Join for FREE
It only takes a minute!
Magnifying the passion for nature. Zeiss Victory Harpia 95. New!

Welcome to BirdForum.
BirdForum is the net's largest birding community, dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE! You are most welcome to register for an account, which allows you to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread
Old Wednesday 13th December 2017, 19:01   #26
wllmspd
Registered User

 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Hampton
Posts: 76
Excellent, please keep posting your experiences. Especially about the detail, range you can spot things etc. Only twice spotted owls in flight though I know they are about, just can’t spot them!

Thanks

Petwr

Last edited by wllmspd : Wednesday 13th December 2017 at 19:02. Reason: Correction
wllmspd is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Wednesday 13th December 2017, 20:40   #27
Torchepot
Registered User
 
Torchepot's Avatar

 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Limousin France
Posts: 484
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vollmeise View Post
Hi there,

fascinated by some reports (infrared-birding blog, some hunter's videos on youtube and others) I also started searching for thermal cameras, especially for practical benefits from birder's perspective.

I lately could take a look through some models under real birder's conditions and was even more surprised how much life there is out in the dark around.. and how many creatures can rely on their camouflage successfully as long as they have no idea what a thermal imager is capable of.

Long story short: I ordered a Pulsar Helion thermal imager with a 50mm lens and did receive it last saturday. It's one of the new models they announced in March 2017 (Pulsar Helion XP50). Despite the price they were out of stock in Germany, all the sellers told me on request, they could sell 10 at once esp. to hunters if hey had them available. Well, I was lucky to find a shop in the netherlands and now I hold that beast in my hands.

I was afield only once so far, but what I coud see was impressive. Flying birds passing by, lots of mice in the woods, a tawny owl at its breeding cave, "glowing" woodpecker's caves (no idea what might live there inside).

So, if someone is interested, I will share my experience from time to time.
Congratulations on your purchase Vollmeise

I'm hoping there might be something similar under our Christmas tree for me (but then I've always been hopelessly optimistic!)

It should be very interesting to hear how you get on - very few reports from people using these for finding birds. A couple of things I'm interested in - from memory the closest focus is 3 metres but I'm guessing that it will still show hot spots closer than that - just not in focus?

Also I'd be interested to know how easy it is to hook up to your mobile phone (if you've tried it)

Have you used it in the pitch dark yet? Interested to hear whether you're experiencing the same issues of having to change from eye to eye or to give it a break every 30 seconds as has been mentioned elsewhere?
Torchepot is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Wednesday 13th December 2017, 21:09   #28
Cluster
Registered User

 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Northern England
Posts: 434
On a related theme, I have played with near IR cameras. These are ordinary cameras with the IR filter blocking removed and an external IR pass filter fitted. It's a lovely B&W image maker and, if left with the colours from the camera, can look a bit other-worldly.. But, my point is that as most trees reflect IR, the leaves appear to be very pale as does most vegitation. Birds, however, must absorb near IR and appear to be black. They stand out very well (in daylight, better in sunny conditions). Birds that are otherwise difficult to see in foliage are easy to spot (but not to ID as they're all black).
Cluster is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 14th December 2017, 08:54   #29
Vollmeise
Registered User
 
Vollmeise's Avatar

 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Bavaria
Posts: 56
@torchepot:
the focus is adjusted manually by turning the focus ring of the lens. The closest distance depends on the lens attached. I just can speak for my device, the XP50 with the 50mm lens. The other models XP28 and XP38 are delivered with 28mm resp. 38mm lenses attached, though the three bodies themselve are all the same.

The shortest focus distance of my XP50 is about 7 meters, closer objects get unsharp. Of course you can see your own hand directly in front of the lens or smallest birds / mammals in the nearest area around.

With the 28mm lens attached the shortest focus distance should be 3m due to the manual (I can't try that as I don't have that lens).

The connection to my iPhone and iPad works great and can be made within seconds, you have to use Pulsar's app (available for iOS and Android) "Stream vision" to manage that. Start WiFi on the Device, login to the "Helion" Hotspot with your phone, start the app and you'll see the imager's viewfinder within seconds. You can remote any function wireless, shoot fotos and videos, change settings and so on. Despite some smaller issues, the app and remote functionality is well done and works with lots of different Pulsar models, both night vision and thermal devices.

