Which one? – FLIR i Series for Electrical/Mechanical Applications
Today’s post is a buyer’s guide to the FLIR i-series cameras (the first in a series of six by me) and also a summary of the key points outlined in FLIR’s new “How to Choose” series of videos.
It’s most accurate to say that the i-series is designed for moderate use. Not that it isn’t super rugged, but it only offers features that will be of use for occasional work; not jobs that require constant thermography work. FLIR’s videos cite examples of plant/facilities management, HVAC contractors looking at duct work, etc., and electricians or utility workers looking to keep a camera with them on the job. Basically, you’re looking at using these cameras to find equipment that is running too hot or about to fail quickly and with great accuracy for the price range.
The features that expand by moving up the line are the thermal resolution (i3 – 60x60, i5 – 100x100, i7 – 140x140) and the field of view which tops out at 29º x 29º on the i7 (allowing you to see a broader image). The cameras are focus free, making them truly point and shoot out of the box. The FLIR tools software is also awesome and allows you to change palettes and temperature ranges to clarify pictures, as they are fully radiometric (meaning the temperature data for each pixel is stored in the image). So for quick checks the i3 and i5 are great affordable options, but for the best intersection of portability, features, accuracy and value, go for the i7.