Hikmicro SuperIR Review (based on the Pocket2)

by Mark Berger - Disk Doctor data recovery | Facebook | Instagram

Hikmicro has offered for a while a thermal image enhancement technology called SuperIR. In contrast to other brands like Testo, which use the shaking motion when taking a thermal image to capture multiple images, which get blended in software, Hikmicro has decided to go with an AI image enhancement algorithm.

This doesn't help to capture more pixels but in my quick tests, it made the thermal images crisper and enhanced details very well...

      Picture 1. Hikmicro Pocket 2 - Shower-head running with hot water

I was able to see a noticeable sharper images - the AI model seems to focus on edge-finding and enhancement of patterns and edges:

      Picture 2. Hikmicro Pocket 2 - Plant on a windowsill

      Picture 3. Hikmicro Pocket 2 - Dishwasher running

Someone may think that this is basically the same as image-enhancement technologies like MSX from Flir or Hikmicros Fusion, but that is not the case!

Those technologies work by blending the edges of a daylight image onto a thermal image and if there is no sufficient contrast for the daylight camera to see some edges, this will not work...

In this example, my office chair gave the daylight camera, not much contrast and so no edges were detected. But SuperIR was able to enhance the image quite a bit:

Picture 4. Hikmicro Pocket 2 - Office chair - Fusion vs. SuperIR

Image blending like Fusion has also 2 disadvantages:

  1. You need to align the two images and this is not always so easy or straightforward.
  2. The image blending adds something like a line-art drawing on top of the thermal image - this may be also distracting or cover up fine details

Speaking of alignment - there are also some limits to the alignment possibilities. Most cameras will struggle with distances below 1m. I use my Pocket2 mainly for fault detection in electronics and I have the camera most of the time just a few cm away from the subject:

Picture 5. Hikmicro Pocket 2 - Closeup with a 50.8mm ZnSe lens

The last thermal images use also the new palette called "Blue Red", which was added with the latest firmware update...

My hornest conclusion:

On many occasions like when using a closeup lens, when the subject does not have enough contrast for the daylight camera or in the dark technologies like Fusion or MSX will not produce great results or will not work at all! An AI-enhanced thermal image from SuperIR will not give you magically more pixels but it will most of the time improve the thermal image far enough, that you will not need or want to activate Fusion!

It's only software but enhancing the thermal image only without some overlay lines to enhance the corners in the motive has a big advantage - thermal patterns get more pronounced and small thermal details, which are harder to spot with a low-resolution camera become more obvious and easier to see.

In my opinion, that is a really useful update, which makes the Pocket2 and all other lower-end cameras from Hikmicro an even better deal than they already were... Good job Hikmicro!