As mentioned, I tried my new imager just once so I'm looking forward to day by day experience. But I used it by daylight and in the very pitch dark. The image and detail quality doesn't depend on visible light at all, it only depends on temperature differences.

I didn't experience any of the issues you talked about and during my first session I used the imager for about four hours nonstop, didn't switch it off once. Handheld in the night at about 5C the battery was at about 50% after 4 hours. The "break" which the device takes from time to time is the auto-calibration of the internal bolometer. The only thing of that calibration you can notice while watching through the viewfinder is, the image is freezing for about 1 second. This procedure is announced at the bottom of the screen, a countdown appears.. 3-2-1- freezing - and that's it. That auto calibration procedure can be switched off and done manually by pressing a button if you think the image quality goes down.

Cheers :-)

Last edited by Vollmeise : Thursday 14th December 2017 at 08:57.
Vollmeise is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 14th December 2017, 09:43   #30
Torchepot
Registered User
 
Torchepot's Avatar

 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Limousin France
Posts: 484
Thanks Vollmeise

A lot of valuable information there - I didn't know that the closest focus was 7 metres with the 50mm lens - a definite consideration for anyone with a primary interest in small stuff at closer ranges. I guess the 38mm lens would have a CF of around 5 metres.

Looking forward to hearing of your experiences.

All the best,

Phil
Torchepot is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 14th December 2017, 10:30   #31
Vollmeise
Registered User
 
Vollmeise's Avatar

 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Bavaria
Posts: 56
Well, I agree that the shorter lenses may be helpful to scan the nearest area around, especially as they show a wider field of view plus closer focus range.

To choose the right model and lens one should know, that Pulsar's new model series "Quantum light", "Helion XQ" and "Helion XP" have sensors of different dimensions inside. The higher resolution sensor of the XP series is larger than the sensor of the other series, which uses the same smaller sensor size inside. This causes a different crop factor / field of view, even if exactly the same lens is attached.

Compared to photographic "full format" 24x36mm the Pulsar XP series has a crop factor of about 3,3x. So a 50mm lens attached to the XP device shows an image equivalent to a 165mm lens on a 24x36 camera.

The crop factor both of the "Quantum light" and "Helion XQ" series is 5,5x, they seem to use the same sensor (size and resolution) inside.

So the XP series need lenses 1,66x longer than Quantum light / Helion XQ series to get the same field of view, regardless of its higher resolution.

That's why e.g. the Quantum light XQ30V shows exactly the same field of view as the Helion XP50, regardless different resolution, no WiFi functionality, no interchangeable lenses and way lower price.

Cheers :-)

Last edited by Vollmeise : Thursday 14th December 2017 at 12:03.
Vollmeise is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Friday 15th December 2017, 14:04   #32
Vollmeise
Registered User
 
Vollmeise's Avatar

 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Bavaria
Posts: 56
A short walk through the park

Today I took a moment for a short walk through the park nearby.

The pics shown were made on this cloudy december noon, air temperature about 8C.

The quality depends on the current settings of the camera, esp. Brightness and contrast. Best results to find birds means changeing these "exposure values" manually by try and error.

The view finder's image is a bit sharper than the saved images, also do the birds' movements help to locate them. The distances are estimated and without liability :-)

- Eurasian Magpie on the rooftop: 30m
- short-toed treecreeper: 90m (two pedestrians in the right corner, the tiny white spot in the center is the treecreeper creeping up the oak's trunk. Two meters below at about 7 o'clock is a second tiny spot, that's a coal tit. As these points are moving it's easy to find them in reality)
- squirrel: 25m
- 7 birds in the bushes: 15m (coal tits and blue tits, with my bare eye I just could see 4 of them)
- Carrion crow: 30m

Hope it could help somewhat..

