FLIR Wide Dynamic Thermal (FC Series)By Ethan Ace, Published on Sep 25, 2012
The IP thermal market continues to expand, this time with FLIR's "wide dynamic" FC series. FLIR claims this camera's enhanced image processing improves visibility over competitive models. In this note, we look at the feature set of the FC series and compare to existing FLIR models and SightLogix's Clear24.
The key feature of the FC series is its image processing, digital detail enhancement (DDE) which allows for a wider contrast range between hot and cold objects in the image. According to FLIR, this is important especially under adverse conditions, such as sunrise or sunset when the camera is directly facing the sun, where other cameras may become hazy or washed out. The following FLIR marketing images show the claimed difference:
The FC series has the following standard features:
- Available in 640x480 and 320x240 resolutions.
- Lens options varying from narrow 9º FOV to 90º wide.
- Analog and IP output, two H.264, MPEG-4, or MJPEG streams.
- ONVIF 2.0 compliant.
- Redesigned housing and cable-through mount intended for simpler installation.
- Continuous digital zoom, instead of stepped 2x, 4x, etc. found on current models.
The FC Series is planned to be available in early Q4 2012. Pricing is not yet finalized, but is expected to be between FLIR's analog-only SR series and analog/IP F series, making them the lowest-priced IP thermal cameras in the FLIR line. This would mean FC series pricing would start slightly below $4,499 USD, the current price of an F series camera with 48ª FOV.
Comparison To Other Models
With the FC series, FLIR is claiming capabilities similar to SightLogix's Clear24 thermal cameras, which apply digital signal processing to increase contrast over standard cameras. However, SightLogix offers only 320x240 resolution models, with no options for 640x480. Based on approximate dealer discounts, we expect 320x240 resolution FLIR FC series models to be priced moderately below the Clear24 (~$6,000 MSRP).
While the FC series does not replace any current FLIR camera lines, due to performance and price gains, it is a more logical choice than the F series. Likely the only reason to use the F series is when a lens options is required that the FC series does not provide, really only the case in very narrow fields of view for long-range detection.