Camera Equipment

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    • #126385
      D Close
      Moderator

        What camera equipment might be helpful to a S&O team? The technology has changed dramatically from the Vietnam days. Digital is king. Any affordable recommendations? How can a team send pictures back to a TOC?

        Camera requirements: waterproof; affordable; removable storage capacity; non-internet based; zoom/magnification; quiet; lightweight; rugged; rechargeable power sources. other?

      • #126401
        JohnnyMac
        Participant

          Just my two cents, mission dependent:

          Olympus TG6 for a point and shoot
          Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II for more capability, but weatherproof, compact and rugged
          Nikon/Canon DSLR with significant telephoto lens and shell/case for weatherproofing (I don’t like this option much, but when you need significant zoom, probably still the best option that I know of)

        • #126405
          AntMan
          Participant

            I haven’t tested it but they make adapters for cell phones to attach to spotting scopes. It can give you a full power zoom without the ballast off a full size DSLR + zoom lens.

            The biggest issue with dslr is that to meet the durability requirements, you are going to need the pro level camera and lenses like what you see at professional sporting events. All of a sudden you are at 5-8k for the camera and 14k+ per lens. That’s not a scalable solution for me.

            2xcqbc
            1xclc

          • #126406
            AntMan
            Participant

              And to the second question. The cell phone is going to be the simplest way of transmitting pictures. I don’t have any other options for that off hand other than handing the sd card to a runner on a dirt bike or something similar.

              2xcqbc
              1xclc

            • #126422
              gatlinggun
              Participant

                A “smart” phone is the spy within. Are you sure you want to take something that is already compromised by the government on an operation with you? I sure wouldn’t.

                How do you ensure that whatever intel you are sending isn’t intercepted by “the other side”?

                ALL digital technology that communicates via the internet/phone companies is compromised from the get go.

                Something to consider.

              • #126425
                AntMan
                Participant

                  A “smart” phone is the spy within. Are you sure you want to take something that is already compromised by the government on an operation with you? I sure wouldn’t.

                  How do you ensure that whatever intel you are sending isn’t intercepted by “the other side”?

                  ALL digital technology that communicates via the internet/phone companies is compromised from the get go.

                  Something to consider.

                  Yup. However, what alternatives are there for transmitting pictures back?

                  You can slap a 4g modem on a tablet and run your own cell towers. You can launch your own satellite and use that uplink. As JohnnyMac said, it depends on who or what the other side is. You might be able to take precautions and get away with speedier communication, or you are SOL and the analysis can happen once you finish the recon mission.

                  2xcqbc
                  1xclc

                • #126428
                  D Close
                  Moderator

                    You don’t need to transmit at all so let’s leave that for the moment. Eventually I need to get images to something I can view them with. That is more a commo issue and we can avoid it. For the moment, I wanted to get ideas on capturing images that provide a commander with information from a team tasked to collect it. From recon literature, 35mm film was a mainstay for years. If I have a Leopold spotting scope, for example, I may be able to adapt a device to capture that image, like AntMan states. Options are good.

                  • #126464
                    rampantraptor
                    Participant

                      For quick and dirty pictures during raids, etc., a cell phone with no SIM card and on airplane mode works fine. There are ways to neuter a phone so it can’t be bugged if you’re feeling paranoid beyond that. I wouldn’t trust cell phone cameras for detailed photos of enemy sites observed from a distance, etc., cell phone cameras are kind of shit for that stuff.

                      Free Burma Rangers have been doing intelligence gathering and documentation for decades now. They weren’t in Syria when I was there so I can’t give direct observations but their guys seem to carry standard DSLRs in hard cases, I’d assume the same would work for S&O, modern cameras can also shoot high-quality video for documentation of enemy war crimes, your own propaganda, etc., since every modern guerrilla movement should have a solid media wing, I think everyone here has seen those legit HPG videos before.

                    • #126654
                      First Sergeant
                      Moderator

                        Years ago we carried the 35mm. Then when the technology advanced enough we switched to the first ruggedized DSLR’ss. These are the best for taking pictures from an OP.

                        We had adapters to attach them to a spotting scope.

                        We carried smaller digital cameras for up close work.

                        Like with anything else, how much do you want to spend on it?

