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Flir 640R review? anyone?

@JD

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I'm flying the FLIR Boson 640 non radiometric. I'm interested in anyone's experience and /or review of the Flir 640R radiometric version. Image quality? etc.
 
Image quality is really the same between the FLIR Boson and FLIR Boson Radiometric. Difference just being that the radiometric core has the ability to capture temperature in each pixel for radiometric processing in FLIR Studios. Sensitivity and accuracy remains the same in both cores.
 
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okay, any issues with the temperature accuracy? image is as sharp as the non radiometric version? I ask because I love my dual, but was wanting to upgrade; but haven't seen any real reviews yet. Does advexure allow for some type/form of upgrading?
 
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Image quality is really the same between the FLIR Boson and FLIR Boson Radiometric.
image is as sharp as the non radiometric version?

I believe @Blade Strike was just saying in one of the FB groups that there is a significant IQ difference between the original Dual and the newer 640T/R sensors.

@advexure - Would you be willing to capture photos/videos from each, shot at the same location, conditions, etc. and share them? As the OP mentions, there really aren't many reviews out there and these are very large investments for most individuals, agencies, etc. Thanks!
 
Hello @JD

I've posted some of my findings so far with my 640R here:

 
I believe @Blade Strike was just saying in one of the FB groups that there is a significant IQ difference between the original Dual and the newer 640T/R sensors.

@advexure - Would you be willing to capture photos/videos from each, shot at the same location, conditions, etc. and share them? As the OP mentions, there really aren't many reviews out there and these are very large investments for most individuals, agencies, etc. Thanks!
Can you speak more on what you mean by ‘significant iq difference’ between the dual and dualr (radiometric)? I referring to both flir models.
 
Can you speak more on what you mean by ‘significant iq difference’ between the dual and dualr (radiometric)? I referring to both flir models.

I just did a search and can't find the post I was referring to, but hopefully Blade Strike will comment here when he gets the chance.

From what I can remember, someone was commenting on the original Dual producing soft images and the feedback was that there have been noticeable improvements in image quality (IQ) since that model came out. IOW, both the 640T and 640R have a better quality image compared to the original Dual. A lot of people think that all 640x512 thermal cameras will produce the same IQ, but there are several other factors to consider (including sensitivity, which is one of the most important factors, image processing, etc.).
 
Here's a link to a webinar that Jon McBride did. Around 1:13:00, he mentions that the 640T model is a bit crisper than the 640R, due to its additional detail enhancement adjustment: Which Thermal Camera is Best for You? Unfortunately, no comparison to the original Dual.
 
Still not exactly what you're asking for, but I'm just sharing things that I hope are useful:

 
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I've had experience with both the Dual 640R and the 640T. I eventually settled with the Zenmuse XT2 640. I will try to sum up my thoughts on all three to hopefully provide some insight.

I needed to purchase a thermal drone to provide inspections on large solar sites. The standard for this seams to be a DJI M200 with the XT2 or the M300 with the H20T. I was looking to get away from DJI due to geozone issues I have had in the past so I was set on trying to purchase and use an Autel drone. Ultimately this did not work out so I settled on using a Zenmuse XT2 on a DJI M600P platform.

640T
I initially started with the 640T, but had to return due to the way it saves the thermal images. The 640T uses the iRay sensor so all of the radiometric data is saved in a separate text file. Each time a thermal image is captured it saves 3 files; the RGB, IR (tif), and a separate text file with the radiometric data. This caused 2 issues. The first being that when I used any photogrammetry software I was forced to use the TIF image so the results would lose the radiometric data. The second issue was with the IRPC tool that Autel provides to edit the thermal images. The software was very buggy and lacked the ability to make bulk edits (having used FLIR Tools in the past this software is very subpar and is weakest element for the 640T).

