Effectiveness Of Thermal Cameras In Hot Enviroments

How well would a thermal camera work in a very warm enviroment (i.e. desert like)? I would think at night when things cool down there wouldn't be a problem but during the day as things heat up and the ambient temperature reaches / exceeds body temperature (and objects in the field of view heat up as well) the camera would become ineffective. Is my thinking correct?


In a word, yes. The closer the subject's temperature is to the ambient temperature, the lower the contrast between the two.

We found this in our 2010 Axis thermal test we did in Hawaii - see results.

"The closer the subject's temperature is to the ambient temperature, the lower the contrast between the two."

Just curious about ways to beat the thermal camera... could a fire retardant suit work?

Even here in PA, in the midst of our thermal testing, it can be difficult to see warm subjects against sun-soaked background areas, on days when the temperature is nowhere even close to body temperature. Some manufacturers are better than others with this, and it depends greatly on range and FOV. At least one manufacturer explained that this is why visible/thermal combo units are as commonly available as they are, because "crossover" temperature conditions are the hardest to deal with for thermal, but may be much less so for visible cameras.

I would venture to say that "HOT" environmnts a large market for Thermal cameras i.e. boarder patrol and desert military applications.

It's true, partly because those entities have the budget for them more than in commercial applications. Also, in those locations, even if the thermal camera isn't as effective during the day, there's generally no light available at range at night, so thermal is often the only option for detection.

Great point Ethan in regards to havig the budget. DRS is the only copany I'm aware of with a viable low cost thermal option.