FLIR C2 Thermal Camera Review [Best Handheld Model]

Flir C2 Review

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FLIR Pocket Thermal Camera
  • Portability Pocket Portable Thermal Camera with Msx Enhanced Thermal Images providing stunning detail to help you identify problem areas easier
  • Precision-molded 1 5mm thick 104/105-key PBT double-shot keycap set resists wear fading and shine through years of gaming
  • Accuracy: ±2°C (±3.6°F) or 2 percentage, whichever is greater, at 25°C (77°F) nominal. Operating Temperature Range (–10°C) to +50°C (14 to 122°F)
  • Includes Infrared Camera, Lanyard, Power Supply/Charger, USB Cable, Printed Documentation
  • Software FLIR Tools professional reporting Software included the industry standard in thermal image post analysis. Storage Temperature Range:–40°C to +70°C (–40 to 158°F)

As a brand, Flir has always redefined the boundaries of thermal imaging. The C2 gives new meaning to the term all-in-one thermal camera with a compact and stylish design that offers good performance.

This review will discuss all the details about the Flir C2 and discover its best and worst features.

First, this is a compact entry-level camera that combines a regular camera, a thermal imager, and a flashlight. Quite simply, a great combination for on-site use.

Now, it may look small, but Flir has packed it with plenty of advanced features. You get crisp image quality, Multi Spectral Dynamic (MSX) Imaging, and much more. Then again, you can also connect it with the FLIR Tools software to generate reports as needed.

We tested these features in-depth to bring all the details of this Flir thermal camera to you. The revolutionary design asks the question- is this the future of thermal imaging?

Let’s find out.

Pros

  • A pocket-sized thermal camera
  • Highly sensitive thermal imaging
  • In-built image storage
  • A rugged design
  • A responsive touch screen

Cons

  • It is expensive
  • Resolution is on the lower side
  • Can not shoot videos

A Few Things to Consider Before Buying a Thermal Camera

The thermal camera market is buzzing with activity and there are a lot of options to choose from. If you are looking for a powerful tool for quick checking of pipelines or HVAC systems, then there are a few points to note.

  1. There’s no point in arranging a security camera when the image quality is poor. So it’s best to choose a camera that offers a high resolution. You need to consider your budget before making a choice.
  2. Make sure that the device has a high accuracy rate. A device that needs to be calibrated frequently isn’t the best option.
  3. You need to store the footage that is being captured. So a camera with in-built storage is a good choice. A removable SD card, or connecting it to a USB flash drive can also be effective.
  4. A device with poor battery life isn’t a wise choice for site use. Picking a camera with strong battery life and a charge level indicator is a good choice.
  5. Detecting a problem and sharing the thermal images and data with the higher authority is an important aspect. So a device with WiFi connectivity is a good choice when you need to make quick decisions.

Why Should You Consider the Flir C2 Camera

The Flir C2 has some notable features that make it not so much a fun device, but rather a practical choice. Take a look.

Build Quality

Flir C2 Thermal Build Quality
Flir C2 Thermal Build Quality

Without a doubt, the design is the most interesting aspect of the Flir C2. It has a small but chinky profile that will easily fit in your pocket. For sure, some of your friends and colleagues will mistake it for a smartphone.

With a weight of just 4.6 ounces, it may feel very light. But the good news is, that doesn’t impact the overall build quality.

Even if you miss the pocket, the rugged plastic-and-rubber shell will ensure that it survives a sharp drop. The other advantage of the rubber body is a superb grip that makes the device feel secure in your hands. There is a lanyard hole in the bottom corner that connects with a neck strap for some added security.

Flir doesn’t mention any IP rating for the device. The operating temperature range is between –10°C to +50°C. A word of caution: the screen comes without any protection. A sharp hit in the corner can leave it with a crack.

There is a LED lamp in the front. A practical feature that makes it easy to capture images in dark areas. The 3-inch touch screen comes with a resolution of 320 × 240 pixels. It’s not the best, but the image quality remains bright and crisp. The responsive touch screen interface makes the operation smooth.

