Hikmicro Lynx-L15 is a hand-held thermal scope in the 1500-euro price class. This device is made by a Chinese brand that made great strides in the market in a matter of few years. Let’s see why so many hunters and outdoorsmen use Hikmicro Lynx and Thunder devices.
Interested in this thermal optic?
- From Hikvision to Hikmicro
- Hikmicro Owl, Lynx, and Thunder
- Physical Properties
- Optical Performance
- Hikmicro Lynx Functions
- Scope of Delivery
- Hikmicro Warranty
- Hikmicro Lynx L-15 vs. Pulsar, Guide and Infiray
- Final Thoughts on Hikmicro Lynx L-15
- Read More
- Hikmicro Lynx L-15 Photos
From Hikvision to Hikmicro
Many people are unaware that Hikmicro, a fast-rising company, is a subbrand of Hikvision, one of the biggest producers of surveillance equipment on the market. In 2017, this Chinese giant branched out to the private outdoor and hunting market with its thermal cameras and thermal solutions.
Hikmicro’s first series of sport optics was Owl-6. The company had a great approach to the new audience, working closely with retailers and researching what hunters want from their devices. Optics Trade had the privilege of testing the first Hikmicro monoculars behind the scenes.
At that stage, Hikvision was not exactly poised to become competitive in the Pulsar-monopolized market but the company’s prototypes nevertheless showed great promise.
Hikmicro Owl, Lynx, and Thunder
Hikmicro Owl-6 or Hikvision Owl-6, as they were marketed at the time, were Hikmicro’s first venture into the world of hunting. These thermal devices did okay, considering it was Hikmicro’s very first attempt at a hunting monocular. Affordable pricing was perhaps the biggest draw that caught people’s attention. The initial reviews were mixed, which was to be expected. The company was clearly still feeling the ground and had to sort out all kinds of performance hiccups.
The new brand’s learning curve was steep. Each Hikmicro device launch performed better than the last. Hikimicro Lynx models are lauded for compact size and easy operation. Hikmicro later came out with Thunder clip-on devices and standalone thermal rifle scopes. Today, Hikmicro has a versatile sales catalog that includes digital NV optics, thermal imagers, and more.
Comparison of Hikmicro Thermal Devices | Optics Trade In The Field
We tested Hikmicro Owl, Lynx and Thunder devices in the same conditions. See how they compare!
Devices Optics Trade tested:
- Hikmicro LYNX Pro LE10
- Hikmicro LYNX-L15
- Hikmicro LYNX Pro LH15
- Hikmicro LYNX Pro LH19
- Hikmicro OWL OH25
- Hikmicro OWL OH35
- Hikmicro OWL OQ35
- Hikmicro Thunder TH35C Clip-On
The Hikmicro Lynx series hit the shelves in 2020, right after the complete overhaul of the brand image. Lynx optics are very ergonomic and pocket-sized.
This monocular is perfect for an active outdoorsman who doesn’t want to be weighed down by bulky gear. The scope is 158mm long, which is not a lot. The scope is thickest near the 15mm objective lens, approximately 6 centimeters in diameter. With an elegant sloped design, this thermal imager thins out towards the other end. The weigh-saving build pays off as Hikmicro Lynx-L15 clocks in at only 270 grams.
Hickmicro Lynx L-15 is built around PVC chassis and has 4 soft rubber buttons on top for operation. This device can be mounted onto a tripod. All Lynx models have an IP67 rating, so they’re impervious to liquid damage even if wholly submerged up to one meter for half an hour. They work from -20 °C to +55 °C, so inclement weather is not a problem.
Visually, the Hikmicro Lynx L15 form factor bears a striking resemblance to FLIR Scout TK monoculars. These optics are manufactured in China and are made of plastic. But don’t let the seen-before housing fool you, Hikmicro Lynxs are more powerful than FLIR in terms of optical performance.
It’s dissapointing that Hicmicro continues to design optics with built-in batteries. The majority of manufacturers used integrated batteries in initial models, then switly got on with the times. Removable batteries are a much better option as they’re easy to replace mid-hunt and can be often charged separately.
