discussion / Camera Traps  / 1 September 2023

Good Thermal/ Night Vision Cameras?

Hi! I am doing research for starting up my thesis and am trying to figure out the best equipment to do it. 

My idea is to get night time data of seals hauling out (laying on land) on two different types of terrain, a very remote marshy bank that is only accessible by boat, and a rocky jetty over a tunnel. 

At both the areas, we currently have day-time camera traps set up on posts, I am just looking to expand this study to night activity, preferably with thermal capabilities. Ideally I would like to constantly get data, so equipment that does not require a handler at all times. 

Does anyone have suggestions on equipment to use, specifics would be great also. Thanks!! 

What resolution do you need ? Thermal cameras can be hellishly expensive and a lot of them are not intended for trap usage.


The cacophony project in New Zealand use a low cost thermal camera in their systems. The flir leptons.


There are a variety of resolutions for leptons and also a variety of interfaces. There was once a USB version available with a group buy, that would be my choice because of the simplicity on interfacing, I don’t think that’s the one the cacophony project are using, but I haven’t looked in a while.

What’s the budget ? You can get some great ones for several thousand euros :-)

I actually have a number of thermal cameras over the years but none that are really suited for camera traps. Pretty sure that the lepton module is likely to be your closest match.

Rob Appleby
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Hi @mguins , as @kimhendrikse mentioned resolution (and also brand) for thermal cameras can dictate a big jump in price. GroupGets has a budget Lepton (FS - short for 'factory second' I think) if you wanted to check one out: 

They also have a bunch of other Flir products and boards for interfacing with Leptons etc., so worth a browse of the shop. It could also be worth taking a look at Seek modules, some of which @Alasdair has experience with : (e.g. 

They also have modules you can connect to a mobile phone: 

@TopBloke I'd be very keen to see your Lepton camera trap too!