The IR image quality from the 640T was in my opinion the best of all 3 cameras. Both the 640T (iRay) and the 640R (Boson 640) have a pixel pitch of 12um vs. 17um on the XT2 (FLIR Tau2). I believe this allowed both the thermal cameras on the Autel to capture more smaller details. As an example I flew solar panels on my roof from the same height using all 3 cameras. On the 640R and 640T I could see the outline of the individual cells in the solar panels. When flown from the same height with the XT2 the outline of the cells was not visible. When compared only to the 640R the nod in image quality still leans towards the 640T iRay sensor. I think the 640T shows just a bit more detail in its images vs the 640R, especially on the edges of objects.

TLDR; Drone and camera were great, but the IR software and the image format are problematic. For smaller inspection work where the Chinese sensor is not a problem I would purchase the 640T due to the cost savings vs the 640R.

640R
This is the second thermal drone I tried after the 640T. Image quality was very similar to the 640T. The files are saved as a radiometric JPEG so it is compatible with the FLIR software and most photogrammetry/inspection software. The Evo 2 640R that I purchased was a V1 and I was able to get a V1 smart controller. I loved this drone and the controller, I REALLY wanted this kit to work out but I ran in to several issues.

The first issue was due to the RGB image resolution. The 640R has a 48mp RGB camera along with the IR camera (same as the 640T). However, when you capture IR and RGB images simultaneously the RGB image is lowered to only 8 megapixels. The meets the minimum required standards for large scale solar inspections, but is well below the advertised 48 megapixels. (Quick sidenote, the 48mp camera in the Evo 2 dual uses a less common subpixel layout to achieve 48mp. In practice I think the images are more comparable to 12 megapixels.) The 8mp images were not ideal, but I was still willing to stick with this drone.

The next issue I had was the dealbreaker. I could not get the drone to complete an IR mapping mission without the camera locking up after 10-20 images. Once this happened the drone would complete the mission, but the images would stop being captured after the lockup. I tried several other controllers and devices with no luck. Eventually I sent the unit to Autel. They were able to recreate the issue on other units and informed me that I would have to wait for a future software fix to hopefully remedy the issue. At this point I decided to return the 640R as I had projects lined up and could not wait for a fix down the road.

Zenmuse XT2
The final option I settled with was purchasing a Zenmuse XT2 to use with an M600P that I already had.

This camera uses a FLIR Tau2 sensor. The pixel pitch is larger than the other Autel cameras at 17 um so it captures a bit less detail, but it is a very well known and well used IR sensor for large solar inspections. The camera alone is basically the same price as the entire 640R package and about $4k more than the 640T. It works well for what I am using it for. I was looking forward to lugging around something smaller than the M600P, but it works and has always flown very well.

There is one advantage to the XT2 vs the 640T and 640R, that is the ability to capture SEQ videos. Both Autels can only record thermal video on MP4 format, which does not allow for radiometric data to be captured. When I capture SEQ IR video from the XT2 I can adjust the settings and view radiometric data in post using FLIR software. I doubt this will be a big issue for most, but if your are interested in capturing the highest quality thermal video the XT2 has an edge over the Autel IR drones.

Summary
Sorry for the long winded response. I've been going through this over the last several months so hopefully this will prevent others from having to deal with the same issues.

640T - excellent drone (especially with the new V2 and enterprise bundles). This is a great choice for inspections that do not require post processing or reporting of more than 10-20 images. Roof, cell tower, transformers, substation inspections would all be excellent use cases for this drone. Any large scale projects that require a lot of images or cover a large area may not be the best (a lot of this could change based on how Autel improves both the flight software and the IR editing tool).

640R - same as 640T. This is the better option if you are comfortable with FLIR software or need to batch edit a lot of files/reports. Also good for clients that require FLIR.

XT2 - Been around the block. This is a known senor and platform. The sensor is starting to show its age vs the newer and smaller sensors, but the DJI ecosystem is still more robust at this point, giving you more options for mapping software.
 
I almost forgot to provide a shoutout to Advexure.

I purchased all 3 kits (640T, 640R and XT2) from Advexure. They were very helpful with every issue I encountered and went above and beyond to get me something that worked.

They made exceptions for both of the Autel drones allowing me to return/exchange them even when I was outside of the return window due to the issues I was experiencing. I was sick to my stomach when I discovered that the 640R could not be fixed by Autel and thought that I had just spent $12k on a setup that was not going to work. Advexure not only got involved when my drone was with Autel for repair, but worked with me after the fact to make sure I had something that would work.

