Quantcast

Thermal scope price trends?

Discussion in 'Long Gun Accessories and Optics' started by greyling22, Feb 7, 2019.

  1. greyling22

    greyling22 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2007
    Messages:
    5,013
    Location:
    East Texas
    Peer into your crystal ball and tell me what you see about price trends for thermals scopes. Are they getting cheaper or are you just getting more for your money? Because I'd like one, but they are way way to expensive for me. I'm wondering g if and when they might become affordable.
     
  2. SharpDog

    SharpDog Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2006
    Messages:
    901
    Location:
    Tennessee
    Thermal scopes are still out of my price range and I expect the price curve to follow the night vision curve where more features are added to keep the prices high.

    That said, I just got a Flir Scout for $550 on Amazon and I'm quite pleased with this monocular. It gives up resolution and range for the price but it's quite serviceable to beyond 100 yards.

    So, I presume a short-ish range scope could be made for under $1000 if there was demand. This would be analogous to a gen 1+ NV scope.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2019
  3. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    10,077
    Location:
    Forestburg, Texas
    I am pro staff for a local vendor and get to play with a variety of thermal optics and have been using them for the last 5 years or so.

    Generally speaking, prices have come down in this period. What were $10-12K scopes 5 years ago are more like $5-6K scopes today. The firmware has improved (generally speaking) and thermal sensors have gotten better over this period of time, but the resolution levels are still maxed at 640 (640x480 & 640x512, depending on the manufacturer of the thermal sensor core). HD image quality may be 2-5 years down the road yet for the commercial civilian market. The big improvements seem to be in reducing the distance between pixels (12 micron now the better standard), but companies like FLIR and ULIS (French company that makes cores for Pulsar, ATN, EU NATO) seem to be stuck on 17 micron for 640 resolution, but have it at the lower 320 resolution. BAE cores (used in Trijicon and N-Vision) are 12 micron and have been for a while. The benefit of smaller micron size is the ability to have a better image with less lens. This is important because the lenses are made out of rare earth elements, Germanium being one of the significant ones, and the lens can often be a very significant amount of the cost of the entire scope. Three years ago, I was told that lenses accounted for approximately 50% of the manufacturing cost of a given scope.

    What manufacturers seems to be doing right now since the hardware technology has largely stalled is to offer varied and new models, often with new features, improved firmware, etc. When they reduce micron size, they can use smaller lenses and so this has brought down the prices in some cases.

    While I usually deal with weapon sight/scopes, my question for greyling22 would be to ask what it is that he is planning on doing with a thermal optic. One of the best ways to save money is by not overbuying.

    As for comparison with NV, there really is no salient comparison with traditional NV. That would be sort of like comparing a car and a motorcycle. They can both get you from Point A to Point B, but each has some distinct differences that don't make them very comparable. Both have their advantages and detractions and depending on your intended use, you may like one over the other.

    So greyling, what is it that you want thermal to do for you?
     
    Gordon, Toprudder and SharpDog like this.
  4. greyling22

    greyling22 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2007
    Messages:
    5,013
    Location:
    East Texas
    I want to shoot pigs at night at a max distance of 200 yds. I've used night vision scopes and I be used thermal monoculars, and thermal is much better.
     
  5. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    10,077
    Location:
    Forestburg, Texas
    If you can find one, the Pulsar Apex XQ50 is about the best budget priced thermal that will do the job. My hunting partner uses one and can certainly pop coyotes at at 185 yards, so pigs to 200 isn't really a problem.
    After that, I would suggest the Pulsar Trail XQ50 or FLIR PTS536
    If you wanted to go with higher end, a Trijicon IR Hunter MKII or MKIII in 35mm or possibly the new N-Vision Halo (but this one isn't out yet).

    I would not suggest ATN products, Pulsar's RXQ30V, FLIR PTS233. The Pulsar Apex XQ38 and Trail XQ38 may work, but be more of a stretch with smaller lenses and less native magnification.
     
    Gordon likes this.
  6. greyling22

    greyling22 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2007
    Messages:
    5,013
    Location:
    East Texas
    Yeah, even budget scopes are currently out of reach. I was just wondering how long until viable "budget" was closer to $1k than 3k.
     
  7. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    10,077
    Location:
    Forestburg, Texas
    Not anytime soon. Once HD resolution thermal cores come out, the prices on 200 yard capable 320/384/640 resolution scopes will drop. By "capable," I mean being able to actually and properly be able to identify your target. If you drop your needs by half to 100 yards, then you are looking at about $2K right now.

    For $1000, you are in the ball park of digital night vision or low end traditional night vision, the biggest difference being digital NV will be useful in the day time and many have multiple firmware options and recording.
     
