Glossary Definition

What is a Thermal Camera

Thermal cameras (Infrared imaging) uses cameras that “see” heat instead of light. Sometimes referred to as “FLIR” cameras, they produce an image that portrays objects using their temperature instead of their visible properties.

So how does thermal imaging see heat?

All objects warmer than absolute zero (-273°C/-459°F) emit infrared radiation in the MWIR and LWIR wavelengths (3µm–14µm) in an amount proportional to the temperature of the object. Thermal imaging focuses and detects this radiation, then translates the temperature variations into a greyscale image, using brighter and darker shades of grey to represent hotter and cooler temperatures, which gives a visual representation to the heat profile of the scene.

Many thermal imagers can also apply color profiles to these images, showing hotter objects as yellow and cooler objects as blue for example, to make it easier to compare temperatures in the image.

Read more on our Thermal Technology Page.

Full Glossary