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looks like the cheapest way is... #6744965 04/25/17 01:01 AM
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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?


GO TRUMP!
Re: looks like the cheapest way is... [Re: Bigfoot] #6745085 04/25/17 03:41 AM
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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.


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Re: looks like the cheapest way is... [Re: Bigfoot] #6745222 04/25/17 12:15 PM
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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.


Re: looks like the cheapest way is... [Re: Bigfoot] #6745378 04/25/17 02:58 PM
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That is disappointing to hear about the flir. I had heard it was possible to make out hogs and deer at 100 yards.


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Re: looks like the cheapest way is... [Re: Bigfoot] #6745458 04/25/17 04:02 PM
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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.

Last edited by MDMORROW; 04/25/17 04:04 PM.

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Re: looks like the cheapest way is... [Re: Bigfoot] #6745548 04/25/17 05:18 PM
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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


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Re: looks like the cheapest way is... [Re: Bigfoot] #6745724 04/25/17 08:11 PM
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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.


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Re: looks like the cheapest way is... [Re: Bigfoot] #6746080 04/26/17 02:09 AM
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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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Re: looks like the cheapest way is... [Re: Bigfoot] #6746111 04/26/17 02:35 AM
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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.


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Re: looks like the cheapest way is... [Re: Bigfoot] #6746123 04/26/17 02:45 AM
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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.


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Re: looks like the cheapest way is... [Re: Bigfoot] #6746151 04/26/17 03:20 AM
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Exactly. The refresh rate of the spotter isn't a huge deal. An LD19S can be had right now for about 1600.


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


Re: looks like the cheapest way is... [Re: Bigfoot] #6746985 04/26/17 10:19 PM
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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


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Re: looks like the cheapest way is... [Re: GLC] #6762625 05/12/17 10:06 PM
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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.


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


Re: looks like the cheapest way is... [Re: MDMORROW] #6763189 05/13/17 06:18 PM
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Originally Posted By: MDMORROW
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.


When someone says "looks like the cheapest way is...", I'd assume he's looking for an inexpensive solution to address a need. Not a sales pitch for a product he doesn't need, or criticism of a suitable product that imho has no basis in fact.

I don't buy into the "spend thousands of dollars on optics to kill a hog" mindset. I hunted hogs for years with spotlights, had a come to Jesus moment at Ft Hood when some guys turned me on to the joy of hunting hogs with uncle sugars toys and BAM, it was ON. I got the hookup on a pallet of DRMO'd PVS7's, had enough parts to cobble together a couple that worked, and it was a game changer. Didn't spend jack to do it either.

The past few years, some guys I know kept inviting me to hunt hogs the way they roll. With thermals. I hunted with them quite a bit, tried it, bought into the "it's only money" mindset and dropped some serious coin. And after a couple years chasing that dragon, I had a serious WTF moment when I tallied up the money I spent on hunting gadgets that were cool in a pimpin sorta way, but the value proposition was imho absurd. I really don't need a thermal to hunt hogs, or impress anyone in the cliques I hunt with for that matter. If I want to feel all warm and fuzzy with coolness, I'll just run out to the garage, fire up one of my exotics, and roll with the top down.

Cost vs benefit...... I smoked a ton of hogs with a $7k Flir R series. I'm into astronomy, know a hell of a lot about optics, and stumbled onto a way to attach old school SLR camera lenses (a dime a dozen on ebay) to a Photon XT that improves the performance dramatically. I kill just as many hogs with that modded Photon XT, IR laser, and TK spotter as I did with a $7k thermal. At roughly 1/10th of the cost.

fwiw, you want to roll your own inexpensively, I got a couple XT's off of craigslist, one for $260, the other was $350 and included a green and an IR torch and additional accessories. I picked up the TK's at Cabelas bargain cave for roughly $300-$350 each out the door. Less than $650 for the scope and thermal spotter that's more than capable of killing hogs. The IR lasers were DRMO'd PAQ/PEQ's. $80 shipped for the lot.

A Photon XT and TK works well. Mod the XT to use camera lenses, you'll have a come to Jesus moment the first time you look thru that scope.

My $.02 and worth about as much....





Re: looks like the cheapest way is... [Re: Bigfoot] #6763302 05/13/17 09:46 PM
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^^No sales pitch brother. Just education.

Wasn't trying to sell the guy but with thermal you get what you pay for. What works for one doesn't always work for all and some guys just like to have nice stuff.

Also, a $1600 Pulsar is still very much an entry level thermal; so by no means is anyone on here trying to talk to guy into buying something crazy.


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Re: looks like the cheapest way is... [Re: MDMORROW] #6763667 05/14/17 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted By: MDMORROW
^^No sales pitch brother. Just education.