    Gordon likes this.
  8. greyling22

    greyling22 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2007
    Messages:
    5,013
    Location:
    East Texas
    yeah, I figured I was quite a ways off, I just hadn't watched prices at all and didn't know if they were dropping any ever. So looks like yes, but slowly, and it will take decades if ever for them to get where I want them to be. :( oh well, scratch that one off the list.
     
  9. Nuclear

    Nuclear Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2009
    Messages:
    464
    Location:
    Arizona
    There is research into replacing non-rare earth metals with more common materials like manganese. If these work and come to market, then the prices will drop considerably. Until then, there are limits to how low the prices can go.
     
  10. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    10,077
    Location:
    Forestburg, Texas
    Yeah, that search has been going on for years, and unfortunately has not worked out as hoped.
     
  11. a_canadian

    a_canadian Member

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2015
    Messages:
    103
    What about this thing?
    https://sectoroptics.com/thermal-imager-t15/
    Torrey Pines has broken things up a bit, so Sector is a subsidiary. They've sold the T15 for a couple of years. Around $1,800USD at opticsplanet. It's about as nice a screen and optics as you're likely to find under $2,000 in the thermal realm. 3x to 8x optical zoom, onboard recording. Seems alright.

    I'm not interested in the bells and whistles so am getting a smaller T20 this week, selling for $1,000 Canadian, or around $750USD. Only 5.5x zoom and a smaller, lower resolution screen, but it ought to do for rodents.
     
  12. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    10,077
    Location:
    Forestburg, Texas
    Well, Torrey Pines Logic is so proud of their T15 thermal imager that records video and still images that there are apparently NO videos from this unit being shown on YouTube. Torrey Pines Logic has their own YouTube channel, but apparently have abandoned it since their fiasco with their original weapon sights 3 years ago or so. I don't see anyone else showing video from the T15 and demonstrating its capabilities.

    They claim 3-8x OPTICAL zoom. That would be hugely impressive because nobody else has this. The also claim a rate of 9hz screen refresh. The industry standard is 30 and many thermal optics are 60. The human eye can detect jittery motion (like poor stop motion animation) down below 25hz. So there are some disjointed features between really low end and cutting edge. You have a low resolution thermal optic with a low refresh rate but with optical zoom that nobody else has.

    I would not want to be a first adopter of this technology. There are a lot of companies that have folks like me who are trying to promote products to the hunting community and I don't see any of them promoting this optic. Torrey Pines Logic doesn't even have any demo videos of it on YouTube and nobody else does that I can find. Why would that be if the optic isn't a piece of crap??? Optics Planet and Amazon both have units for sale but no reviews or ratings. These are red flags at this point, IMHO.
     
  13. jmorris

    jmorris Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2005
    Messages:
    12,322
    I found my crystal ball. In 1973 this was the #1 consumer reports “mini-calculator”. It wasn’t the most expensive 4 function calculator though, it only cost $100.

    4409C62E-AB58-42F1-B76E-6E4B2DABFB84.jpeg

    Just to put that in perspective they also tested compact cars in that issue, the Chevy Vega, AMC Gremlin and Ford Pinto all cost less than $2800.

    Today compact cars will all be over $10,000 and I have had calculators given to me that could not only add, subtract, multiply and divide but have square root and memory functions as well as being powered by ambient light vs NiCad batteries, for free.

    I say the longer electronics are around the cheaper they get. If you live long enough you will have thermal capability built into your cell phone. As it is now it’s an extra $230 to plug on in. Like the Seek thermal.

    One thing is certain, if you are the first with the latest and greatest, you will pay for it. Then as you keep jumping to the next level the prices fall out of what you left behind.

    Like that TI Datamath above, only a collector of nostalgia would give anything for it.
     
  14. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    10,077
    Location:
    Forestburg, Texas
    We actually had that top right calculator. Pop bought it from Fedmart when it came out. Sure enough, about $100. It was AMAZING! He would not let me take it to school. :-(

    Apparently, we have already lived long enough. You can have thermal built into your phone. It is only $450!
    https://www.amazon.com/CAT-PHONES-W...thermal+phone&qid=1552744642&s=gateway&sr=8-4

    Mind you, it and the Seek thermal stuff are pretty much toy quality when you consider it for the realm of hunting as they are extremely limited shorter range devices. If you are looking for studs in your walls, heat loss around your house, wiring that it heating up more than it should, this level of thermal is quite functional.
     
    jmorris likes this.
  15. jmorris

    jmorris Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2005
    Messages:
    12,322
    Yeah, they are a long way away from something you could use as an aiming optic.

    The two white blobs to the upper left of center are cows at about 309 yards, behind a large oak around 75 yards distant.

    E9C91E86-165D-47BD-88F8-19D9BC4D12F5.jpeg

    It is good at showing you where your radiator is clogged though.

    CB61F8C5-7A7F-42B6-8CCE-DC4A9B9840F7.jpeg
     
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice