SAT SDS E8 Series

Model variants include: E8-N, E8-TN E8-GN.

At first glance you could be forgiven for thinking the SAT SDS E8 Series Thermal Imagers look a bit toy like. That’s mostly because of their ultra-compact size, weighing less than 500 grams and measuring just 172mm in length. The body is also particularly slim as the 2.5” display folds seamlessly flat into the body. It is very small and neat, but leaves you thinking “where is the rest of it?”

But don’t be fooled by the size, this little camera packs an awesome image and array of features. Quite honestly I was blown away. For a product that is made in China, this brand has one of the longest established histories and the refinement in this model shows. The body is well made, no sharp edges on the plastic, nice mouldings and has excellent touches of soft rubber on all the main contact points. The swivel screen has a positive action and is firm and sturdy. Everything lines up neatly in a build quality you would expect from one of the European Marques.

Small units usually have small tiny hard to read displays? right?
The screen itself is clear and bright, displaying all the pertinent data in a large easy to read font. All the important info is readily available on the front screen, such as battery indicator, Emissivity, time and analysis features. My only gripe would be with the level and span indicator on the right hand side of screen. The Tmax and Tmin are so small they are only barely readable, and the font is not consistent with the rest of the display.
There are 3 model variants in the series SDS E8-N, SDS E8-TN and SDS E8-GN each offering additional levels of functionality. The best value for money and functionality is the middle of the 3, the SDS E8-TN which offers some useful functions over the base model, without the superfluous bells and whistles of the top end unit.

What’s the image like?
The image quality onscreen is quite stunning, and it would be fair to say that the image specifications are very conservative. With at thermal sensitivity of 0.08°C it fairs quite a bit better than the industry average of 0.1°C. The 20° field of view lens provides very crisp imagery and sharp resolution. Electrical personnel will love this as it provides the kind of spatial resolution that is half way to the next resolution cameras.

We stated the camera was small, but it is also super light weight and well balance in the hand. It has a large hand grip surface so it doesn’t give the feeling of “being lost” in your hand and with the screen folded it’s slim enough to fit into your pocket. Overall the ergonomics are excellent. There is a large keypad directly North of your thumb that allows an intuitive up/down/left/right navigation of the menu system. The menu system is straightforward and organised in a logical fashion. There is a customisable trigger button feature which can easily be programmed to a user selectable function.

What about the PRO features?
Surprisingly this unit has a high level of customisable and versatile features. When it comes to level and span adjustment this camera is pretty neat. It offers continuous adjustment of either level, span or both, and it has my preferred “A” button which only adjusts the level and span when directed by the operator. To manually override simply use the keypad to quickly adjust on the fly, or use the manual adjustment window in the menu… it couldn’t be more versatile or simpler to use. Suits everyone’s style of adjustment. Outstanding!

With the screen flipping out to the left, the unit really does favour right handed operators which could pose an ergonomic challenge for lefties.

So far so good, but as they say the proof is in the testing, so let’s see how it performs in the real world.