Wasn't trying to sell the guy but with thermal you get what you pay for. What works for one doesn't always work for all and some guys just like to have nice stuff.

Also, a $1600 Pulsar is still very much an entry level thermal; so by no means is anyone on here trying to talk to guy into buying something crazy.


"You get what you pay for."...... not paying retail.

It's a bit off the subject, but I'll go there; For some strange reason, folks just don't seem to grasp the concept of the time value of money.

Recent experience..... a smart, 40 something IT pro that I've been hunting with for years was obsessed with the Raptor. He meets up monthly with a group of us for lunch, and what does he show up in? An exterior Rhino-lined Raptor with every performance mod known to man. It was easily the sickest truck I think I've ever seen, more appropriate for running the Baja 1000 than rolling thru Uptown. He spent the next hour describing the trips he was planning to Moab, Yosemite, Breckinridge, he was gonna hit all the offroad meccas and was pumped to the frickin gills about it. Then he starts up about "You wouldn't beleive the deal I got if I told you". "I got the deal of the Century", "I got the hookup bro!!!".......blah blah blah..........." Man, he went on and on. One of the guys asked about the financials and what kind of deal he got on the truck. He replied something to the effect of "$96K out the door!, sticker was $139K! 2.9% APR for 5 years...... another prospective buyer was there to check it out, salesman said another was flying in from Reno to look it over. It was a steal, saved a bunch of money, I was hoping to get a better APR but FMC wouldn't go lower than 2.9%. I've been looking for a couple years, I'm lucky I got it!!

I asked him how long he planned to keep it.

"5 years, maybe less".

Math.....numbers don't lie "The actual cash price you're paying for that truck, in US dollars, is around $163k, before deductions for residual value.

I don't have an issue paying $163k for a vehicle. Or more. I've done it many times, more often that not with cars sight unseen. I'm sure some folks consider it stupid as h__1 and idiotic, a waste of hard earned money. From my perspective, dropping thousands of dollars on a thermal to hunt hogs is silly. If they're buying it on plastic, more so. Considering what is evident in the thermal used market and warranty coverage now limited to the original purchaser, buying used is risky.

I've seen some unbeleivable deals on used thermals. And I've seen a lot that never sold or took a long time to sell. Flir's recent policy of denying warranty coverage to second/third owners of thermals that are still within the waaranty period is more troubling when spending thousands of dollars on a used, niche product. The issue I had getting Flir to RMA my R series was a major PITA and one of the reasons I don't drink the koolade. Maybe in 10-15 years when prices have dropped significanty I'll change my mind. Or not.


Get your hands on a modded XT with a good Canon or Nikon lens, an IR laser (Class 5 if your all grown up:), amd a TK, you'll soon dispense with the notion you need one to hunt.

...my $.02, and opinion.

Re: looks like the cheapest way is... [Re: Bigfoot] #6763694 05/14/17 12:34 PM
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This is comical. You don't have a problem spending 160k for a vehicle you drive a handful of times a year, but you tell me I'm nuts to spend 5k on a great thermal hand held and scope. Yeah right.......

roflmao


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Re: looks like the cheapest way is... [Re: Bigfoot] #6763702 05/14/17 12:46 PM
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And here is a time value of money example for you....

I spend 5000 of my 160k leaving me 155k to invest at a 5% rate of return annually. One year later, while your vehicle has depreciated by at least 5k I now have 162.5k and I can throw away my one year old thermal hand held and scope and buy another set with my 7500 return.


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Re: looks like the cheapest way is... [Re: Bigfoot] #6763742 05/14/17 01:37 PM
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^^^there you have it. And plus nobody should be fooling with these things or high dollar cars or planes or boats or whatever if you don't have the disposable income to support it. None of it is a necessity but its a heck of a lot of fun.


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Re: looks like the cheapest way is... [Re: Pitchfork Predator] #6763821 05/14/17 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted By: Pitchfork Predator
This is comical. You don't have a problem spending 160k for a vehicle you drive a handful of times a year, but you tell me I'm nuts to spend 5k on a great thermal hand held and scope. Yeah right.......

roflmao


Comical? or confusing?

My comments are easy to comprehend, unambiguous, and written in the english language. There's no mention of how often I they're driven, nor did I say or imply you or anyone else "is nuts" for spending your money as you fit. I simply voiced my personal opinion regarding the value proposition of spending $7k when a comparable solution can be had for $1k, which acheives the same objectives.


I don't have a problem spending 6 figures on a vehicle, though I'd certainly drive it more than a handful of times a year. And before we go back down the path of your reading comprehension confusion, read what is written and keepreading until it sticks. Making up your own interpretations of what's written is odd.

