As thermal imaging technology is advancing rapidly, night hunting is increasingly becoming a highly effective hunting method and enjoyable past time. Thermal imaging cameras imaging will enable you to see through the veil of darkness and stay safe.
Currently, there is a huge selection of camera types in all shapes and sizes, various designs and functions, and at different prices. In this article, we will look at some of the things you should consider when buying a thermal imaging camera for hunting.
Benefits of using thermal imaging cameras than other devices
If you want to hunt effectively at night, there are several factors you should consider when choosing your hunting equipment. Price is a factor that most hunters take into account. Due to the advancement of technology in the recent past, the price of thermal imaging cameras is coming down. Nowadays, you can get a very reliable thermal imaging camera with top of the range features at a very affordable price.
Another important factor most hunters consider is weight. Since hunting requires various tools, the weight may accumulate which is a disadvantage. For instance, most likely, you be carrying a firearm or bow, ammunition, and other things. It is very important to watch out on the weight you carry into the night because too much can weigh you down unnecessarily.
Most hunters will sacrifice crucial but heavier devices such as binoculars to save on weight so that they can be able to move around efficiently and more quietly. This need often sees hunters preferring thermal imaging cameras because they are more portable. Some cameras are so compact that they can perfectly fit in the pocket.
With a good thermal imaging camera, you will have a better chance of detecting and spotting a high number of animals when hunting at night. As with all devices used to aid night vision, the quality of the device can compromise the results.
So, when choosing a thermal imaging camera, it is very important to take quality into account. Choose a device that is made from quality material and has waterproofing capabilities for greater effectiveness.
When you are planning to buy a thermal imaging camera, it is good to have a decent and realistic budget. Lack of sufficient budget can affect your chances of getting a device that will address your hunting needs. Thermal imaging technology costs a minimum amount, and going too low in price will see a massive decrease in the quality available. Therefore, it is important first to set a decent budget, then choose wisely among the wide variety of devices.
Features to consider when choosing a thermal imaging camera for hunting
- Thermal sensor resolution
Most thermal imaging cameras have fewer pixels as compared to normal cameras. Therefore, it is very important to pay close attention to the thermal sensor resolution. A thermal imaging camera with high resolution will enable you to see even smaller targets from farther away. Also, it will produce a sharper and more precise image with reliable data.
It is good to know the difference between thermal sensor resolution and display resolution. Some manufacturers will indicate the LCD resolution in a bid to hide their low thermal sensor resolution, yet it is the latter that matters most in hunting. For quality images, choose a camera with 640×480 pixels, but if you have a limited budget, 384×288 is also acceptable.
- Inbuilt visible light camera
Nowadays, there is no need to carry too many accessories when going to hunt to minimize weight as much as possible. There are several thermal imaging cameras with a built-in digital camera that is able to capture visible light and thermal images at the same time.
A good thermal imaging camera should enable you to detect an animal by showing the difference in the heat of the animal and surrounding. So, accuracy and consistency are very critical factors to consider when determining the value of a thermal imaging camera for hunting.
At the same time, a good camera should let you easily input and adjust parameters to produce accurate results. Some of these features will become more meaningful as you continue gaining experience with thermal imaging cameras.
- Refresh rate
This is the rate at which an image is refreshed on the display screen and is usually expressed in hertz. A camera with a higher refresh rate will provide more accurate and detailed images. The minimal acceptable refresh rate for hunting is 30Hz for smooth capturing. However, devices with higher refresh rates are pricier.
- Black or white
Even though a black and white thermal imaging camera is an affordable option and simple to track animals, it has some limitations. For instance, it cannot differentiate temperature ranges by color, which is very helpful in determining whether the animal is alive, especially when hunting at night. If you are a professional hunter, you can choose a colored camera to see the differences in temperatures in the field of view.
- Digital or Optical zoom
This is a very major factor to consider when selecting a thermal imaging camera for hunting. Since optical zoom does not have to pixelate, it provides clearer images than digital. This is a very handy device if you hunt or track animals from long distances.
- Battery longevity
The longevity of the battery on a single charge is a major concern to most hunters. A general rule is that the battery should last for a few hours for continuous operation. Look out for devices that use Lithium-ion batteries because they can last between 8 and 12 hours and take only 2 to 3 hours to charge fully.
- Durability and portability
A thermal imaging camera should be made from high quality material that is waterproof, dustproof, drop resistant, and shock-resistant. The construction should be sturdy enough to work in all terrains and weather conditions. Go for a portable camera that you will be able to carry for a long duration during your excursions.
Although thermal imaging cameras were expensive in the past, they are now becoming cheaper and available. They have become an inevitable tool for hunting, especially at night. As thermal imaging technology continues to advance, there is no doubt thermal imaging cameras will become cheaper and improve features and functionalities.