I have been asked a number of times for my opinion on the T1K, so I have decided to give my opinion. This will be honest, but extremely subjective. It would not be honest if I did not include “Likes” and “Dislikes”. I don’t normally do camera reviews, and it is not really my intention to start doing them now, so this will be a one off.
I have had my T1K for a couple of months now and have used it quite a bit. The variant that I have is the T1030sc. This is essentially the same as the T1020, except it also comes with a high speed interface (HSI). I have three lenses, a 45 degree wide angle lens, a standard 28 degree lens and a close up lens. I am an extensive cameras user and generally push them to the limits.
Speed, the camera OS is very fast. It boots up very quickly, and is very quick at saving images.
Image quality, the images are amazing. I don’t really use Ultramax, as it is too slow to save, and I don’t really buy into this anyway. To be honest the images are incredible, so Ultramax is not really necessary. The higher resolution and improved sensitivity are obvious from the outset. By default, the camera seems to use histogram equalisation rather than linear method.
Focus, it is easy to focus. I have turned off the continuous auto focus option as I just don’t like this feature. As far as I can tell it does work quite well, but I just feel this makes you lazy. If however you intend using MSX, then it will probably be necessary to use continuous auto focus. There is also an option to turn off the auto focus with a half press of the save button. I am glad this option is there as this feature on T6XX’s often led to unfocussed images being saved inadvertently.
The camera is very configurable.There are four programmable buttons, two of which are virtual.
Temperature ranges, these are more sensible on the T1K than they were on the T6XX series. The ranges on the camera are:
–40°C to +150°C
0 to +650°C
+300°C to +2000°C
I would comment that on the T1K higher ranges the images do become noisy, but that is to be expected. However the 0 to +650°C range is a little noisier than I was expecting at the low end, not enough to present a problem though.
The touch screen does work very well, but as I would expect it can be an issue with gloves. Some of the features that use the touch screen like adding a table are very good indeed. It would also be nicer to have a screen with the same resolution as the detector, but again I can live with this.
I am not the biggest fan of the form factor of the camera, it sometimes feels clumsy to me, and it can be a little unnatural. However I do understand why Flir have chosen to keep the same form factor as other models, and I am sure it is something that I could get used to with a little more time.
The GUI will be familiar to those that have other Flir products, it is probably a good idea to have a common GUI. To be honest I’m not crazy about some aspects of it. In particular I don’t like the measurement presets. You have the presets added in the factory, and two user presets. However if you want or need to add an additional spot, then you cannot do this on a live image, you have to save the image first and then edit it, or edit the preset before saving the image. To me this is a disadvantage, particularly if you like to do analysis in the field. You need to give a lot of thought into how you will configure the two user presets. I have found myself changing theses quite often, and I find this limitation a bit restricting. This part of the camera seems to me that it is designed around those that capture all their images and do everything else in the software afterwards, and many people do not work in this way.
Min/max/level I changed this immediately to traditional level and span in the settings, as it is quicker and easier to use. It is good that the option for either method is available.
Battery life, this is okay, but it can be a bit tight to get through a full day, I have purchased a third battery as I am a bit concerned about it. I suppose it does depend on the way the camera is used. I have the camera configured to power off after 5 minutes of not being used. If this was 2 or 3 minutes then the battery life would be better, but this would come at the expense of stable measurements. There is a battery level indicator, but this is mostly not displayed, this means that you don’t always see the level, and it has caught me out a few times. The camera OS does become a bit unstable as the battery level becomes low. On the good side, this is the first camera that I have owned where the batteries do not discharge whilst inside the camera, this is a big plus.
Close up lens, this is an attachment that screws onto the front of the 28 degree lens. To use it you have to remove the front rubber ring on the lens. I feel that if I was taking the ring on and off very regularly then it would become damaged over time. This is probably only suitable for occasional use. You also have to use the external optic compensation factor. I have not experimented enough with this yet, but I would expect issues with it if the temperature of the optic changes, as I don’t see how the camera can correct for this properly, I intend testing this very soon. The camera becomes very heavy when using the close up lens too, but it would likely be used with a tripod anyway when configured like this.
I don’t use the voice memo option, I have not used this option on a camera for years. I find it unsuitable in an industrial environment due to the high background noise. For people working in a quieter environment, this might be very useful.
Reflected temperature input, this does not give an option to enter values with decimal points. While this is okay for high emissivity materials, I would like more precise values available, even if decimal values were only available when the emissivity was set to lower values. Although I do realise that the both tools and researchIR do allow decimal values to be entered.
All the features seem to work smoothly, I have had some crashes, and there are certainly some bugs in mine. However the bugs are mostly not that significant, but I have found a few that do annoy me. In general it is extremely stable. There seems to be more bugs and unstable behaviour when the battery is low.
The ability to add comments and tables in the field is quite useful, and these features do integrate very well with the software. The more you use the table feature, the more useful it is, but the slower the feature becomes to use, so you have to delete text inputs regularly to keep the camera working fast.
I have connected meterlink instruments, and have had no problems.
Remote controlling the camera through wifi worked first time, and the connection seems quite solid. The images download from the camera to tools for iPhone perfectly.
MSX, while I do see the value in this for some people, I myself am almost sure that I will never use it. When I look at an image I like it to be full visual or full IR, I do not like images where this is mixed together.
The camera can be setup to display either emissivity values, or emissivity tables, this is selectable in the settings. It can also record movie files or radiometric sequences, again this is selectable in the settings.
This is the best camera that I have had since my Agema 550. I like it a lot. It is easy to use, and produces incredible images. It is also incredibly sensitive. I know others find it a bit heavy, but I have to disagree. Then again I am coming from a background of heavier cameras. I think if you have only ever used smaller cameras, then it would be noticeably heavy, and will take a bit of time to get used to it. It also crashes a lot less than other cameras that I have owned. There are a few bugs, but not severe enough to cause major problems, all of the bugs that I have come across are minor.
I have tested mine quite a bit, and I am impressed at how well it handles drift. I don’t see much improvement in the spot size, compared to a 640×480 camera.
I have to say that the best value appears to be the T1020 variant. My reason for saying this is that both cameras seem to work with ReaserchIR software at 30Hz. The T1030sc variant comes with the HSI (High Speed Interface), but this can be purchased separately for the T1020 anyway. For me working up to 30Hz is fine for most of my R&D applications. The HSI offers up to 250Hz by using windowing (although initially it was advertised at having the ability to offer speeds up to 400Hz). My own feeling is that if speeds like this are really necessary then it is clearly a cooled camera requirement, and any camera with a microbolometer is the wrong camera. It is nice to have the ability to record at 120Hz full frame, but again I believe that something that requires this speed would be more of a cooled camera application. If you really need higher speeds then I would suggest buying a cooled camera.