How the DTC 3 will revolutionise your hunting experience
Mat Manning shares his thoughts on the new DTC thermal clip-on from ZEISS
Most hunters know how good thermal imaging cameras are for spotting and targeting quarry – not just by night but also by day. The fact is that the glow of an animal’s heat signature is virtually impossible to miss, even when partially obscured by undergrowth.
The ZEISS DTC 3/38 converts a conventional telescopic sight to thermal. At a cool £3,500, it is certainly a considered purchase – although the DTC 3/25 model costs a bit less. Both deliver performance to justify their asking price and I have to say that the 3/38 is the best thermal clip-on I have ever used.
The thermal unit of the DTC 3/38 is around 165mm long, weighs about 650g, and is very easy to attach and detach. The DTC R piece screws securely into the rear of the thermal camera to create a bayonet attachment, and the DTC A piece clamps the front of your scope via a very solid adjustable quick release lock. Align the white dots on both attachment pieces and they slot together. All you need to do then is twist the outer collar and the two pieces lock securely in place with absolutely no movement. Twist the collar into the unlocked position and the camera pops off again.
With multiple scope clamps, you can quickly swap the DTC between different guns. It would be an excellent choice for foxing and I have also had excellent results using it to target rabbits and rats with an air rifle.
The DTC is powered by an on board rechargeable battery with a continuous run time of around ten hours, which should be more than enough for most of us. However, a quick press of the power button sends it into standby mode and extends battery life significantly. Give the power button another quick press and the unit is immediately ready for action.
There is a choice of four colour viewing pallets: white hot, black hot, red hot and rainbow. You can quickly shuffle between them with a press of the menu button to select the one that best suits the conditions you are shooting in.
Pressing and holding the menu button opens up the actual menu, enabling you set things like brightness, contrast and Bluetooth connectivity. It is very easy to navigate, pressing the left and right arrow keys to scroll up and down and then pressing the menu button to confirm choices.
It is almost impossible to avoid a small amount of zero shift when using a thermal clip-on. The DTC solves that by enabling you to make adjustments and save them as zeroing profiles to ensure that shots continue to strike exactly where you place your crosshairs, so your aim will always be true.
Bluetooth connectivity can be used to take advantage of the ZEISS Hunting app. This makes controlling the unit even easier and is great for adjusting and saving those zeroing profiles. You can save them for four different setups, which is great if you plan to swap between different guns and hunting scenarios, or you can use the feature to set different profiles to cover different ranges with the same gun.
As you would expect from a top-class optics manufacturer like ZEISS, the viewing experience through the DTC 3/38 is amazing. It is equipped with seriously good glass, top-end sensors and a brilliant display. Maximum detection range is almost two kilometres for large objects, which makes it seriously good for spotting, while the sharp viewing really comes into play when taking shots.
The DTC’s impressive image quality gives you the precision not just to clearly identify quarry and take confident shots but also to place your bullet or pellet exactly where you intend, resulting in the clean, ethical kills that all responsible hunters strive for.
The ZEISS DTC 3/38 and 3/25 models give hunters a definite edge after dark, by providing extremely clear viewing without requiring lamplight that will attract attention and blow your cover. These high-quality clip-ons incorporate state of the art technology but are remarkably simple to use, giving you a hassle-free thermal advantage to optimise your nocturnal shooting.