The FLIR E8 Infrared Camera can measure temperatures at individual points as well as reveal temperature gradients between different areas.  It uses a quick and simple interface to measure and record temperatures in real time, and has the ability to take infrared and true color images.  The FLIR requires the care and maintenance that any camera does, but is field rated and can withstand small amounts of dirt, mud, and water. 

This guide will describe the camera settings and techniques that were found to be most successful and efficient on Expedition 353 (Nov. 31, 2014 – Jan. 31, 2015), despite some settings being subjective (such as the display colors of the infrared image) and flexible (such as image mode).


After making sure the battery is charged using the external wall charger, hold the power button for ~3 seconds to power up.  Open the lens caps and press the center button (#3 in Fig. 1) to bring up the Main menu toolbar.  Here you will choose the settings to identity cold spots in the core. 

Figure 1:

a) 1 - camera screen, 2 - Archive button (opens recorded images), 3 - Navigation pad (up, down, left, right, centering button), 4 - Cancel/Return, 5 - On/Off (quick push to sleep, hold 3sec to power on/off),

b) 1 - digital lens, 2 - Infrared lens, 3 - Switch to open/close lens cap, 4 - Trigger to take photo, 5 - Battery,

c) 1 - Main menu toolbar, 2 - Submenu toolbar, 3 - Spot Meter, 4 - Temperature reading, 5 - Battery/Memory meter, 6 - Temperature scale.

Main Menu Tabs

The far left tab is “Settings,” and contains three sub menus: 

Measurement parameters

Emissivity should be set to “Semi-glossy (0.60),” Reflected temperature to 20 C, and Distance to 1 meter.

Save options

Photo as separate JPEG to “On”.

Device settings

Can stay at default.

Second from the left is “Image Mode,” and should stay at the default of “Thermal MSX,” which represents an infrared image with outlines of objects within the frame.  This helps to keep the core in the center of the frame while scanning.

The middle tab is “Measurement,” and should be set to “Cold Spot.” This identifies the coldest spot within the frame, and displays the temperature reading in the upper left corner of the screen.

Second from the right is “Color,” and should be set to “Rainbow.”  This tab has no effect on temperature reading or other measurements, but the “Rainbow” color scheme is the most familiar representation of infrared images (blue for cold, red for hot).

The far right tab is “Temperature Scale,” and should be set to “Manual.”  Once set to “Manual,” use left or right on the Navigation Pad to select the upper limit of the scale, the lower limit of the scale, or both.  Use up and down on the Navigation Pad to increase or decrease the limits of the temperature scale.  The scale’s values and range are determined by the average temperature reading of the core as a whole.  After finding the average temperature, chose limits approximately 5C above and below the core temperature for a range of 10c.


When camera is fully shut down (i.e. when switching batteries), “Image Mode” and “Temperature Scale” settings are reset to their default conditions:

-  Image Mode resets to “Thermal MSX”

-  Temperature Scale resets to “Auto”

Taking an image

To take a photo, simply pull the trigger while holding the camera steady.  If the setting of “Photo as separate JPEG” is set to “On,” then the camera will simultaneously take two images; one infrared, and one true color image. 

Identifying Cold Spots

In order to properly identify cold spots and record depth and location, the camera should be used to scan the length of the core as soon as the core is placed on the catwalk rack, ahead of the measuring for sections.  During this first scan, anomalies can be marked with a black marker to indicate the rough location of interest.  After the core is sectioned, labeled, and capped, find the anomalies again and place a ruler at the top of the section.  Hold the camera over the area of interest for a few moments to ensure proper calibration (the camera does this automatically), then pull the trigger to record both the infrared and true color image.  The infrared image will contain the point temperature reading of the coldest spot in the frame and display the relative gradient to the surrounding core, while the true color image will contain the offset of the cold spot within that core section.  Once the photo is taken, it is saved to the camera’s internal memory and named in a FLIR####.jpg format.  It is important to record the core section and it’s corresponding image; for example photo file “FLIR0001.jpg” = “10H-2.”

Downloading an Image

In order to download the images, connect the USB cable to the port on the top of the camera and to the computer.  The camera will mount to the computer like a hard drive, and from there the images can be transferred off the camera and the files can be renamed with the proper identification.  To name the image, make sure to include the site number, hole, core section, type of image, and offset of the anomaly in centimeters from the top of the section.  For example; U1445A_20F-2_Infrared_23-30.jpg.

Examples of usage

a) Core temperature (gas hydrate detection):

*Note: there is no ruler in this photo because it was a test True Color image. There is a ruler in the Infrared Image above.

b) Half-space puck during the data acquisition process in an effort to visually record the heating steps and in the hope of imaging the thermal gradient across the puck:

Archived versions

FLIR User Guide Exp353

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