FLIR Elara DX is a multispectral PTZ camera that combines a DX thermal sensor with 640 x 480 resolution and a 12-degree fixed lens (36mm focal length) with a 4K visible light sensor supported by a powerful 31x optical zoom. The result is a surveillance tool that’s purpose-built for larger sites and tougher applications.

FLIR Elara DX arrives at the SEN office in a big Pelican-style carry case – pulling it out and setting up on the compact display monitor it’s impossible not to notice the camera’s weight and build quality. Elara DX current draw is too high for standard PoE – the options include uPoE or 24V AC – I opt for the latter, with an adjacent Cat-6 cable carrying data back to the Opteplex 9020 through SEN’s same-old Netgear 108SP switch.

Once Elara DX is powered up, the camera comes to life and starts going through its activation processes with no help from me. With the camera happily on-screen, it’s time to select a location. The FLIR team has pointed out that this camera is long range and should be tested with that in mind, but my first look at the image stream is in the office with the camera mounted on a table looking away from natural light.

It’s in this application that I first started to wrestle with slight softness that I can’t dial out with manual focus. I also notice strong colour rendition, excellent skin tones, as well as some chromatic aberrations. The other noticeable thing in the office is focal length at the wide end – it’s much longer than usual and this gives a hint of the nature of Elara.

Next, I can’t resist carting the camera upstairs and setting up on the balcony looking up Bellevue St towards Albion – a depth of field around 100 metres.That slight softness in the image is also apparent with the camera mounted on the balcony viewing a shallow scene with a depth of field from a couple of metres to about 25 metres.

Again, I spend time messing around with auto and manual focus, switching between resolutions and image streams, as well as checking out H.264 and M.JPEG streams. It’s only once I tilt and zoom the camera up the street and started winding in the big optical zoom that this softness irons out and I realise Peter De Ieso was right. This camera is all about reach.

Out front in my busy scene that huge reach comes with compression, a quality that’s useful on the street. Being able to stack multiple targets in a scene of between 60-100 metres on a single monitor is very appealing, though at the long end there’s near bokeh in the foreground with Elara. From 80 metres out in strong backlight I have plates and faces deep into this scene – it’s excellent work.

Don’t miss the full review of FLIR Elara DX in SEN‘s February issue!

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