Understanding Range Performance and Operational Requirements
One of the first questions you will need to answer as you compare camera systems is how far away you will need to see other vessels, objects or activity of interest. Lower cost FLIR cameras are fixed field of view systems optimized for navigation and close range operations. Higher performance systems offer optical zoom lenses that can detect even a small 30’ outboard vessel at beyond 5nm.
Most thermal cameras can see the moon, but they are very low resolution compared to the megapixel visible cameras we have in our smart phones. The commercially available systems commonly have between 320 x 240 or 640 x 480 thermal resolution. And while this seems low, a 640 x 480 FLIR camera with a powerful optical zoom lens can satisfy most commercial and first responder missions.