As many of you know, Leica released the BLK360 Gen 2 last year. Unfortunately, supply chain issues limited the amount of people who were receiving them for a while. Those issues also limited the interest in the new BLK. I find that when a second version of anything is released, interest usually isn’t very high because most believe there aren’t going to be significant changes from the first version. Well, I can tell you from experience, this is not the case with the BLK360.
The latest BLK360 is a major upgrade over the previous release. In fact, almost everything about this new device is better! To begin, let’s talk about the physical nature of the scanner itself. The original BLK was 100mm in diameter. The Gen 2 is now 80mm. That is a 20% difference! The height has also changed. The Gen 1 is 165mm in height while the Gen 2 is 155mm in height. The scanners look similar but if we inspect a little closer, there are some major differences. For example, the Gen 2 has more lenses (cameras for VIS system) and an enclosed mirror so we can no longer accidentally touch the mirror while handling the scanner.
Besides physical size, the scanners operate similarly with one major exception, speed! The Gen 2 is not only smaller but is much faster than its predecessor. Running equivalent scans show what a time difference there is between them. For example, if the Gen 1 is run on a high setting with HDR photos turned on, we can expect a scan time of roughly 6:10. That same scan run on the Gen 2 would be roughly 1:37. That is a significant increase in scan times!
The other major feature I would like to discuss here is the addition of VIS to the Gen 2. If you have been following Leica technology over the years, you probably know that Leica invented and deployed their Visual Inertial System on the RTC360 some years ago. That was very impressive at the time considering how small the RTC is compared to other professional scanners. Leica has found a way to implement the VIS system into the BLK360 Gen 2. The VIS system in the BLK360 comes with some caveats the RTC doesn’t have like being careful not to be in front of the cameras. Not a major issue but something to know about.
The Gen 2 is a fantastic scanner, but it does not make the Gen 1 an irrelevant piece of equipment. The Gen 1 is still a valuable tool to have in your toolbox. The G1 still has the IR camera that the Gen 2 doesn’t have. So, if you have a need to collect temperature data for your scans, the G1 may be the way to go. The other advantage to the Gen 1 is distance. The Gen 1 can scan up to 60 meters away compared to the 40 meters from the Gen 2. So, once again, there is a right tool for every job and depending on what you need for your projects is the one you should look at.
When it comes down to it what we all look for in a scanner is accuracy, right? Well, the Gen 2 has a leg up here as well. The Gen 2 has a 3D point accuracy of 4mm over 10m. For a scanner this size that is truly remarkable! In case you were wondering the Gen 1 has a 3D point accuracy of 6mm over 10m. This isn’t a large difference over all but to that level of accuracy of two scanners so small is just fantastic.
Let’s set aside the technical specifications for a moment and let’s talk about data. Looking at the data below we can see the image on the right is from the Gen 2 and the pictures are clearer and have deeper color. This image is a stock photo Leica has on their website so I would like to just show some data I have collected personally.
Left is BLK360 G1 on the Right is BLK360 Gen 2:
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