Many long-wave infrared spectroscopic imaging applications are limited by the portability and cost of detector arrays. We present a characterization of a newly available, low-cost, uncooled vanadium oxide microbolometer array, the Seek Compact, in accordance with common infrared detector specifications: noise-equivalent differential temperature (NEDT), optical responsivity spectra, and Allan variance. The Compact’s imaging array consists of
pixel pitch, 93% of the pixels yield useful temperature readings. Characterization results show optical response between
with an NEDT of 148 mK (at
). Comparing these results to a research-grade camera, the Seek Compact exhibits a
reduction in weight (
) and cost ($12,000/$250) but takes
longer to achieve the same NEDT (
for 45 mK). Additionally, a proof-of-concept spectral imaging experiment of SiN thin films is conducted. Leveraging this price reduction and spectroscopic imaging capability, the Seek Compact has potential in enabling field-deployable and distributed active midinfrared spectroscopic imaging, where cost and portability are the dominate inhibitors and high frame rates are not required.