Several factors should be considered before investing in an infrared thermography (IRT) camera.* Issues such as ergonomics and easy user interface play a vital role in enabling efficient use of equipment. From a technical standpoint, the following minimum requirements are usually recommended:
- thermal sensitivity of 0.1 C (100 mK) at 30 C (86 F)—a critical factor in obtaining clear images (greater sensitivity provides the opportunity to conduct IRT surveys during more challenging conditions);
- wide-angle lens for a greater field of view that greatly reduces survey times—20×20 is recommended; and
- spatial resolution of 320×240 for the detector array size.
Other camera specifications often considered while making purchasing decisions include LCD display quality, battery life, accompanying software package for image editing and report preparation, visual image quality and palette options, and frame rate for real-time monitoring. Basic economics of the investment should also be considered, as some professional thermographers choose to rent, rather than buy, equipment.
* This information comes from John Snell and Matt Schwoegler’s “The Use of Infrared Thermal Imaging for Home Weatherization” (www.thesnellgroup.com/ReceiveWhitePapers.aspx) and a phone interview with Greg Stockton, founder of Stockton Infrared Thermographic Services.
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