Thermal Cameras Guide
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flir c3

FLIR C3 Pocket Thermal Camera Review

The FLIR C3-X pocket thermal camera makes it extremely easy to document repairs, share detailed reports with clients, and search for hidden problems.

With a 5MP visual camera, 128x96 pixel thermal resolution, an LED flashlight, and MSX, the C3-X is an extremely pocket-friendly inspection tool for building, maintenance, and electrical applications.  

Applications

  • System inspections – HVAC, cooling systems, electrical systems etc.
  • Utilities
  • Home and facilities maintenance

Noteworthy Features

Flir C3

Pocket-Sized

A large and powerful thermal camera is essential for certain situations where rigorous and in-depth inspections are required.

But for regular inspections, a compact camera like the C3 is a much more practical choice.

It easily fits in your pocket, meaning you can easily carry it with you anywhere.

The C3 is not waterproof, but it can withstand a few falls and dirt hands without any problem thanks to its rugged and hardy construction.

Powerful Thermal Sensor

Small and affordable doesn’t mean you have to settle for low quality thermal images.

The FLIR C3 features an 80 x 60IR sensor that can detect a temperature range between 14°F to 302°F.

This is not quite powerful enough for some industrial applications; but for most types of inspections such as HVAC, insulation, and electrical systems, it’s great.

Because of the sensor’s limited distance range, it’s best for close-up inspections. We do not recommend it for hunting, long-range exterior inspections, security or ghost hunting.

The sensor has a temperature sensitivity of less than 0.10°C, meaning it can accurately spot the smallest thermal differences in an area. This is important for sensitive system inspections.

The 41-degree field of view lets you inspect a large area at a time.

The thermal sensitivity of the C3-X FLIR camera has decreased to 0.07oC, allowing you to notice even the slightest temperature changes.

This lower thermal sensitivity is ideal for subtler, individual applications, such as locating moisture issues.

3” Touchscreen 

The camera displays images on a brilliant 3” display. It is a touchscreen display, which makes it super easy to navigate through the camera’s interface and select your preferred settings.

With three levels of brightness, the display works great in all light levels whether you are outside in the sun or in a dark basement.

MSX Technology 

This is one of the best features of the FLIR C3.

The C3 has two cameras: an IR camera to capture thermal images and a normal visual camera.

When you snap a photo, both cameras spring into action. The integrated software then integrates the visual details into the thermal image so that you know exactly what you are looking at.

If you are in a dark place, you can use the flash to get a good visual image (the flash also works as a flashlight).

For those times you don’t need an image overlay, you can switch to a thermal-only or visual-only mode.

WiFi Connectivity and USB 2.0

Flir C3 pocket camera

There are two ways to transfer your images to another device.

The easiest is using WiFi. It’s handy when you need to share images instantly with team members.

To transfer a large number of images, connect the camera to your computer using the included USB cable. It will be faster than WiFi.

Once you’ve transferred the images, you can analyze them and create professional reports using the free FLIR Tools software.

Note: FLIR also sells a cheaper non-WiFi version of the C3 thermal camera – the FLIR C2.

Configurable Settings

Here are some of the settings and options available in the camera’s interface.

Measurement Parameters: You can configure reflected temperature, distance, and emissivity.

Save Options: Let’s you save the visual image as a separate JPEG file.

Device Settings: While the FLIR C3-X does not offer a manual focus option, it does allow you to switch between an automatic level and a manual level and span mode.

These adjustment options enable you to clearly identify the objects you want to measure by simply tapping on the 3-inch touchscreen.  

Lock Mode: In normal operation, the camera might display different colors for the same temperature when you move from one scene to another. This is a problem if you want to compare two objects or areas.

Lock mode allows you to lock the temperature range to specific color representation. If a certain temperature shows up in white in one scene, it will also show up in white in another scene.

Color palette: You can change the color scheme the camera uses to display temperatures. Options include Rainbow, Iron, Rainbow HC, and Gray.

Battery Life

The FLIR C3-X thermal camera boasts improved energy efficiency and a larger battery capacity. The lithium-ion battery has a 4-hour battery life and an 1800 mAh capacity.

It also reaches full charge in just two hours and features a charge life of more than 500 cycles, making it a truly irreplaceable battery.

Lastly, the internal battery offers a 3.7 voltage and weighs only 1.4 oz, making the compact Pro-Grade Thermal Camera extremely lightweight as well.

Memory

A notable improvement in the FLIR C3-X Compact Thermal Camera is the Bluetooth PAN connectivity and the built-in FLIR Ignite cloud connectivity.

This cloud connectivity is extremely helpful because it allows you to store, organize, and back up visual and thermal images using the internet.

You can also access all your saved images with any smart device, making it easier for you to analyze or share them with your clients and colleagues.

The cloud provides you with 1 GB of storage, while the thermal imager’s internal memory can store at least 5000 thermal images, which is a big step up from the 500 you used to get with the C3.


Limitations Of FLIR C3

Flir C3 camera

Not for Long Range Applications 

The camera is best for close-up applications. If you were hoping to use this camera for hunting or security, it won’t be too much helpful.

No SD Card 

The camera’s internal memory can hold up to 500 images.

If you want to more space, you have to delete some images or transfer them to your computer. You cannot expand the memory with an SD Card.

But with both WiFi and USB transfer options available, I don’t think the lack of an SD card slot will be a deal breaker for most users.

Specifications

  • Thermal sensor resolution: 80 x 60
  • Max detection distance: Not specified (but it’s not ideal for long range applications)
  • Field of view: 41° × 31°
  • Temperature range: 14°F to 302°F
  • Temperature sensitivity: < 0.10°C
  • Dimensions:4.9 x 3.1 x 0.94 in
  • Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Battery life: 2 hours
  • Storage: Internal memory (stores up to 500 images)
  • Transfer: WiFi and USB

Summary 

Flir C3 thermal camera

Boasting a 3-inch touch screen, several color palette options, Ignite Cloud Connectivity, and a 5-megapixel visual camera, the FLIR C3 compact thermal imaging camera is ideal for a variety of applications.

Whether you want to use it for electrical inspection, visual inspection, or thermal inspection, this unit is the way to go!


About the Author Rob Carson

I work in commercial construction, in Dallas, TX.

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