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Strike Zone
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Posted on Feb 16, 2012 in Miami Boat Show
Garmin Sees in the Dark
by Glenn Law

One of Garmin's  big product announcements at the Miami International Boat Show is a new family of three thermal and low-light cameras. The GCT 30,GCT 20, and GCL 20 are all equipped for pan, tilt and zoom. Top of the line GCT 30 high-resolution thermal runs about $14,0000, and its low-res brother, the GCL 20 is priced at $8,995.99. Both allow you to see in total darkness. If that's a bit steep, the GCL 20 offers a low-light camera instead of the thermal imager. It's priced around $4,000. and sized, just over 2.5 pounds, for just about any boat.

While sacrificing the thermal, total darkness capability, it's still a valuable light amplifier especially useful pre-dawn, after sundown, or when you're trying to steer safely through light fog. If you've ever left the dock before dawn for the early morning bite, or come in later than expected, the advantages are clear. This model has a 28x and a digital zoom of 12x, with 44 percent higher resolution than the low-res thermal model. All are controllable via touch screen, compatible with GPSMAP 4000, 5000, 6000 and 7000 series chart plotters. The addition of a heading sensor allows you to select a target on the plotter screen and track it, and they'll track MARPA and AIS targets as well.