Just when we all thought the thermal market had reached its peak in terms of competition, yet another player arrives on the scene! Paul Austin reviews the new Conotech TI 50 LRF Thermal

Conotech are the latest Chinese electronics company to enter the fray and are clearly looking to repeat IRay’s recent successes in Europe. The more the merrier in my opinion! Increased competition will inevitably drive innovation and reduce prices.

Perhaps the biggest surprise, other than the arrival of a new brand was the size of the unit. I was expecting something akin to IRay’s Finder FH25R or the Axion LRF, but the Range TI is quite a chunky little number with the dimensions of a camcorder rather than a rangefinder.

credit: Archant

It will squeeze into a large jacket pocket, but only just. In terms of build quality, there’s no complaints, with rubberised panels for added grip overlaid onto a hard/quality plastic body. The size of the unit allows for an array of large well-placed glove friendly buttons, with the whole thing feeling tough, easy to navigate and solid in the hand.

Closer inspection reveals the reason for its chunkier dimensions and the possible USP for the product. Unlike most of its competitors, it has a full-size array of LRF optics beneath the 50mm objective, and in this case size does matter. The rangefinding abilities of the Range TI are impressive with the unit happily reaching out to the claimed 1,000m maximum ranging distance. Better still, it’s fast, with instant updates in scan mode and very reliable pings at typical shooting distances.

In terms of thermal image quality, I’d say it’s good and certainly on a par with its peers in the 384x288 market. There are all the whistles and bells we’ve come to expect, with a PIP mode, 6 colour palettes, a smooth digital zoom, 32Gb of storage for video and pics plus wifi connectivity to an accompanying app. The app is pretty limited in terms of functionality, but it works fine for basic remote control and file transfer.

For me, the Achilles heel of the 50mm object unit is the base magnification of 3.9. For my style of shooting, that’s a little too high and I much prefer somewhere around the 2-2.5x. Luckily, there’s a simple solution in the form of the TI 35 LRF, which has a 35mm objective and a base mag of 2.72x, again with up to 4x digital zoom. For relatively close quarters and woodland shooting, that would be my choice, and it has the added bonus of knocking another £180 off the price at £2,099.95.

All in all, a nice combination of decent thermal imaging and advanced features, alongside excellent range finding. It might be a tight fit in the pocket, but at least you won’t have to dig too deep into them to buy one. 

credit: Archant

Thermal Sensor: 384x288 17µm <35mK NETD 
Frame Rate: 50Hz 
Display: 1024x768 HD OLED 
Objective Lens: 50mm (focusable) 
Field of View: 7.4° 
Magnification: 3.89x - 15.56x (4x digital zoom) 
Detection Range: 2500m (Based on 1.7m deer-sized objects) 
Battery: Built-In lithium battery 
Power internal: 5v micro-USB 
Operation Time: 8hrs 
Rating: IP67 (waterproof) 
Operating Temperature: -20℃ to 50℃ 
Rangefinder: 5-1000m (±1m) (eye-safe: Class 1 laser) 
LRF Modes: Single time measurement | Scanning | High-Humidity 
Weight: 590g 
Dimensions: 165x56x92mm 
Video output: (USB) 
Startup time: approx. 9 seconds 
Standby mode: yes 

Price: £2,279.95 
Supplier: Scott Country International