Interesting opinions put forth here. I can’t say that I fully agree with any of them. I do agree with Erik that the IR imager industry is glacially slow to advance and is generally hostile to the consumers of their products (e.g., intentionally dumbing down hardware with firmware so that they can charge higher prices for uncrippled versions of identical hardware). Most industries would have agreed on some industry standard, no-proprietary formats, published specifications and provide development kits so that third parties can produce robust reporting software, instead of the slow, unreliable, overpriced, kludgy crap that they deliver today. Customer service from the manufacturers is lousy IMO. These are all traits of an industry controlled by monopoly or small oligarchy of companies. One that needs real competion.
If one of the leading photography companies got into this industry, they would lay waste to the existing players in the consumer markets. I find it unfathomable that FLIR does not provide a means to take an image or video without their logo displayed prominently on your work. Could you imagine if Nikon or Canon watermarked the photos of the professional photographers that use their products? Incredible arrogance. I don’t even want to buy a new imager from FLIR or Testo, because I don’t have confidence that they will properly support it.
The two products that Erik puts forth are irrelevant in this discussion. The scout is essentially thermal night vision monocular (popular with night hunters who are willing to send the money - they also make thermal aiming devices). The TG 130 is a spot imager, a glorified IR thermometer. These are not candidates to professional building diagnostic use. I think that the invasion will come in the form of more advanced cores that couple with smart devices. possibly from new players.
If it takes years to recoup your investment in infrared thermography, your doing it wrong. Yes, you can use your imager in some capacity every day on every inspection, but that doesn’t imply that weather conditions don’t have a significant impact on what you can reasonably do with your imager on any given day and IMO: it’s important to make sure that the client is on board with the implications of the conditions (you won’t find a roof leak during a drought and you won’t find most thermal envelope defects when it’s 75 degrees outside).
I charge separately for thermography services so that we don’t confuse what is home inspection and what is thermography. When conditions aren’t suitable for what we wanted to accomplish with thermography that day, we can drop it from the order and not charge for the service. How does one maintain the separation between what is a home inspection and what is thermography and how does one manage expectations when conditions aren’t suitable for thermography when you have pre-loaded it into your home inspection fee and advertized that you do it for every home inspection? Do you waive it around and pretend, knowing you won’t find the insulation deficiencies or roof leaks that you’ve told your client you can do every time?