Omnisense Ulysses Micro meets the FLIR M232, thermal cameras compared

Ben Stein

Ben Stein

Publisher of, passionate marine electronics enthusiast, 100-ton USCG master.

18 Responses

  1. Peter Geise says:

    Wondering how they perform in fog and ClearCruise in daylight ?

    • Ben Stein Ben Stein says:

      Fog performance will degrade for both cameras. Thermal doesn’t see through water very well so both fog and rain will diminish thermal performance. Rain more than fog.

      ClearCrruise (object detection) will work the same in daylight or nighttime for the M232. It only has a thermal sensor and the sensor basically works the same during daylight and at night. I tested in all light conditions and didn’t see any difference. The one thing I did notice is that ClearCruise’s distance measurements are highly suspect.

      I have an M364C on Have Another Day. That’s a dual payload thermal and visible light camera. ClearCruise AR works amazingly well on that camera using both the thermal and visible light sensors and can give you really good visuals with AR overlays identifying known items in the image.

      -Ben S.

  2. Bill Walker says:

    “Ulysses II lists for $55,999”

    Is that a typo, or is it really a buck short of fifty-six thousand dollars? That seems like an awfully big jump just to add visible light.

    • Ben Stein Ben Stein says:

      It’s not a typo, but it’s also not the entire story. Here’s the model family, resolutions, features, and list prices:

      Model Resolution Features List Price
      Micro 384×288 PTZ $3,699
      Micro S 384×288 PTZ, Stabilized $8,499
      Micro S+ 640×480 PTZ, Stabilized $14,499
      Mini 640×480 PTZ, Stabilized, Dual Payload (visible and thermal) $20,999
      Mini+ 640×480 PTZ, Stabilized, Dual Payload (visible and thermal) $27,999
      Mini+ 640×480 PTZ, Stabilized, Dual Payload (visible and thermal), Video Tracking $55,999

      -Ben S.

      • robin says:

        Video trackers for thermal cameras can be very complex to implement well so pretty easy to see how the addition of a tracker adds a lot of $$ to the product. I would be very interested to see how the tracking performs and what kind of features it supports. For example, higher end trackers can show the range, speed and direction of the object being tracked. Additionally they work in rough seastates when the object being tracked disappears from view due to a wave.

      • Leonard says:

        Actually it’s not a typo error. The Ulysses II is not built on the Ulysses mini platform. That’s a much heavier grade camera for larger boats and government markets. Double tap on any object you want to track on the screen and the camera will follow!

  3. robin says:

    The big limiter with consumer thermal systems like these is the fact they are limited to 9Hz due to ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations) and thermal cameras >9Hz are on the list and thus Dept of State export controlled.

    If you can get a 30Hz version (typically limited to USA only and/or for use by professionals in public safety) the performance is way better.

    • Ben Stein Ben Stein says:

      The Omnisense Ulysses Micro I have installed is actually a 30hz unit. It was swapped during testing from a 9hz version to a 30hz version. It does indeed produce smoother video, though I’m not sure I’d go as far as the performance being way better.

      -Ben S.

      • robin says:

        From my experience the difference really comes into play in heavier sea states, faster moving platforms, and targets. Also the tracker has more data to work with for better tracking performance.

        For basic situational awareness in port environments 9Hz will work (and likely the dominant use case for the majority). Agree the difference is not huge but as the environment gets more dynamic the refresh becomes increasingly important. For example a MOB situation at night in offshore conditions.

        • Ben Stein Ben Stein says:

          A very good point and, as you’ve likely noticed from the videos, I didn’t have the opportunity to test in heavy seas or under duress.

          -Ben S.

  4. BillG says:

    Have you looked at the new Sionyx Nightwave? It lists (I think) for around $1,600 bucks

    • Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

      Looks like an interesting alternative to thermal and here’s hoping that young Ben gets to try one when they ship. Details here:

      • Brad says:

        Would be very interested to see a practical review of the Sionyx camera when it’s released. With a $1600 price tag that brings night vision into the realm of feasibility for many more boaters. Granted, it’s a fixed mount with no stabilization features, but the price is still attractive and much less than other available products.

        The very high price tag of FLIR systems seems like a real ocker for boaters that may want to adopt such technology, but see it as unaffordable for a sort-of “fringe use” tool. Radar and other tools would be way higher on the list. A camera that costs as much as several month’s rent/mortgage, or even a very nice car, is not realistic for most boaters.

  5. Jose says:

    Did you try the sionyx low light camera? Better resolution and view than any flir camera. Only catch it’s just for 150 mts. I try one past week on Seattle and become a believer. Beside, price it’s way much better than any flir camera.

    • Ben Stein Ben Stein says:


      I have a Nightwave on my test bench about to be installed. I have used the SiOnyx Aurora previously ( and been impressed with it. I think the biggest weakness of the SiOnyx cameras has been the ability to display them on MFDs. The Nightwave does offer an analog video out, although that, too, limits what MFDs can display the image. My understanding is they are working on MFD integration.

      Probably one of the most attractive aspects of the SiOnyx cameras is the dramatically lower cost of entry. If you aren’t a regular night boater, I think the cost of a thermal camera can be hard to justify. SiOnyx brings the price point down to the point of being affordable insurance.

      -Ben S.

  6. Jose says:

    I drove a big 120′. Had 2, one forward, one back. The back help me a lot to drove back st the slip “Mediterranean style”. The picture was really clean and accurate and I feel very safe driving under heavy wind. Off course have some limitation but for that kind of money… Very interested on read your comment about it.

  7. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    FLIR is offering some nice rebates on the M232 and their other thermal cams until June 28:

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