To begin with, we consider it a duty to thank our friends Lorenzo Verra, owner of the Bonicelli estate of Ceresole d'Alba (CN) and of Johnny Consaga his right arm, armed and operative, in every branch of Nature: from agriculture to breeding, from hunting to dog training. The usual amiable welcome allowed Roby Mecca to operate in the field with filming and photographs where the primary role was reserved for wild animals: three devices to try and here thanks go to the new friend Mauro Spozio, BDM Italia of HikMicro. This Chinese house already from the first contact a few months ago has shown the intentions it has: high-tech products, in some cases with top-level solutions and returns, offered at interesting prices in the international sector of the sector.
Already from the presentation of the products and their transport packaging it is clear that these are not impromptu matters, but high-profile solutions; likewise observing the remarkable catalog, in Italian ohibò, clarifies many things. A short time scale shows how in 2008 the Group invests in the research of thermal technology: in 2010 the first thermal camera is operational, in 2016 the HikMicro is founded which has a complete catalog of products for thermal vision with images, algorithms and intelligence fully optimized.
In 2018 the qualitative leap with the functional 17µ 384 × 288/640 × 512 sensors for portable thermographic equipment. In 2019 the 17µ 160 × 120 sensor was produced, suitable for particular systems such as short-range perimeter defense or to prevent internal fires. In 2020, more 12µ 256 × 192/384 × 288/640 × 512 sensors arrive on the market: the powerful V0x 12µ sensor guarantees detailed and clear images for a completely new experience in observation. The 2021µ 12 × 1280 sensor is from last 1024: these particular technical determinants, produced directly by HikMicro, are widely used in the field of thermography.
The three viewers put to the test
Mauro has chosen three different products differentiated by cost and performance to make a scale of proposals and evaluations immediately available in the user's mind based on the values at stake and the objectives that the supposed buyer will have before him from the experience. A choice obviously always depends on the price and performance in the field.
The series LinxPro it boasts as its starting prerogative the compact dimensions and therefore the easy transport: it fits comfortably and without bothering in a jacket or hunter's pocket. You have 10 hours of continuous use thanks to the low consumption operating technology and a perfect and detailed definition of the target even in total darkness thanks to the V0x 12µ sensor with NETD <35MK. Manual focus also allows lens wearers to optimize the image on their eyes. There is still more: thanks to the integrated Wi-Fi module and the T-Vision App, smartphones and tablets can be transformed, like any other device, into a second display. The user can take advantage of the remote control by adjusting the settings and updating the firmware. The recorded images can be uploaded directly to social media.
In the range LinxPro the Mod. HM-LH15 was chosen, a good choice of boot for observation that combines quotation, portability and proportional yield. A constant of the models in use in our release at Bonicelli is the variable Digital Zoom with magnifications up to 8x to focus even small targets at long distances. The technical values shown in the catalog indicate a sensor of 384 × 288, 12µ, focal distance equal to 15 mm, F1.0, magnifications 1.5-12.0, 8x, FOV 17,5 ° x13.1 °, Frame Rate equal to 50 Hz, manual focus, 0,4-inch display, LCOS, 1280 × 980. The usage time is 7 and a half hours, the detection distance is 750 meters while the operating temperature is between -20 ° C and +55 ° C (-4 ° F and +131 ° F). The viewer is decidedly light with only 290 g. Lastly, it should be noted that the integrated 16 Gb memory allows you to save images and videos.
Let's move on to a product with much superior features with the series OWL: the devices of this series are equipped with a 640 × 512 pixel thermal sensor (NETD <35mK9) and a F1.0 lens for a favorable contrast and a sharp and clear image. The 50 fps frame rate ensures smooth video even in very dynamic scenes. In addition, the high-sensitivity sensor and long focus lens enable the series OWL to detect targets from 1,7 m even at very great distance extending its operation, in some models, up to 1300 meters. The model tested in the field, we must say with excellent success, is called HM-OH25 and these are the characteristics: sensor 384 × 288, 17µ, focal distance equal to 25 mm, F1.0, magnification 1.7-13.6, x8, FOV 14,9 ° x11,2 °, frame rate 50 Hz, there is no manual focus, 0,39-inch display, OLED, 1024 × 768, 7 hours of use with 900 meters sensing distance, operating temperature -30 ° C to + 55 ° C (-4 ° F - +131 ° F). Still very low weight: only 460 grams. Variable zoom up to 8x is always present.
Recently presented news here is the viewer Panther LRF at the top in the sector for image quality and precision in identifying the target: the V0x 12µ sensor with NETD <35mK allows the perfect definition of the target under observation with a clear and detailed image, even in total darkness. The 50 fps frame rate ensures smooth video even in very busy scenes. The range of action of the Panther, thanks to the high sensitivity of the system and the large-focus lens, allows the detection of the target up to a distance of 2600 meters. The model tested on the ground at Bonicelli is called HM-PQ50L: these are the technical characteristics. 840 × 512,12µ sensor, frame rate 50 Hz, focal length 50 mm, F1.0, magnification 2.6 × 20.8, 8x, FOV 8.8 ° x7.1 °, eye relief (i.e. pupil accommodation distance) 45 mm, 0.39 inch display, OLED, 1024 × 768, detection distance 2600 meters, rangefinder with a wavelength of 905 µ, distance up to 600 m and accuracy of +/- 1 meter, operating time 6 hours, weight of 585 g, operating temperatures between -30 ° C and +55 ° C (-22 ° F and +131 ° F). Some considerations to fix some concepts of the viewer: compact line and easy to use, side wheel to switch from one mode to another, also adjusting the zoom with natural and intuitive movements; built-in laser rangefinder to immediately and accurately detect the distance to the target; considerable resistance to shocks, withstanding the recoil of the .375 HH without problems. Furthermore, the device has IP67 certification with protection against rain, snow and even immersion in water at a depth of 1 meter for 30 minutes. Two batteries are supplied with a specific charger: the ease of replacement in the field therefore allows 12 hours of observation.
Lastly, to better highlight the potential of this system, we would like to point out the possibility of using the freehand instrument, mounted on a tripod and, last but not least, equipped with a special base, it can be applied in an instant to your speargun: on a stationary target you can then carefully observe it and, in a few seconds, transfer the viewer to the rifle and fire. The calibration takes place thanks to the displacements that appear in the reticle, just as you act on a normal rifle scope through the turrets.
The descriptions contain many technical data that we believe are, for competent enthusiasts, the best yardstick for comparison and judgment before making a choice or even just a test. For a general observation the model Lynx Pro it is already interesting; very differentOWL where only the objective lens passes from 15 to 50 mm; definitive in the use of observation and aiming the Panther LRF. The recent concessions of night shooting for the containment of wild boars open a highway for the adoption of similar sophisticated and ingenious equipment.
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