Pulsar HD38s Thermal Monocular First Testing

Discussion in 'Optics' started by Brian Shaffer, Jun 27, 2014.

  1. Brian Shaffer

    Brian Shaffer Hog Hunter SUS VENATOR CLUB LoneStarBoars Supporter

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    I have this for a few more weeks, but I thought I would put out the first video testing I have done with it. First time out, I had the issues with the video recorder and the time/date stamp (see hog imagery here) and the second time out, didn't see much in the way of animals.

    I plan on trying to video various animals at various distances, hopefully and primarily in the fields where I can say with some certainty what the distances are because I am familiar with the fields and the distances between landmarks via Google Earth. I also hope to go more into the operation of the scope, but have already seen where others have done a better job online with that already, so maybe just key features?

    On first blush, I like this scope better than my FLIR PS32. It runs about $800 more than the PS32 ($3800), http://www.pulsar-nv.com/products/thermal-imaging-scopes-quantum/quantum-hd38s/ . It does not show quite as well on the video (which is through the video out port and not shot through the lens), but on the internal display, significantly hotter things such as animals really sort of "pop" (stand out) visually and are not just white or black.

    I don't have a set format or plan at this point, so if you have some specific questions or things you want to see brought up about the scope, let me know and I will try to work it in to the more formal overall review as I get it together.

     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2014
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  2. FrankT

    FrankT Destin FL LSB TURKEY BUZZARD PRESERVATION SOCIETY LoneStarBoars Supporter

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    $800?
     
  3. DaveABQ

    DaveABQ Albuquerque, NM

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    $800 more than.....
     
  4. DaveABQ

    DaveABQ Albuquerque, NM

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    good info Brian...
     
  5. rgilbert

    rgilbert LSB Active Member LSB TURKEY BUZZARD PRESERVATION SOCIETY SUS VENATOR CLUB

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    Looks good. The corn in the feeder holds that much heat? Good way to check them.
     
  6. Brian Shaffer

    Brian Shaffer Hog Hunter SUS VENATOR CLUB LoneStarBoars Supporter

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    Actually, yeah, the corn retains heat. It can take a while for the metal to cool off sometimes to show the difference (direct sunlight all day long can heat up everything), but it works. You can also check above ground propane tanks and see how much propane they have in them as well.
     
  7. BigRedDog

    BigRedDog LSB Active Member SUS VENATOR CLUB LoneStarBoars Supporter Vendor

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    How well does it handle fast scanning side to side? Pixilate much?

    Any idea of how much it can discriminate between temps? How many degrees delta does it need to show a differential?

    thanks for the report
     
  8. Brian Shaffer

    Brian Shaffer Hog Hunter SUS VENATOR CLUB LoneStarBoars Supporter

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    Specs that I know are in the link above. Scannindg is demo'd in the vid.
     
  9. DaveABQ

    DaveABQ Albuquerque, NM

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    I love that in my thermal monocular Brian, I can tell how much corn is in my feeders so I know when it's time to refill
     
  10. Hunt TXHogs

    Hunt TXHogs LSB Member

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    With the original HD38 no 'S' in model name i found that I frequently had to calibrate it (every 10 mins) to keep the image clean.

    All thermals probably need more frequent calibration when first used (initial on) until the microbolometer stabalizes but I was having to recalibrate half hour or more later from initial on at the timeframe specified above.

    Is the 'S' improved from this standpoint?

    Is the focus ring as finicky as the Photon focus or is it more forgiving?

    What is the furthest distance that you can detect a doe/pig/cow from an overlook, such as a dam.
     
  11. Brian Shaffer

    Brian Shaffer Hog Hunter SUS VENATOR CLUB LoneStarBoars Supporter

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    The objective focus is not as finicky, but it is pretty quick. Either you are in focus or you are not.

    I don't know about the original HD38, but if I am understanding you, then yes, it is improved on the auto calibration.

    Detection range is given at 850 yards (meters), IIRC. That is for a human-sized target. Humans are sort of uniquely shaped and taller. I haven't had the chance to do much longer range work at known distances, most of the longer range work being from a vehicle on the road after an evening hunting. But I will tell you what I have seen at known distances.

    Keeping in mind that the following terms have these meanings...
    Detection - you know something is there
    Recognition - you recognize it as a particular group of creature (e.g., human, canid, lagomorph, etc.)
    Identification - you recognize it as particular types of animals or group of humans.

    Sometimes, there is some blending of categories and sometimes there is little between detection and recognition.

    I have detected raccoons and armadillos at over 200 yards as tiny moving dots, but identified them through night vision. By anatomical features, identification is closer to 50 or 60 yards, but by behavior (how they are moving), at over 100 yards. Raccoons and armadillos are very similar in size, hunched back, etc., so just standing still in a field, they can be hard to distinguish from one another.

    Rabbits are smaller (cottontails), but are uniquely shaped. They can be identified out to at least 50 or 60 yards, but identified by behavior at well over 100 it they are running/hopping. Probably the furthest I have detected one is close to 175 yards, though I am sure they could be seen further, but are so readily obscured by brush.

    Bobcat- detected one last night at roughly 150 yards as it was walking away from me and then it turned sideways. It took a bit of study to determine what it was (the question was bobcat/coyote/fox), but once given the right profile could be positively identified by anatomical features at that distance. We watched it move around and out beyond 190 yards where it was still recognizable (by behavior/locomotion) at that distance.

