What camera for geologic application

Hi all,
I want to buy a thermal IR camera to use in the field. My goal is to locate fresh water springs in areas where the vegetation has been removed (clear-cut areas in Oregon). I hope to take pictures at night in the summer when the surrounding hillslopes will be dry and hot and the exfiltrating groundwater will be cool. This application has had success when flown in an aircraft.

Can anyone suggest a specific camera for this application or a company that would rent me a camera before i bought it? I would prefer color and am looking for something with 0.1 degree C accuracy.

Thanks, Jon

Research Mikron’s cameras


Most have a resolution of 0.06°C

Thanks for the respone. Still so many cameras. I am hoping to shoot photos from distances up to 500 m (~1800 ft) and if this works, take pictures from an airplane.

Not a good application, considering the current state of the art.


In your opinion, you do not think that i will have any success with this application. There are some published papers using airborne thermal imagery to locate springs. I was hoping to do this with a handheld.

Why will this not work? I appreciate your honesty.

There are many factors.

  1. Handheld cameras are geting better and cheaper, but is this enough?
  2. Are you trained to use the camera and do you understand the underlying physics?
  3. Case in point. Will you be aiming the camera through a plane’s window? If so, what the the windows transmitability to IR radiation.

If you can find a manufacturer to lend you a camera for a week or two (some will, especially if you can find a new application for the lower priced cameras. It’s called marketing :mrgreen: ) try this out in an area you know should be positive for the conditions you are checking.

Know what you are doing, learn the physics and do a rigorous and controlled experiment.

All I know is that would not try this with a B cam.

I bet the M7800 could be used in your application. It has an extremely wide range of applications and uses.

Contact them and discuss your application needs…

They’re easy people to talk to.


If you would like in depth information regarding this type of activity, and equipment for it, try giving Tom Mayfield a call or email him ( http://www.mayfieldinfrared.com/ ). Tom is a full time, long time, Professional Thermographer. He has no doubt done the same if not similar work that you are interested in. Tom has performed some very interesting aerial work!

Good luck!

Thank you all for your excellent input. I do like the Mikron cameras and have looked at the M7800. I didn’t think about the fact that if i point the camera thru the glass of the airplane, i will be measuring the temp of the glass itself. I am definitely an ameture at thermography but am learning. I will definitely contact tom mayfield…thanks again!

Thanks for the into to Tom Mayfield. I had the pleasure of talking with him and he was very professional and informative. He let me know that this type of application is definitely do-able from an aircraft but it might be more difficult from the ground. I am going to try to rent a camera, he recommended the FLIR P640 and I am going to attempt to demonstrate to my outfit that this works. THen, i will try to conract out Tom’s company to aerially image our sites in Oregon.

Thanks NACHI!