Cheers :-)
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	9DC38B90-D1F1-4135-98C5-BA83F4A12EF2.jpeg
Views:	61
Size:	42.5 KB
ID:	648768  Click image for larger version

Name:	ED334994-7ECD-4089-BDB5-409BF5535A03.jpeg
Views:	59
Size:	58.7 KB
ID:	648769  Click image for larger version

Name:	A02AE749-5859-4EBF-9001-6D71A4C3F740.jpeg
Views:	52
Size:	61.4 KB
ID:	648770  Click image for larger version

Name:	EE80D247-0E37-4FD9-89F0-E7D78D464905.jpeg
Views:	64
Size:	46.7 KB
ID:	648771  Click image for larger version

Name:	D3085C6E-EEC3-4B5C-8677-523DCDD17E18.jpeg
Views:	58
Size:	97.7 KB
ID:	648772  

Vollmeise is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Friday 15th December 2017, 20:59   #33
Torchepot
Registered User
 
Torchepot's Avatar

 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Limousin France
Posts: 484
Very impressive Vollmeise!

The resolution is remarkable and considering that the images would look pretty much the same in total darkness - to be able to detect something the size of a Treecreeper at 90m is something special.
Torchepot is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Friday 15th December 2017, 21:31   #34
wllmspd
Registered User

 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Hampton
Posts: 76
Looking like even the smaller lens versions will still deliver plenty of fun?!

Peter
wllmspd is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Friday 15th December 2017, 21:55   #35
DMW
Registered User
 
DMW's Avatar

 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Jersey
Posts: 1,445
Thanks for posting these images... very impressive.
Could you say whether a bird sat in dense foliage would be visible in the viewfinder? The scenario I'm thinking of would be something like a scops owl in tropical forest, perched say 10m away, bit possibly concealed by leaves.
DMW is online now  
Reply With Quote
Old Friday 15th December 2017, 23:04   #36
Vollmeise
Registered User
 
Vollmeise's Avatar

 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Bavaria
Posts: 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by wllmspd View Post
Looking like even the smaller lens versions will still deliver plenty of fun?!

Peter
They certainly will! I'm going to order the 28mm lens as soon as my bank account has recovered

In germany separate lenses aren't available jet, but I found some shops in the UK listing them as "on stock": http://shop.drewslab.co.uk/17-thermal-imagers?p=3
Vollmeise is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Saturday 16th December 2017, 07:57   #37
Vollmeise
Registered User
 
Vollmeise's Avatar

 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Bavaria
Posts: 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by DMW View Post
(...) Could you say whether a bird sat in dense foliage would be visible in the viewfinder? The scenario I'm thinking of would be something like a scops owl in tropical forest, perched say 10m away, bit possibly concealed by leaves.
You can't see what is hidden by foliage, but if you move slowly while watching from shorter distance, even those birds can be found as their heat image should partially flash between the leaves' gaps from time to time.

I think a shorter lens should fit your needs best. Try to get a view through a Pulsar Quantum Lite XQ23V or sth compareable in that range if you don't need to shoot photos or want to interchange lenses.

Cheers :-)

Image attached: the five spots in the background I took by accident. I wanted to get another creeper right at the trunk but was too slow. The 5 blackbirds in a yew tree 50m away couldn't be seen with my bare eye as they didn't move, some bins did the ID job then.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	02B6302F-544A-45EC-A4E9-DEA34B4C3423.jpeg
Views:	22
Size:	51.6 KB
ID:	648824  

Last edited by Vollmeise : Saturday 16th December 2017 at 08:09.
Vollmeise is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Saturday 16th December 2017, 08:36   #38
DMW
Registered User
 
DMW's Avatar

 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Jersey
Posts: 1,445
Thanks! This technology looks like it could be a real game-changer. I guess two concerns I have are how effective these devices are in the tropics, with high ambient temperatures, and whether airport security / police might be an issue in some countries.
DMW is online now  
Reply With Quote
Old Saturday 16th December 2017, 09:00   #39
Vollmeise
Registered User
 
Vollmeise's Avatar

 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Bavaria
Posts: 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by DMW View Post
(...) and whether airport security / police might be an issue in some countries.
That seems to be a concern really. Pulsar explicitly points out, that their thermal imagers must not be taken outside the EU. I think that is due to some military restrictions. The Yukon company (Pulsar is one of their trademarks) was found in Belarus but produces the thermal imagers in Lithuania (which is inside the EU). I think its solely to serve european customers wihout any trouble.
Vollmeise is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Saturday 16th December 2017, 09:37   #40
Torchepot
Registered User
 
Torchepot's Avatar

 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Limousin France
Posts: 484
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vollmeise View Post
That seems to be a concern really. Pulsar explicitly points out, that their thermal imagers must not be taken outside the EU. I think that is due to some military restrictions. The Yukon company (Pulsar is one of their trademarks) was found in Belarus but produces the thermal imagers in Lithuania (which is inside the EU). I think its solely to serve european customers wihout any trouble.
I talked with a couple of suppliers in the UK (Pass Thermal were particularly helpful) and raised this subject with them. Many countries have restrictions on bringing such devices in, consequences could be serious with confiscation of equipment (bad enough considering the outlay) or worse!