Seriously, if you are going to make a substantial purchase on a drone I cannot recommend Advexure enough. They provided support even when the manufacturer would not.
 
@jkbomber thank you for your thorough review and experience. I'm not currently in need of thermal, but if I were, this would be extremely helpful. As a new Evo2 Ent. owner, and new to Autel in general, the hardware seems amply up to the task. However, the shortcomings in the software keep popping up in every corner. Hopefully they understand the deficiencies, I think they do, and provide some meaningful improvement soon in that area. That is the only way they will truly shine and start gaining market share.

As far as @advexure 's support is concerned, that is becoming a recurring theme. Good on them !
 
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I've had experience with both the Dual 640R and the 640T. I eventually settled with the Zenmuse XT2 640. I will try to sum up my thoughts on all three to hopefully provide some insight.

I needed to purchase a thermal drone to provide inspections on large solar sites. The standard for this seams to be a DJI M200 with the XT2 or the M300 with the H20T. I was looking to get away from DJI due to geozone issues I have had in the past so I was set on trying to purchase and use an Autel drone. Ultimately this did not work out so I settled on using a Zenmuse XT2 on a DJI M600P platform.

640T
I initially started with the 640T, but had to return due to the way it saves the thermal images. The 640T uses the iRay sensor so all of the radiometric data is saved in a separate text file. Each time a thermal image is captured it saves 3 files; the RGB, IR (tif), and a separate text file with the radiometric data. This caused 2 issues. The first being that when I used any photogrammetry software I was forced to use the TIF image so the results would lose the radiometric data. The second issue was with the IRPC tool that Autel provides to edit the thermal images. The software was very buggy and lacked the ability to make bulk edits (having used FLIR Tools in the past this software is very subpar and is weakest element for the 640T).

The IR image quality from the 640T was in my opinion the best of all 3 cameras. Both the 640T (iRay) and the 640R (Boson 640) have a pixel pitch of 12um vs. 17um on the XT2 (FLIR Tau2). I believe this allowed both the thermal cameras on the Autel to capture more smaller details. As an example I flew solar panels on my roof from the same height using all 3 cameras. On the 640R and 640T I could see the outline of the individual cells in the solar panels. When flown from the same height with the XT2 the outline of the cells was not visible. When compared only to the 640R the nod in image quality still leans towards the 640T iRay sensor. I think the 640T shows just a bit more detail in its images vs the 640R, especially on the edges of objects.

TLDR; Drone and camera were great, but the IR software and the image format are problematic. For smaller inspection work where the Chinese sensor is not a problem I would purchase the 640T due to the cost savings vs the 640R.

640R
This is the second thermal drone I tried after the 640T. Image quality was very similar to the 640T. The files are saved as a radiometric JPEG so it is compatible with the FLIR software and most photogrammetry/inspection software. The Evo 2 640R that I purchased was a V1 and I was able to get a V1 smart controller. I loved this drone and the controller, I REALLY wanted this kit to work out but I ran in to several issues.

The first issue was due to the RGB image resolution. The 640R has a 48mp RGB camera along with the IR camera (same as the 640T). However, when you capture IR and RGB images simultaneously the RGB image is lowered to only 8 megapixels. The meets the minimum required standards for large scale solar inspections, but is well below the advertised 48 megapixels. (Quick sidenote, the 48mp camera in the Evo 2 dual uses a less common subpixel layout to achieve 48mp. In practice I think the images are more comparable to 12 megapixels.) The 8mp images were not ideal, but I was still willing to stick with this drone.

The next issue I had was the dealbreaker. I could not get the drone to complete an IR mapping mission without the camera locking up after 10-20 images. Once this happened the drone would complete the mission, but the images would stop being captured after the lockup. I tried several other controllers and devices with no luck. Eventually I sent the unit to Autel. They were able to recreate the issue on other units and informed me that I would have to wait for a future software fix to hopefully remedy the issue. At this point I decided to return the 640R as I had projects lined up and could not wait for a fix down the road.

