The Raymarine T-450 thermal camera is amazing. If I had to sum it up succinctly that would be the word. I have had two versions of FLIR camera before this unit. While this is a FLIR M series camera, branded for Raymarine, it doesn’t matter, the quality and easy of use is incredible.
The Raymarine T-450 has both a thermal and low light camera. When there is some level of visible ambient light, the low light camera shows clean and crisp images. In thermal mode you can have a zero light situation, but still see clearly.
Let’s face it, it doesn’t matter what the tech features of a camera are if you cannot see clearly. The higher resolution allows for better identification of items which is especially helpful when the boat is pitching. Detail of small objects like birds, buoys, lobster trap floats, etc. are easy to distinguish.
Ease of Use
If it isn’t easy to use, you won’t end up using it much, I found this thermal camera very easy to use. I have a pair of Raymarine E140 Wide MFDs where I can display charts or radar, or both in a split screen mode, on one display and the thermal image on the second unit while traveling at night. Pan/Tilt is controlled easily with a knob located near the steering station. You can rotate 360 degrees and tilt up or down as needed. If you need to get the camera looking forward quickly there is a “home” button which will place the camera in the predetermined direction, usually forward.
Other Uses for a Thermal Camera
There are two other uses for a thermal camera like the Raymarine T-450 that are often overlooked by marine users.
Sun glare—have you ever had to head directly into full sunlight and were not able to see directly in front of you because of the bright light? Thermal cameras do not distinguish between light or dark or glare, only heat. If you are blinded, turn on the thermal camera to see clearly ahead for added safety.
Daytime zoom—the T-450 allows for 2x and 4x zoom. Regardless of day or night, not having to get binoculars out is both as useful as it is quick and easy.
Another added benefit I have found useful is adding a second controller in our stateroom and cabling from the camera to the master stateroom TV. At night I can take a look around the area for both security and to assess if the boat has moved in the night, without having to get out of bed, going upstairs, walking around and/or turning on all the electronics at the helm.
The Raymarine T-450 thermal camera is the high end unit and is pricey, but it is a huge leap ahead over previous units I have owned. It is useful both day and night.