[Coral-List] Digital Photo-monitoring

G.P. Schmahl george.schmahl at noaa.gov
Fri May 30 17:28:42 EDT 2008

We have a long term monitoring program of coral communities at Stetson 
Bank in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico where we have photographed 
permanently marked locations annually since 1993.  Historically we used 
a Nikonos camera with 15mm lens at a distance of one meter from the 
substrate.  We are now trying to replicate the same field of view using 
a lightweight digital camera.  Has anyone had this or a similar issue, 
and can advise on appropriate equipment?

The use of a housed digital SLR is problematic due to the large size and 
weight.  (The camera is attached to a framer bar, dual strobes and 
camera mount, which is quite clumsy to swim with.)  I would prefer a 
housed high quality point and shoot camera. 

We have tested a Nikon Coolpix P5000 in an Ikelite housing with the 
wide-angle adapter.  The photos come close to matching the Nikonos field 
of view (if you move it 20 cm farther away from the substrate), but 
there is noticeable edge distortion.  I can send a sample photo 
comparison if anyone is interested.

Can anyone recommend a digital system that will replicate a Nikonos 
w/15mm lens?  I would be interested in digital SLR/lens combinations as 
well if anyone has worked that out.  Thanks.  GP

George (G.P.) Schmahl

Sanctuary Superintendent

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary

4700 Avenue U, Building 216

Galveston, TX  77551

(409) 621-5151 ext. 102

(409) 621-1316 (fax)

george.schmahl at noaa.gov


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