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#6744965 - 04/24/17 08:01 PM looks like the cheapest way is...
Bigfoot Offline
Tracker

Registered: 08/06/14
Posts: 938
Loc: Galveston Bay
Hey guys correct me if I am wrong. I am on a budget so spending 2 or 3 grand is out. I have been doing my homework and I just want to make sure I am buying what will work.

Looking at the FLIR TK as my handheld monocular and a sightmark photon 4.6.

I believe this is the cheapest and best set up for the money. Should I be looking elsewhere?
_________________________
30-06
6.8SPC
45acp
22LR

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#6745085 - 04/24/17 10:41 PM Re: looks like the cheapest way is... [Re: Bigfoot]
CharlieCTx Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 05/27/13
Posts: 1419
Loc: Flower Mound, TX
I think you're making a great choice with the thermal spotter and the Photon.

I'd watch all the usual suspects for a good deal on something used to upgrade the monocular a bit. All of my optics were 2nd hand.
_________________________
Charlie

M&P-10+AAC Cyclone - Kel-Tec RFB+Griffin Sportsman Ultra Light 300
Pulsar XQ-50
ATN OTS 336-50mm 9hz Thermal Monocular
ATN NVM14 NV Monocular

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#6745222 - 04/25/17 07:15 AM Re: looks like the cheapest way is... [Re: Bigfoot]
GLC Offline


Registered: 02/25/09
Posts: 4694
Loc: Burleson Texas
Originally Posted By: Bigfoot
Hey guys correct me if I am wrong. I am on a budget so spending 2 or 3 grand is out. I have been doing my homework and I just want to make sure I am buying what will work.

Looking at the FLIR TK as my handheld monocular and a sightmark photon 4.6.

I believe this is the cheapest and best set up for the money. Should I be looking elsewhere?


As far as the Flir Tk, don't waste your money. I bought one 2 weeks ago and sent it back yesterday. I had it out at the deer lease for a week. I tried it out in my back yard before I left and thought it worked pretty well for the money. I tried it out on my dog and people but stayed within 25 to 50 yards of my house. The problem was that I knew the terrain and objects around me. When I got to the lease I tried to use it in a stand where my field of view was 25 to 100 yards. There was not enough definition to make out anything. I tried all settings and nothing seemed to make a difference. I guess if there was a medium sized animal like a large hog or deer you may catch some movement and get your attention but it would look like a blob with no distinguishing features. I did do a sit in a popup where I watched a raccoon from sunset to dark 30 at 20 yards. I could somewhat make out its shape but then again I knew what it was already. By the way, it also has a lag in what you see, it is not real time. I guess it takes time to process the information and convert it to thermal image.

Maybe for $600 it does what it can for the money and maybe I should not knock it. Maybe I expected too much for the price. It just did not accomplish what I wanted.
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#6745378 - 04/25/17 09:58 AM Re: looks like the cheapest way is... [Re: Bigfoot]
Bigfoot Offline
Tracker

Registered: 08/06/14
Posts: 938
Loc: Galveston Bay
That is disappointing to hear about the flir. I had heard it was possible to make out hogs and deer at 100 yards.
_________________________
30-06
6.8SPC
45acp
22LR

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#6745458 - 04/25/17 11:02 AM Re: looks like the cheapest way is... [Re: Bigfoot]
MDMORROW Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 01/10/11
Posts: 2901
Loc: McKinney & Pottsboro, TX
Honestly I'd save about 1600 and pickup a Pulsar LD19s. Great image quality. They'll probably be all dried up unless you snatch one up soon. They're letting them go at a discount presently.

With the TK you could tell there is something there at a hundred in certain cases. Most times you will miss seeing anything. Definitely can't tell what critter it is at that distance though.


