Whats the difference between a Pulsar Helion XQ50F and XQ38F Thermal Imagers

What is the difference between Pulsar Helion XQ50F and XQ38F HAND HELD THERMAL IMAGERS?

We are often emailed and asked the question "What is the difference between the Helion XQ50F and Helion XQ38F hand held thermal imager....So we thought we would take a look at the "on paper" specifications and "field" differences in this article.

Pulsar Helion Side by Side

Helion XQ38F and XQ50F Side by Side

Technical Differences in each model.

Visually both devices look virtually identical, other than the obvious lens size differential.

The Pulsar Helion XQ38F has a "38mm" focal lens, whilst the larger XQ50F has a "50mm" focal lens. Physical lens size is 32 and 42 mm respectively.

What this means in real terms is a difference in magnification, field of view, and optical performance in terms of detection range which is also derived from the magnification increase....you can see more detail at distance so in turn your detection range is greater.

Lets take a look at the Helion XQ38F first...

When we refer to "detection ranges" in hand held thermal imagers, this is based on Johnsons Criteria, and is the ability to "detect" a man sized object in ideal conditions.

Pulsar Helion XQ38F Lens

With a detection range of 1350m the Helion XQ38F is a powerful piece of kit...comparing it with the older Quantum HD38S with same lens size, and a detection range of 950m, the new Helion has a huge field advantage in spotting quarry at distance.

The older Quantum HD38S had a magnification of 2.1x to 4.2x using a 25 micron sensor, but with the new 17 micron sensor, the magnification of the XQ38F is now 3.1x (native optical) to 12.4x mag, providing enhanced zoom at distance.

Horizontal Field of view of the Helion XQ38F is 17.2m at 100m providing an excellent wide field of view, making the XQ38F perfect for scanning large areas.

The larger XQ50F Helion thermal imager

The larger lens Pulsar Helion XQ50F offers increased detection range over the XQ38F, with a detection range of up to 1800m.

Twinned with a larger lens, the XQ50F also has increased native (optical) and digital magnification of 4.1x to 16.4x mag.

It's worth noting that whilst the magnification is up to 16.4x this is a digital magnification and therefore the image does pixelate when you zoom beyond the native magnification.  Saying that the pixelation is considerably less when compared to the old XD and HD series thermal imagers.

The Horizontal Field of view of the Helion XQ38F is 13m at 100m, providing a narrower field of view than the XQ38F but increased magnification and detection range.

Helion XQ50F Lens

What the differences make in the field and which should you choose?

Lets take a look at a field of view comparison first. We have taken an image of a member of staff 30m away from each camera, mounted to a tripod.

You can see the Helion XQ38F on the left, and the XQ50F on the right, showing the difference in field of view of each device at native magnification.

Helion Side by Side

Pulsar Helion XQ38F on left at 3.1x mag, XQ50F on right 4.1x mag, both at base optical mag

This, in field terminology, translates to a much wider field of view when scanning large areas with the XQ38F whilst the XQ50F provides greater magnification, so more capability for detail definition at distance.

This can be seen below with maximum magnification applied to both devices, with the XQ38F at 12.4x mag on the left, and XQ50F at 16.4x mag on the right.

Helion Zoomed Side by Side

Maximum zoom, XQ38F on 12.4x Mag on left, XQ50F at 16.4x Mag on right

What other models of Helion are there?

Pulsar also make a Helion XQ19F which is a smaller lens device, with a 1.6x to 6.4x mag providing a 700m detection range. This isnt usually sold for the hunting market but is perfect for wildlife surveillance and security applications.

As well as the 384x288 sensor Helion devices, there are also Helion "XP" thermal imagers, which have a 640x480 thermal core.

This delivers up to twice the image quality, with a high resolution sensor, providing increased magnification with minimal pixelation.

Whilst detection range is unchanged XP50 = 1800m and XQ50F = 1800m...the IDENTIFICATION range is greatly increased.

You can read an article on these differences here in this article.

You can also find out more about the new Pulsar Helion thermal range on our website below.

Click here to find out more.

See Pulsar's promo marketing video below:

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Pulsar Helion Thermal Models