Guns and Gear

New Leica Thermals – Calonox 2 View & Sight

A little more than three years ago, Leica Sport Optics introduced their first thermals. It’s now time for an upgraded version called the Leica Calonox available in four different versions: Leica Calonox 2 View and Leica Calonox 2 Sight, both with Laser Range Finding versions.

In terms of technology, the Calonox 2s come with a Lynred thermal sensor with 640×480 pixels (12 μm) and a NETD of <40 millikelvin (mK). The sampling frequency is 60 Hertz.

Below: The Leica Calonox 2 Sight is a thermal front attachment, or clip-on, depending of which term you’re used to. You attach it to the front of your riflescope to get thermal capability. Leica recommends the  Leica Fortis 1.8-12×42 as a good companion for the Calonox 2 Sight.

According to Leica, this is the first thermal imaging clip-on camera with integrated rangefinding up to 1200 meters.

Thermals have quickly but steadily become a must for many hunters. Have you tried them yet?

For ethical hunting and precise identification of wildlife
New Leica thermal cameras combine high performance, optimum ergonomics, and rangefinding

With the Leica Calonox 2, Leica Sport Optics presents a new generation of thermal
imaging technology and, with the Calonox 2 Sight LRF, the first thermal imaging clip-on
camera with a built-in laser rangefinder. The renowned German optics company thus
sets a further milestone in optoelectronic devices used for hunting and nature
observation. The Leica Calonox 2 series comprises four new thermal imaging models:
two clip-on cameras (Calonox 2 Sight) and two observation cameras (Calonox 2 View) –
each available with or without a rangefinder.

Triple excellence – performance, design, and rangefinding

The new Leica thermal cameras are designed and made in Germany. Leica uses only
European components for the essential parts such as special lenses and sensors.
Together, highest-quality components and highest-precision manufacturing achieve the
legendary perfection valued by Leica customers.

Wetzlar, Germany. September 11, 2023. Thermal cameras require no light and can be used in complete darkness. Sophisticated sensors react to thermal radiation from the targeted object and visualize it on a microdisplay. Thermal cameras can also be used during the day.
The scene then appears different than in natural sunlight, but offers advantages such as quickly detecting animals that are naturally camouflaged. Electronic color filters and individually adjustable image modes support and optimize the user’s experience.

Thermal cameras are suitable for a wide range of applications – finding and counting wildlife, for example. On legal night hunts, the thermal imaging clip-on camera turns a normal riflescope into a night targeting device. Since estimating distance through a thermal camera is very difficult, the Leica Calonox 2 Sight has an additional rangefinder (LRF stands for “laser rangefinder”). This ensures knowledge of the exact range and eliminates the risk of a bad shot due to misjudged distance. In the only thermal imaging clip-on camera with an integrated rangefinder, all the advantages are combined in one device.

01. Ideal sensor for a natural, sharp, high-contrast image Featuring a high-quality sensor from LYNRED, the Leica Calonox 2 is state-of-the-art for hunters and nature observers alike. The sensor has a size of 640×480 pixels and has a pixel size of 12
μm. This guarantees a sharp, high-contrast image. An object with the standard size of 1.8 meters can be clearly detected at up to 2210 meters. Recognition is possible at 770 meters and reliable identification at 390 meters.

The LIOTM (Leica Image Optimization) software, further refined by Leica, ensures optimum images. With a sampling frequency of 60 hertz, panning the device also results in a smooth image. Likewise, video recordings of moving objects are possible without disturbing interruptions. The NETD (Noise Equivalent Temperature Difference) of the Calonox 2 sensor is <40 millikelvin (mK). This value indicates the smallest possible temperature difference that the thermal camera can detect and display. The key technical specs of the Leica Calonox 2 series guarantee that these devices are future-proofed to master additional challenges.

+ high-quality LYNRED sensor
+ sensor of 640×480 pixels has 307,200 pixels (0.3 megapixel resolution)
+ small detector cells with 12-micrometer pixel pitch (12 μm)
+ sharper, higher-contrast image
+ high-quality lens system

02. Must-have advantages of the laser rangefinder
For physical reasons, it is nearly impossible to estimate distance using only a thermal camera.
Comparison objects for size estimation are often not well visible due to lack of thermal radiation and due to the limited depth of field. The image is two-dimensional, which eliminates the spatial vision needed for estimating distances. In addition, thermal cameras do not reproduce a reflective image, making orientation in the field difficult. Therefore, a rangefinder is a must-have for safe and ethical hunting.

Leica Sport Optics, with over 30 years’ experience in building laser rangefinders, has
consistently produced leading innovations in constructing optoelectronic devices. The thermal imaging clip-on camera with a built-in rangefinder represents another milestone of German engineering.