    Deer- no problems recognizing a deer at 250 yards as a deer. I could not have told you if it was a particular type of deer and with antlers small on a lot of the bucks right now, could not have told you if it was a buck or a doe. 250 is the furthest known distance I have seen deer. Inside of 175, I can make out short antlers (looks like too many ears). At 200, I can identify bucks with racks where they are starting to branch. Right now, the growing antlers are vascularized and so are relatively warm and stand out nicely on thermal.

    Large Owl - detected in tree at 195 yards, identified with NV as an owl. Could not tell it was an owl, but saw it fly and so recognized it as a larger bird with the HD38s.

    Mice/rats - 130 yard behavior recognition of them crawling up and down tree trunks

    Dove - detection at 120 yards, identified via NV

    Hogs - the longest known distance I have seen a hog is 130 yards and identification occurred by anatomical feature. I know I have seen hogs in pastures beyond 250 yards (but I don't know by how much) where they were half hidden by grass and determined what they were by how they moved despite not being able to see them in their entirety.

    Cattle can be detected at over 1000 yards.

    That is about all that I have from my notes so far. The distances are based on landmarks measured on Google Earth from my position. This is not to say that these are maximums, only that they are what I have been able to put to paper so far. For most of my hunting, being able to see beyond 250 yards is usually not possible because of trees.

    From what I have experienced with other thermal scopes is that depth perception through the scope is usually quite poor and it can be very difficult to assess size of the creature and distance away without having some idea of landmarks and their distance from you. Driving around with Glenn Guess and watching for hot spots and not realizing that the tree line was merging with the road and calling out a STOP because I detected at rabbit at 50 yards that I thought might be a hog at 250 yards is a prime sort of example, embarrassing as it may be. So too comes the problems of identifications of targets at distances that are often nothing more than white or black silhouettes without much detail. So distinguishing between a coyote, fox, and similar domestic dog can be problematic. For many animals, you have to look at their behavior and locomotion. Deer with their heads down can look a lot like hogs, especially when their feet are hidden by the grass and you can't really tell how long their legs are. A possible hog that raises its head and has a long neck can magically turn into deer. The point here is just to reiterate the problems in the terminology of detection, recognition, and identification. There are a lot of things you can detect at long distances, but then never have a clue as to what they are unless you are able to approach them. I have undoubtedly detected all of the above animals at longer distances, but never knew what I was seeing, hence can't tell you that I saw them.

    Sorry, Ben, that was probably way too much more answer than you wanted. I had not given this a lot of specific thought before replying, so you are getting my stream of (un)consciousness.
     
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  12. Hunt TXHogs

    Hunt TXHogs LSB Member

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    Brian -

    Thanks for unleashing your stream of knowledge upon us, like water in an arid surrounding it is much needed and appreciated.

    Your field notes are fantastic, I do not get out afield to often so I take in the information you have provided and draw mental pictures pertaining to areas on my hunting land to correlate with animals that we have seen and encountered.

    As you know I have made a habit of using decoys to relate back to others what NV systems can do mainly because when I do get out there aren't always animals available to view.

    For thermal the use of decoys becomes a lot harder based on how the technology works so again your field notes are very helpful.

    If you can, with your recorder, run us through the 3 image settings on a scenery of your choosing to show us the "Pop" feature.

    Ben
     
  13. BigRedDog

    BigRedDog LSB Active Member SUS VENATOR CLUB LoneStarBoars Supporter Vendor

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    Happy Birthday Ben
     
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  14. Brian Shaffer

    Brian Shaffer Hog Hunter SUS VENATOR CLUB LoneStarBoars Supporter

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    LOL, Ben, you are much better at explaining some of the more subtle features. I haven't spent much time in the other two modes because they don't seem to have the same level of sensitivity.

    And I do like your idea of standardized targets at set distances. I just don't have a way to do that to my liking. My hope is to get some notes done and then some video (for example, the bobcat vid turned out well) and I will get various animals video'd at various distances to give some idea what things look like. It won't be standardized, which is a shortcoming of the method, but will provide some real life examples.
     
  15. Hunt TXHogs

    Hunt TXHogs LSB Member

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    Brian -

    These guys agree with you on battery life. Also they give a bit of information on the old HD38 vs the new 'S' model that you are using

     
  16. TEXASLAWMAN

    TEXASLAWMAN Lone Star Boars Owner LSB TURKEY BUZZARD PRESERVATION SOCIETY SUS VENATOR CLUB LoneStarBoars Supporter

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    After watching that video I do not see why anyone in the US would choose that over a x320.
     
  17. Brian Shaffer

    Brian Shaffer Hog Hunter SUS VENATOR CLUB LoneStarBoars Supporter

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    And I see they explained the mode use quite succinctly as well. Thank you.
     
  18. Brian Shaffer

    Brian Shaffer Hog Hunter SUS VENATOR CLUB LoneStarBoars Supporter

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    Because the X320 is only a 1x (optical) scope with E-zoom 2x, 3x, and 4x, but still only 1x optical.
     
  19. Hunt TXHogs

    Hunt TXHogs LSB Member

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    Jeez I dunno, maybe the US consumer would appreciate a larger OLED display with twice the resolution, wider field of view, larger optical lens, and as Brian mentioned the higher optical magnification.

    The HD38s is more expensive but perhaps the above will be justification for the higher price point...
     
  20. TEXASLAWMAN

    TEXASLAWMAN Lone Star Boars Owner LSB TURKEY BUZZARD PRESERVATION SOCIETY SUS VENATOR CLUB LoneStarBoars Supporter

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    Well for a monocular 1x would be preferred since monoculars are used for spotting and scanning not shooting.
     

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