New spotter: Helion 2 XP50 or?

Sogan

Sergeant
Full Member
Minuteman
Jun 11, 2013
1,385
499
Looking to upgrade my spotter this year and then my scope next year. Currently looking at the Helion 2 XP50. Is there anything else I should look at and consider at the same price point? I hunt coyotes in open corn fields in IL and hogs in TX in a variety of terrain.

The helion is quite large especially compared to my AGM rattler but if there is nothing else as capable at that price point then I won’t worry about the size.
 

MuleyTime

Sergeant
Full Member
Minuteman
Mar 3, 2008
500
69
Utah
I'm also going through this process....You're looking at one of the best (optically) scanners available. I don't have a ton of experience with thermals, but I have learned a thing or two that I'll share for your consideration, and I hope others that have a lot of experience will also add their opinions. My experience is 100% coyotes in very open spaces.

1. Unless money just isn't an issue, you can definitely go with a lower res scanner.....Not "low end"just a bit lower res and cheaper than a Helion XP 50. As valuable as a scanner is, it's really only needed to Detect and somewhat ID (again coming from a coyote only guy) Once something is detected and looks very "interesting" I transfer to my rifle.

2. Consider a scanner that can be setup on a helmet. The Helions can't. I have yet to try this, but my next scanning setup (soon to be purchased) will certainly be helmet mounted. It just makes so much sense why a helmet setup will make the scanning experience way more efficient and enjoyable. There are now options of very compact scanners with the capability to be helmet mounted and weapon mounted....so cool.
 
Last edited:

fifdynutz

Pasture Poodle
Full Member
Minuteman
May 5, 2020
218
81
Iowa
I'd definitely look at the iray zoom zh50 or zh38. They wear a lot of hats for a scanner
 

Sogan

Sergeant
Full Member
Minuteman
Jun 11, 2013
1,385
499
I'm also going through this process....You're looking at one of the best (optically) scanners available. I don't have a ton of experience with thermals, but I have learned a thing or two that I'll share for your consideration, and I hope others that have a lot of experience will also add their opinions.

1. Unless money just isn't an issue, you can definitely go with a lower res scanner. As valuable as a scanner is, it's really only needed to Detect. Once something is detected I transfer to my rifle.

2. Consider a scanner that can be setup on a helmet. The Helions can't. I have yet to try this, but my next scanning setup (soon to be purchased) will certainly be helmet mounted. It just makes so much sense why a helmet setup will make the experience way better. There are now options of very compact scanners with the capability to be helmet mounted and weapon mounted....so cool.
All good points. I currently do have a lower res spotter but since I spend 99% on the spotter I wanted to up the quality a little bit.

I currently have a helmet set up with white phos binos that I use to drive into the locations and walk to the set. So unfortunately no helmet mounted thermal for me unless I make some massive changes that I’m just not ready to do as of yet. I do have a friend that has a helmet mounted thermal that I will try out soon and see how it goes just for shits and giggles
 
  • Like
Reactions: MuleyTime

Devildog

Gunny Sergeant
Full Member
Minuteman
Supporter+
Aug 24, 2013
850
1,797
The Land of Oz
I struggled with this same decision earlier this year. I was looking at the Bering Phenom and the Helion XP 50. I went with the Helion and couldn’t be happier. As for the size I don’t find it to be all that bad, I like the hand strap a lot, and the control buttons are easy to reach while I have my hand in the strap.

The rechargeable external battery was a big selling point to me in addition to all the other great features. I know the Helion 2 xp 50 pro is the most current model and is about a grand more then I paid for the xp 50 new. Good luck
 

ping

Private
Minuteman
Nov 16, 2020
16
9
VA
I love the 2 helions I own. They are so easy to use. I don't have to mess with settings to get solid results and generally don't change them much. I can't believe I waited so long to actually purchase them.

My helion 2 xp50 and the helion 2 xp50 pro scanners are significantly better than the Iray RL25 I own, as they should be considering their specs are better. I paid similar prices for all three. The 2 different RL25s I have used do not hold zero as weapon sights (I had to return the first and the second did not resolve the issue.) In addition, the RL25 is only decent in open areas. If you scan near any trees or thicker areas do not even think about using an RL25. You will spend more time trying to change the settings to get a decent view than you will spend scanning. It will flare and struggle in those conditions. If you are in the wide open it will work fine as a scanner. I am not the only person to experience this as the IRAY FB owners group has documented well.

The pro version is supposed to be an upgrade in terms of sensitivity. I can tell the difference as the image is clearer and the pro picks up animals a little sooner. Every person I've had compare my two helions side by side indicate the pro is the better image.

The 2 helions absolutely stomp the IRAY RL25 from a processing/algorithm perspective. It isn't even fair to compare them. The RL25 is just a pain in anything but ideal wide-open conditions. I take the helions in the woods and can see all sorts of animals in trees and along the forest floor without constant flaring.

Helion Dislikes: The proprietary battery. You can use the usb cable and a usb charging pack if you need a backup that doesn't cost $100. I just don't like that setup for waterproof purposes if out in bad weather. I bought the RL25 because it uses 18650 batteries but the thing really struggles in comparison to the helions.

I also think the picture quality of videos and images for the Helions is not as good as you actually see through their viewfinders when using them. Maybe I'm wrong but when I review clips and images they just seem blah compared to what I saw using it. I don't know if this is just my perception or if the two do differ.

This is an example of the flaring I see with the Iray product all the time. This is a wide open field with 1 tree in front. If this were woods you would never see the rabbit. The next picture is in very thick woods and the older helion 2 xp50 (not the pro) picks up the deer easily with no flaring. Third image is helion 2 xp50 picking up bucks in a field. I can get the helions to flare a bit too as the 4th pic shows the trees lit up, but even then there is a huge difference between the deer and the trees unlike the IRAY.
 

Attachments

  • IMG_20220515092445.jpg
    IMG_20220515092445.jpg
    1 MB · Views: 23
  • img_301.jpg
    img_301.jpg
    58.4 KB · Views: 26
  • img_240.jpg
    img_240.jpg
    45.1 KB · Views: 20
  • img_118.jpg
    img_118.jpg
    70.6 KB · Views: 22
Last edited:

MuleyTime

Sergeant
Full Member
Minuteman
Mar 3, 2008
500
69
Utah
Good information. Thanks ping. So I have a question, the RL 25 may not be the right choice, but don't you think a helmet mounted scanner would be much more efficient?
 
  • Like
Reactions: ping

gr8fuldoug

Supporting Vendor
Commercial Supporter
Full Member
Minuteman
Jan 24, 2006
6,498
3,241
59
Old Bethpage NY
www.cameralandny.com

ping

Private
Minuteman
Nov 16, 2020
16
9
VA
Good information. Thanks ping. So I have a question, the RL 25 may not be the right choice, but don't you think a helmet mounted scanner would be much more efficient?

Yes, great point. Using helions as helmet mounts is out of the question due to the size and weight. Sogan said size wasn't a concern so I didn't address that pro of the RL25.

I'd go with the RL25 if I hunted open areas 99% of the time and wanted to helmet mount. The helmet mount option is nice! The RL25 is perfect on paper. Features, weight, size, mounting options, battery options, etc... Just not there on the algo front for anything other than wide open spaces. If you are primarily going to be in the open then it works good as a scanner. If you are in any wooded area you will likely be disappointed. That is a huge downside for many and a non-issue for others. Really depends on where you use it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: MuleyTime