+ Leica is the only premium supplier of a thermal imaging clip-on camera with integrated rangefinding up to 1200 meters
+ no time lost due to switching to another device for rangefinding
+ no interruption in rangefinding if the hunting situation changes
+ no need to search for a previously targeted animal
+ certainty that the animal has not changed position in the meantime

03. Optimum ease of use, yet lightweight and compact
In accordance with Leica principles, ease of use is a key component of Leica product design.
Anyone who picks up the Leica Calonox 2 for the first time will immediately notice the intuitive design of all its elements. A large, sturdy metal control ring turns the device on – and makes it easy to switch from day to night mode. A latching magnetic switch keeps the unit powered up during a switchover, thus saving time. A particularly handy feature: the optional remote control that activates the rangefinding function. This eliminates the need to change position and allows continuous sighting through the scope. The remote control can also be used to start the video and photo functions at the push of a button.

With the Live View function in the Leica2Hunt app, a second person can simultaneously look through the scope or help monitor wildlife.

+ small remote control is flexibly mountable, e.g. on stock back or fore end
+ continuous re-measurement, thanks to built-in rangefinder
+ extremely easy operation: only a few buttons, each with a few functions
+ “auto off” and “display off” times are individually adjustable
+ Live View function enables remote viewing through the thermal camera, for example via smartphone, in conjunction with the Leica2Hunt app (available 2024)

04. Mounting and scope exchange without calibration
The precision of a hunting rifle depends on the targeting optics and how they are mounted.
Leica engineers have achieved perfection in assembling the components of the thermal clip-on camera. They were able to adjust the image shown on the display so that subsequent corrections and adjustments are unnecessary. Thanks to highest-precision components and a sophisticated manufacturing process, the Leica Calonox 2 Sight arrives precisely centered.

There is no need for additional rifle calibration after mounting the Leica Calonox 2. The device can be taken out of the box, mounted, and used right away.

The Calonox 2 Sight can be used with most commercially-available riflescopes. Choosing a product from the Leica riflescope series Magnus i, Fortis, Amplus, or PRS ensures an optimum match. This not only creates a compact overall system, but also guarantees a high-quality riflescope.

+ no rifle calibration needed – “out of the box” use
+ point of impact does not change if the device is removed and remounted, even if switching between different hunting rifles with riflescopes
+ mounting via commercially-available adapters for almost all scopes – an overview can be found at leica-calonox.com
+ for example, choosing the all-round riflescope Leica Fortis 1.8-12×42 results in a compact unit for night hunting

05. Future-proof with the newly developed Leica2Hunt app
To complement the Leica Calonox 2, there is the new, easy-to-use Leica2Hunt app, which is available free of charge from the app stores. This app establishes wireless contact with the Leica Calonox 2 and enables easy setting of the functions via smartphone or tablet. Users will appreciate the at-a-glance display – no cumbersome scrolling. The functions of the device appear in an overview and can be adjusted there. In future updates, customized functions with further individual settings will be added.

The Calonox 2 is state-of-the-art, so the app offers the possibility of adding new, exciting
functions in the future. Through this possibility of further development, and by means of
software updates, Leica Sport Optics ensures product sustainability. Updates take place very simply, over the air (OTA), completely without cables. Functions such as tracking to a targeted point in the field are already planned for the models with laser rangefinding, via a future app update. Technical upgrades to the device are not required for this.

+ cutting-edge, future-proof technology and updates ensure sustainability
+ quick-start menu offers the most important functions at a glance
+ individual adjustments are possible through the app, and will be continuously expanded

06. Finding, observing, identifying, and counting wildlife
Thermal cameras can operate in complete darkness and can also be used during the day, since they reproduce the thermal radiation of objects, independent of the light visible to humans.
This considerably extends the range of applications. For example, fawns left behind in high meadow grasses can be found and rescued before mowing. In nature conservation, there are many ways in which the Leica Calonox 2 View can help with monitoring (e.g. counting rabbits or birds) or simply finding well-camouflaged animals. Last but not least, missing persons can also be found, particularly in winter on open terrain. Search-and-rescue operations in rough terrain are also supported by the Leica Calonox 2 View.

+ with the Leica devices, a wild boar can be detected at 2000 meters
+ a wild boar can be recognized at about 770 meters – and identified at 390 meters
+ helpful when shooting and during tracking

Thanks to the highest precision of Leica devices and the possibilities of determining the perfect aim and point of impact, Leica Calonox 2 instruments are the first choice for ethical hunters.
Leica Sport Optics – for a responsible and ethical hunt.

Legal notice: When using thermal imaging technology, please observe the specific legislation of the respective country.

The recommended retail prices (RRP) for the Leica Calonox 2 models are:
Leica Calonox 2 View / 4700 euros
Leica Calonox 2 View LRF / 5700 euros
Leica Calonox 2 Sight / 4700 euros
Leica Calonox 2 Sight LRF / 5700 euros

Delivery start for the Calonox 2 models:
Leica Calonox 2 Sight and Calonox 2 Sight LRF End of January 2024
Leica Calonox 2 View and Calonox 2 View LRF End of February 2024

Here’s a video about the Calonox, which I think is a good representation of how many traditional hunters think:

What do you think of the Leica Calonox 2? Please let us know in the comments below.

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