FLIR Thermal Network Cameras Examined

Author: John Honovich, Published on Feb 01, 2010

FLIR has announced the availability of network thermal cameras starting as low as $3,495 USD MSRP. These cameras are additions to the F (fixed) and PT (pan tilt) series from FLIR. These new cameras have 160 x 120 resolution and offer 3 lens options - from 24 degrees Field of View (FoV) to 12 degrees FoV.

This announcement is especially interesting in contrast to Axis's January 2010 entry into the thermal camera market. Axis is now offering a single thermal option (with indoor and outdoor models at an MSRP respectively of $2,995 and $3,495).

Both companies are the largest supplier in their respective primary markets (Axis in IP cameras, FLIR in thermal cameras). Multiple low cost options and competition are likely to help grow the market and provide greater choice.

While Axis has advantages on the network side, FLIR has significant advantages on the breadth and sophistication of thermal camera offerings.

******* ********* *** ************ ** ******* ******* ******* ******** ** low ** $*,*** *** ****. ***** ******* *** ********* ** the* (*****) ***** (*** ****)****** **** ****. ***** *** ******* **** *** * *** resolution *** ***** * **** ******* - **** ** ******* Field ** **** (***) ** ** ******* ***.

**** ************ ** ********** *********** ** ******** ******'* ******* **** ***** **** *** ******* ****** ******. **** ** *** ******** * ****** ******* ****** (**** indoor *** ******* ****** ** ** **** ************ ** $*,*** and $*,***).

**** ********* *** *** ******* ******** ** ***** ********** ******* markets (**** ** ** *******, **** ** ******* *******). ******** low **** ******* *** *********** *** ****** ** **** **** the ****** *** ******* ******* ******.

***** **** *** ********** ** *** ******* ****, **** *** significant ********** ** *** ******* *** ************** ** ******* ****** offerings.

[***************]

FLIR's ******* ******** **********

**** ****** * **** ***** ********* ** ******* *** *** thermal ******. ***** * ****** ********* ** ****'* ********* ******** a ****** ********* ******, ******* ****** **** **** ** *** key **********:

  • ***** **** ****** ******* ***** ******* **** ******* ******
  • ** ******* ***** ******* **** * ******* ** ********** *** lens ******* **** ****** ******. **** ** *** ****** ***** *** ****** **** ******* have **** *****.
  • **** ******* ******* **** *** / **** ************ **** ***** D ****** (******************)
  • *** / **** ***** **** ******* **** ******* *** ***** cameras **** ******* ******
  • ****** ******* ******* ********* ******** **** ********* ****** **** ***********************
  • * ****-******* ****** **** ** ******** *** *** ********** ****** but ** ********* **** ** *** ******** ************ ****** *** recommended (*************)
  • * ****-**** ********** ****** **** ******** ******** ************ *** *********** (the**** ****** *******) ********* *** ****** ******** *** ***** **********; * ******* license ******** **** **** ******

***** ***** *** **** ******* ******* **** ****, ***** ** an******* **** ****'* ******* ********* * ****** ******** *** ********* ****'* ** *******.

FLIR ******* ****** ******* *** ***********

***** ** *********** **** ****, **** *** **** **** ******* data ****** ** ***** ******* ** *******:

  • 160 * *** ********** *****: From the ***** * ******, *** **** *** **** *** ** **** ** $*,***. The **** ** ** **** ** $*,***. *** ******* **** a ***** ***** ** * ***** *** * *** **********. The ****** *** ****** (*.*., **, **, **) ******** *** horizontal *** (*.*., *** **** *** * ** ****** ********** FoV). ***** ******* *** *** ******* ********** ** **** ***** as **** *** **** *****, *** *******.
  • 320 * *** ********** *****: The fixed F series also offers greater resolution than Axis, including 320 x 240 and 640 x 480. For instance, the F348 with 320 x 240 resolution and a 48 degree horizontal FoV has an MSRP of $6,575. The F313 with 320 x 240 resolution and a 13 degree FoV has an MSRP of $12,325. The F313 is rated to detect people out to approximately 1500 meters (far greater than the 160 x 120 cameras with specified distances of a few hundred meters).
  • Dome ******* (******* *** ********): FLIR offers multiple series of ********************* ******* **** *** *** *** ****. ** *** ****** side, **** ****** ****** ******* ***** **** * ** **** lens *******. *** **** *** *** *** ** $*,*** *** the **** ** $*,***. ** *** ******* ****, **** ********** ******(*** ***** ****** *** *******) **** ** ******* **** *** x *** ******* ********** *** * ******* ** ******* **** options. *** **** ** *** *** **** ****** **** ****** is $**,***.
** *** ********** ****, **** ** *** **** ** ******* support ***.
**** ******* ***** ***** *********** **** *********/***** ********* ***** *********'* Universal *********. **** ********* ******* *** ***** ** ** ****.
**** ******* ******* *** ********* ********* *****. *******, ** ** Feb *, ****, *** ******* **** ** * **** ******* that **** ******** **** ** ********** ** *** *** ** Q2 ****.

Comparison ******* **** *** **** ******* *******

***'* ******* *** ******** *** *** **** *** **** ***** up:

  • *****: ** *********. **** ********* *** ******** ***** ***** ******** at *** **** *****.
  • Form ****** *******: FLIR. FLIR has dozens of models across 5 series of network thermal cameras. Axis only supports one form factor.
  • Lens *******: While Axis plans to add 1-3 lens options for their fixed camera, FLIR has 4-5 lens options already for each of its series.
  • Resolution *******: FLIR. Axis only supports 160 x 120. FLIR supports that as well as 320 x 240 and 640 x 480.
  • PoE *******: Axis. Axis supports PoE. FLIR does not. This can provide important installation and cost benefits for outdoor installations.
  • Third ***** *** *******: Axis. While FLIR should make progress in 2010, Axis is the most broadly supported
  • Video ********* *******: Axis. Analytics can be run inside the Axis thermal camera (though with noted processor limitations). Plus, with Axis's video broad 3rd party support, it will be easy for centralized analytic systems to analyze Axis's feeds.
  • Camera *******: FLIR's fixed F series cameras can be upgraded by simply switching the camera cartridge. If a different size lens or different resolution is needed, the F series supports in-field switch out without changing the whole unit. Axis does not.

Competitive ******** *** **********

*** ***** ***** ********** *** *** *********** ********* *** ******** in ********* **** *** ****.

***************
*****************
Form ********** *********** *********
Lens *********** *********** *********
Resolution *********** *********** *********
PoE ************
VMS *********** *************
Video ********* *********** *********** *********
Camera ************

Important ********* ** ** **********

***** *** * *** ********* ***** ** ****** *** ********* that ** ******* **** **** ** ****** ** **** **********:

  • How **** **** ** **** *** **** ** **** ***** *** *******? This is partially a factor of FLIR's execution and partially dependent on VMS support of ONVIF. Assuming moderate execution and ONVIF adoption, we believe FLIR's IP cameras will be fairly broadly support by VMS systems by the end of 2010.
  • How ****** **** *** * *** ********** ******* ******* **? FLIR reports that historic demand for such low resolution cameras has been weak as customers needed the higher detail and longer range of 320 x 240 or 640 x 480 cameras. To the extent that 160 x 120 cameras prove useful in the field, Axis will do better with their lower end cameras.
  • How **** *** ***** ******* ******? So far this analysis is based purely on specifications, vendor discussions and vendor provided videos. Since Axis is new, it is hard to know how much worse (or potentially better) their image quality will be to FLIR. If there exists material variances in image quality or resulting range covered, this could be a significant factor.
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