Zenmuse XT2
The final option I settled with was purchasing a Zenmuse XT2 to use with an M600P that I already had.

This camera uses a FLIR Tau2 sensor. The pixel pitch is larger than the other Autel cameras at 17 um so it captures a bit less detail, but it is a very well known and well used IR sensor for large solar inspections. The camera alone is basically the same price as the entire 640R package and about $4k more than the 640T. It works well for what I am using it for. I was looking forward to lugging around something smaller than the M600P, but it works and has always flown very well.

There is one advantage to the XT2 vs the 640T and 640R, that is the ability to capture SEQ videos. Both Autels can only record thermal video on MP4 format, which does not allow for radiometric data to be captured. When I capture SEQ IR video from the XT2 I can adjust the settings and view radiometric data in post using FLIR software. I doubt this will be a big issue for most, but if your are interested in capturing the highest quality thermal video the XT2 has an edge over the Autel IR drones.

Summary
Sorry for the long winded response. I've been going through this over the last several months so hopefully this will prevent others from having to deal with the same issues.

640T - excellent drone (especially with the new V2 and enterprise bundles). This is a great choice for inspections that do not require post processing or reporting of more than 10-20 images. Roof, cell tower, transformers, substation inspections would all be excellent use cases for this drone. Any large scale projects that require a lot of images or cover a large area may not be the best (a lot of this could change based on how Autel improves both the flight software and the IR editing tool).

640R - same as 640T. This is the better option if you are comfortable with FLIR software or need to batch edit a lot of files/reports. Also good for clients that require FLIR.

XT2 - Been around the block. This is a known senor and platform. The sensor is starting to show its age vs the newer and smaller sensors, but the DJI ecosystem is still more robust at this point, giving you more options for mapping software.
Thank you for the informative response, it's appreciated. I believe for now I'll stick to my flir boson dual payload. Its non radiometric, but for the market I'm trying to go after (commercial low slope/flat) roof moisture scans, the resolution is great and its qualitative work anyway. Thanks again...
 
Thanks @jkbomber for sharing your experiences.

@JD, below is a screenshot showing the 640T and the Dual. These were captured from a Youtube video and the pilot was using the PIP function, so the quality overall isn't representative of the original footage. However, it does do a good job of showing some of the differences between the sensors.

Thank you for the informative response, it's appreciated. I believe for now I'll stick to my flir boson dual payload. Its non radiometric, but for the market I'm trying to go after (commercial low slope/flat) roof moisture scans, the resolution is great and its qualitative work anyway. Thanks again...

I wouldn't think twice about sticking to that plan. When you get things going and can justify the additional expense, you can always revisit it again.
Screen Shot 2021-11-02 at 5.17.45 PM.png
 
I've had experience with both the Dual 640R and the 640T. I eventually settled with the Zenmuse XT2 640. I will try to sum up my thoughts on all three to hopefully provide some insight.

I needed to purchase a thermal drone to provide inspections on large solar sites. The standard for this seams to be a DJI M200 with the XT2 or the M300 with the H20T. I was looking to get away from DJI due to geozone issues I have had in the past so I was set on trying to purchase and use an Autel drone. Ultimately this did not work out so I settled on using a Zenmuse XT2 on a DJI M600P platform.

640T
I initially started with the 640T, but had to return due to the way it saves the thermal images. The 640T uses the iRay sensor so all of the radiometric data is saved in a separate text file. Each time a thermal image is captured it saves 3 files; the RGB, IR (tif), and a separate text file with the radiometric data. This caused 2 issues. The first being that when I used any photogrammetry software I was forced to use the TIF image so the results would lose the radiometric data. The second issue was with the IRPC tool that Autel provides to edit the thermal images. The software was very buggy and lacked the ability to make bulk edits (having used FLIR Tools in the past this software is very subpar and is weakest element for the 640T).