This is where a more discreet device has advantages - something like the Therm-app which attaches to a mobile is less likely to be detected or recognised - but there is a big difference in performance!
Torchepot is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Saturday 16th December 2017, 16:39   #41
Vollmeise
Registered User
 
Vollmeise's Avatar

 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Bavaria
Posts: 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Torchepot View Post
(...) This is where a more discreet device has advantages - something like the Therm-app which attaches to a mobile is less likely to be detected or recognised - but there is a big difference in performance!
I fully agree. And I think the Therm-app units are quite cute devices though I just know what youtube videos show. Shurely even the <9Hz version helpes you finding things which never could be discovered without it.

Cheers :-)
Vollmeise is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Saturday 16th December 2017, 18:14   #42
Vollmeise
Registered User
 
Vollmeise's Avatar

 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Bavaria
Posts: 56
Some more impressions

As long as you are interrested / nobody says "Stop please", I'm going to post some further pics from time to time.

Here is some creature watching me, 20 Mins after sunset..
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	F46D39E5-C9B6-4458-B3C2-DE58AD761411.jpg
Views:	23
Size:	233.6 KB
ID:	648850  

Last edited by Vollmeise : Saturday 16th December 2017 at 18:17.
Vollmeise is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Saturday 16th December 2017, 18:30   #43
Vollmeise
Registered User
 
Vollmeise's Avatar

 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Bavaria
Posts: 56
Scanning the trees..

A familiar face is watching me (phonescoped with Kowa 883, 25-60 and attached iPhone SE).
The image from the last post (overview), the thermal image and the phonescoped image are all made from exactly the same place. Distance about 25m.

And here's a short footage from flying off,
https://vimeo.com/247627249
distance at the end was about 100m.

Cheers :-)
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	AA9A1E99-BD2E-4AA9-8303-A814EE00C79A.jpeg
Views:	22
Size:	52.4 KB
ID:	648853  Click image for larger version

Name:	7F7BB251-84D9-41A0-A2E8-782F770CEDB7.jpeg
Views:	22
Size:	440.9 KB
ID:	648855  

Last edited by Vollmeise : Saturday 16th December 2017 at 19:12.
Vollmeise is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Saturday 16th December 2017, 21:06   #44
Torchepot
Registered User
 
Torchepot's Avatar

 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Limousin France
Posts: 484
Thanks Vollmeise - you've certainly got my attention

I have occasionally had my scope and camera on a tandem mount both centred on the same spot (while watching birds of prey) finding the bird with the scope and turning on the video on the camera - with mixed results. It occurs to me that the thermal imager and scope could be paired in a similar way - possibly with a light source too for nocturnal viewing.

Cheers

Phil
Torchepot is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Sunday 17th December 2017, 00:23   #45
Vollmeise
Registered User
 
Vollmeise's Avatar

 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Bavaria
Posts: 56
I agree, aligning scope and thermal imager should be one of the next jobs. Maybe I'm going to install a second quick release mount on the tripod, to swap easily between handheld and aligned tripod use.

Cheers :-)
Vollmeise is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Sunday 17th December 2017, 01:27   #46
Hauksen
Registered User

 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: Germany
Posts: 273
Hi Vollmeise,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vollmeise View Post
I agree, aligning scope and thermal imager should be one of the next jobs.
What type of scope are you using? I've been experimenting with 3D-printed adapters, including one that provides a NATO rail. I'm using them for reflex sights ("red dot" sights), but I'd imagine a thermal imager be NATO-rail compatible too, or could be make compatible with a small adapter.

