FLIR F Series Cameras Tested

By: Ethan Ace, Published on Feb 18, 2013

In this report, we share our test findings of FLIR's F series IP thermal cameras, one of the most widely used and highly configurable lines they offer. We compare the F series against models from Axis, DRS, Pelco, and SightLogix at various ranges. We also provide an overview of the camera's configuration and physical construction.

Key Findings

These are our key findings from our tests:

  • Far more configuration and optimization options than competitive cameras compared.
  • Greater complexity and risk when using due advanced options.
  • Solid contrast compared to others in our tests.
  • Limited web interface, requiring proprietary tool to configure imaging settings.
  • Detection capability at far distances modestly better than average competitor.
  • Details at close range using default settings are moderately worse than average competitor.
  • Price: The F series ranges in price from about $4,500 USD MSRP for a wide angle 320x240 resolution camera to nearly $25,000 for a long-range VGA model.

Aside from FLIR's F series, we will also be testing their new FC series, with a smaller form factor, PoE support, and new web interface in an upcoming report.


Compared to competitive models, FLIR offers more options for equalization, palette, and image quality. Most competitors offer only contrast and brightness controls, basic equalization, and black hot/white hot palettes, where FLIR offers fully customizable equalization zones, gain control, numerous palettes, and other settings which may be directly adjusted. FLIR intends for default settings to be appropriate for the vast majority of conditions, regardless of location or season. However, because of these extra options, FLIR cameras may perform better in adverse conditions where others fall short, if an experienced integrator adjusts these settings for the scene.

This configurability does come with a potential drawback, however. Untrained users may easily become lost in these settings, potentially negatively impacting image quality. It is therefore recommended that users who are unfamiliar with FLIR's advanced configuration simply use default settings, or contact the factory for assistance.

Physical Overview

In the video below, we provide a physical overview of the FLIR F-618. Users should note the housing's greater size and weight, and different installation methods than typical outdoor housings. FLIR notes that:

  • The camera's larger size larger lenses to be accomodated, up to 100mm focal length, without requiring a different housing. This is especially key to the F series, as the imaging module may be replaced with a different focal length and resolution.
  • Users looking for a more compact unit with PoE support (but lacking the interchangeable imaging modules) may use the FC series instead. We will be reviewing this model in an upcoming test.

Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News
Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News

Configuration Overview

In this screencast, we provide an overview of FLIR's configuration process. Unlike most IP cameras, where configuration is performed simply through the web interface, FLIR uses a basic web interface and more complex configuration tool, adding a step in installation. 

  • The web interface can be cryptic, and is used mostly for network and CODEC settings.
  • All image quality settings are changed using FLIR Sensor Manager, FLIR's configuration and monitoring tool.
  • Note the large number of options found in the camera's FSM options screen, for EQ, gain, palette, and other settings.

FLIR has developed a new version of firmware with a redesigned web interface which merges many functions previously found only in FSM. This firmware will be reviewed in our upcoming test of the FC series.

Range Comparison

In our thermal camera shootout, neither the 640x480 nor 320x240 models produced extremely detailed images as some competitive cameras did at close distance (~150'). This is evident when comparing them to theAxis Q1922, Pelco TI335/TI635, and SightLogix images below, where the subject's pants, shirt, vest, and even glasses may be seen. However, both the F-618 and F-313 provide contrast reliably, with sharper edges than some competitors.


At ~1,800' range, little detail is discernable using any camera, but the F-618 and F-313 provide modestly better contrast than most competitors, with the subject a little easier to spot against the treeline.

Comments : Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

2020 Camera Book Released on Jan 10, 2020
This is the best, most comprehensive security camera training in the world, based on our unprecedented testing. Now, all IPVM PRO Members can get...
Camera Focusing Tutorial on Oct 14, 2019
Camera focus is fundamental to quality imaging. Mistakes can significantly reduce details, making cameras less effective. In this guide, we...
Mobotix Move OEM Camera Line Tested on Feb 25, 2019
Mobotix has long been criticized for not offering integrated IR, mechanical cut filters, varifocal lenses, optical zoom and other features that...
Spring 2019 50+ New Products Directory on Apr 08, 2019
We are compiling a list of new products for Spring 2019 and have over 50 already. Contrast to Fall 2018 New Products Directory and Spring 2018...
Axis ~$150 Outdoor Camera Tested on May 21, 2019
Axis has released the latest in their Companion camera line, the outdoor Companion Dome Mini LE, a 1080p integrated IR model aiming to compete with...
Bosch Starlight 8000i Cameras Tested on Jul 23, 2019
Bosch has released their new Flexidome IP Starlight 8000i cameras, claiming "exceptional detail even in extreme low-light situations." To see...
Hikvision ColorVu is Smart Marketing on Oct 03, 2019
Hikvision ColorVu (see IPVM test results) is smart marketing, a lesson to be learned by competitors and a rising trend. Inside this note, we...
Budget Covert Cameras Tested on Nov 26, 2019
Covert cameras under $100 are widely available online but are they any good? To see how these models really work in the real world, we bought...
IP Camera Installability Shootout 2019 - Avigilon, Axis, Bosch, Dahua, Hanwha, Hikvision, Uniview, Vivotek on Dec 09, 2019
What are the best and worst cameras to install? Which manufacturers make it the hardest or easiest to install their cameras? We tested 35 total...
IP Camera Browser Support: Who's Broken / Who Works on Dec 10, 2019
For many years, IP cameras depended on ActiveX control, whose security flaws have been known for more than a decade. The good news is that this is...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Motorola / Avigilon Drops ISC West on Feb 26, 2020
Motorola Solutions has pulled out of ISC West 2020 effective immediately, because of coronavirus concerns, IPVM has learned. This is done amidst...
Cancel or Not? Industry Split Over ISC West on Feb 26, 2020
The industry is split, polarized, over whether ISC West 2020 should run or be canceled. New IPVM survey results of 400+ respondents show heated...
Coronavirus Hits Sony, Bosch Says Switch on Feb 26, 2020
Sony's fall in video surveillance has been severe over the past decade. Now, they may be done. In this note, we examine Bosch's new...
Video Surveillance Cameras 101 on Feb 25, 2020
Cameras come in many shapes, sizes and specifications. This 101 examines the basics of cameras and features used in 2020. In this report, we...
Favorite Video Analytic Manufacturers 2020 on Feb 25, 2020
Video analytics is now as hot as ever, driven by the excitement of advancing deep learning offers. But what are actually integrator's...
Latest London Police Facial Recognition Suffers Serious Issues on Feb 24, 2020
On February 20, IPVM visited another live face rec deployment by London police, but this time the system was thwarted by technical problems and...
Masks Cause Major Facial Recognition Problems on Feb 24, 2020
Coronavirus is spurring an increase in the use of medical masks, which new IPVM test results show cause major problems for facial recognition...
Every VMS Will Become a VSaaS on Feb 21, 2020
VMS is ending. Soon every VMS will be a VSaaS. Competitive dynamics will be redrawn. What does this mean? VMS Historically...
Video Surveillance 101 Course - Last Chance on Feb 20, 2020
This is the last chance to join IPVM's first Video Surveillance 101 course, designed to help those new to the industry to quickly understand the...
Vulnerability Directory For Access Credentials on Feb 20, 2020
Knowing which access credentials are insecure can be difficult to see, especially because most look and feel the same. Even insecure 125 kHz...