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Old 18-10-2015, 22:07   #1
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How useful are night vision cameras

Night vision cameras proved very useful in the recent rescue of a capsized fishing boat in Queensland.
see
Night vision shows rescue from capsized fishing boat off Bribie Island – video | Australia news | The Guardian
but for the recreational sailor or cruiser are they really useful addition to his / her digital armoury or just an expensive toy?
What have been peoples experiences.?


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Old 19-10-2015, 01:52   #2
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Re: How useful are night vision cameras

We love ours. Dark anchorages light up beautifully things such as rocks and other boats (who may have forgotten their anchor light). But not so much channel markers on approach, as you might hope. Those are still best lit with a beam. Probably because of the monochromatic green view of night vision.
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Old 19-10-2015, 02:55   #3
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Re: How useful are night vision cameras

Thanks for that comment IntoMyHealth . I understand there are two systems. One uses infra-red or heat signatures and the other is a light amplification. Which do you use?
I was really surprised at the clarity of the rescue operation in Qld. I guess I am more used to seeing blurry images those bombing runs in the Middle East. on the TV news.
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Old 19-10-2015, 03:52   #4
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Re: How useful are night vision cameras

Nice journalism. That's not "night vision" in the video, it's FLIR. Big difference in cost.
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Old 19-10-2015, 08:43   #5
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Re: How useful are night vision cameras

Thermal video cameras are the way to go,if you can afford one.I have 2.One for my house and one for the Striker.Both on wireless remote pan n tilts.
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Old 19-10-2015, 08:49   #6
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Re: How useful are night vision cameras

When I commissioned my boat 6 years ago, I went overboard with electronics. At the time, it was state of the art with stuff like AIS and pan-tilt-zoom FLIR. Over the years, lots of experienced boaters got their first working exposure to this equipment on over-night fishing trips aboard my boat. Almost everyone really liked the FLIR. Looking at its (17") screen is more revealing than the naked eye.
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Old 19-10-2015, 09:01   #7
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Re: How useful are night vision cameras

I have one of those surplus Russian night vision scopes. I think it has 3.5x magnification, which means it can be hard to hold still on a rocking sailboat. But it works well and as I remember, it was only about $100. It has the green hues you are familiar with. But I can see boats and such around me just fine.
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Old 19-10-2015, 09:16   #8
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Re: How useful are night vision cameras

Having flown thousands of hours with both Goggles (Light intensification) and FLIR, I can tell you that both of course have advantages, good FLIR used to be astronomically expensive, good FLIR had to be cooled, maybe not now, and good googles were actually not allowed to be sold to the public, but I think in a boat, neither really replace a good searchlight.
They are both essentially Military technologies where you need to be stealthy.

Wonder if we could get a box of good parachute flares, they really illuminate the area
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Old 19-10-2015, 09:34   #9
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Re: How useful are night vision cameras

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Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
Having flown thousands of hours with both Goggles (Light intensification) and FLIR, I can tell you that both of course have advantages, good FLIR used to be astronomically expensive, good FLIR had to be cooled, maybe not now, and good googles were actually not allowed to be sold to the public, but I think in a boat, neither really replace a good searchlight.
They are both essentially Military technologies where you need to be stealthy.

Wonder if we could get a box of good parachute flares, they really illuminate the area
I agree, I have spent lots of time using both for SAR and LE, on the water.

For SAR goggles make you sea sick and give you tunnel vision. A well blacked out boat allowing your eyes to adjust- IMO is better than image intensification, if you think you see something fire up the search light. FLIR again, tunnel vision, reduced situational awareness and you look at the little screen instead of scanning the horizon.

LE activities are different because, as you state, stealth is a factor. Even still, eyes adjusted for night vision, ears listening, use the FLIR or nightvision to verify your target.

I wouldn't spend the money on either for a pleasure craft, but that's only my opinion, I have no hard facts or statistics to back it up.

I suppose if you already have all the other toys especially a good RADAR, why not, I'm sure they will come in handy from time to time.

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Old 19-10-2015, 09:37   #10
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Re: How useful are night vision cameras

Have used one custom work offshoot IR and visual. It helps around the Caribbean avoiding dugout pirogues coming at you with who knows who. Also while anchoring very helpful.
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Old 19-10-2015, 09:46   #11
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Re: How useful are night vision cameras

I have the Flir Monocular and while not using it often, it does come in quite handy during night crossings and at anchorages to see things going on around us. I believe mine cost around $2,000.
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Old 19-10-2015, 10:04   #12
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Re: How useful are night vision cameras

Several years ago, when I was still working for a marine electronics shop, we all went to San Diego for a NMEA conference. Many vendors were there selling their wares, but Flir went all out and chartered a big boat that could take about 50 of us through the San Diego bay. Endless open bar, appetizers, pretty girls in short skirts walking around refilling your drinks. Also had several of the models that Flir was selling then - big to small - most of which they primarily sold to the military and LE. Enormously expensive equipment. But I became a Flir fan during that two hour cruise. Got to see one of the US aircraft carriers with the Flir's. They really work well. But I would not spend the money on my own boat.
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Old 19-10-2015, 10:06   #13
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Re: How useful are night vision cameras

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Originally Posted by kelbylinn View Post
I have the Flir Monocular and while not using it often, it does come in quite handy during night crossings and at anchorages to see things going on around us. I believe mine cost around $2,000.
Can you give us a link? $2,000 is less than I would have thought
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Old 19-10-2015, 10:25   #14
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Re: How useful are night vision cameras

Here's what a $2K FLIR monocle looks like. They also sell a camera case add-on for your iPhone for a couple hundred bucks.

Unlike the old versions that used a cooled sensor, these new ones sort of work like a point and shoot infrared thermometer but instead of just taking one reading they take a bunch and put them together to make a picture.
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Old 19-10-2015, 10:36   #15
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Re: How useful are night vision cameras

From my past life with FLIR your dealing with MRT or minimum resolvable temperature as the limitation.
The examples are usually a person against a cold background and of course that stands out very well, but a boat without it's engine running might be difficult to see in an anchorage.
What our biggest enemy in flying was rain, after a couple of hours everything is the same temp, and then you get what was called IR crossover, and you couldn't see squat. Armored vehicles if the engine was running stood out very plainly in "white hot", usually you can chose white hot or black hot, black hot shows a more normal image, but white hot made man made things and animals etc really stand out, so white hot was the choice for targeting.
MRT used to be a closely guarded commercial secret, companies would not tell you the MRT.

I'd like one day to try out one of these monocular's out, I assume in the 12 years since I last flew FLIR there have been some real improvements
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