Regards,

Henning
Hauksen is online now  
Reply With Quote
Old Sunday 17th December 2017, 12:26   #47
Vollmeise
Registered User
 
Vollmeise's Avatar

 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Bavaria
Posts: 56
Hi Hauksen,

I‘m using a Kowa scope with angled view (Kowa 883), connected by Manfrotto‘s standard square quick release plate. The thermal imager can be mounted via 1/4“ photo thread only. There are other devices from Pulsar which can be mounted to NATO rail, my handheld Helion XP50 cannot.

So I‘m going to construct a kind of mounting bridge to place several devices side by side. Adjustable both in azimuth and elevation.

Maybe I‘m going to find some time in the new Year.

Cheers :-)
Vollmeise is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Sunday 17th December 2017, 17:19   #48
Torchepot
Registered User
 
Torchepot's Avatar

 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Limousin France
Posts: 484
Here's a few photos of my tandem set-up.

Click image for larger version

Name:	tandem support 1.jpg
Views:	15
Size:	251.7 KB
ID:	648912

Simply a small strip of mild steel with a couple of holes drilled in it with a very cheap head mounted on it. If the arm was longer, extending on both sides of the scope, it would be easy to mount a third device like a spotlight on it.


Click image for larger version

Name:	close up tandem support 2.jpg
Views:	12
Size:	248.4 KB
ID:	648915

The head has actually impressed me a lot - seems well made with every adjustment you can think of and a QR plate.

Click image for larger version

Name:	close up tandem support 3.jpg
Views:	13
Size:	283.6 KB
ID:	648913

I had to adapt the QR plate from the tripod a bit to accommodate the second screw - you can see where I ground a little bit off. Works well like this as I can remove the tandem arm in seconds while the plate is still attached to the scope.

Click image for larger version

Name:	close up tandem support 4.jpg
Views:	10
Size:	254.2 KB
ID:	648914

The only awkward bit was tapping a hole in the end of the arm to pick up the second screw - it's an old fashioned 1\4" thread.
Torchepot is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Sunday 17th December 2017, 19:13   #49
Hauksen
Registered User

 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: Germany
Posts: 273
Hi Vollmeise,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vollmeise View Post
So Im going to construct a kind of mounting bridge to place several devices side by side. Adjustable both in azimuth and elevation.
Ah, I see. I'm actually using a Kowa 883 too, but the Helion XP50 would in fact require a different mounting than the one I'm using. The reflex sight is just fine (in fact, maybe better) some distance away from your eye, while I think you would have to put your eye right up to the eyepiece of the Helion, just as when using the scope itself.

(My experiments with side-by-side mounts using 1/4" tripod screws is that it's difficult to get reliable and repeatable aligment.)

Regards,

Henning
Hauksen is online now  
Reply With Quote
Old Monday 18th December 2017, 09:27   #50
Vollmeise
Registered User
 
Vollmeise's Avatar

 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Bavaria
Posts: 56
Moin!

The repeatable alignment of side by side attachments could be an issue indeed.
Regardless to its extra weight I really like Torchepot‘s way with a ballhead aside.

Using the tripod mounted helion is quite comfortable as you can mirror the viewfinder's image to your mobile phone/tablet. OK, that makes a further holder necessary and the whole setup scope/thermal imager/tablet/red dot sight is going to get a bit bulky.

So don't be surprised if a task force appears someday when using these tools in public

Cheers :-)

Last edited by Vollmeise : Monday 18th December 2017 at 09:44.
Vollmeise is offline  
Reply With Quote
Advertisement
Reply


Thread Tools
Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
What 3 binoculars do you USE the most for birding? denco@comcast.n Binoculars 137 Wednesday 23rd September 2015 19:57
Birding binoculars vs. hunting binoculars justabirdwatcher Binoculars 60 Thursday 18th June 2015 05:34
Passive birder returns.... SurbitonStu Say Hello 10 Tuesday 6th November 2007 08:39
$200 birding binoculars JAD Binoculars 24 Thursday 18th May 2006 03:29
Birding Binoculars... photo_luver Tips For New Birders 1 Tuesday 14th June 2005 04:32

{googleads}

Fatbirder's Top 1000 Birding Websites

Help support BirdForum

Page generated in 0.25668406 seconds with 36 queries
All times are GMT. The time now is 15:06.