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Are Extra IR Lenses Needed?

The choices in the infrared camera market extend beyond just camera features like resolution, Bluetooth capability and storage card size. These days the market of infrared camera accessories is a separate category in its own right.  Additional lenses are among the most popular choices for addition to your basic thermal imaging camera platform, but does everyone need additional lens choices?

Infrared cameras come with a standard lens that is designed to provide a field of view that allows inspection of surfaces at a moderate distance.  Obviously, when you close your distance to a target your perspective changes, often to the point that you’re unable to view the entire surface without changing positions or scanning back and forth.  Sometimes we are able to adjust our position relative to our area of interest to make up for the limitations of our standard optics.  It’s when we can’t adjust our position that these additional lens options are worth their weight in gold.

If I’m tasked with inspecting something like overhead bus duct, or pole mounted electrical apparatus, my field of view may require me to get closer to my target to even see the component I’m viewing.  Another option is a telephoto lens. A telephoto lens optically narrows your field of view, the effect of which is to bring the object you’re viewing “closer” to the camera, or magnifying the image. If a significant portion of your inspection targets are at a great distance from where you’re able to stand and view them, then a telephoto lens is likely worth having.

Telephoto Lens


On the other side of the coin are instances when our target or area of interest is too close to our position during the inspection and we can’t view the full scene as desired.  This can happen in electrical rooms, mechanical areas, and in building inspections. These are excellent opportunities to employ a wide angle lens.  The wide angle lens does the opposite of a telephoto; it optically widens your field of view, effectively pushing your target “away” from you, or reducing the image.

Wide Angle Lens

In short, what makes optional lenses right for you is the applicability to your type of inspection.  If you can easily move closer or farther away, the need for an extra lens is not great. But if you need to magnify or reduce the size of the target you are viewing, optional lenses will help you get the best thermogram possible.


Think Thermally,
The Snell Group, a Fluke Thermal Imaging Blog content partner

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