Flir Vue vs: Tau2 Infrared Thermal for Aerial...

Jan 10, 2015
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I am considering the purchase of the Vue or Tau2 to add to my bird and other handheld Flir i7 and e8 lineup. Here is some food for thought from Flir directly regarding the new upcoming Flir Vue model aimed at our industry due for release in the upcoming months...


I have attached a brochure for the Vue. It could be a fit for your application; if you can provide some details about your application we can tell you whether it will meet your needs.

The Vue is expected to be available in the June/July timeframe but sometimes the actual ship date slips. The initial units may be in short supply so it may take longer than expected. Just letting you know so that you can plan your purchases.

There are several differences between the FLIR Vue and a standard Tau2 camera.

1. No digital data. This is important if you require temperature measurement and or need the 14-bit data. More and more customers require temperature measurement and/or access to the 14-bit data. The 14-bit data is the full resolution from the detector. The analog video is compressed down to 8 bits. If you want to store a snapshot from the Vue you will re-digitize the data before storing it on an SD card and it will be lower resolution.

2. The Vue has a reduced operating temperature range and possibly lower performance. The spec for the standard Tau2 is 50 mK sensitivity with an operating temperature range of -40 to +80 degrees C. The Vue has a reduced operating temperature range of -20 to + 50 degrees C. The Vue datasheet does not specify a sensitivity but it is likely to be lower performance compared to the standard Tau2.

3. Fewer lens options. The Vue640 version has 9, 13, and 19mm. The Vue336 version has 6.8, 9, and 13mm. You will not be able to order this camera with a 7.5mm, 25mm, 35mm, 50mm, 100mm or zoom lens.

4. Weight and Center of Gravity. While the weight is only slightly higher, the center of gravity is farther forward. The shift in weight makes it difficult to mount to commonly available gimbals designed for GoPro cameras. The Vue has a total depth of 2.2 inches compared to a GoPro at 0.83 inches.

5. USB. The communication will be USB rather than serial CMOS. You may need to add circuitry to communicate with the camera if you have plans to do that while it is in the air, e.g. change from white hot to black hot or to use digital zoom.

Please let us know if you have any questions.

Best regards,


  • FLIRvue_datasheet (1).pdf
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Aug 14, 2014
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Germany, lake of Konstanz
No, forget about. The P3 is a closed system, especially designed for use with the camera module included.
Better use a standard P2 or any other copter of similar or bigger size and conventional 5.8 GHz FPV equipment for this. Ideally you would add a second FPV camera as well as a video switch to the bird, as orientation with just thermal imager can be quite difficult.
Apr 6, 2015
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With the SDK I thought there might be some play in this regard, but i suspect you are right. The Matrice will probably lend itself to this in the short term.
Oct 24, 2015
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There is really no comparison from the Tau 2 or the ICI 9000 products to the Flir Vue. The Vue is USB but analog. Imagery but no digital data. ICI cameras provide real data for customers. If you are looking for lost people or security applications where an analog image is ok then the Vue is a good low cost solution. The Tau 2 has analog and camera link output. There is no cheap or easy way to get data out of the Tau 2, other than analog. ICI are data experts and have $ Millions invested in software. ICI has been doing the programming for UAV's and have radiometric software packages and a Micro PC UAV package available.

ICI cameras are being used in many aerial platforms and groups like Aggie Air Utah State, UC Merced, UND, NDSU, Sentera, Roboflight, Berkley National Labs, Arizona State, Air Scout and too many others to list. ICI cameras are being used on crops, archeology, electrical, solar panels, wind turbines. They are being used from New Zealand, Amazon Jungles in Brazil to the Deserts in Egypt and Antarctica.

A history making flight mission of UC Merced's scientific data-drone with RGB, NIR, TIR and SWIR remote sensing payloads | The MESA Lab

ICI is not the cheapest system and believes the future is data. With their package you can fly 4 different Multiple Spectrum USB cameras and capture data simultaneously.

ICI does true Aerial Thermography and you can control functions from your Futaba or other controller with their software and analysis software make reports.

The issue with the Tau 2 is there is no easy way to get the 14 Bit digital data out of it to get data out or do radiometry. It has camera link output and he only commercial camera link output is the size and weight of a Red Brick.

ICI spent a year doing a back end board and patenting a USB board that plugs into the back of a Flir Tau 2 that makes the Tau 2 a 14 Bit USB powered camera like the current ICI product only a slightly larger and heavier. ICI has a few of these USB Tau Boards available now but are manufacturing hundreds of those boards ready in November (This is Pre Press release :) after more than a 1 year project of design and development. This will give current Flir Tau 1 and 2 users a seamless solution to get full radiometric data and software. This should really make Phantom users looking for a solution very happy.
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