HIKMICRO is a brand that has taken the Nightvision and thermal market by storm, offering quality products at very competitive prices. From their early night viewing products Hik has gone from strength to strength offering an increasingly impressive range, writes Mark Ripley
HIKMICRO is not a new company and was well known for its CCTV cameras and products prior to branching out into the shooting market. As a well-established business, not only do they offer excellent customer service and the quickest repair services I’ve heard of, but also a hunger to offer the very latest in cutting edge technology.
I recently reviewed their Alpex Night vision riflescope and have to say I was very impressed. These scopes probably offer the best performance from any comparable scope and also beat them hands down on price. More recently, I was sent the Falcon FQ50 thermal spotter to review, and if I’m honest it sat on the side for a week as ‘just another spotter’!
After getting a couple of pressing videos edited and out the way, I took it out to see what it was all about. I’d been told that the sensor was a 640×512 , 12 micron sub 20 mk NETD. Basically, as explained to me, the lower the mk NETD number, the more sensitive the sensor. In other words, it can detect more subtle differences in heat changes so it creates a more detailed and clearer image.
For comparison, I believe I’m correct in saying, the next best spotter on the market is a sub 25 mk NETD. The long and short of it is that the Falcon offers an exceptionally good image, as I quickly discovered.
The unit comes nicely packed into a rigid soft case along with two 18650 batteries (each giving a 5 hour run time) a wrist strap, nicely padded neck strap, lens cloth, and charging lead.
The first thing that struck me, when picking it up, was that it was very nicely made, felt solid and weighed in at 635 grams.
The padded neck strap makes carrying the Falcon comfortable even over long periods and the unit fits in the hand nicely with the four control buttons all well-spaced and easy to find and use.
Focus is by means of a rotating ring around the objective lens, with a built-in hard plastic lens cover.
The initial start-up time on the Falcon takes a few seconds but it also has a standby mode where it will come back to life in the blink of an eye. With a 5hr battery life, plus a spare, it’s not going to die on you during an average night’s shooting.
In the field
Taking it out in the field, I instantly took a liking to the Falcon with its impressive imaging, and also the smooth zoom, which retained good clarity even on the higher end of the magnification range. The unit offers a 2.6x optical magnification plus 8x digital zoom, effectively doubling the magnification at each increment to give you a total magnification of 20.8x. This is good to see as some other units on the market, from other brands, offer a magnification range of around 2.5 – 20x, and yet past 5x you’re just turning a blurry blob into a bigger blurry blob.
With a detection range of an impressive 2600 metres on a man-sized object, IP67 waterproof rating, 4 colour palettes, recording to a 64gb internal memory (with audio), Wi-Fi and a 1024×768 HD display, you’re getting a very impressive thermal spotter at an even more impressive price.
Since night vision, and then later thermal products hit the market, Pulsar has rather cornered that market, and let’s be fair, their products have very much become the benchmark to which all other products and brands have been compared. However, they had better look over their shoulder as HIKMICRO is certainly looking to knock them off the top spot, and with products like this it’s only a matter of time.
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