FLIR Pocket Thermal Camera
  • Portability Pocket Portable Thermal Camera with Msx Enhanced Thermal Images providing stunning detail to help you identify problem areas easier
  • Precision-molded 1 5mm thick 104/105-key PBT double-shot keycap set resists wear fading and shine through years of gaming
  • Accuracy: ±2°C (±3.6°F) or 2 percentage, whichever is greater, at 25°C (77°F) nominal. Operating Temperature Range (–10°C) to +50°C (14 to 122°F)
  • Includes Infrared Camera, Lanyard, Power Supply/Charger, USB Cable, Printed Documentation
  • Software FLIR Tools professional reporting Software included the industry standard in thermal image post analysis. Storage Temperature Range:–40°C to +70°C (–40 to 158°F)

The Camera Performance

Flir C2 Camera Performance
Flir C2 Camera Performance

The camera uses a combination of a thermal sensor and a digital camera to capture an image. The digital camera comes with a resolution of 640 × 480 pixels (0.3 MP) and the IR detector image quality is 80×60 pixels.

Honestly, you can’t expect much from an image of such low resolution. But in reality, the pixel-count of the IR sensor isn’t important for use in commercial and residential settings. In any case, the real charm of the Flir C2 is in the convenience that it offers.

The visual image adds just the right amount of detail to make the thermal image easy to recognize. The image is spread over a relatively wide horizontal FOV (field of view) of 41°. Even then, the thermal sensitivity at 100mk makes it distinct. We found the device very effective in picking out the smallest thermal signatures.

Note, the sensor can detect a temperature range between –10° to +150°C. The accuracy levels at 25°C are ±2°C (±3.6°F) or 2%, whichever is higher.

It turns out, this isn’t a camera that you would like to use from a long-range. We found at distances beyond a meter, the picture quality isn’t good enough for identifying the details in a circuit.

MSX technology

MSX Technology
MSX Technology

MSX is a patented technology from Flir that allows the camera to capture a detailed image.

It overlays the visual image’s main aspects on the thermal image to make the details clearer.

Strictly speaking, this isn’t just the fusion of the two images. The Flir C2 software captures the key details from the high-contrast visual image. These include shapes, words, numbers, and other edge details.

The resulting image is clear and clutter-free. That makes it easy for target identification and faster detection of the problems. The device is set to MSX mode by default. But it can be turned on or off as you need.

With MSX, you don’t need to take additional visual images for future reference. We think it’s pretty useful when preparing reports at a later date. Also, it makes it easier to explain the details to those not present during the inspection.

Setup and Use

Flir C2 Thermal Camera Setup and Use
Flir C2 Thermal Camera Setup and Use

The thing is, Flir C2 is a true plug and play device from all aspects. The controls are simple and once you press the power button, the device powers up within 40 seconds. The interesting thing is, the subsequent boot-up times are much faster. Just around 11 seconds.

The images are saved with the temperature range and color scheme bar. There’s a USB 2.0 connector for transferring data and battery charging.

The Flir Icon system makes operating the device simple. You can use the touchscreen or the icon-based functions at the bottom of the screen. The 6 menu icons include the image playback menu, image mode, measurement mode, color palette, lamp feature, and the settings menu.

In addition, the camera also auto-rotates the image just like a smartphone. So you can use it in landscape or portrait orientation.

Also, the color scheme can be changed from four different options. That includes a gray color scheme and a rainbow scheme. Flir has also included a screen bar that indicates the temperatures corresponding to each color. 

On top of that, there’s a screen circle marker. You need to place the marker at any point on the image to get the temperature.

The battery life is close to two hours. That’s pretty impressive considering the size of the device. Still, if you’re setting out for a day-long field inspection trip, make sure that the device is fully charged.

Keep in mind, the battery is charged via the micro USB cable. You also get an AC adapter with the device.

Things to Know About the Flir C2 Camera

About Flir C2 Thermal Camera
About Flir C2 Thermal Camera

Pros

  • A pocket-sized thermal camera
  • Highly sensitive thermal imaging
  • In-built image storage
  • A rugged design
  • A responsive touch screen

Cons

  • It is expensive
  • Resolution is on the lower side
  • Can not shoot videos

Connectivity

As I already mentioned, connectivity is one aspect that makes things easier in a professional setting. Unfortunately, Flir hasn’t equipped the C2 with Wi-Fi or Bluetooth technology.

The only option to share the images is to extract the images from the SD card with the USB cable. So if you need to send the images instantaneously from the field, you need to look somewhere else.

