FLIR i7 vs Fluke TiS Review – Sub $2500 Thermal Imaging Camera Battle

21 Comments

Please Note: This post is in reference to the old i-series. You can find information on the new FLIR i3, i5 and i7 units on Optimum Stores.

Earlier in July, Fluke announced the launch of their first sub $2,500 thermal imager, the Fluke TiS Thermal Imaging Scanner. The Fluke TiS features a 120×120 thermal sensor with 5% accuracy. The Fluke TiS is competitively priced at USD$2,495. Today, FLIR lowered their FLIR i7 infrared camera US pricing from USD$2,995 to USD$1,995 – a $1,000 price drop.

Ever wonder what these camera’s key features would look like if they were put up side by side to one another? Well, now you can:

Fluke TiS vs. FLIR i7

If we only shopped by price, its easy to see which one of these cameras would take the cake.

Feature for feature, the FLIR i7 has a higher accuracy, a higher temperature range, a Hot/Cold detection feature and has emissivity correction. Emissivity correction is essential for any thermographic imaging system required to provide accurate temperature measurement. For example, if an object is at a higher temperature than background and has a low emissivity, it will be detected as being at a lower temperature than it really is. Emissivity correction will compensate for this measurement error. Emissivity variations can however be used to advantage when distinguishing between surfaces at the same temperature but having different emissivity characteristics (source).

Let’s have a look at the new Fluke TiS! The Fluke TiS is a manual focus camera, in fact it is the ONLY manual focus camera under $2,500. This allows users the flexibility to focus on exactly the object in focus at any distance. In contrast, a fixed focus camera (much like the disposable visible light cameras) are limited to focusing several feet away from the target and you have no control to focus on a particular object – If you’re looking for the versatility to focus in any situation, a manual focus camera is the only way to achieve that. The Fluke TiS also has a larger LCD screen and also comes with a 2GB Memory card compared to only a 512MB card that comes with the FLIR i7 (But, the FLIR i7 can still store over 5,000 images).

Both of these infrared cameras come with free reporting software that you can use for inspection reports, these are simply one of the other things to consider if you’re deciding on either camera. Overall these cameras are very similar from a technical specifications level but to be fair, have different bodies (ie. in a drop test) – Fluke thermal imagers are the only camera rated to handle a more than 6 foot drop which I believe is valuable for customers who are in a rough environment or appreciate a very rugged design.

The FLIR i7 and Fluke TiS are both terrific cameras. Which one you choose will likely come down to your needs and commonly price no doubt.

So, if you are looking for an entry level infrared camera or thermal imager, I recommend having a look at both of these terrific cameras. You can learn more about them on our websites or feel free to give one of our Certified Thermographers a call toll free at 1.877.766.5412

FLIR i7

Buy the FLIR i7 Infrared Camera

a compact & lightweight IR camera designed for building applications that features a FLIR 120×120 infrared sensor with high 2°C accuracy and 0.1°C thermal sensitivity with a large 2.8″ color LCD display.

Fluke TiS

Buy the Fluke TiS Thermal Imaging Scanner

Fluke TiS Thermal Imager (Temperature Range: -4°F to +212°F (-20°C to +100°C); 120×120 resolution, manual focus, ~4 hour battery life)…

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21 Comments »

  • 2 September 2010 at 12:00 am
    Redcurrent Thermal Imaging said:

    We have always used Flir products and have got on well with the fuctionality and features that are provided .If you are going to use one of these cameras as part of an electrician’s tool kit, for the price/spec, we would advise the Flir.

  • 2 September 2010 at 8:40 am
    King Rosales said:

    Thanks for the comment Redcurrent!

  • 4 September 2010 at 4:20 am
    thermalcan said:

    Well, on the other hand the Flir i7 has a so called “fix” focus, in other words: A thermal picture cannot be properly adjusted. The Fluke TIS is allowing a manual focus. Focus is fundamentally important for any thermal imager (no matter what price) , as this will influence a temperature measurement +/- 30%, or even more. Imagine the errors you are forcing just by a non focussed image. And on top: A defocused picture cannot be corrected on the PC. I think this is a killing feature against the i7. Also the reporting software is by far not comparable to the Fluke standard software delivered with the Tis (licence free, full feature set). Finally, the Fluke comes in a solid hard case and a soft case, while the i7 is delivered in a carton box.
    In order to start with an thermal imager (entry user), both units are douing their job; specs don’t always tell all of the story; I would try out both imagers in real life, before any decision has to be taken. my 2 cents

  • 15 October 2010 at 8:56 am
    King Rosales said:

    @thermalcan, thank you for your comment. Manual focus is always a good thing. With regards to which model comes with a hard case and a carton box, the FLIR i7 does not come in a carton box – I opened a factory fresh unit and it came in a hard case.
    Thanks thermalcan!