Edited by MDMORROW (04/25/17 11:04 AM)
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#6745548 - 04/25/17 12:18 PM Re: looks like the cheapest way is... [Re: Bigfoot]
Outdoor Legacy Gear Offline
Woodsman

Registered: 03/18/11
Posts: 125
Loc: Appleby, TX
I'm not a big fan of the FLIR TK Scout because of the low resolution but even more so because of the <9Hz refresh rate. That is extremely slow. I know the Leuopold LTO Tracker isn't the perfect solution either but at least it's a 30Hz refresh rate. You will be able to see hogs/deer well out past 100 yards but a positive ID on anything is going to be hard past around 100 yards or a little less. I really like the LTO for what it is though. Its a super optic for tracking and combined with a Photon it's a really nice spotter. A decent size hog or coyote isn't going to sneak past the LTO at under 1750-200 yards. All you are trying to do is spot something is out there. Then you take your Photon and figure out what it is.

In my opinion, the Scout or the LTO Tracker are both 25x better than having to hold your rifle up all night while panning and scanning around. If you want to positively identify an animal at over 100 yards with thermal then yes, you really need some higher end thermal. But honestly, in general thermal is not great for ID'ing animals. I was using a $2,000 thermal monocular last night and looking an animal at 200 yards in tall grass and I couldn't tell if it was a hog, a deer with its head down, a coyote or something else. I had to break out the digital ATN BinoX to get a positive ID on it. And it ended up being a hog.

Speaking of the ATN BinoX, that really might be a good option for you. While I'm not a huge fan of every ATN optic, I am a fan of the BinoX. I think they are the most under rated digital monocular/binocular on the market. They have a HUGE IR illuminator built in and I can see deer at 350+ yards on a black night with them. They are really a very cool optic for spotting and the price is right. Thermal has it's place but I use my BinoX 7 nights a week right along side my Pulsar thermal monocular when I need to get a better ID on something.

Just my 2 cents. Hit me up if you've got more questions or need help.

- Jason
_________________________

Night Vision, Thermal & Accessories
Pulsar, Sightmark, FLIR, Armasight, ATN & More
OutdoorLegacyGear.com
(877)350-1818


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#6745724 - 04/25/17 03:11 PM Re: looks like the cheapest way is... [Re: Bigfoot]
Bigfoot Offline
Tracker

Registered: 08/06/14
Posts: 938
Loc: Galveston Bay
Thanks for the note on the BinoX. Not many people have mentioned them and I figure that is for a reason of complexity and they would be problematic. But maybe not I will do some more homework on it. I like all of the features with video and pics.
_________________________
30-06
6.8SPC
45acp
22LR

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#6746080 - 04/25/17 09:09 PM Re: looks like the cheapest way is... [Re: Bigfoot]
stxhunter Offline
Tracker

Registered: 03/04/08
Posts: 802
Loc: Katy
For your application I would also suggest you look at both the BinoX and Pulsar Digiforce units. In my opinion both have some advantages over the Flir TK.
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www.bigpiglights.com
Specializing in Hog Hunting and Night Vision Equipment
(956)793-0904

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#6746111 - 04/25/17 09:35 PM Re: looks like the cheapest way is... [Re: Bigfoot]
MDMORROW Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 01/10/11
Posts: 2901
Loc: McKinney & Pottsboro, TX
Pulsar coming out with a new line of digital scopes that should be very attractive. Sight line is the name. Should be in the 6-800 range. Then save up for a entry level thermal scanner. The sight mark photon is a great option that's available now. I think later on this summer for the sight line.
_________________________

Night Vision & Thermal Sales
FLIR|Pulsar|Trijicon Electro-Optics|Steiner|ATN
www.nightvisionoutfitters.com

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#6746123 - 04/25/17 09:45 PM Re: looks like the cheapest way is... [Re: Bigfoot]
CharlieCTx Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 05/27/13
Posts: 1419
Loc: Flower Mound, TX
Don't get caught up in the bigger number is always better and nothing else works. I couldn't be happier with my 9hz ATN-OTS monocular. Here's a side by side comparison of 9 vs 30.



