Multi Sensor EO/IR Camera MWIR Cooled Thermal vs HD CMOS Visible Image Comparison in Low Light Scene

An overlay comparison showing the differences between  MWIR cooled thermal and visible CMOS  imaging at night, highlighting key differences between thermal and visible long-range surveillance imaging. Visible camera zoom limited to the thermal cameras view.

Thermal imaging excels at detecting targets that are warmer than their environment, as is shown in the areas circled on the video. It is also unaffected by bright lights at night. One disadvantage to thermal, however is not being able to read visible printed information like signage and vehicle/vessel identifiers, which is again visible in the video. This is why we design most of our cameras as multi-sensor systems with both thermal and visible imaging, giving the end user the advantages of both imaging formats.

Note that the people on the cargo ship are approximately 4km from the camera position; there is also another ship in front that is closer to the camera (roughly 3–3.5km away).

MWIR Mid-Infared Cooled Thermal Specificaiton:
Image Sensor: 15um InSb Indium Antimonide 
Spectral Range 3,000–5,000nm
Resolution: 640X480 
GE Zoom Lens: 20X 70–1400mm
HFOV: 7.85–0.39°
Thermal Sensitivity: 20–25mK 

Daytime Camera Specificaitons
Image Sensor 1/2.8 CMOS
Resolution: 2MP 1920x1080P
Lens: 15.4–2075mm 135X Optical Zoom
HFOV: 21.1°–0.15°

For more information on the advantages and disadvantages of each technology, please see our dedicated pages on Visible/HDNIRZLIDSWIR and Thermal which each explain the pros and cons concisely and comprehensively.

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