How To Use A Thermal Imaging Camera? Best Guide

How To Use A Thermal Imaging Camera? 

Have you ever wondered, “How To Use A Thermal Imaging Camera?”. If yes, this guide definitely helps you.

Thermal imaging cameras are devices that work on thermal imagining technology. They use infrared radiation and thermal energy to perceive objects through the camera lens. This technology has had a wide range of applications over the years. It’s very effective for night vision, which enables its users to work in the total absence of visible light and can even detect the object in smog, fog, smoke, and haze.

To understand how can we make use of these thermal cameras to get a thermal image, let’s understand a few terms and go over the mechanism behind them. I’ll try to clear all the uncertainties regarding the usage of these thermal imagers. All you have to do is to remain tuned to this article till the very end. 

What is a Thermal Image? 

A thermal image is the visual representation of objects captured by a thermal imaging camera using IR. It is captured by detecting the temperature difference between different objects present in the frame. Using thermal energy to detect an object is helpful even in the absence of visible light. Thermal cameras give a colorful pattern of visuals depending on the object’s temperature.

What are Thermal Radiations? 

Almost all objects in our surroundings emit infrared radiation. About at absolute zero, a body starts emitting radiation. This phenomenon is referred to as black body radiation. The amount of radiation-emitting is directly proportional to its temperature that is if the temperature of the body increases, the radiation increases simultaneously.

If we talk about thermal imaging devices like infrared cameras, thermal monoculars, and binoculars, they all use IR. Infrared uses both long and short-range wavelengths. Most objects absorb infrared radiation, which increases their kinetic energy. This increase in kinetic energy increases the thermal energy of a particular object. As we discussed above all objects emit black body radiations, so these IR radiations make us able to create thermal visuals through thermal imaging devices. 

Related post: Can You See Infrared Cameras At Night?

What is a Thermal Camera? 

Of course! thermal cameras are sensors that are based on thermal imaging techniques. Let’s discuss a little about the sensor of the thermal camera that enables us to detect the object. 

The bolometer is the sensor of the camera that absorbs thermal radiation and causes resistance to change. This change in resistance is measured and the initial temperature of the body can be measured in this way. In cameras, microbolometers are used to measure the temperature difference. These microbolometers are specifically designed to detect infrared radiations, which are part of thermal radiation. So, this is how the thermal camera can sense the abject through IR radiations. 

 A microbolometer also contains an array of pixels. The microbolometer array is commonly found in two sizes, 320×240 pixels or less expensive 160×120 pixels. Current technology has led to the production of devices with high pixels too. The size of the pixel has a Hugh effect on the resolution of the image. If the size of the pixel is decreased the number of pixels unit area increases, which gives us an image with high resolution. As the pixel size is decreased and the number of pixels per unit area is increased proportionally, an image with higher resolution. 

Important for you! A good thing about thermal imaging is that it can work both during the day and night. And it is one of the major reasons why people like it the most.

Related post: 10 Best 10×50 Binoculars For Hunting 2022

How to use a Thermal Imaging Camera? 

Greyscale thermal imaging cameras are slowly getting replaced by multiple color cameras. But both are still used in many fields. 

Here is a guide to operating the basics of a thermal imaging camera as a beginner.

Turning On and Off the camera 

Before starting to use the camera for the first tie, just charge the battery for at least two hours. 

To turn the imager on or off, press the switch-on button. (For 2 seconds in some imagers) 


Focus is necessary for directing IR radiations on the pixels of the detector. Without this, the thermal imagers give us a blurred image. These unfocused images are not valuable as the focused ones. 

To focus the image all you have to do is rotate the manual focus control until you get a highly focused object on your imager screen. You can also use an advanced manual focus system to get more accurate visuals. 

Capturing the image 

To get an image first you have to adjust the focus system. After getting the required focus, capture the thermal picture of your target object. You can either save that image or can also edit it. 

Saving the image 

To save an image in your data files, push the save image option.  

After saving the image you can also edit that picture and can also go back to the live camera mode. 

For further changes to your device, you can use the menu option to make changes according to your requirements. 

The colorful thermal imagers give us an image in a variety of color ranges according to the temperature of the target object. If the object is hot, it probably shows the focused object as red and its surrounding orange. For cold or low-temperature objects, it indicates blue color. The temperature of the target object is usually given at the top of the screen. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

How to use a thermal camera on android? 

There are two ways to do this, one is buying a thermal camera phone and the second option is buying an external accessory that should be compatible with your device. 

Can we take a thermal image from the phone? 

There are some specially designed phones manufactured by well-known companies that can give us a thermal image. But we cannot be able to capture a thermal image on any android device. Interesting thing is that you can even block infrared thermal imaging by using a thermal blanket, thick netting, using a confusing background, etc.

Is a handheld thermal imager good for hunting?

Yes, a handheld thermal imager is a good hunting tool to have. Hunters use this tool to find deer, lions, and other animals, especially at night. Professional hunters, bird watchers, and even photographers also use it to locate wildlife.

From which things thermal imaging cameras can’t see-through?

Thermal cameras can’t see through metal. However, if the object placed behind the metal, is very hot, it can be visible in pro thermal cameras. Also, Thermal imaging cameras can’t see through glass, walls, thick trees, concrete, and aluminum foil.

Read more: Does Aluminum Foil Block Thermal Imaging?

Final Thoughts 

Thermal imaging cameras can give a valuable thermal image. Thermal images are very useful and have a variety of applications in different fields. They use infrared radiation to detect the temperature of an object and give us the image along with its temperature at that particular time. Their operation is also not much sophisticated and easy to understand. Thermal cameras are used in military surveillance, medical equipment diagnosis, by hunters, roof inspection, and many many others. If you are interested in hunting and you can read more!

Read MoreThermal Imagining Vs Night Vision For Hunting

Leave a Comment