Optics Trade tested the real battery life of Hikmicro Lynx-L15, which is 7 hours. Some of the Lynx models we tested fared even better. Up to 10 hours for a thermal imager priced at €1000 is remarkable. So while we’re not happy about the type of battery, it’s a powerful energy source.
When the Hikmicro Lynx-L15 battery runs out, you can use the external battery pack. Or you just put the device on charge.
Hikmicro Lynx-15 | Real Battery Life
Now, let’s move on to the optical performance of this optic. Despite the small size, Hikmicro LYNX-L15 thermal imager packs quite a punch.
Hikmicro Lynx L15 Sensor
Hikmicro claims that they manufacture sensors in-house. Lynx L15 uses VOx uncooled microbolometer with 384 x 288 pixels @ 17 µm resolution. This is the standard Hikmicro Lynx model with 17 microns of pixel pitch, but you can also get the LH15 PRO model with a 12-micron pitch.
The refresh rate of image frames is 50Hz or 50 pictures per second. The sensor has maximum detection range of 1350 meters.
The best thing about the sensor is the NETD factor, which is below 35mK. NETD acronym stands for Noise Equivalent Thermal Difference. This sensor temperature sensitivity means that if two image points have a heat difference of 35 milliKelvin, the device will distinguish between these two points. The greater the sensor sensitivity, the more detailed image you’ll get. In combination with a capable display resolution, of course.
Hikmicro Lynx-15 | Device in Test
Hikmicro L15 Lynx Field of View
Hikmicro Lynx L-15 has a fixed focus at 100m, as do most scopes geared towards vermin control and boar hunting. The 15mm objective lens has a fast aperture of F1.0.
The base scope magnification is 1x (no image enlargement), which also helps with wide FOV. The image can be zoomed in 1x or 4x. The field of view is 426m/1000m.
The display shows 4 color modes: Black Hot, White Hot, Red Hot, and Fusion. The scope has a comfortable rubberized eyepiece that doesn’t require the user to take off their glasses. Others without glasses who may still need to alleviate eye strain can readjust the diopter setting.
The LCOS display uses liquid crystals. The screen resolution is 720×540 pixels. This is alrght but the size of the screen does not impress. The display is much smaller than on other Hikmicro models, which is very obvious on the first look-through. It measures 0.2 inches.
Hikmicro Lynx Functions
The device is operated with 4 buttons on top of the imager. Note that short and long button press activates different device functions. The 1st button from the objective lens toward the ocular is the POWER button.
A short press of the 2nd button from the front lens enables switching between color modes and display brightness. A long press of the same button takes you to the main MENU. All sorts of device settings can be finetuned to your personal preference via the main menu but you will rarely need to enter it mid-hunt.
Hikmicro Lynx models have photo and video recording capabilities. The 3rd button from the front shows a small CAMERA symbol. As you can guess, the short press takes a photo, whereas the long press activates screen recording.
The 4th button (closest to the ocular) is the ZOOM button as it enables zooming in and out.
Hikmicro Lynx L15 has 8 gigabytes of internal memory. You can also connect this Hikmicro Lynx L15 to your smartphone via a WiFi connection and control the device remotely.
Scope of Delivery
You are not getting much in the box with the product. This is presumably to keep the price point as low as possible.
There’s a Type-C USB charging cable (without a charger) and nothing else. The lanyard and soft rubber cap for the objective lens come attached to the device. The manufacturer doesn’t even include a soft carry bag or pouch for safe storage of the device.
Looking for additional accessories?
Thermal scope Hickmicro Lynx L-15 comes with a 3-year warranty. Note that the significant upturn in the price of premium optics like Pulsar and GSCI doesn’t add years of guarantee. Three years is the industry standard.
Now it’s time to summarize what we believe to be the strong and the weak points of this thermal imager.
The device is very lightweight and compact. You can use it with your left or your right hand. The ergonomic design is topped off with well-placed soft-touch buttons. So the form factor is really good.