The IR image quality from the 640T was in my opinion the best of all 3 cameras. Both the 640T (iRay) and the 640R (Boson 640) have a pixel pitch of 12um vs. 17um on the XT2 (FLIR Tau2). I believe this allowed both the thermal cameras on the Autel to capture more smaller details. As an example I flew solar panels on my roof from the same height using all 3 cameras. On the 640R and 640T I could see the outline of the individual cells in the solar panels. When flown from the same height with the XT2 the outline of the cells was not visible. When compared only to the 640R the nod in image quality still leans towards the 640T iRay sensor. I think the 640T shows just a bit more detail in its images vs the 640R, especially on the edges of objects.

TLDR; Drone and camera were great, but the IR software and the image format are problematic. For smaller inspection work where the Chinese sensor is not a problem I would purchase the 640T due to the cost savings vs the 640R.

640R
This is the second thermal drone I tried after the 640T. Image quality was very similar to the 640T. The files are saved as a radiometric JPEG so it is compatible with the FLIR software and most photogrammetry/inspection software. The Evo 2 640R that I purchased was a V1 and I was able to get a V1 smart controller. I loved this drone and the controller, I REALLY wanted this kit to work out but I ran in to several issues.

The first issue was due to the RGB image resolution. The 640R has a 48mp RGB camera along with the IR camera (same as the 640T). However, when you capture IR and RGB images simultaneously the RGB image is lowered to only 8 megapixels. The meets the minimum required standards for large scale solar inspections, but is well below the advertised 48 megapixels. (Quick sidenote, the 48mp camera in the Evo 2 dual uses a less common subpixel layout to achieve 48mp. In practice I think the images are more comparable to 12 megapixels.) The 8mp images were not ideal, but I was still willing to stick with this drone.

The next issue I had was the dealbreaker. I could not get the drone to complete an IR mapping mission without the camera locking up after 10-20 images. Once this happened the drone would complete the mission, but the images would stop being captured after the lockup. I tried several other controllers and devices with no luck. Eventually I sent the unit to Autel. They were able to recreate the issue on other units and informed me that I would have to wait for a future software fix to hopefully remedy the issue. At this point I decided to return the 640R as I had projects lined up and could not wait for a fix down the road.

Zenmuse XT2
The final option I settled with was purchasing a Zenmuse XT2 to use with an M600P that I already had.

This camera uses a FLIR Tau2 sensor. The pixel pitch is larger than the other Autel cameras at 17 um so it captures a bit less detail, but it is a very well known and well used IR sensor for large solar inspections. The camera alone is basically the same price as the entire 640R package and about $4k more than the 640T. It works well for what I am using it for. I was looking forward to lugging around something smaller than the M600P, but it works and has always flown very well.

There is one advantage to the XT2 vs the 640T and 640R, that is the ability to capture SEQ videos. Both Autels can only record thermal video on MP4 format, which does not allow for radiometric data to be captured. When I capture SEQ IR video from the XT2 I can adjust the settings and view radiometric data in post using FLIR software. I doubt this will be a big issue for most, but if your are interested in capturing the highest quality thermal video the XT2 has an edge over the Autel IR drones.

Summary
Sorry for the long winded response. I've been going through this over the last several months so hopefully this will prevent others from having to deal with the same issues.

640T - excellent drone (especially with the new V2 and enterprise bundles). This is a great choice for inspections that do not require post processing or reporting of more than 10-20 images. Roof, cell tower, transformers, substation inspections would all be excellent use cases for this drone. Any large scale projects that require a lot of images or cover a large area may not be the best (a lot of this could change based on how Autel improves both the flight software and the IR editing tool).

640R - same as 640T. This is the better option if you are comfortable with FLIR software or need to batch edit a lot of files/reports. Also good for clients that require FLIR.

XT2 - Been around the block. This is a known senor and platform. The sensor is starting to show its age vs the newer and smaller sensors, but the DJI ecosystem is still more robust at this point, giving you more options for mapping software.
Are there any updates to the issue where the camera stopped working after 20ish pics during the mapping missions? Was this a bug that was fixed? Or are other people seeing issues with the mapping missions failing? I'm considering buying the 640R as a backup for Surveying Solar Farms. TIA!
 

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