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Frequently Asked Questions

General Thermal Cameras Technology FAQ

How Does a Thermal Camera Work?

Thermal imaging cameras detect the heat given off by an object or a person. Like visible light cameras, these cameras have lenses, but the thermal imaging lens focuses the infrared energy waves it detects onto an infrared sensor array. The infrared energy is converted into electrical signals through thousands of sensors on the array, creating a video image. A “thermal profile” is then measured and displayed, comparing the temperature of the objects or people captured by the infrared camera to the temperature of their surroundings.

What is a FLIR (Forward-Looking InfraRed) camera?

The abbreviation FLIR stands for Forward-Looking InfraRed. The acronym FLIR originated with the invention of forward-looking infrared thermal cameras in 1963. The term “forward-looking” distinguishes fixed forward-looking thermal cameras systems from one-dimensional (1D) pixels arrays on sideways-tracking imagers, which rely on the motion of an aircraft for imaging. The new FLIR-based systems could be used for real-time imaging, whereas the previous iteration could not.

What is ONVIF compliance and why is it a benefit in a thermal camera system?

ONVIF is the Open Network Video Interface Forum, which develops and releases the standards for IP-based security items. ONVIF provides protocol specifications that allow for interoperability of ONVIF ptz devices, so that when you need to add components to your security network, everything will work together.

What is an IP system? Why do I need one?

IP systems are designed to be able to stream video back to your video management system, and have the stream be accessed remotely. Manufacturer compliance with certain industry standards – such as ONVIF (Open Network Video Interface Forum) – allow you to integrate all security products that are ONVIF compliant, despite having being developed by various manufacturers.

What are Thermal Imaging Cameras?

Thermal imaging cameras use infrared rays to create the images that they capture. Like a regular camera, a thermal imaging camera forms images, but while a normal camera captures the light that enters the lens to reveal an image, thermal imaging detects heat. Depending on the camera’s particular design, the heat that is detected can reveal a load of information regarding its surroundings.

What is NUC (Non-Uniformity Correction)?

Non-Uniformity Correction (NUC) is a non-uniformity compensation coefficient which is factory-calibrated to maintain high image quality on thermal cameras. The coefficients comprise a NUC table and generally works within a specific subset of the total operating temperature range. The camera works to select the best NUC table based on its temperature. Opgal has various NUC correction solutions which are used depending on the camera and scenario. A NUC correction can be automatic or can be manually applied by the user to improve the image.

What is the difference between a 9Hz and a 30Hz refresh rate?

The Hz number represents the frame rate – the amount of times per second that the infrared detector captures frames on a thermal camera. In a 9Hz camera, the detector can create 9 frames per second, while in a 30Hz, the detector creates up to 30 frames a second. Regardless of the frame rate, all thermal cameras contain the same infrared properties.

Can Thermal Cameras Operate During Daytime?

day time thermal imaging

Regular digital camera sensors detect light, whereas thermal imaging camera sensors detect heat. Thermal imaging cameras contain a special lens which focuses the heat, or infrared energy which is given off by an object onto a detector which is sensitive to heat. So, being that it is unaffected by light, thermal imaging will work just as well in daylight as in complete darkness.

What are the Different Uses For Thermal Imaging Cameras?

Thermal imaging cameras have a wide variety of uses, including but not limited to defense, security, mobile, aviation, industrial, medical and personal use. These cameras enhance awareness and surveillance capabilities with wide fields of viewing even in situations with little or no visibility, and increase security with super clear video even in harsh weather conditions. The Android thermal cameras can be used both indoors and outdoors to reveal mold or wildlife hidden in the environment. Optical gas imaging cameras can detect gas leaks and help prevent major disasters in industrial environments.

What is the Difference Between Cooled and Uncooled Thermal Imaging Cameras?