You're not shooting with a spotter, you're just trying to see if something is out there. Most anything Thermal (not the super cheap stuff) for spotting, is better than most any NV, hands down, no question. My lease hunting buddy has a PVS-14, no slouch device. All you have to do is work with both side by side and you'll come to the same conclusion.
_________________________
Charlie

M&P-10+AAC Cyclone - Kel-Tec RFB+Griffin Sportsman Ultra Light 300
Pulsar XQ-50
ATN OTS 336-50mm 9hz Thermal Monocular
ATN NVM14 NV Monocular

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#6746151 - 04/25/17 10:20 PM Re: looks like the cheapest way is... [Re: Bigfoot]
MDMORROW Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 01/10/11
Posts: 2901
Loc: McKinney & Pottsboro, TX
Exactly. The refresh rate of the spotter isn't a huge deal. An LD19S can be had right now for about 1600.
_________________________

Night Vision & Thermal Sales
FLIR|Pulsar|Trijicon Electro-Optics|Steiner|ATN
www.nightvisionoutfitters.com

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#6746644 - 04/26/17 12:05 PM Re: looks like the cheapest way is... [Re: CharlieCTx]
GLC Offline


Registered: 02/25/09
Posts: 4694
Loc: Burleson Texas
Originally Posted By: CharlieCTx
Don't get caught up in the bigger number is always better and nothing else works. I couldn't be happier with my 9hz ATN-OTS monocular. Here's a side by side comparison of 9 vs 30.



You're not shooting with a spotter, you're just trying to see if something is out there. Most anything Thermal (not the super cheap stuff) for spotting, is better than most any NV, hands down, no question. My lease hunting buddy has a PVS-14, no slouch device. All you have to do is work with both side by side and you'll come to the same conclusion.


I wonder what distance that was shot at?
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#6746985 - 04/26/17 05:19 PM Re: looks like the cheapest way is... [Re: Bigfoot]
Outdoor Legacy Gear Offline
Woodsman

Registered: 03/18/11
Posts: 125
Loc: Appleby, TX
Just an FYI on the Pulsar Sightlines because a lot of people have been asking about them and I saw them mentioned above. I would strongly advise against waiting to buy a Sightline because they will not be shipping in 2017. Pulsar is putting them on the back burner for now and all dealer pre-orders will eventually be cancelled. I got that word direct from Pulsar this week.

I'm not sure what the future holds next year for the Sightlines but I hope they either add some more features and/or lower the price. The demo units at SHOT in January looked really nice but I believe the price was too high compared to the quality/features of Photons and the X-Sights. I highly doubt my opinion counts for too much, but I've told that to everyone at Pulsar that will listen. smile Either way, I trust Pulsar to make a great product at a really good price because they've got a really good track record.

On another Pulsar related note, I saw the Pulsar Digiforce monoculars suggested above. They are really nice monoculars but having used the 860VS a great deal, I often have a hard time recommending it for use along side of a Photon. The reason is, the Digiforce does not have a bright enough illuminator to see quite as far or as well as the Photon XT. So when you are using them together, you will find yourself using your Photon a lot of times instead of the Digiforce, simply because you've got more range with the Photon. I was very disappointed about this when I started testing the 860VS when it was released last year. I was really hoping it was going to a replacement for the discontinued Pulsar Recon 750 that was $499 but instead it ended up being a replacement for the discontinued Recon 550 that sold for the same $399. This doesn't make it a complete deal breaker and at $399, it's still a very fair deal for a quality digital monocular. If you are just using it by itself and not along side a Photon or an X-Sight, then I would say it's a really good bang for your buck in a small light weight package. There is also an X970 Digiforce in the line up but it's $799, so that is a whole other price point.

I hope that helps a little and it's just my 2 cents, take it along side all these other opinions because they are very knowledgeable guys.

