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Hikmicro Condor CQ50L | Field Test

Recently, I had an opportunity to test the latest thermal monocular from HIKMICRO, the Condor CQ50L. Upon its introduction, those familiar with HIKMICRO’s Condor series of thermal imaging monoculars primarily saw it as an evolution from the Falcon series, with the addition of an integrated laser rangefinder.

In terms of technical specifications, the models offered between the two series are very similar. However, due to the laser rangefinder module mounted beneath the objective lens at the bottom of the device, the Condor models differ significantly in shape from the Falcon series. They have a flatter appearance, and unlike the “cylindrical” Falcons, grasping the Condor immediately reveals whether it is oriented correctly.

Interested in Hikmicro Condor CQ50L?

HIKMICRO offers four different models in the Condor series. Two models, labeled CH, have a smaller sensor resolution of 384×288 and lenses with focal lengths of 25mm and 35mm. The more powerful and also more expensive models, labeled CQ, have a larger sensor resolution of 640×512 and lenses with focal lengths of 35mm or 50mm.

For the test, we chose the most powerful model, which, with its technical characteristics, stands alongside devices from the highest class of thermal monoculars. In the test at the hunting grounds, in all possible situations, we wanted to verify whether it could also be competitive in the field and under less than optimal conditions.

Technical data of Condor CQ50L

HIKMICRO Condor CQ50L is equipped with a 640×512 resolution thermal sensor, thermal sensitivity of NETD <20 mK, and a sensor pixel pitch of 12 µm. It features a Germanium lens with a focal length of 50mm and a fast aperture of F 1.0.

Hikmicro Condor CQ50L
Testing the Hikmicro Condor CQ50L

The image is displayed on an OLED screen with a resolution of 1024×768, which, while not the highest in its price range, performs more than adequately. During our testing, we did not notice any distracting lines, fogging, flickering, or other disruptive factors.

Sensor640×512 pix. 12 µm
NETD <20 mK
Objective lensF50/1.0
MagnificationOptical magnification 3x
Digital magnification 8x
Field of view8.7°x7.0°
15.2m x 12.2m/100m
Detection range2600 m
Power supply18650 Li-ion
Operating time up to 3h/battery
USB – C connector
Dimensions197.1mm × 60 mm × 94.9 mm
450g without the battery
Working temperature rangeIP67 -30 °C to +55°C
Video/photoResolution: 1720×576 px
Format: mp4 / .jpg
64GB internal memory
Maximum measuring distance
1000 m
± 1 m

Image quality

The image displayed on the Condor CQ50L screen is truly top-notch. The lens with a focal length of 50mm and the sensor with a pixel pitch of 12 µm are primarily responsible for the image quality and detail representation. Such a combination provides a very narrow angle under which the sensor covers the observed object, consequently, a lot of details of the observed object are visible in the final image. The NETD value of <20mK adds the ability to recognize very small differences in the heat of bodies and their surroundings. At shorter distances, the image is incredibly detailed. Details such as tufts of hair, antlers, and other body features are visible. Determining the gender and age of wild boars at a feeding site is no problem, and at a distance of about 100m, details are still sufficiently visible. As the distance increases, details start to fade, and beyond 100m, miracles should not be expected. However, even at greater distances, we can easily recognize which species of game is in front of us. The device also displays the surroundings of living beings in detail, which allows for good spatial orientation.

The excellent NETD value contributes to a good image in poor thermal imaging conditions. In fog, rain, or high humidity, the detection range may slightly decrease and details of the surroundings may be lost, but the image of living beings remains very clear.

Hikmicro Condor CQ50L
Observing the game with Hikmicro Condor CQ50L

Like in all HIKMICRO thermal imaging devices, the image in the Condor differs from, for example, Pulsar devices. It’s somewhat akin to an animated film, which particularly emphasizes an effect where the outer part of the observed warm object appears outlined, further highlighting and distinguishing warm objects from cooler backgrounds.

The lens with a large focal length and small distance between thermal points on the sensor ensure a highly detailed image, but this setup also has its drawbacks. Despite the large sensor, the device’s field of view is significantly smaller compared to devices with a 17 µm pixel pitch or a 35mm focal length lens. At a distance of 100 m, the field of view is only 15 m, which is relatively limited for a monocular intended for quickly surveying large areas. This narrow field of view becomes particularly noticeable when hunting wild boars at feeding sites, where distances are already short, further reducing the visible field of view.

Observing deer with Hikmicro Condor CQ50L

While the high contrast between live beings and the cooler surroundings facilitates faster terrain scanning, the narrow field of view is one of the drawbacks of the Condor CQ50L.

