maybe their default rainbow palette is just disorienting to me?
My Flir, on the other hand, even with MSX (their term for visual edge overlay) turned off, I can glance at a thermal image and usually know what the scene was. I haven’t put my finger on what attribute makes this difference.
The Seek Cellphone ones can do this too.. I had got mine during the preorder and its always been a feature of seek.
The FLIR One has this technology, called MSX. It highlights object edges and overlays them onto the thermal image. It works very well, and since they use a smartphone as the display the cost and form factor are much smaller.
The all-in-one models like this may be more durable for field use, however. For infrequent or home use the FLIR One is great.
Note: the software is as important as the camera. If the app or software is limited the usefulness of the camera suffers.
Absolutely agreed. The fact that this can stream video over WiFi puts it head and shoulders above the Flir C-series with which it competes. I wonder what the protocol is like — would they be cool enough to expose an RTSP stream?
If anyone finds out, you’ll probably see it first here: https://www.eevblog.com/forum/thermal-imaging/
I have a Flir One “Pro”. I use it casually, like computer part at work about to blow up, circuits at home, finding pests in the garage/yard, finding dogs/kids in the dark, cooking, etc. I love mine. I would prefer a one-piece unit to the phone system, but for my infrequent use it was not worth the price premium.
The FLIR One came out with this feature when the first Seek cell phone cameras came out to compete since the Seeks had higher resolution. It is around $20] street price now. This is a gimmick but it worked…people perceived higher resolution that doesn’t actually exist. Good enough for thermal home inspections but not industrial. The FLIR is I think 120×80 or something awful like that while the first Seek were 160×120. So this levels the playing field between FLIR and Seek. Generally VGA resolution or half VGA (640×480 or 320×240) is a good minimum thermal resolution. Need to have enough resolution to tell what a “blob” on the screen is and not get obscured by nearby cold objects. That’s why the Fluke and Milwaukee is a toy at a FLIR price. The Seeks are now at this level. We’ve got a couple E series cameras. The newer Seeks are just about good enough for serious inspection as a business especially with this feature.
JR3 Home Performance
I’ve been using the pro iphone attachment model for a year now. The resolution is good but not having a visual reference overlay has been a serious downside. There goes $700 haha
TLDR; effective use of thermal imaging is 40% capturing a good image (equipment and composition) and 60% interpretation (knowing what the hell you’re looking at). Context is insanely important.
Anyone that seriously uses an infrared thermographic camera for work would be well-served by taking a Level One thermography course with Infrared Training Center (https://www.infraredtraining.com). Not an advertisement. I’ve used IR imaging cameras on and off for about five years to diagnose building envelope issues. They are extremely useful, but it’s really easy to put yourself in a bad place if you don’t understand the underlying fundamentals behind the image.
Great examples of things that will trip you up:
-Surface emissivity – look it up. Basically, all things give off thermal radiation. Some things are better at doing this than others. What this means for the operator: two objects can be the same temperature, but one looks cooler because it has a lower emissivity. Shiny metal tends to have lower emissivity.
-Angle of attack matters – viewing a floor dead-on perpendicular from above vs. standing on it and viewing at a shallow angle will give two different images, because emissivity changes with viewing angle. This is why imaging a flat roof can be very difficult (and why drones are such a game changer for IR roof inspections).
and so on, and so forth. You don’t have to take a $2000 course to know all of this, but put another way – there are very few people in my field who do infrared thermography seriously who do not have a Level I or Level II thermographer’s certification.
I really just want to borrow one these for a day or two to find the leaks that i know exist in my parents old house lol
There is more to it than just the camera and for building envelope leak inspection the camera is more of a gimmick. Smoke generators tend to be better at pinpointing a leak issue where IR is more diffuse in nature. The high dollar item is the door fan with a manometer. You tape a cover over the front door and run a fan. There is a pressure sensor used to measure flow rate through the fan and pressure in the house. This gives leakage in CFH/CFM at a certain pressure drop. Smoke generators (or the thermal camera) find the leak sources.