- Jason
_________________________

Night Vision, Thermal & Accessories
Pulsar, Sightmark, FLIR, Armasight, ATN & More
OutdoorLegacyGear.com
(877)350-1818


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#6762625 - 05/12/17 05:06 PM Re: looks like the cheapest way is... [Re: GLC]
aerangis Offline
Tracker

Registered: 09/05/08
Posts: 891
Loc: Nunya
Originally Posted By: GLC
Originally Posted By: Bigfoot
Hey guys correct me if I am wrong. I am on a budget so spending 2 or 3 grand is out. I have been doing my homework and I just want to make sure I am buying what will work.

Looking at the FLIR TK as my handheld monocular and a sightmark photon 4.6.

I believe this is the cheapest and best set up for the money. Should I be looking elsewhere?


As far as the Flir Tk, don't waste your money. I bought one 2 weeks ago and sent it back yesterday. I had it out at the deer lease for a week. I tried it out in my back yard before I left and thought it worked pretty well for the money. I tried it out on my dog and people but stayed within 25 to 50 yards of my house. The problem was that I knew the terrain and objects around me. When I got to the lease I tried to use it in a stand where my field of view was 25 to 100 yards. There was not enough definition to make out anything. I tried all settings and nothing seemed to make a difference. I guess if there was a medium sized animal like a large hog or deer you may catch some movement and get your attention but it would look like a blob with no distinguishing features. I did do a sit in a popup where I watched a raccoon from sunset to dark 30 at 20 yards. I could somewhat make out its shape but then again I knew what it was already. By the way, it also has a lag in what you see, it is not real time. I guess it takes time to process the information and convert it to thermal image.

Maybe for $600 it does what it can for the money and maybe I should not knock it. Maybe I expected too much for the price. It just did not accomplish what I wanted.


I've used a TK for a while now and everyone that's checked it out was impressed with it. Performance, ease of use, weight/size, image quality and effective range. It offers a lot of bang for the buck. Rats foraging in hayfields, , ID'ing hogs at 150yds+, a small,lightweight,handheld thermal monocular thats cheap and easy to use. It's name pretty much explains the niche for which it was designed.

Your stand has a 25 to 100 yard Field Of View (FOV? or range?), and in your oopinion, the image quality was poor rendering the device unusable, with poor image clarity, lacking in definition to the pointthat you were unable to make out anything such as terrain features, animals, ambient temperature, residual heat gradiants in vegetation andground cover, or anything of value for that matter. The racoon spotted at 20 yards, it looked like a blob viewed at that distance......

Your experience is suprising based on my observations and others that I hunt with. The variety of issues you've described sounds like a unit that was quite possibly defective. That's unfortunate, if you had an opportunity to use one where it shines, I'm willing to bet you'd have a different perspective.

Heat affects the sensitivity of thermals. Allowing the device to adjust to the ambient air temp is important, a NUC on a heat soaked thermal thats been sitting in a coat pocket wont calibrate accurately until the device has acclimated. Other than that, brightness, color pallet, and manual focus are the only adjustments Ive needed. That, and keeping fingers off the objective lens for a number of reasons.

_________________________
Do you ever get the feeling you're being watched? Because if you do, I'll stop doing it.

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#6763170 - 05/13/17 12:49 PM Re: looks like the cheapest way is... [Re: CharlieCTx]
aerangis Offline
Tracker

Registered: 09/05/08
Posts: 891
Loc: Nunya
Originally Posted By: CharlieCTx
Don't get caught up in the bigger number is always better and nothing else works. I couldn't be happier with my 9hz ATN-OTS monocular. Here's a side by side comparison of 9 vs 30.



You're not shooting with a spotter, you're just trying to see if something is out there. Most anything Thermal (not the super cheap stuff) for spotting, is better than most any NV, hands down, no question. My lease hunting buddy has a PVS-14, no slouch device. All you have to do is work with both side by side and you'll come to the same conclusion.


practical, common sense advice......
_________________________
Do you ever get the feeling you're being watched? Because if you do, I'll stop doing it.

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