Thermal imaging has become an essential tool for gamekeepers, pest controllers and deer managers. From almost none a couple of years ago, there are now a huge variety of products to choose from.
The old man of traditional optics, Zeiss, planned a grand launch for its first entry into the thermal market in the rpsing of 2020. The coronovirus epidemic put paid to that and moved their marketing online. Time to declare an interest: Zeiss sponsors Fieldsports Channel. So let’s start by looking at what the rest of the world says about Zeiss’s new thermal spotter.
There are a few areas where Zeiss need to try harder, but for a first try, they got most of it where it should be,
Some images from the DTI 3/35:
There is no escaping that Zeiss have clearly displayed the device is made in China but before this seems a little worrisome, I have to say my overall opinion of the product is that its performance is a respectful reflection of the brand’s name and heritage – it is rather good in fact,
says Chris Parkin, writing in Sporting Rifle magazine. Chris also produced a video for Zeiss talking about the optics:
Professional deer manager and gamekeeper Paul Childerley is a fan of the Zeiss DTI 3/35. He prefers to use binoculars when he’s actually stalking, but he finds the Zeiss thermal spotter invaluable for jobs like culling and recovery. “When you’re culling, you need to get the numbers on the deck, and that means knowing where the animals are,” he says. “It’s the same with recovery. If you’ve got an animal going back into thick vegetation on last light, the Zeiss is essential equipment.”
Paul particularly likes the DTI 3/35 because it’s easy to use, lightweight and ergonomic. “It fits in your hand well and it’s ambidextrous so you can use either hand,” says Paul.
The buttons are easy to reach, and it’s got a nice bit of magnification.
He also likes having a built-in battery, which can be charged via USB from the mains, in the vehicle or from a power pack.
The unit has what Zeiss calls an ‘ErgoControl operating concept’, which aims to let you use it without distraction. You don’t have to look at it while you are scanning for game. And you can use the rubber buttong while wearing gloves.
Paul starts by switching the unit on and focusing the eyepiece on the Zeiss logo that appears in the viewfinder. Then he can focus for distance using the ring on the front lens, to get a sharp picture of the deer, fox or pheasant he’s looking at.
The unit offers a choice of colour schemes for your images. “You can scroll through white hot, black hot, red hot and rainbow,” he says. “I can zoom in from 1x to 4x if I want a closer look, although I don’t usually go much beyond 2.5x because I like to have a wide field of view.”
He also gets a day’s use out of it. Zeiss claims a 7-hour battery life.
The Zeiss DTI 3/35 also offers a recording function and can stream the picture to a mobile phone app.
RRP is £2,650. Find out more at Zeiss.co.uk
Watch Paul use the spotter to find duck and spot deer: