Borescopes and endoscopes are types of inspection cameras. Although there are many similarities between endoscopes and borescopes, there are some key differences. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explain what borescopes and endoscopes are, explore the differences between the instruments and discuss their uses and applications and the benefits they offer.
What is a borescope?
A borescope is an inspection camera, which is inserted into an object to enable the operator to see the inside of the structure, engine, casting, or some other manufactured device. Borescopes are also used to explore environments to enable us to see areas we wouldn’t otherwise be able to view. Today, borescopes are often used remotely.
A borescope comprises a miniature camera, which is attached to a thin, flexible, semi-rigid, or rigid tube. Using a borescope provides access to hard-to-reach or poorly lit areas as well as the inside of structures. This visual inspection tool offers a range of benefits for organizations and individuals across multiple industries. Using a borescope facilitates the inspection of structures and environments, which are not visible or accessible to the naked eye.
Borescopes are used predominantly for industrial, manufacturing and aviation, and aerospace applications.
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Types of borescopes
There are several types of borescopes. As technology has advanced and evolved, the range of instruments and applications has increased. Examples of types of borescopes include:
A video borescope is one of the most common types of borescopes. Using a tiny camera, which is fitted to the top of the instrument, the borescope captures video footage, which can be viewed using a monitor or a computer screen. Video borescopes are also known as videoscopes. They work by transmitting light through the lens to the video camera. They can capture stills as well as video clips.
Flexible borescopes (fiberscope camera)’
Also known as fiberscope cameras, flexible borescopes comprise a flexible tube. They use optic glass fibers, rather than lenses, to transmit the image from the camera to the eyepiece. The flexibility of the tube allows for excellent coverage, and it can also enhance the quality and clarity of the image.
Rigid borescopes have a fixed, immobile rod. They utilize lenses to transmit high-resolution images. As the tube is rigid, this type of borescope has to be inserted into a specific structure or environment in a straight position. It cannot bend or flex but it is possible to see different views using mirrors and prisms. In most cases, the operator will use an eyepiece, rather than a camera, to view images. The rigid borescope is available in various lengths and prob diameters. The rigid borescope can also have a fixed angle of view. The most popular AOV for a rigid borescope is 0 or 90 degrees.
Semi-rigid borescopes are not as flexible as fiberscope cameras but they use the same fiber optic technology to relay images. Their small diameter makes them an excellent choice for inspecting micro components and very small structures.
What is an endoscope?
An endoscope is a type of borescope camera, which is used most frequently within the medical and veterinary sectors. Endoscopes are inspection devices, which are employed predominantly to see inside the human body or the body of an animal. Every endoscope can be classed as a borescope, but not every borescope can be classified as a borescope.
Endoscopes have a very thin, flexible, long tube, which facilitates movement and provides access to areas that would otherwise be impossible to investigate or reach. An endoscope features a tiny camera, which is positioned by moving the cable, and an LED light source.
Endoscopes are used during procedures known as endoscopies. There are several types of endoscopies, which are conducted to gather information about specific parts of the body. An endoscopy may be recommended if an individual has symptoms that warrant further investigation, they are due to have treatment, or they have undergone treatment or recovered from a condition or injury. Endoscopies play an integral role in the diagnosis, treatment, and management of a wide range of illnesses and diseases.
Common types of endoscopies include:
- Colonoscopy: used to explore the colon
- Bronchoscopy: used to investigate the lungs and airways
- Cystoscopy: used to look inside the bladder
- Laryngoscopy: used to examine the larynx
- Laparoscopy: used to investigate the abdomen and pelvic area
What are the differences between a borescope and an endoscope?
There are multiple similarities between a borescope and an endoscope, but there are important differences between the two instruments. These include:
An endoscope has a smaller diameter than a borescope. Endoscopes can be used to explore extremely narrow passageways and areas that are difficult to access. Some mini borescopes can be as small as .37mm in diameter.
Borescopes come in many different forms and some are more flexible than others. Flexible borescopes enable enhanced maneuverability while rigid and semi-rigid borescopes are more limited. Endoscopes have a very long, thin, flexible cable, which enables the operator to move them around and navigate complex systems and pathways, usually inside the human body.
3. Field of view
One advantage of using a borescope over an endoscope is the field of view. Endoscopes only offer a 90-degree field of view while borescopes provide a 120-degree field of view. It is possible to enhance the view when using an endoscope by adjusting the device.
One of the main differences between borescopes and endoscopes is the way they are used. Borescopes are employed across multiple industries while endoscopes are most commonly used by doctors and veterinarians. Borescopes are designed specifically for aerospace, manufacturing, and industrial applications. They may be used by mechanics, engineers, plumbers, aerospace and energy technicians, and automotive engineers, as well as law enforcement officers. Endoscopes can be used within other industries. Industrial endoscopes are used in automobile production and maintenance, but endoscopes are found much more commonly in healthcare and veterinary settings.
Endoscopes are known for providing extremely detailed images. They offer a superior level of detail to borescopes, which is why they are used in the fields of medicine and veterinary care where risks are high and accuracy is vital.
The cost of borescopes varies, according to the type of instrument and its intended function. As borescopes are much more versatile and they cater to a much wider range of industries and applications, they are usually less expensive than endoscopes. Endoscopes are medical-grade devices, which often have a relatively high cost. Amateurs, hobbyists, and small business owners can access low-end borescopes while endoscopes are only accessible to organizations that have the budget to buy specialist, cutting-edge equipment.
