The formula for determining Field of View Using any Infrared Camera

Posted by Martin Robinson on 9/10/15 9:48 AM

Every infrared camera defines its Field of View (FOV) across a horizontal/vertical axis.

You have two ways to determine the Field of View (FOV) on your camera:

  1. You can calculate the FOV using the formula: 2 x the tangent of ½ the angle x distance
  2. You can measure (and “map out”) the practical FOV with a quick field test to check your math!

The practical FOV test is quick, relatively easy, and in no way requires a scientific calculator!

The practical FOV test is a simple method to determine what can be seen at set distances with your camera, the lens, and IR Windows.

  1. Find a long workbench, counter-top or a 6 foot folding table. Layout a piece of plain paper along the entire length of the table.
  2. Set the camera on the table and mark a “zero” line across the table width. This zero line should be far enough on the table so that the camera cannot accidentally fall off the table. The zero line is where the camera lens touches the line.
  3. Draw a straight line the length of the paper along the center.
  4. Label this line with 6 inch increments marked out from the zero line.
  5. Label the lines from 0 to 36 inches. You can go further if you have a panel depth deeper than 36 inches, but usually 36 inches is sufficient.
  6. Place the camera lens at the zero line with the straight line going down the center of the paper in the middle of the camera lens.

Now, it is time for a coffee break. Not really, you need two heat sources. Some people use coffee cups – good excuse for a break.  You can use any known heat source. Some people use hot plates if they are in a lab, a griddle, or you can purchase inexpensive candle warmers.

  1. Place the two heat sources at a distance from the camera that is typical of the targets you will monitor. For example, if your targets are 18 inches from the panel, then place the two heat sources at the 18 inch mark.
  2. Move one heat source from the center until it appears just inside the edge of the image in the camera display.
  3. Move the other heat source in the opposite direction until it appears just inside the camera display on the other side.

The distance between your two heat sources is the maximum FOV using your camera and lens. At the defined distance.

  1. You can draw a line from each side of the camera lens at the zero line to the heat source on the same side. This gives you the FOV for any distance from the zero line to the heat sources.
  2. If you are using an IR Window, subtract the camera lens diameter from the FOV. Next add the diameter of the IR window. This gives you the Maximum Horizontal Window FOV. For example, you have a FOV of 8 inches, at 18 inches on the center line. The camera lens is 1.75 inches. The camera FOV is then 6.25 inches. If you are using a 4 inch IR Window, then add 4 inches for a total Maximum Horizontal Window FOV of 10.25 inches.

You should repeat the above process with the camera lying on its side to determine the Vertical FOV.

When finished, roll up your map and save it for future reference.

You can create a table for the distances along the center line and the Horizontal and Vertical FOV for different window sizes in your plant.


Topics: Infrared Windows, Thermography, IR Cameras, Field of View

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