                        FILO
                        Signal Out, Can You Identify
                        Je ne regrette rien
                        In Orbe Terrum Non Visi

                      • #126657
                        Max
                        Keymaster

                          You can absolutely send images via email using your own radio equipment that does not involve cell phones, cell towers or the internet. We have comms guys here who can tell you how to do that. But the moment you press send to tranmit you just opened yourself up to immediate compromise and location, depending on enemy capabilities. When we had Commsprepper doing OPFOR for the HEAT 2 recce patrol, he was waiting for anyone on the patrol to hit the pressel on his radio and he would have had an immediate fix.

                          So capability versus risk versus the mission of the patrol. Do you need immediate images to go back or are you collecting images to backup / detail out a sketch map and thus to inform the planning commander better?

                          • #127050
                            First Sergeant
                            Moderator

                              Bingo

                              FILO
                              Signal Out, Can You Identify
                              Je ne regrette rien
                              In Orbe Terrum Non Visi

                          • #126912
                            John D
                            Participant

                              What was 35mm in film is now called Full Frame in digital i.e. same size.
                              These are the ´big boys´ from Canon, Nikon, and so on. These are arguably the best allround sensors in todays camera world, but have one drawback: physical size. Mirrorless technology has shrunk the bodys,
                              but the lenses have to stay more or less the same size, can´t beat physics.

                              Now, if you take a smaller sensor, it gives more reach on the same lens, called the crop factor.
                              What this means is that you can shrink the lens size if you make do with a smaller sensor.
                              This is most apparent at longer focal lenghts-precisely what we are looking at here.
                              Many new cameras can compound several pictures into one, enabling high-resolution pictures on smaller cameras, mitigating one of the main drawbacks of small sensors.

                              Good choices for cameras with interchangeable lenses would be:
                              Sony a6xxx or Canon EOS M (1.7x Crop)
                              Olympus OM-D or Panasonic Gx (2x Crop), as mentioned by JohnnyMac

                              Another viable option would be a so called Superzoom, basically a zoom lens with huge range coupled to a small sensor. These Cameras are often used by people photographing wild life like birds, where you want long reach with still decent quality.
                              King of this game is the (expensive) Sony RX10, another good one the Panasonic FZ2500.
                              If you want shear reach, get a Nikon Coolpix P1000, 3000mm equ. focal lenght at under 800 bucks.

                              For a pocket camera able to withstand the rough conditions, Olympus TG5/6 as already said by Johnnymac.

                            • #127137
                              hellokitty
                              Participant

                                So why wouldnt you get a 35mm FILM camera and build a dark room and develop your own photos. Its old school but you dont need a computer and it isnt equipment that can be tracked?

                                HEAT 1(CTT) X 3
                                HEAT 2 (CP) X1
                                FOF X3
                                OPFOR X2
                                CLC X2
                                RIFLEMAN

                              • #127174
                                AntMan
                                Participant

                                  Mainly because you need to find someone who remembers how to set proper exposure without all the fancy on camera sensors now do that you can get good shots back to your darkroom. As long as you have that. There’s no reason the 35mm can’t still be king.

                                  2xcqbc
                                  1xclc

                                  • #127175
                                    hellokitty
                                    Participant

                                      👌

                                      HEAT 1(CTT) X 3
                                      HEAT 2 (CP) X1
                                      FOF X3
                                      OPFOR X2
                                      CLC X2
                                      RIFLEMAN

                                      • #127184
                                        AntMan
                                        Participant

                                          The low tech solutions always work :good: Or as the saying goes

                                          go ugly early

                                          2xcqbc
                                          1xclc

                                    • #127291
                                      rampantraptor
                                      Participant

                                        So why wouldnt you get a 35mm FILM camera and build a dark room and develop your own photos. Its old school but you dont need a computer and it isnt equipment that can be tracked?

                                        …If you have somewhere safe to establish a dark room while operating as part of a clandestine organization. Enemy forces raid the guy with the dark room and you have rolls of worthless intel, not like you’d be able to take film with sensitive images to Walgreens during the Boogaloo or even in normal circumstances without drawing attention if the dark room is gone. Also, transporting film and photos between recon, your film developer, and commanders is asking for enemy to intercept it.

                                        Digital cameras allow more photos with smaller and less sensitive flash media (I’ve accidentally washed flash cards before and they still worked, don’t think film would survive), they can also film high-quality video, and the data is immediately accessible to any guerrilla commander in some mountain dugout with a laptop.

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