What does thermal deliver?
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