Geotactical Solutions



The problem with many tips and techniques relating to cold weather photography is that they get out of sequence. There are really three different scenarios to consider. First, what to do when you take your camera from a warm environment into the bitter cold outdoors. Second, what to do when you're shooting pictures outside in the cold. And third, what to do when you finally bring your freezing camera back int0 a warm environment.                                                                                              

Transitioning The G700SE-M From A Warm To A Cold Environment

What should you do when you bring your warm G700SE-M camera outside into the cold? Do you have to worry about moisture condensing from the cold air onto the warm surface of the lens or the electronics? Not in most cases. Cold air generally has low moisture content. There's little or no condensation when you go outside into the cold. However, if you’re in a high mountainous area or near a lake or large body of water where fog/moisture can occur, then you should consider keeping your camera in a sealed air tight bag so the moisture condenses onto the bag and not the camera. The main challenge of operating in cold weather, however, will be rapid loss of battery power.

The chemistry and physics relating to how batteries generate electrical energy suggests that at very low temperatures all batteries lose power. They're simply not as efficient in a cold environment. This is a particularly serious problem with today's digital cameras that are completely dependent on battery power. So, when you take your G700SE-M into the cold, you should anticipate losing battery power at a faster rate than normal.

How do you prepare for this? First, you need to focus on keeping the G700SE-M (and batteries) as warm as possible, even outdoors. To do this, when you go outdoors, carry them close to your body, e.g. under your coat. Let them share your body warmth at all times except for those brief moments when you’re actually taking pictures.

ricoh-g700se-camera-batteriesAnother way you can prepare for the expected loss of battery power in the cold is to bring spare batteries with you when you go outside. Keep these spares close to your body as well, e.g. in your shirt or jacket pocket where they will also benefit from your body heat. Keep a close eye on your battery power level, and if your G700SE-M batteries start to fail, simply insert one of your warm spares.

Shooting Pictures In A Cold Environment

What should you do differently because of the cold? In addition to optimizing your camera settings to minimize the draw on battery life from the LCD, your main objective is to continue to keep the G700SE-M as warm as possible. Keep your G700SE-M protected under your coat until you're ready to shoot. We've already noted that digital cameras, which tend to eat batteries anyway, lose power even more rapidly in cold weather. So be sure to carry enough spares to prevent your photo capture mission from stopping short. Additionaly, in extremely cold weather, the heat from your eye can sometimes fog the viewfinder, blurring your view, so try to keep your eye from getting too close. Lastly, avoid heavy breathing near the camera, as this may fog up the lens before taking the shot.

Transitioning The G700SE-M From A Cold To A Warm Environment

ricoh-g700se-lensCondensation can be a problem during the transition from a cold to a warm environment. You've seen moisture condense on a cool glass of water on a hot summer day. Your lens and the electronics inside the G700SE-M behave the same way when you bring them inside – moisture from the warm inside air condenses on their cold surfaces. The lens can become completely covered with moisture, as can the mechanical and electrical components inside the G700SE-M. You don't want moisture on your lens or inside the G700SE-M. So how can you avoid this problem?

Since condensation can cause havoc on an electronic camera, you want extra protection for them and need to provide an opportunity for the G700SE-M to warm up slowly.

Geo Tactical Solutions recommends using the hard case which the camera kit is stored in to assist with this transition. When transitioning from the cold to a warm environment, bring the warm, foam-filled case outside and insert the cold camera into the case. Allow the case and camera to remain in the cold environment together for up to 5 minutes (actual time required is temperature dependent). After approximately 5 minutes, bring the case with the camera locked inside into the warm interior and allow the case to warm up to room temperature thereby allowing the insulating properties of the case and interior foam to assist with the gradual transition.

After approximately 30-minutes, the case and camera temperatures will have gradually warmed to a more moderate temperature and allow for handling without causing condensation.

An alternate technique may include placing your camera on a cool windowsill or in an area where the temperature is closer to the outside temperature than the inside. To do this, place the camera in a slightly inflated plastic bag while still outside in the cold environment, not when you bring the G700SE-M indoors. The resulting protection will produce moisture settling on the outside of the bag rather than on the camera’s internal and external surfaces. This technique will protect the delicate electronics inside the G700SE-M camera.

By following these simple precautions and tips for handling the G700SE-M, you'll be able to capture great photographs outdoors in cold weather, while allowing for smooth transitions between extreme temperature changes and avoiding mechanical and/or electrical malfunctions.

Do You Have Any Tips Or Experiences You Would Like To Share?

We’re always striving to improve our products and services, so if you have any additional tips, questions, feedback, or would like to share a real world case study that could help benefit other users, please contact us, we would love to hear from you.

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“We’ve been waiting over four years to exhibit our GPS-enabled end-to-end photo intelligence solutions at this renowned, member-exclusive annual event,” said Jim Kidd, Vice President of Geo Tactical Solutions--the leading provider of advanced solutions-based image intelligence collection and management hardware and software. Attended by over 35,000 AUSA members and guests in 2010, the AUSA Annual Meeting and Exposition is the largest professional development forum for America’s soldiers and their civilian counterparts. Every year, hundreds of influential military contractors attend this game-changing event to exhibit cutting-edge technology that will enhance the capabilities of the United States Military. This year, Geo Tactical Solutions was proud to take part in that privilege.

Since recognizing the clear value of GPS-enabled data and image capture systems to deliver favorable capabilities for military ISR applications years ago, Geo Tactical has been spearheading the development and dissemination of this technology to ensure the US Military takes full advantage. One major challenge for GTS in acheiving that goal, however, has been to educate, inform, and demonstrate the power of these solutions to key military personnel. “Once they see the real value in what our end-to-end solutions have to offer, they just want to know what they need to do next to get these tools into the hands of their soldiers,” explained Andy Shannon, Customer Sales and Support Manager at Geo Tactical Solutions.

While integrating seamlessly into existing photo capture workflows, GTS systems allow for capturing the who, what, when, where, and why of any situation with the press of the shutter button. Once the intelligence is captured, data can easily be imported into any number of commonly used information systems including GIS. These powerful capabilities increase accuracy, maximize data exploitation, and reduce processing times, resulting in fewer questions, improved efficiency, and enhanced mission planning for Military operations. Having already joined forces with industry leaders such as Ricoh, Olympus, Nikon, SAIC, and soon, Canon, GTS has ambitious plans for rolling out new products with even more capabilities and versatility in the near future.

Key technology presented by GTS at the AUSA Exposition included the Richo G700SE-M rugged digital bridge camera, FotoMapr and GeoMapr GPS modules (which add GPS and memo tagging capabilities to non-GPS-enabled digital cameras), tough point-and-shoot digital cameras, DSLRs, and the FoxView Google Earth software plug-in (used to generate KML and Shape files for seamless image mapping in Google Earth and ArcGIS, as well as auto-generated report templates).

For more information about the AUSA 2011 Annual Meeting & Exposition, visit:

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