Thankfully, the Flir C3 rectifies this problem with Wi-Fi connectivity.

Weather Protection

Point to be noted- there’s no weather protection with this device. We felt that the device could survive a few splashes, but it isn’t built for tackling rough weather.

One more thing…

Even though a rubber layer surrounds the lens, there is no proper lens cap or cover. As a result, it is prone to dust attacks and scratches.

So, be careful about where you place the Flir C2.

FLIR Tools software

The  FLIR Tools package can be downloaded for free as a part of the Flir C2 software. It has a nice set of features to generate reports, adjust the images, and compare the MSX images to visual images.

Once connected via USB, the software can also live stream the content.  You can also take temperature readings at any point of the image.

However, you don’t need to use the package to view or download the captured images on a computer.

FLIR Tools software
FLIR Tools software
FLIR Pocket Thermal Camera
  • Portability Pocket Portable Thermal Camera with Msx Enhanced Thermal Images providing stunning detail to help you identify problem areas easier
  • Precision-molded 1 5mm thick 104/105-key PBT double-shot keycap set resists wear fading and shine through years of gaming
  • Accuracy: ±2°C (±3.6°F) or 2 percentage, whichever is greater, at 25°C (77°F) nominal. Operating Temperature Range (–10°C) to +50°C (14 to 122°F)
  • Includes Infrared Camera, Lanyard, Power Supply/Charger, USB Cable, Printed Documentation
  • Software FLIR Tools professional reporting Software included the industry standard in thermal image post analysis. Storage Temperature Range:–40°C to +70°C (–40 to 158°F)

Flir C2 vs C3

The imaging capabilities of both devices are the same. However, Flir C3 comes with Wi-Fi connectivity. That adds the extra convenience of sharing the images with just the click of a button.

Beyond that, there’s the area box measurement feature in C3. It allows you to mark a specific area on the touchscreen and find out the lowest and highest temperatures in that zone. Another advanced feature that the C3 packs is the picture in picture mode.

We wish the Flir C3 also came with the video capturing feature that we missed in the C2. That would have made it a great choice for inspectors.

electrical ir

Flir C2 vs Flir One Pro

The fact is, these two products belong to two different categories. The Flir One is a thermal imaging camera designed for smartphones. It can work for both Apple and Android devices.

It is a cheaper device that offers a thermal resolution of 4,800 pixels. However, it isn’t an independent unit like the Flir C2.

Check out our Flir One Pro review for a complete idea.

The FAQs

Does the camera offer zoom?

The Flir C2 thermal camera does not offer any zoom. To get that feature, you will need to check out th3 other models from Flir.

Does the C2 come with a warranty?

The Flir C2 thermal imaging camera comes with a one-year warranty without registration. Once registered within 60 days of purchase, there’s a 2-year warranty on the camera and battery. In addition, there’s a 10-year warranty on the sensor.

Can I use the C2 as a casual user?

Actually, the C2 has been designed as a compact thermal imaging tool for energy efficiency specialists, construction engineers, HVAC technicians, and also DIY experts. It’s best used as a pocket-portable solution to detect hidden heat-related problems.

Are there any privacy issues with thermal images?

Thermal images can only detect heat and are not like “X-ray” vision. They can’t see through solid objects or clothing. However, you can visualize the variations in surface temperatures on any object.

71GigtovDOL. AC SL1500

Final Words on Our Flir C2 Review

The worlds’ first pocket-portable camera comes with a ton of potential. Kudos to Flir for this attempt to make thermal imaging a part of everyday life.

The camera is a ready-to-use package and offers features like top-class thermal sensitivity,  a rugged design, and a built-in LED spotlight. Basically, it’s a practical choice for technicians who have a daily use for thermal imaging.

Should you buy the Flir C2?

On the whole, if you want thermal imaging as a part of your work arsenal, this entry-level product is definitely worth a look. Integrated with the Flir software it offers the right quality and performance in this price range.

Note, this isn’t a cheap device. Nor does it offer video capture. So, we wouldn’t recommend it for casual users looking to have some fun with thermal imaging.

Now it’s your call.

Pros

  • A pocket-sized thermal camera
  • Highly sensitive thermal imaging
  • In-built image storage
  • A rugged design
  • A responsive touch screen

Cons

  • It is expensive
  • Resolution is on the lower side
  • Can not shoot videos