Originally Posted By: Pitchfork Predator
And here is a time value of money example for you....

I spend 5000 of my 160k leaving me 155k to invest at a 5% rate of return annually. One year later, while your vehicle has depreciated by at least 5k I now have 162.5k and I can throw away my one year old thermal hand held and scope and buy another set with my 7500 return.



That's not a time value example, nor a financial planner example, any planner offering a 5% rate of return on cash assets isnt capable of managing a piggy bank, much less the liquidity and cash assets of s typical high value net worth client.

What it appears to be is an example of someone easily confused, perhaps dyslexic? that for whatever reason, has an ongoing problem making up assumptions based on...... zip. Assuming I'd purchase a six figure automobile sight unseen, just to drive it a couple times a year, is extremely naieve. As is assuming I'd purchase an exotic on the upside of their depreceation curve. Money is best used for....making more. I guess you "overlooked" that possiblity? Or confused again?

Offering 5%, keeping a straight face....... I couldn't pull it off.

Re: looks like the cheapest way is... [Re: Pitchfork Predator] #6763848 05/14/17 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted By: Pitchfork Predator
This is comical. You don't have a problem spending 160k for a vehicle you drive a handful of times a year, but you tell me I'm nuts to spend 5k on a great thermal hand held and scope. Yeah right.......

roflmao


Old school perspective could be a factor as is age and experiences. I work in IT and have noticed a gradual preference to avoid tech if it's unneccessary , particularly Im off the clock. Dealing with intense, extremely stressful situations. in an instant, has had an affect for sure. I don't have the bandwidth in my age addled brain to embrace every gadget and tech fad that crosses my path. Nor do I want to.

I remember the first time I watched the movie "Predator", the scene where the predator is using a high-tech wrist mounted device to cycle thru various visual color pallets as he was trying to find Arnolds hiding spot. It was.... bad azz. Highly advanced alien technology. Here were are 30+ years later, hunting hogs with something similar.

Soon, we'll be hunting hogs with IR/NV/HDR camera equipped drones firing...... lasers?


Re: looks like the cheapest way is... [Re: aerangis] #6763968 05/14/17 06:55 PM
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Originally Posted By: aerangis
Originally Posted By: Pitchfork Predator
This is comical. You don't have a problem spending 160k for a vehicle you drive a handful of times a year, but you tell me I'm nuts to spend 5k on a great thermal hand held and scope. Yeah right.......

roflmao


Comical? or confusing?

My comments are easy to comprehend, unambiguous, and written in the english language. There's no mention of how often I they're driven, nor did I say or imply you or anyone else "is nuts" for spending your money as you fit. I simply voiced my personal opinion regarding the value proposition of spending $7k when a comparable solution can be had for $1k, which acheives the same objectives.


I don't have a problem spending 6 figures on a vehicle, though I'd certainly drive it more than a handful of times a year. And before we go back down the path of your reading comprehension confusion, read what is written and keepreading until it sticks. Making up your own interpretations of what's written is odd.

Originally Posted By: Pitchfork Predator
And here is a time value of money example for you....

I spend 5000 of my 160k leaving me 155k to invest at a 5% rate of return annually. One year later, while your vehicle has depreciated by at least 5k I now have 162.5k and I can throw away my one year old thermal hand held and scope and buy another set with my 7500 return.



That's not a time value example, nor a financial planner example, any planner offering a 5% rate of return on cash assets isnt capable of managing a piggy bank, much less the liquidity and cash assets of s typical high value net worth client.

What it appears to be is an example of someone easily confused, perhaps dyslexic? that for whatever reason, has an ongoing problem making up assumptions based on...... zip. Assuming I'd purchase a six figure automobile sight unseen, just to drive it a couple times a year, is extremely naieve. As is assuming I'd purchase an exotic on the upside of their depreceation curve. Money is best used for....making more. I guess you "overlooked" that possiblity? Or confused again?

Offering 5%, keeping a straight face....... I couldn't pull it off.


Comical.

.......and your right, you couldn't pull it off.

roflmao


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Re: looks like the cheapest way is... [Re: Bigfoot] #6768307 05/19/17 02:07 AM
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All of a sudden I am floored anyone would pay 100k for a pickup.

The new Leupold is a fun little unit. We have used them several times. As far as identifying the type of animal I am like others in they all make it hard to make a good identity over 75 yards or so.
I have a 10k US night optics unit that will show a every heat source out within a 600 to 1000 yards but i wouldn't know if I was shooting a calf or a pig past 100. But these are made to use in Indian country and if it walks on two legs and doesn't have a friendly badge it gets shot!
By the way I didn't buy the 10k unit, it was a sample sent to me for a hunt by the company.

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