Unlike the night vision devices of the 1st, 2nd or later generations, or digital devices, thermal cameras do not require any residual light. Here the objects’ reflected light is not amplified as with other models, instead the heat radiation is depicted. This means that these devices can be used in absolute darkness, in fog or even in rain.
In addition to being used by military and security agencies, thermal imaging cameras are also used to test the thermal insulation of buildings. The fire brigade and the police need these products for the search for missing persons or for the detection of hotspots after fires. Hunters and farmers, on the other hand, can use thermal cameras on cold mornings to search for and rescue animals before cutting hay.
Thermal imaging technology is also becoming of ever more interest to industry. Water and even gas leaks in plants can be detected quickly and systematically. In some cases, thermal imaging cameras are also used for checking engines, for example, for the timely detection of overheating.
Of course, thermal imaging cameras are also useful for hunting by night, for example when stalking, to search from a hide for game in fields and the forest edge, which can then be potentially be driven to the desired location. In the case of short escape routes on the edge of a forest, the detection and therefore also the suffering of the animal can be ended more quickly than with a search by daylight.
The image differs from that of a night vision device with an image intensifier. Here you have the option of selecting different colour representations. So heat radiation from humans or animals can be displayed in white or black, the so-called "white hot" or "black hot" setting. With this selection, the surroundings are displayed in weaker black and white. However, it is also possible to display the temperature differences in different colours. This helps especially in the search for heat leaks in buildings or hotspots after a fire.
A digital zoom option allows you to zoom in on a section of the image to see more detail. The image quality does not quite match the resolution of detail of a 2nd generation night vision device, but you can also detect heat sources that would not be possible with the night vision device, such as a group of wild boar in a corn field.