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Thread: Initial Review: Pulsar Trail XQ38 Thermal Sight

  1. #1
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    Jul 2012
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    Initial Review: Pulsar Trail XQ38 Thermal Sight

    Initial Review: Pulsar XQ38 Thermal Sight

    Ordered from Optics Planet with 14% off coupon and received quickly as it showed as instock which is atypical for them

    Battery was mostly charged out of the box. Went to charge it and the wall wart/ power block USB port was broken. I had to use a spare iphone wall wart.
    User manual was missing. Only had the quick start guide.

    Major FYI - ALL Pulsar Thermals lower than 640 res are getting the thumbscrew rail mounts. This was a major let down. I was expecting the QD mount since the box, Optics Planet AND Pulsar sites ALL show the QD for this XQ38 Trail. I called Optics Planet and they basically said to pound sand "mfg changed specs" "we will not update pics". They did submit a request to get the USB wall wart replaced. I forgot to tell them about the missing manual. So then I searched around for Pulsar USA contact info. For some reason, google searches only turned up the non-US site. The next day I found the USA contact info and called them. Took a couple calls but finally managed to get through.
    Tech support is provided by SellMark. They also take care of Firefield, SightMark and some other brands. The tech I spoke to was very helpful. Said they use these Pulsar thermals quite a bit in TX. Said they'd get me the missing items out. I hope to get them middle of next week.

    In the mean time, I fumbled through the menu and was able to figure out a few things. Enough to play with it a bit.

    First impressions-

    Focus distances - a knob near the front/top is used to focus as distance to target changes. Turn Left for closer objects and Right for further objects. There is no infinity setting for focus.

    The Minimum distance for good focus is about 8 feet. One must continue to adjust focus for intermediate distances out to about 100 yards at which point it reaches the limit of focus/resolution. Meaning, at 100 yards or so you can't get any sharper and turning the knob further = more out of focus. If something pops up closer when you have adjusted focus for something further away it will be out of focus.

    Detail and Sensitivity
    It has 3 modes for the sensitivity (it seems). Rocks, Forest and "Detect" (eye symbol).

    Forest mode gives lots of fine detail. Pleasantly surprised at how much detail this resolves. For example, at up to 25 yards you can easily distinguish fine facial features, hair and see surface textures such as rug pile. Bare skin will look mottled due to variances in thermal / circulatory transmission. It's almost like night vision PLUS thermal. Leaf details can be seen within 20 yards. Able to detect AC duct work in the ceiling through dry wall.

    Detect mode - seems to amp up the contrast of the hottest spots. This washes out fine detail but preserves most medium details.
    Rock mode- did not play much with this.

    In Detect mode- was able to pick up animals as small as squirrels on an oak tree about 70 yards and a rabbit on grass about 100 yards away. Very obvious bright spots. They were otherwise invisible to the naked eye. The rabbit was a bright blob and only identifiable by observation of movement.

    Issue - when trying to look into trees at angles greater than approx 45 degrees, the thermal would have too high contrast. Meaning the sky would look really black and the foilage would look very very bright. Obscuring all detail. I hope there is some fix to this or I am limited to shooting at lower angles and further away.

    Will post more later....would appreciate any tips others might have

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    507
    Feedback Score
    4 (100%)
    UPDATE:

    Just got my QD RTZ (return to zero) mount and it's super nice
    have not tested the RTZ but it seems a quality mount

    Important note: I was not able to connect my iPhone via StreamVision app UNTIL - this work around. Turn on Wifi of Pulsar Trail XQ38. Connect to the Trail xxx network on the phone
    Your SSID of your trail will have different numbers after "Trail_"
    Go to your iPhone settings, find the StreamVision app in the app list in Settings.
    Turn OFF Cellular access.
    Launch StreamVision app and it WILL Connect! It will warn you the cellular is not connected. Ignore that and click on "Viewfinder" and you'll see your screen.
    Once connected and you can view the Trail feed on your phone you can go back to iPhone settings, find the StreamView app and turn cellular access back ON.
    It will work perfectly now until you disconnect / reconnect. Then you'll have to repeat the process.

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