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19 February 2012

Sled-Mounted Panasonic HDC-SD80 Video Camera

For the last video before I head out for two months with my dogs, I mounted Panasonic’s HDC-SD80 video camera to my sled having broken the trail the day before. In the HD video you can see that the digital camera makes the most of the dawn-like conditions and ambient light reflected off the snow.

As we climb up into and down mountain sides my Rab Wind Suit can be seen as I go forward to release rope brakes from the prow of my sled runners after a steep descent. Included on my belt kit is a compass, a Gerber knife and the world’s smallest PLB (Personal Location Beacon), the ACR ResQLink.

With the sun not yet above the horizon, we travel past an area where seal nets are set under the sea ice.

Back in Ittoqqortoormiit we pass between hunters' dog teams on the frozen river below my house to complete the circuit.

If you think this video footage is exciting imagine what it was like running the same route earlier this winter in pitch black dark. Of course this could never have been done without my Petzl headlamps written about in the three-part Polar Lyon series.

The HDC-SD80 video camera is a delight to handle in the cold. Open the LCD screen and the HDC-SD80 switches on and automatically opens the lens shutter.

It is magically small which could have been a mighty hindrance in the cold because feature buttons are almost always recessed into other makes of camera bodies making it all but impossible to use without the removal of paw protection. I need not have worried.

The optical telephoto lens button is raised and easily adjusted even when hands are clad in bulky mittens. Brilliant. The lens enabled me to scan the ice edge (where land-locked ice meets open water) using the LCD screen as though looking through top-quality binoculars. I could see that nobody was out there hunting today.

Closer to home a polar bear had been spotted walking inland off the sea ice and from a high vantage point I filmed a friend hunting the bear. I was amazed at the video quality of the footage recorded in such low light.

The camera battery was strong even after being outside for most of the day at minus 25º C, not cold by our standards but a darn good test nonetheless. On top of that the record button is also very easy to use with mittens on and certainly gets the thumbs up from me.

I am looking forward to shooting more video footage on my upcoming journey.

For more information about Gary and his dogs go to www.garyrolfe.com


  1. What AMAZING film footage - we can vicariously travel with you Gary. Safe travels and please come back with more images. Johanna and Matthew (from the comfort or their arm chairs in Paris!)

    1. Dear Johanna and Matthew,

      I am glad you enjoyed the film footage. To see all my videos from the last year or so you might like to visit

      All the best,