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A Humble FLIR Scout TK Review

Just last weekend I managed to escape the office for a few days of peace with the in-laws. It was also a chance for our office TK to get some fresh air too. I have not had much time to get acquainted with the Scouts so this was a perfect chance to do a FLIR Scout TK Review. Being bogged down in specs and stats doesn’t really give you a sense of what the Thermal devices are actually useful for. I figured this would be a great opportunity to get some field testing in for the Scout series’ baby brother, and a chance to answer some of the most asked questions surrounding the entry-level thermal monocular.

FLIR Scout TK

An Introduction to the TK

This little unit was released in mid-2016 to offer an affordable entry into the thermal handheld market. It is really the lite version of the Scout Series, in more ways than one. It detects heat signatures at 90m, refreshes at 9hz, and weighs just 170g. Despite its small size and weight, the TK is actually packed with more features than its bigger brothers. Nine interchangeable colour palettes, and onboard recording are just a few.

Well, What Do I Do With This Thing?

My thoughts exactly. While hunters and explorers might be quick to answer, a city slicker like me was left wondering. The chance to get out of the big smoke meant that there was a possibility I might just actually run into to some wildlife. Crazy I know. It is a good thing I took the TK along for the ride because I just so happened to capture some of Australia’s favourite flora and fauna in thermal. As for applications, it took me the whole weekend playing around to come up with some interesting applications for the TK. I decided to grab to take some photos and videos in thermal to illustrate my point.


Knock Knock. Roos there?

Kangaroo in Thermal

If you look every so closely, you’ll spy the kangaroo sitting on the driveway. My hoppy friend is sitting just at the edge of the TK’s recognition distance (about 50m for a kangaroo-sized object). Any attempts to get closer just sent him scuttling off into the scrub. I had some better luck getting up close and personal with a few lorikeets and kookaburras in the garden. As you’ll notice the clarity gets much better from a closer distance: good news for nature enthusiasts and wildlife observers.


FLIR Scout TK Cup of Tea

That’ a Hot Cuppa

It very well could be my claim to modern art. But in fact, it’s the rainbow colour palette the TK boasts over the other Scouts. The other eight palettes are no less impressive, with a variety of applications. White hot and Black Hot are better on sensitive eyes, and easier to transition to other types of night vision. That means a gentler transition between the TK and a night vision hunting scope. The InstAlert palette gives red hot against white and grey to help pick out thermal signatures against a plainer background. And rainbow is like jumping down the rabbit hole. It’s another world in there.


Gotcha!

And here is where the TK seems to really catch my attention. Despite a lower refresh rate, and a shorter detection distance, the TK has no issue tracking someone on the run. Combined with a very fast start up time, the TK could be the perfect security gadget. Whether equipping a security guard for a night watch, or keeping one by the bedside, the TK outshines a cumbersome torch for checking on the things that go bump in the night. It is lightweight and rugged too, so there’s no issue dropping it into a pocket or onto the car seat beside you.


Overall I think the TK boils down to one thing: fun. It doesn’t command a hefty price tag for a reason. It is meant to be getting into the hands of people who want to jump outside and have fun. I think it would be a great companion for a hike in the mountains, keeping a watchful eye over your property, or a weekend at Dubbo Zoo. It doesn’t add any serious weight or size to camping bag, and it could help keep an eye on fellow trekkers. With the TK there certainly is more to be seen.

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