  • 3 December 2010 at 1:25 pm
    IRMike said:

    The FLIR i7 is superior in many ways! Let’s start with the Accuracy spec: the FLUKE TiS is 5% vs. the FLIR i7 at 2% – that’s a 60% difference in ACCURACY! Buying a TiS to measure temperatures is like buying a calculator that ESTIMATES.

    The TiS comes with a 2GB memory card and the FLIR i7 only comes with a 512MB card for a very good reason: The file sizes of the jpeg image on the FLIR i7 are significantly smaller than the file sizes of the .is2 (proprietary) image. The TiS stores 1200 radiometeric (.is2) images (or 3000 non-radiometeric jpeg images) while the FLIR i7 stores a whopping 5000 radiometeric jpeg images! And, because these are jpeg images right out of the FLIR i7, there is no conversion necessary if you need to simply transfer them to a customer’s thumb drive or email them to someone – they can be viewed WITHOUT the use of FLIR software. FLUKE requires images to be converted from the .is2 format to a jpeg or bmp format in order for them to be viewed by individuals who aren’t running a copy of the FLUKE software.

    How do the two compare with regard to run-time per charge? The FLIR i7 will run for more than 5 hrs per charge – with no restrictions, while the TiS will run “3-4 hrs” (at 50% LCD brightness).

    When it comes to software, there are some out there who believe that the TiS comes with a copy of a license-free software while the reporting software for the FLIR i7 must be purchased…WRONG!! Included in the purchase of the FLIR i7 is a license-free copy of Quick Report software that can be installed on as many computers as the user deems necessary. This full-featured software can also be downloaded from the FLIR website – as can upgrades to the software – simply by registering your camera.

    Finally, let’s address the weight difference: the TiS weighs in at an enormous 2.65 lbs where the FLIR i7 comes in at under 12 ozs!

    P.S. Did I mention that the FLIR i7 costs about 25% less than the TiS?

    If you’re looking for a low-cost, light-weight, easy-to-use, and ACCURATE instrument to meet your Building Science application needs, the FLIR i7 stands head and shoulders above the FLUKE TiS.

  • 6 December 2010 at 5:00 pm
    King Rosales said:

    @IRMike, thanks for your comment, its very informative. However, there are some things I don’t agree with.

    1) Despite the accuracy percentage differences, the 2% vs 5% accuracy battle can’t simply be won based on a quantifiable measurement. For instance, a spot measurement of 240°C using either camera produces an image with either a 2% or 5% doesn’t mean the camera with a 5% accuracy is not going to give you the ability to determine if there’s a significant difference in temperature or in a practical example, whether or not a space is leaking heat because your missing insulation between studs any more than the other camera.

    2) With regards to the software, FLIR’s QuickReport software does do a good job, but I wouldn’t say its fully featured since it doesn’t allow you to go back and edit your images in your report after its been created.

    I definitely agree with you on the weight; Its much easier to carry around the FLIR i7. The Fluke TiS weights as much as the higher end Fluke IR cameras like the TiR and Ti32.

    Thanks IRMike!

  • 7 December 2010 at 10:47 am
    Scott Katz said:

    Hi. Firstly, thanks for your review – these are the very two units I’m considering now (having missed the opportunity last year for the Flir BCAM SD, now discontinued).

    Perhaps you can answer this one question though: I find a significant difference between the two is the operating temperature – the i7 only down to 0′C and the TiS down to -10′C. Do you agree that this is significant, given the likelihood of doing outdoor thermography of homes in sub-zero temperatures? Or does 15 minute in sub-zero not really affect a unit freshly removed from a warm environment?

