|FLIR I3, FLIR I5, FLIR I7. Is cheap infrared really the way to go?
Posted by Jason Kaylor on 6/29/2012
|One of the most common questions we get about infrared cameras, is which one is right for me? Although I am not really going to focus on that question in this post, I do want clear up some of the confusion that surrounds these three units. The FLIR I3, FLIR I5 and FLIR I7 in particular get a lot of inquires, just due to the price point. And why shouldn't they? They are 1000's, and in some cases 10,000's cheaper than other cameras on the market. It seems like an attractive solution for those wanting to enter the infrared market.
|First off, I never advise anyone to enter the infrared inspection world without budgeting the expense of infrared training into the business plan. Quality training starts at $1195 and goes up to $1850 depending on the facility. Now you are saying to me, "hey what gives? I wanted to stay on the cheap". |
So why not start off with one of these cameras? Well the answer is simple. These cameras are really more suited to someone or some company that already has other cameras in its arsenal. Think of these cameras like a flashlight. You are not going to drive your car down the road using the light from a flashlight. Instead you will be using your vehicle’s headlights. If you want more light you can upgrade to HID lights. If the situation really calls for it, you can install big ole lights on your 4x4 and really light up the path in front of you. Think of the standard headlights like the FLIR E Series Cameras. I would even narrow that down to the E40BX (building diagnostics), the FLIR E50 and FLIR E50BX and the FLIR E60 and FLIR E60BX. I do like the E30(BX), especially over the I7, but for building diagnostics it is only $1000 away from the FLIR E40BX, which might be the best bang for the buck building diagnostics cameras in the world right now. Next comes your HID lights. That is the FLIR T420, FLIR T420BX, FLIR T440 and FLIR T440BX. Then comes the big ole light bar on the top of a 4x4, turn the night into day, FLIR T620. While you can use all of these vehicle light options are you going to use them when looking for something in the dark corner of your garage? That is where the little guys come in.
The point is, these cameras are best suited to support a complete infrared program, not establish one. So the utility company that has a T620 already out in the field can use an I5 or I7 to quickly look at some panels or friction items. Companies that add on additional cameras are already trained. They know what they are doing and they know why they are buying a low end camera. If you cannot honestly tell yourself why you are buying a low end camera (or any camera for that matter), then you shouldn't be pulling the trigger yet on any thermal imaging system.
Finally, for those of you wanting to grow your business marketing, none of these cams have video out. People do not realize the power of infrared when it comes to marketing. Believe it or not, its marketing ability, in the right venues, might actually be even more powerful than its diagnostics ability. Keep in mind, they are an amazing diagnostics tool. That is....with the right training, background and experience.
VP of Speciality Products
AC Tool Supply
FLIR I3, FLIR I5, FLIR I7. Is cheap infrared really the way to go?