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Pulsar Quantum XQ

Quantum XQ50 Germanium front lens
The Quantum XQ50 Germanium front lens

The Pulsar Quantum range of thermal imaging scopes was the first of its kind with state-of-the-art resolution, refresh frequency, image quality and sensitivity available for the European civilian market. Thanks to the launch price, which was pretty close to that of a good second generation night vision system, it was in a price range hunters found very interesting. 

These scopes have left their mark on the market, also thanks to the fact that many rival systems from the US are limited to a refresh frequency of just 9 Hz to meet ITAR regulations. The continuous updating of the Quantum series has led to the introduction of new functions, maintaining the basic features of each model unchanged, until now.

The three Pulsar Quantum XQ thermal monoculars
The three Pulsar Quantum XQ thermal monoculars: the XQ19, XQ38 and XQ50

In fact, Pulsar has completely renewed its range of thermal imaging scopes with the Quantum XQ series, which consists of three models: the XQ19, XQ38 and XQ50. The number, as in the previous HD and XD versions, represents the focal length of the objective Germanium lens; the lens and eyepiece architecture is the same.

The scope has the same IPX4-certified glass fiber reinforced polymer frame, part of which is coated with non-slip rubber, and if it wasn’t for the different layout of the top panel controls, with an extra button on the new version, it would be impossible for you to tell the difference between a new Pulsar XQ thermal imaging scope and the previous generation.

The Quantum XQ top control panel
The Quantum XQ top control panel features an additional dedicated button to activate the stadiametric rangefinder
Brightness/contrast button on the thermal imaging scope
The advanced menu - driven features plus the standard brightness/contrast controls are accessed with this combination knob

The major changes are all in fact, “under the hood”: the thermal core of the Pulsar XQ thermal imaging scope is completely new and redesigned around an uncooled microbolometer sensor made by ULIS (a company in the French group SOFRADIR) using Pico™384 Resistive Amorphous Silicon technology (384 x 288 pixels with a pixel pitch of 17 μm). The sensitivity of the Quantum XQ’s new sensor (also known as NETD, or Noise Equivalent Temperature Difference) is of course excellent, approximately 65 mK.

Ocular of the thermal Quantum XQ
The Quantum XQ eyepiece is the exact same part used in the previous models
The multipolar connector Pulsar Quantum XQ
The new multipolar connector combines both power and video out functions

The pixel pitch (the size of each single sensitive cell in the sensor) has dropped from 25 to 17 μm and this not only means better performance, lower costs, improved power consumption and improved integration, but also a more compact sensor than before, with a reduction in size from 24.2 mm to 16.5 mm at the edge of the sensor. This means that magnification increases at the same focal distance: if we compare the Quantum XD38 with the XQ38, native magnification has increased from 2.1x to 3.1x (the so-called photographic “crop factor”). What’s more, the electronics have been notably improved, as has the software, which now offers more functions. Start-up time has also improved, and the system now starts in just two seconds.

Battery cartridges
The Quantum XQ is delivered with two battery cartridges, each holding four AA cells. FR6 or L91 Lithium cells are suggested
Pulsar Quantum battery
The battery cartridge is loaded in a O-ring sealed well located next to the eyepiece

The refresh frequency on all the models in the Quantum XQ series is an impressive 50 Hz, and there’s now also a remote control to operate the system remotely, something we’ve already seen on Yukon Digisight and Pulsar Apex optoelectronic scopes. The power/video output connector has been changed and is now the same as the one used on the Apex.

Pulsar sent us the full Quantum XQ series of  thermal imaging scopes to test: the XQ19, with a native magnification of 1.6x; the XQ38 with 3.1x; and the XQ50 with 4.1x. Each scope has a 4x digital zoom: so the max. magnification of the three models is 6.4, 12.4 and 16.4, respectively.

Pulsar Quantum XQ 38
This is the Pulsar Quantum XQ 38 thermal monocular, featuring a 3.1x optical magnification. We believe that it is the instrument in the XQ range that offer the best balance between performance, price and magnification.

Each thermal imaging scope comes with a nice black Cordura® carrying case with a neck strap, cables, manual, two battery cartridges and the remote control. The Quantum Pulsar is powered by four AA batteries (included), fitted to a cartridge. Although you can use any type of batteries, 1.5 Volt lithium batteries (Energizer L91 or generic FR-6) are recommended for the best battery life and resistance to low temperatures.

Front lens objectives of the Pulsar Quantum XQ50
Front lens objectives compared across the Quantum XQ Line; this is the 50mm focal length len of the XQ50
Front lens objectives of the Pulsar Quantum XQ38
Front lens objectives compared across the Quantum XQ Line; this is the 38mm focal length len of the XQ38
Front lens objectives of thre Pulsar Quantum XQ19
Front lens objectives compared across the Quantum XQ Line; this is the 19mm focal length len of the XQ19

The instrument feels quite heavy in your hand with the XQ38 weighing around 430 grams with its batteries. The feeling when touching the plastic is one of good quality with an excellent grip on the rubber parts. The new layout of the controls is much more rational than before, and the display standby function (pressing the ON/OFF button momentarily) is very useful when hunting or when you want to keep a low profile, while also preventing you from accidentally shutting the system down, which was easy to do on earlier versions. The remote control is the same that comes with the Apex, and it has three main controls (ON/OFF, calibration, and digital zoom).

The system starts up very quickly, and you’ll have an image in the eyepiece in two seconds. The OLED 640 x 480 pixel color display appears to be brighter and has a colder tone than on previous versions of the Pulsar. The performance of the new sensor is a marked improvement on previous versions. The image is generally clearer, with fewer flaws and it decays much more slowly, so you don’t have to calibrate the system so often. The refresh frequency is an impressive 50 Hz which makes the images very fluid indeed, and even watching fast-moving objects there’s no stuttering, blurring or "ghosting" effect.

