What does ther­mal de­liver?

Sporting Gun - - GEAR -

In terms of real-world per­for­mance, it’s very hard to knock. I spot­ted crows out to 200m, rab­bits 250m. A cou­ple of foxes, again around the 200m mark, plus count­less squir­rels and pi­geons.

The only sit­u­a­tion that caused a slight drop in per­for­mance was an evening’s rab­bit­ing. Per­sis­tent cold driz­zling rain dropped the rel­a­tive tem­per­a­ture of ev­ery­thing to pretty much the same level, los­ing con­trast

A key fea­ture that users of older ther­mals will be keenly aware of is the im­por­tance of a de­cent re­fresh rate. I’d used units with rates as low as 9hz and they’re truly painful. Con­stant freez­ing and blur­ring – it’s a night­mare. One fea­ture that’s easy to over­look is the su­perb 50hz re­fresh of the Quan­tum. It’s so good you’re not re­ally aware it’s dig­i­tal. It’s to­tally lag freeze free with no blur­ring or dis­tor­tions what­so­ever.

The man­ual claims a two sec­ond warmup time but it takes five to six sec­onds to boot up from cold. In my opin­ion that’s too long, so I left the unit on con­stantly; only dis­abling the dis­play and clos­ing the built in lens cover when re­lo­cat­ing.

It ships with a free ad­di­tional bat­tery pack, but I was fully ex­pect­ing to carry a and flat­ten­ing the over­all im­age.

The rain had no ef­fect on the crit­ters which still stood out strongly. Colonies of bugs in the trees and even those un­der the bark were eas­ily spot­ted at close range. Per­haps the im­por­tant point be­ing that I didn’t re­ally think twice about con­tin­u­ing to use the Quan­tum in wet weather, I’m not sure I’d do the same with some of the ther­mal phone add-ons on the mar­ket.

“My first trip pretty much per­son­i­fied what the Quan­tum is all about”

pocket full of spare AAs us­ing my “power al­ways on” ap­proach. I couldn’t have been more wrong. On av­er­age I was get­ting three trips per charge, roughly 10 hours of run-time per pack us­ing AA recharge­ables.

Bud­ding film mak­ers may as­pire to add a Yukon MPR recorder via the built-in pi­catinny, plus there’s the op­tion to mount the unit on a tri­pod if needed. A con­nect­ing ca­ble, de­tach­able lan­yard and the oblig­a­tory lens cloth are all in­cluded.

The only dis­ap­point­ment in terms of ex­tras is the shock­ingly-bad de­sign of the car­ry­ing case. It looks the part, qual­ity ma­te­ri­als, but for some un­known rea­son the sling attaches half way down the case mak­ing it very prone to flip­ping over and dump­ing the ex­pen­sive con­tents on the deck if un­clipped – which is ex­actly what hap­pened while I was out and about! The Quan­tum sur­vived the fall, but the case cer­tainly needs a re-think.

Out in the field

My first trip out pretty much per­son­i­fied what the Quan­tum is all about. A warm af­ter­noon, 20 to 21 de­grees, the idea be­ing to spot the dif­fer­ence be­tween crit­ters and false pos­i­tives, such as horse muck, rocks, farm gear etc.

I fired-up the Quan­tum and scanned a large oak about 75m away, in­stantly spot­ting three dis­tinct hot blobs at the heart of the tree, the count­less leaves and con­stant move­ment made no dif­fer­ence, could I tell what they were? No… but they were cer­tainly some­thing! Out with the bi­nos and fol­low­ing the map pro­vided by the ther­mal, there they were – a squir­rel and two wood pi­geons.

I could have stared at that tree all day long and I wouldn’t have spot­ted them. With the ther­mal it was in­stant, they were cer­tainly in­dis­tinct but, nev­er­the­less, ob­vi­ous. That’s what ther­mals im­agers are all about – in­stant de­tec­tion, day or night, rain or shine.

The same pat­tern re­peated it­self timeafter-time, whether it was rat­ting, rab­bit­ing or fox­ing. The com­bi­na­tion of en­vi­ron­ment, size, ex­pe­ri­ence and move­ment usu­ally gives the game away, but you of­ten can’t be 100 per cent sure un­til you’ve grabbed your bi­nos or lev­elled the scope.

In­tro­duc­ing Scrappy! Re­tired rat­ter and part time rab­bit im­per­son­ator at 25 me­ters

Like most screen grabs th­ese don’t do the unit jus­tice but good old Scrappy is still easy to spot at 100 me­ters

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