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Old 10-05-2015, 11:33 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Thermal camera for paintball?

So going through one of my favorite gadget site I found a thermal camera that attaches to your phone. After doing a little more research I found out that there are actually quite a few options. They're still fairly spendy (~$250), but way cheaper than thermal used to be.

So... Has anyone used thermal in person? Is this something that would be usable in late day games, or night games to see through brush and bunkers?

I'd love to pick one up (for reasons other than paintball), but just curious if anyone has actually thought about this.

If anyone else is interested in looking:
Seek Thermal Imaging Cameras | Seek Thermal
FLIR ONE Personal Thermal Imager | FLIR Systems
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Old 10-06-2015, 02:09 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I did a bunch of research on them a while back, still super expensive. The one that hooks up to the phone, and now the flir c2 basically combine a super low resolution sensor (like 80x60) with a low light regular camera. Through the magic of software they combine the images, but you're still going to get very poor low light performance.

You can actually buy the sensors for less, just google thermopile array. It would be cool to make a reflective sight with a low res thermopile that just lit up dots where heat was.
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Old 10-06-2015, 04:17 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Movies always portray thermal imaging wrong. You can't see through a wall with it. You can't see through dense brush with it. Basically, imagine a well lit day, and the person you're looking at wearing a fluorescent orange or something. If you could see the orange, you'd be able to see them at night with the thermal camera. All it does is highlight heat, they still need to be LOS.

Also, they can't see through glass. People with glasses will have a "cold" spot where each lens is. And you can stand in full sight behind a window and it will not pick you up.

That said, they look like fun, and I have been looking for a cheap one. Check fireman surplus, they have rugged high-res ones that go for sale every now and then. The Seek Camera looks pretty good too, for the price.
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Old 10-06-2015, 08:38 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I was a LETA certified Thermographer for many years. Thermal imaging is fun and has come a long ways. The best rule of thumb is that imagers see to the nearest surface, i.e. it can see heat radiated through an open space but not through an object(there are only two elements/substances we knew of at the time). That means you can see heat through the open spots in a bush or tree, so to speak.

It was easy to get tripped up using it, especially at night because of the differences in how it "sees" things, and when it got hot, most things evened out in temps to make it hard to distinguish, and the same happened at night as they all cooled, termed "Thermal crossover".
Color gradients help on these issues, and they were educational to see heat loss points from a house.
From a paintball aspect, I could see a small use in a night game, more so than NV, but it would be a novelty at best.
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Old 10-07-2015, 08:42 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I have a FLIR One and it's just about useless to spot people in the woods with lots of foliage. But I haven't tried in winter.
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Old 10-08-2015, 05:13 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I use my insight mtm thermal for paintball night games and it is awesome. Daytime it would be pretty useless, as you would be eliminating more useful information by staring through a tiny viewfinder. Night games go slow enough to use. Not exactly a cheap rig though. I've had people get pissed, and lose their minds because they thought some one they shot told me where there were, when are lit up like a torch through the monocle. They usually calm down after looking through it. I've seen the Flir one and one of the others, Israeli made one, the Israeli phone one was much better imo.

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Old 10-08-2015, 09:14 AM   #7 (permalink)
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My only experience with it is with the fire department. Mostly just training. You can't see through walls, but you can see into them At least with higher end units, like a few grand plus. I can't recall our specific unit but it is about a 5 inch screen. Images are grayscale with notable heat differences shown in color.

What I mean is... The world's most expensive but actually accurate stud finder. Depending on the wall, you can actually see the stud through drywall. That is your tip of the day.

Yes, I know this rambling has nothing to do with paintball, lol.
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Old 10-11-2015, 08:07 PM   #8 (permalink)
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The only time I've heard of its use in paintball was a magfed game last season where the guys with thermal basically hosed the holy hell out of their own team because they had no way to distinguish friend or foe.
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Old 10-12-2015, 06:24 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I have the FLIR ONE for the iPhone. It only works well at night up to 30 yards, heat signatures are tiny marks. It's nothing special. So if you were considering it for paintball I wanted to warn you. It's great for work and household things though. I found a few power outlets with loose wiring that was hot in the wall.
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Old 01-19-2016, 05:12 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Do such phone cameras and thermal imaging technologies for hunting/tactical purposes have something in common? I've been a night vision enthusiast for years. A couple years ago I bought an ATN ThOR-336 4-16X thermal rifle scope (check out their website) to use for night time coyote hunting. Now I read about the new FLIR technology that has dropped the cost but maintained the quality of the thermal imaging technology. So I am thinking about getting one now.
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