Thermal Imaging

Sony advertises their TRV-10, Digital 8, and some other models have a "0-lux" capability ("Nightshot"), which works with a near-IR LED illuminator for a somewhat dim, grainy, and monochromatic image. This works up to perhaps 10 feet (more with an external IR illuminator). It cannot be used as a thermal imager, or to measure temperature, because the silicon CCD chip is not sensitive to mid-IR wavelengths. The subject would have to be literally red hot, eg. molten metal temperatures, before a nightshot camera could see it from its own thermally generated radiation.

Below are examples of what may be the ultimate night viewer, a thermal infrared camera that works in the mid-IR range of 3.4-5 microns. It uses a 256x256 cooled platinum silicide focal-plane array. This was a demo of a Inframetrics ThermaCAM SC1000 that a salesman showed at our company. I recorded from its S-Video out to my DV Video Walkman during the demo, and transferred a few stills (L: myself, R: a co-worker) from that DV tape to flash card with the TRV900, to upload to my web page. These aren't intended to show the S-Video capture quality, and they certainly aren't flattering portraits, but I thought they were interesting as pictures.

This happened to be taken in normal indoor light but the image looks the same in absolute darkness- you're seeing heat radiation from the skin. This camera can see differences of 0.1 deg C and you can find some regions of greater blood flow from the heat signature. You can have a thermal imager of your very own for about $50,000. Volume discounts are available, if you want to buy several.

Back to TRV900 page.