The device allows users to select from 4 different color palettes for displaying thermal objects: White Hot, Black Hot, Red Hot, and Fusion. As usual, most of the time we chose between the white and black hot options. The choice of thermal imaging color mode often depends on individual habits and preferences. Therefore, we typically refrain from advising individuals on which color to choose, as they can determine this themselves through experience with the device.

The HIKMICRO Condor CQ50L offers 8x digital zoom, which combined with the 3x optical zoom, provides a total magnification of 24x. Zoom control is managed using a zoom button, with options of 3x, 6x, 12x, and 24x. There is no dedicated button for reducing zoom, so once the user zooms in to 6x, they must continue zooming to 24x before returning to the 3x base magnification. Thanks to responsive buttons, zooming is smooth and minimizes image shake. All Condor series monoculars feature smart ZOOM functionality, which effectively reduces pixelation in digitally zoomed images at lower magnifications. It works excellently at 6x magnification, is conditionally usable at 12x, but becomes impractical at 24x.

Zoom Pro function on Hikmicro Condor CQ50L
Zoom Pro function on Hikmicro Condor CQ50L (Source: Hikmicro)

Dimensions and ergonomics

The Condor CQ50L is not exactly a small, pocket-sized monocular. It’s not something you can easily carry along with other gear without it being cumbersome. Especially when combined with binoculars, wearing them around your neck can be inconvenient, often leading us to leave the binoculars at home and use the rifle scope for observing wildlife in daylight.

Ergonomically, the monoculars in the Condor series are well thought out. The buttons are logically placed and accessible, though they might be slightly soft, which can sometimes lead to accidental presses. Despite the soft buttons, the feedback when pressing them is always positive, making it clear when a command has been triggered.

Hikmicro Condor CQ50L
Position of the buttons on the Hikmicro Condor CQ50L

The design allows for a secure grip, further enhanced by the side strap on either the left or right side of the device. It’s impossible to accidentally grab the device from the wrong side and end up viewing the image on the screen upside down. Due to the height of the device, those with very small hands might have some difficulty operating the buttons.

The laser rangefinder is positioned forward enough that it’s not obstructed when supporting the device with a hand. On the CQ50 model, the objective lens ring is quite large, and occasionally, when focusing the image, it might briefly cover the laser beam. However, it’s unlikely that we would use the laser rangefinder while focusing the image; typically, we would use it after ensuring the image of the observed object is sharp.

The lens cover can be conveniently attached to the side strap with a magnet.

The battery cover includes a safety strap so that it cannot be accidentally lost while changing batteries at night. However, the battery is installed in the device at a downward angle, which must be considered when opening the cover to prevent the battery from unintentionally falling out, which can be inconvenient at night.

Hikmicro Condor CQ50L

The menu interface is well-designed and intuitive, and anyone familiar with electronic devices will quickly get used to it.

Among the software features, we want to highlight the automatic screen shutdown function of the device. When the motion sensor detects that the device has been set down on a flat surface or hung in a suspended position, the screen turns off to conserve battery power. During rapid terrain scanning, we sometimes wanted to hold the device at a more tilted angle to capture a larger area of interest in our field of view, causing the screen to turn off. With practice, we quickly learned how far we could tilt the device before the screen turned off. Of course, this function can be disabled in the menu, but that would sacrifice battery saving.

Screen turn-off function in Hikmicro Condor CQ50L (source: Hikmicro)
Screen turn-off function in Hikmicro Condor CQ50L (source: Hikmicro)

Need additional information?


The Condor series uses a single 18650 type battery for power. HIKMICRO does not specify a recommended length or whether the batteries should have the button on the positive pole. In the package, three 3000mAh batteries are included, each with the button on the positive pole. According to HIKMICRO’s claims, each of these batteries should last at least 3 hours, providing a total of 9 hours of reliable use. Using 18650 batteries in electronic devices is generally a very practical solution. They are widely available worldwide, and if one fails, it can be replaced for a few euros. Many people already use them in their hunting devices, which simplifies logistics for spare batteries. However, a downside of 18650 batteries is their relatively low capacity compared to larger, heavier, and more expensive factory-made batteries. Therefore, they need to be replaced during hunting trips.

