Let us begin with the optical similarities between the two. These two optical devices have a very similar optical performance, as they feature the same sensor: 388×284, 40 Mk of NETD (Noise Equivalent Temperature Difference), 50 MHz, and both feature 17 μm pixel pitch.
For the differences, Helion has a 35 mm lens with an aperture of 1, while the Axion has a 38 mm lens with an aperture of 1.2. The lens is a bit different, but everything else, when it comes to the sensor, remains the same. The focusing is also the same, but the system is a bit different. On Axion, the user rotates the whole front part of the objective, and on the Helion, only the ring.
The two optics feature the same AMOLED display, which is 1024×768. The products have similar eyepieces. The XQ is the first Axion product which people with glasses can easily use – even though the eyepiece on Helion is a bit better for those who wear glasses. There is also a difference in base magnification, as the Helion has a base magnification of 3x and a wider field of view (186 m / 1000 m) and Axion has a field of view of 172 m / 1000 m, along with a 3.5x base magnification.
Axion has a better detection range of 1.350 m, while Helion has a detection range of 1.100 m. When it comes to the identification range, it is extremely similar on both devices – when we tested them, it was really difficult to notice a difference. In terms of optical performance, they also both feature image detail boost, the same algorithms for image processing, etc.
What is different, however, is the form factor and the physical properties of the two devices. The battery compartment is also not left out from this segment. The Axion has the APS5 battery, and the Helion has the standard IPS7 battery (you can also get the IPS14). With both, the user can expect up to 10 hours of battery life – depending on the weather.
Pulsar Axion and Helion 2 both have magnesium housing, which is something new with Helion. The optics have the objective cover attached to the device, and Axion also has a magnet, so you surely will not lose them. If you are right or left-handed, you will not have any problems when using the Axion, while Helion is aimed more towards right-handed users because of the positioning of the buttons – you can still use it if you are left-handed.
Both are made in Lithuania, are fully waterproof (IPX7), and can both withstand temperatures as low as -25° C. Both come with a 3-year warranty and interchangeable batteries, which means that the device will last you a long time and that it is a good investment. Both devices have upgradeable software and Axion, as well as Helion, offer the image detail boost option, so the details on the image can be seen better.
Pulsar Axion XQ38 (2.000 €) and Pulsar Helion 2 XQ38F (2.290 €) are both at the mid-range price point when it comes to thermal vision. Multi-media capabilities are also the same, as both have the possibility of capturing images and recording videos. You can also connect them to an app called Stream Vision by using Wi-Fi. The device can also be updated through the app in a few seconds.
Overall, the devices are extremely similar. However, Axion is still a bit smaller than Helion, so if you are looking for a more compact device to use two times a week, then the Axion is the way to go. For heavy users who intend on using the device every day, then opt for Helion. Either way, both are great, and the differences between them are small.
Products mentioned in the Pulsar Axion XQ38 Vs Helion 2 XQ38F debate:
Pulsar Axion XQ38 Thermal Imaging Monocular: https://www.optics-trade.eu/si/pulsar-axion-xq38-thermal-imaging-monocular.html
Pulsar Thermal Imaging Scope Helion 2 XQ38F: https://www.optics-trade.eu/si/pulsar-thermal-imaging-scope-helion-xq38f.html
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