Using Hikmicro Lynx-L15 with glasses is easy because of the soft eyepiece. The sensor sensitivity is great, less than 35 mK per manufacturer’s specs. You also get a good quality, fixed focus 15mm lens with a F1.0 fast aperture.
- good ergonomics
- pocket-sized device
- easy operation
- temperature sensitivity >35mk NETD
- 3 years of warranty
What is did we find lacking with Hikmicro Lynx15? PVC housing in the 1000-euro price class is a real disappointment. Hikmicro could’ve upgraded to sturdier magnesium.
The device takes a long time to start up before it’s ready to use. You’ll have to wait for 7 seconds before any image shows on the screen. Before you can actually operate the controls, about 30 seconds have already passed. This slow boot-up can be really frustrating on long hunts, where most hunters don’t keep devices running – instead repeatedly turning them ON and OFF to save battery runtime.
This brings us right to our next point: the internal battery. The battery indeed holds for 7 hours, but it’s still an non-interchangeable, built-in source of energy. Removable batteries you could replace during the hunt would be a much better solution.
Lastly, we were less than impressed with the small display. The resolution is also less than stellar, just 720×540 pixels. Of course, it’s the cut corners that keep the Lynx-15 price at €1189. There are not many optics with a 50-millimeter objective lens that don’t nearly scrape the 2000-euro mark. So these are all the sour points.
- plastic material
- integrated battery
- small screen
- slow start-up
Hikmicro Lynx L-15 vs. Pulsar, Guide and Infiray
Thermal monoculars are the most popular device form of thermal vision. They’re small, easy to store and cheaper than the binocular or riflescope build. The market is overflowing with thermals scopes and the cometition is tightening each year. So, what you can get for about 1200 euros?
Hikmicro Lynx L15 vs. Pulsar Axion XM30
The absolute best optic in this price range is the much sought-after Pulsar Axion XM30F. It surpasses Lynx L-15 on all fronts: lens quality, magnesium chassis, image quality, interchangeable battery, sensor sensitivity, the lot.
But therein lies the problem with Pulsar. The company makes vastly better devices than the nearest competitor. That makes them uniquely desirable to a horde of hunters. With the great market interest, Pulsar supply can never catch up with the demand. We see people wait a year before they receive the Pulsar model they’ve paid for. This kind of customer patience is unheard of.
Unfortunatrely, many outdoorsmen cannot afford to wait so long. Swine flu, crop damage, and hunting season are time-sensitive matters that often sway hunters in purchasing Pulsar alternatives. People often tell us it’s better to spend the same money on a less capable device and have it good and ready when needed; rather than suffer a disappointing season with no Pulsar delivery in the mail. This is why companies like Hikmicro, Guide, Infiray, and Liemke bring in great profits.
Hikmicro Lynx L-15 vs. Guide TD410
Quality-wise, Hikmicro’s nearest match is Guide TD410 thermal imaging monocular. That device is about 300 euros more expensive as it costs €1399. On the plus side, Guide uses an interchangeable battery and sports a 19mm lens. But that also makes TD410 heavier.
Hikmicro Lynx L-15 vs. InfiRay Eye C2W
Next, we have Infiray Eye models that use the same form factor as FLIR Scout TK and Hikmicro Lynx. These are available in two lens sizes, 13mm or 19mm. The compact 13-millimeter lens models are closest to the 15mm Lynx L15 lens. The image quality is inferior to Hikmicro but to be fair, the cheapest model InfiRay Eye C2W can be yours for €799.
Final Thoughts on Hikmicro Lynx L-15
So what’s the main conclusion? There is not much competition in the €1500 price class of thermal optics with a 15mm lens size. The gap in the market makes this Hikmicro Lynx-L15 very attractive. Especially because the availability of Pulsar Axions is scarce.
Interested in this LYNX thermal imager?
- Real Battery Life of Thermal Devices (Comparison Chart)
- Real Start Up Time of Thermal Devices (Comparison Chart)
- Hikmicro Thermal Monoculars Instruction Manual