    Thanks
    Scott

  • 7 December 2010 at 11:18 am
    King Rosales said:

    Hi Scott, thank you for your comment. I just got off the phone with FLIR and they said the i7 should work fine as the 0°C is the recommended operating temperature. But, recommends that you shouldn’t take the camera from an ambient room temperature environment directly into a sub-zero temperature and should gradually move it into a cooler temperature instead (allowing it to stabilize) to help prevent condensation on the lens or shutter which can cause it to stick and result in ghosting to appear on the images. As soon as I hear back from Fluke, I’ll update this comment. Until then! thanks Scott

  • 8 December 2010 at 6:54 pm
    FLIR T300 vs. Fluke Ti32 Review – Sub $9000 Camera Battle said:

    [...] (If you’re looking for more of an Entry-level thermal imaging camera, read my FLIR i7 vs. Fluke TiS Review – Sub $2500 Camera Battle) [...]

  • 1 April 2011 at 9:38 am
    Mike B said:

    Well, I have read all comments and I’m still not sure which one I should buy. I like everything that Fluke makes, don’t know FLIR, but as I have read they are tops in thermal imaging. From what I know at this moment, I would like the find a thermal imager with Flukes larger screen and manual focus, along with everything the FLIR i7 has that the Fluke does not. I would pay $2500.00 for that one.

  • 26 May 2011 at 11:51 am
    Jorge said:

    The FLIR i7 camera works great, its easy to use and the images are very nice, this is my first camera but if the things go good I expect to get another in the future.

  • 26 May 2011 at 11:54 am
    King Rosales said:

    @Jorge thank you for your comment. I’m glad to hear that you’re having a great experience with the FLIR i7 camera!

  • 2 June 2011 at 1:34 pm
    Mark said:

    Hi King, I have a quick question about the screen display. Many times the image freezes on the screen and it retains a shadow even if the camera was sweeping at 30 degree angles non stop. Is there something I am doing wrong or is there an issue with the camera.

  • 2 June 2011 at 1:35 pm
    King Rosales said:

    Hi Mark!
    Thanks for the reply. I just spoke with Donnie a tech from FLIR.
    He said that it could be a matter of ghosting or that the i7 has refresh rate of 9Hz so it might not update as fast as you move the camera.
    But, he did say that you can contact him directly and ask him. This is his direct number: (978) 901-8356
    If there’s anything else you need, feel free to give me a shout!
    Thanks Mark.

  • 29 July 2011 at 7:27 am
    King Rosales said:

    Hi everyone, when FLIR announced the FLIR i3, they updated the temperature specs on the FLIR i7 and Extech i5. FLIR’s i-series now all have a temperature range of -20C to 250C (-4F to 428F).

  • 11 August 2011 at 2:43 am
    Jim said:

    Hi Mark,

    You said concerning the i7: “Many times the image freezes on the screen and it retains a shadow even if the camera was sweeping at 30 degree angles non stop.”.

    How is it doing now? Is it a normal occurence or is your unit defective? I’m particularly concerned because I haven’t seen a FLIR i7 before and wanted to buy one for general use as well as doing quick scan of the neighborhood at night to see hiding dogs or animals and I don’t want it to pause every now and then (hope others can share too). Thanks.

  • 4 January 2012 at 3:33 pm
    plumberpaul said:

    Have just purchased the TiS, the screen is large which I’m very happy with, I’ve played with it for about 30mins so far looking for heat leaks around doors and pointing it at the dog (usual fun)
    Was pleased with the manual focus as focused in on my heating pipework and pinpointed individual pipes.
    Looking forward to fault finding some underfloor heating. ( it is my job)
    Paul

  • 4 January 2012 at 3:43 pm
    King Rosales said:

    @plumberpaul – thanks for the comment. Glad to hear you’re finding the TiS very useful for your jobs!

  • 18 March 2012 at 10:15 am
    Jay said:

    I am a new home inspector and can,t imagine not offering thermal imaging. What flir unit would you recommend?

  • 10 November 2012 at 11:18 am
    Robbie said:

    Whats its range in meters, how accurate is it over 20-50m ?

  • 18 December 2012 at 9:18 am
    Adam said:

    I have never used a FLUKE but i do have a FLIR. I have the FLIR HS-324 Thermal Imaging Camera and have been blown away with how good it is. FLIR is a brand that i can recommend.

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