Last week we talked about learning to recognize when the thermal images are in perfect focus and then practicing the techniques until you have confidence in your abilities to focus. Hopefully, no matter how long you’ve been using an imager, you’ve worked on those skills.
There is another trick that can be helpful if you are still struggling or when you find yourself challenged by a situation. Fluke imagers have a unique feature that can help you learn to focus. Unlike most other brands of imagers, their patented IR-Fusion® shows perfect alignment of the visual and thermal images when you are in focus.
Focus and Freezing
To see what I mean, put the imager in full fusion mode and you can quickly see if the visual and thermal images are aligned. Just check either a vertical or horizontal line in the image like a wall or ceiling corner. While this technique can be a helpful way to learn to focus—or used even by skilled thermographers in some tough situations—I do not, however, recommend using it on a regular basis. You want a full thermal image on the screen rather than a picture-in-picture with its smaller thermal image. Use fusion as a learning aid or when you need a little extra help but plan to routinely work without it.
Even if you consider yourself a skilled thermographer, I’d ask you to look back over your images and really make sure they are as sharply focused as they should be. Not only is it good practice but it can make a difference in whether you take home the trophy or not! If you are still new at this game of thermography, know that mastering the skills of focusing and freezing images just takes time and practice but that there is nothing more important you can do at this stage of your learning. If the saved thermal images you are getting are out of focus, I’d urge you to go back to the basics and get them right. Next week we’ll get back to what we can do with those really great images you are now getting every single time you pull the trigger!
John Snell—The Snell Group, a Fluke Thermal Imaging Blog content partner