We break down the difference between infrared detectors to help you pick the right size of camera. We lay out exactly how many measurement points in each.
When looking at a series of thermal cameras, the biggest difference between the individual models is the size of the microbolometer inside. This IR resolution determines how detailed your thermal images will be and the information they contain. But it will also affect how much a given camera costs.
FLIR presents their IR Resolution as a set of dimensions: 320 x 240 for example. This means that your microbolometer has 320 infrared sensors across the top, and 240 sensors down the side. Each one of these tiny sensors is a temperature measurement point.
Thinking about each sensor as one pixel on your camera's display screen is a little bit of an over-simplification, but it's a good place to start.
So on a camera with an IR resolution of 320 x 240, you have 76,800 distinct measurement points. Compare that to a much smaller imager with an 80 x 60 detector, which will have 4,800 individual sensors.
Take a look at the graphic below, which overlays the dimensions of the entire Ex series of cameras together.
But what does that look like when you're using it in the field? Lower resolution means you will still see hot and cold spots, but not with the same definition or detail that a larger microbolometer would give. Take a look:
The Exx series are FLIR's premiere building inspection and industrial thermography cameras. Here are their different resolutions stacked together.
Whether you're looking for a basic infrared start, or a complete thermography solution, the resolution on a given camera is a great place to start making your decision.