In an uncooled thermal imaging camera, the infrared-detecting elements are contained in a unit that operates at room temperature. The more common type of thermal imaging devices, uncooled systems operate quietly and can be activated immediately. Cooled thermal imaging devices have their detectors stored in a unit that cools them to around 77°K (-321°F, 196°C). While these cryogenically-cooled systems have incredibly high resolution and sensitivity as a result of their elements being cooled, they are more expensive and are more susceptible to wear and tear than uncooled cameras. Yet, for certain applications (long range application and gas leak detection) cooled cameras are the only ones effective enough.

Opgal’s Thermal Cameras Technology FAQ

How do I purchase?

At Opgal we strive to provide you with a clear, precise and efficient service. While considering an Opgal thermal camera system or solution, we want to ensure that you are receiving the most accurate and applicable information to meet your request. Therefore, we ask that you fill out our contact form with as much information as possible. Once you have submitted your information, an Opgal representative will contact you within two business days to discuss your needs and recommend or tailor solutions.

Aside from fire detection, your product pages don’t talk about other kinds of sensors. Can you provide them as part of a camera package?

Yes, while we are developing a whole range of new integrated sensors, Opgal products are designed to be able to work with integrators to provide entire solutions, sensors included, as necessary. If you require a sensor along with your camera purchase, (eg. seismic, man overboard, traffic, etc.) please inform us so that we can get to work on including a thermal camera sensor in your package.

Can you create a specific system that meets my needs?

A unique aspect of Opgal‘s service is our company’s willingness to work with individual consumers to address your personal needs, and custom design solutions accordingly. We understand how vital it is for you to attain a system that works for you and we will strive, to the best of our abilities, to tailor your desired system/s to your specifications. Please contact us so that we can begin working together to design the system that will suit you and your specific requirements.

How are your HD systems different from your standard systems?

Our HD systems are equipped with CMOS day sensors, which are designed specifically for high definition video recording. CMOS sensor technology allows for pixel amplification, which provides the Opgal thermal camera with the ability to capture more data and respond to situations quicker and more efficiently. The High Definition video option also reduces background noise and generally uses less power than other systems. As a result, the HD system has a host of benefits, capturing more information in a shorter amount of time while still decreasing power usage and noise interference.

How do the fire/hot spot detection systems work?

With Opgal’s fire/hot spot detection camera systems, fires can be prevented, as the camera is built to detect high temperatures and set off an alert so that the situation can be assessed. The fire and fire risk detection systems use heat detection analytics to increase the security and safety of people and equipment in your facility. These systems are designed with fire detection capabilities that range from several centimeters up to four miles. They can be used in hazardous environments and are effective both indoors and outdoors.

Why should I choose an Opgal system over the competition?

The Opgal system is the recommended brand for those looking for quality, and service that easily surpasses other leading companies in the thermal imaging market. The developers at Opgal constantly strive to remain at the cutting edge of new technological developments in the field, building on their existing knowledge base to continue developing new features and better operability. Opgal combines practicality, innovation and the highest quality technologies to build and improve on our work, our international success serving as proof that our products have set a new global standard.

What type of optics do you offer?

Opgal offer a variety of night vision optics ranging from athermal lenses with fixed focus, dual field of view lenses (wide and narrow FOV) and continuous motorized lenses that can offer extreme zoom capabilities while maintaining low weight and power consumption.

Are the thermal camera systems made by Opgal export controlled?

Some of the thermal camera systems manufactured by Opgal require an export license as any camera above 9Hz is controlled technology under the Wassenaar Arrangement. Since we manufacture our thermal cameras in Israel – we are US ITAR free (International Traffic in Arms Regulations) although we still adhere to the Israeli export control policy.

Does Opgal offer thermal OEM modules?

Opgal offers a full range of OEM products to suit your every thermal imaging and optic need. These customizable solutions enhance situation awareness and vision enhancement, and each thermal camera is designed to fill your individual requirements in a cost effective way. Nearly 50% of our sales are for OEM components. Opgal takes pride in being the thermal camera inside our customers’ products and strives to keep the high level of support and dedication we employ in these products.

Contact Details
Opgal Optronic Industries Ltd.

International Offices
Israel Tel: +972 4 995 3903
U.S. Tel: +1 (332) 236-7048