Batteries in Hikmicro Condor CQ50L
Batteries in Hikmicro Condor CQ50L (source: Hikmicro)

When HIKMICRO first released units from the Condor series onto the market, they encountered an issue with excessive battery voltage consumption. This caused the battery charge indicator to drop to the last bar after about 30 minutes of use, automatically disabling the laser rangefinder. This flaw led to some dissatisfaction among initial customers, but HIKMICRO responded promptly and issued a software update. Now, new devices entering the market no longer have this issue. However, if a customer encounters a unit from the initial batch, they can download a software patch via the HIKMICRO Sight app to resolve the issue and restore normal operation to their device.

Aware of the mentioned issue, we paid close attention to battery behavior during testing. We measured the duration each battery lasted and calculated average times. The test results showed that the battery actually lasts about 3 hours before the battery level drops to the last bar and disables the laser rangefinder. Afterward, the device typically continued to function for around 40 more minutes before the indicator turned red, prompting us to manually turn it off. In some cases, the battery lasted a few minutes longer, but on average, each fully charged battery can power the Condor CQ50L with all functions for 3 hours.

We also tested the device with slightly shorter 18650 batteries without a button on the positive pole. The device powered on and operated normally until we shook it more forcefully. Interestingly, the entire device did not turn off; instead, only the screen did, which automatically turned back on within a few seconds. This behavior could possibly be attributed to the screen auto-shutdown sensor, which may have been confused by the shaking of the device, causing the screen to turn off temporarily.

Observing badger with Hikmicro Condor CQ50L

Laser rangefinder

The laser rangefinder on the Condor operates smoothly and as expected. It was occasionally affected by fog or high humidity in the atmosphere, but significantly less than competing models. In our opinion, the placement of the laser module is optimal as it does not add additional width and is difficult to inadvertently obstruct.

Hikmicro Condor CQ50L (source: Hikmicro)
Hikmicro Condor CQ50L (source: Hikmicro)

In the menu, you can choose whether to trigger a single measurement with a button press or continuous measurement. During our testing, we had continuous measurement set for a duration of 15 seconds, which proved to be adequate time to stabilize the device on target after activating the laser and allowing it to perform several measurements. Typically, distances measured from the second or third measurement onwards did not differ, unless the target moved.

Using the laser rangefinder at night greatly enhances the possibility of ethical and humane hunting, as it is more challenging to orient oneself and estimate distances based on prior knowledge of the hunting grounds.


The HIKMICRO Sight app worked seamlessly with the Condor. Even in environments with multiple Wi-Fi networks available simultaneously, the connection between the smart device (phone, tablet) and the device remained stable. The app allows for transferring photos and videos, remote control of nearly all device functions (except focusing), and downloading software updates. Photos and videos can also be transferred via the included USB cable, where the device appears on the computer as a removable storage device.

Hikmicro Condor CQ50L
Hikmicro Condor CQ50L

Included in the box

The additional equipment of the Condor includes nearly all expected accessories typical of a thermal monocular. Particularly useful was the soft fabric bag that we used to protect the device when carrying it in a backpack with other equipment.

However, it is worth criticizing HIKMICRO’s decision not to include a high-quality neck strap with the device, especially considering its price range of over 3000 €. Purchasing such a strap is highly recommended.

Included in the box of Hikmicro Condor CQ50L
Included in the box of Hikmicro Condor CQ50L (source: Hikmicro)


The HIKMICRO Condor CQ50L is a top-tier thermal monocular that provides superb thermal imaging of nighttime activities in the hunting field.

We recommend this device primarily to hunters who spend most of their time hunting at night, where a traditional hunting scope is not necessary. However, it is not designed to simply complement a traditional hunting scope for everyday use in scouting the hunting grounds. For such purposes, HIKMICRO offers the Lynx 2.0 series of monoculars, which, although with slightly lower technical specifications, compensate with exceptional compactness, convenience, and a friendly price point.

Similarly, the Condor CQ50L model is not the most suitable choice for hunters who primarily hunt at night near wild boar feeding sites. Due to its narrow field of view and short distances, observation will be less comfortable and slower compared to other models. For this purpose, HIKMICRO offers the Condor CQ35 model with a 22m field of view or the Falcon FQ25 model boasting a 31m field of view.

However, for those who spend more time hunting at night over longer distances and open fields, and who prioritize the best thermal imaging quality despite the device’s larger size, the HIKMICRO Condor CQ50L model provides an excellent solution.

Interested in Hikmicro Condor CQ50L?

Hikmicro Condor CQ50L | Field Test
Article Name
Hikmicro Condor CQ50L | Field Test
Explore the HIKMICRO Condor CQ50L, a new thermal monocular with an integrated laser rangefinder, tested under rigorous conditions.
Publisher Name
Optics Trade Blog
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