Pulsar Quantum XQ19
The Pulsar Quantum XQ19 has an interesting feature compared to the other models: a two bladed diaphgram lens protectin that is activated rotating the front lens ring
Pulsar Quantum XQ19
The Pulsar Quantum XQ19 has an interesting feature compared to the other models: a two bladed diaphgram lens protectin that is activated rotating the front lens ring
Palettes of colour
The Quantum XQ has an interesting feature, already seen on the previous model: it can color the image with a one of seven palettes to enhance certain temperature ranges. Click on the image to see all of them!
Palettes of colour
The Quantum XQ has an interesting feature, already seen on the previous model: it can color the image with a one of seven palettes to enhance certain temperature ranges. Click on the image to see all of them!
Palettes of colour
The Quantum XQ has an interesting feature, already seen on the previous model: it can color the image with a one of seven palettes to enhance certain temperature ranges. Click on the image to see all of them!
Palettes of colour
The Quantum XQ has an interesting feature, already seen on the previous model: it can color the image with a one of seven palettes to enhance certain temperature ranges. Click on the image to see all of them!
Palettes of colour
The Quantum XQ has an interesting feature, already seen on the previous model: it can color the image with a one of seven palettes to enhance certain temperature ranges. Click on the image to see all of them!
Palettes of colour
The Quantum XQ has an interesting feature, already seen on the previous model: it can color the image with a one of seven palettes to enhance certain temperature ranges. Click on the image to see all of them!
Palettes of colour
The Quantum XQ has an interesting feature, already seen on the previous model: it can color the image with a one of seven palettes to enhance certain temperature ranges. Click on the image to see all of them!

Contrast appears to have improved too.

As on the previous Quantum XD, the XQ also has an interactive stadiametric rangefinder reticle that can measure animals of a known height (hare, 30 cm; boar, 70 cm; deer 1.7 m), and you can choose between seven color palettes to display the temperature differences in the objects and environment you’re watching in the most effective way. One thing we found frankly useless was the 4x digital zoom, as anything over 2x produces an image that’s too poor to make out important features. Focusing is easy enough, although we think the min. focal distance has increased slightly; the focus ring is tight to adjust and travel is short. 

A final note on the various models.

The ‘baby’ of the series, the XQ19 with 1.6x magnification, is the best value for money as for quite a reasonable price you’ll be able to buy what might be your first “serious” thermal imaging system; the magnification is more than enough for hunting and we’d highly recommend it for the driven hunt also due to its short min. focal distance. The XQ38 with 3.1x magnification is the “all-rounder”, the perfect balance between performance and price (note that the Germanium with which these lenses are made is extremely costly, being literally worth its weight in gold), while the XQ50 with 4.1x magnification offers top performance and with its high magnification power we’d consider it ideal for professional use, such as surveillance for example. 

Pulsar Quantum XQ 38 thermal monocular
The Pulsar Quantum XQ 38 thermal monocular, featuring a 3.1x optical magnification
The three Pulsar Quantum XQ thermal monoculars
The three Pulsar Quantum XQ thermal monoculars: the XQ19, XQ38 and XQ50
Quantum XQ19, XQ38 and XQ50
The three Pulsar Quantum XQ thermal monoculars: the XQ19, XQ38 and XQ50

 

Last but not least, remember than none of the Pulsar “full frame rate” thermal imaging scopes (with a refresh frequency of 30 or 50 hz) purchased in EU can be exported to any country outside the EEC without a proper export license.

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Pulsar Quantum XQ
DATA TABLE

The three Pulsar Quantum XQ thermal monocularsFranco Palamaro

€ 2390 - 3790
Manufacturer
Pulsar - Yukon Advanced Optics (www.pulsar-nv.com)
ModelsQuantum XQ19, XQ38 e XQ50
TypeMonocular thermal imaging scope
Magnification
XQ19: 1.6x, up to a 6,4x digital zoom
XQ38: 3.1x up to 12,4x digital zoom
XQ50: 4.1x up to 16,4x digital zoom
Objective diameter
Germanium;
XQ19: 16mm, focal length 19mm F1,2
XQ38: 32mm, focal length  38mm F1,2
XQ50: 42mm, focal length  50mm F1,2
Sensor384 x 288 pixel amorphous silicon microbolometer with a 17 μm pixel pitch, manual and automatic calibration
IR SensivityLWIR (7.7 to 13.2 um), NETD 65mK
EyepieceOLED 0.31" diagonal micro-display with a 640 x 480 pixel resolution, ± 5 dioptre adjustment, 8 mm exit pupil,
20 mm eye relief
FeaturesMaximum detection range in optimal conditions for a 170 x 50 cm rectangular object:
XQ19: 680m; XQ38: 1350m; XQ50: 1800m
Focus distance: 
XQ19, from 3m to infinity; 
XQ38/50, from 7m to infinity
Dimensions
XQ19: 180mm; XQ38: 200mm; XQ50: 207mm
Weight. no batteries
XQ19: 320g; XQ38: 350g; XQ50: 430g
Materials/Finishes
Full-polymer body reinforced with fibreglass/carbon fibre and partially coated with non-slip rubber.
NotesPowered by four AA 1.5V batteries, NTSC/PAL video OUT with proprietary multipolar connector, IPX4 waterproof certification
Prices
2390 € Quantum XQ19
3250 € Quantum XQ38
3790 € Quantum XQ50
(official retail prices with VAT)
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