Borescope light tends to be brighter and more intense than endoscope light. Endoscopes require softer light because this provides better conditions for examining the internal structures and organs of the body. The intense light generated by borescopes increases visibility within structures and places where there is no natural light.
What are the pros and cons of borescopes and endoscopes?
Borescopes and endoscopes are capable of performing many of the same tasks. However, often, there is a clear winner in terms of which instrument is best suited to a specific job. There are pros and cons to using borescopes and endoscopes.
The pros and cons of borescopes
- Versatility: borescopes are used across multiple industries to carry out a wide range of functions, tasks, and applications.
- Price: in most cases, borescopes are less expensive to buy than endoscopes.
- Field of view: borescopes offer a better field of view (120 degrees) than endoscopes (90 degrees).
- Accessibility: borescopes enable all kinds of professionals to access environments and inspect structures and objects, which would otherwise be inaccessible.
- Lighting: borescopes illuminate dark, hard-to-reach areas, providing bright, intense light to aid visibility and produce clear images.
- Functionality: there are several types of borescopes, which can be used for a broad spectrum of tasks and investigations. You can choose a borescope that caters to your requirements.
- Flexibility: borescopes are less flexible than endoscopes, which makes them more difficult to maneuver.
- Level of detail: endoscopes offer a better level of detail than borescopes.
The pros and cons of endoscopes
- Level of detail: endoscopes offer a superior level of detail to borescopes, which is one of the reasons why they are used frequently in human and animal medicine.
- Suitable for high-risk situations where there is no margin for error: endoscopes are used primarily during medical investigations and procedures, where accuracy is critical and there is no room for error.
- Flexibility: endoscopes comprise a long, thin, flexible tube, which offers excellent maneuverability. An endoscope is more flexible and mobile than a borescope.
- Cost: endoscopes are usually significantly more expensive than borescopes.
- Application: borescopes are much more versatile than endoscopes. There are multiple types and they are used across several industries by a wide range of professionals. Endoscopes are predominantly used by doctors and veterinarians.
- Light: endoscopes generate dim light: this is beneficial for examining the human body but it’s not advantageous for other applications.
What is a borescope used for?
Borescopes are versatile, functional instruments, which are used by workers and professionals in many sectors to explore, investigate and view all kinds of different objects, environments, and structures. Here are some examples of industries where borescopes are used widely:
- Helicopter inspections
- Aviation engine inspections
- Turbine blade inspections
- Law enforcement and forensics
Examples of tasks that may require the use of a borescope include:
- Inspecting vehicle engines
- Visual inspection of wind turbines, car and aerospace parts, and HVAC systems
- Testing components and quality control
- Investigating blockages in pipes and water systems
- Inspecting guns and barrels
What are endoscopes used for?
Endoscopes are used in medicine and veterinary care. An endoscopy is a non-surgical procedure, which enables doctors or veterinarians to see inside the body using an endoscope. An endoscopy provides critical information for teams responsible for diagnosing and treating patients. Using camera images, doctors can investigate symptoms and suspicious signs, monitor the progress of treatment, and check for signs of relapse following recovery from a disease, such as cancer, for example.
Borescope and endoscope FAQs
- What is a borescope?
A borescope is an inspection camera or visual inspection device, which enables you to see inside structures and objects or access areas that would otherwise not be visible to the human eye.
- What is an endoscope?
An endoscope is another type of inspection camera comprising a tiny camera attached to a very long, thin, and flexible cable. Endoscopes are usually used to look inside the human body or the body of an animal.
- Who uses borescopes and endoscopes?
Many different types of workers use borescopes. Examples include automotive and aerospace engineers, mechanics, plumbers, and people who work in forensics and gunsmithing. Endoscopes are mainly used by doctors and veterinarians.
- Which is best: a borescope or an endoscope?
There are pros and cons to using both borescopes and endoscopes. Borescopes are less expensive than endoscopes, they are suitable for a much wider range of applications and there are different types to cater to different environments and industries. They also offer a better field of view than endoscopes. Endoscopes are designed for use in medicine and animal care. They are medical-grade instruments, which are very expensive. They offer an incredible level of detail and are more flexible and mobile than borescopes. Their application is more limited and the level of light is dimmer. This is because it is easier to see inside the human body using softer light. And of course, only certified medical endoscopes should be used in the medical field.
- What is the difference between a borescope and an endoscope?
The most significant differences include flexibility, application, cost, and field of view. Endoscopes are more flexible, they cost more and they are used most commonly in medicine and veterinary care. Borescopes are less flexible, they cost less, they offer a better field of view and they are used much more widely across many different industries.
Borescopes and endoscopes are very similar in terms of their design and the way they work, but there are key differences between these two types of inspection cameras. Borescopes cater to a wide range of industrial applications while endoscopes are used by medical professionals and veterinarians. Borescopes are employed to explore and investigate environments, objects, and structures. Endoscopes enable doctors to look inside the human body. Endoscopes produce very detailed images and they are highly flexible. They are very expensive pieces of specialist equipment. Borescopes are less flexible, but they offer a better field of view and they are usually more affordable. If you have any Borescope Sales & Service questions, just pick up the phone and talk to a trained professional at 931-362-3304