[Coral-List] Have anyone used GoPro cameras for coral surveys?

Holden Harris holden.earl.harris at gmail.com
Fri Dec 7 16:33:17 EST 2012

Hi K-le,

I've used GoPros (Hero 1 and 2s) for benthic surveys in Northeast Florida,
and currently use them for coral reef surveys in the Turks and Caicos
Islands.  I agree with everything from Dominique's post, and I'll add what
I can.

Our coral reef surveys are done at depths 10, 20 and 30 meters.  We use a
point-and-shoot camera, which has a flash, to take still images, and the
GoPros for video.

The GoPros have a 'fish-eye' lens, which gives very wide angle of view but
it also causes visual distortion in the image's perimeter.  In other words,
strait lines around the picture's perimeter become curved.

To get good colors I would recommend using external lighting.  Even with
very clear water, images will lose all warm colors beyond 8 or 10 meters.
 We've mounted a GoPro onto a 1000 lumen torch, which has worked very well.
 I know you can buy professional lighting systems for GoPros.  Also you can
buy red filters, but from my experience the filter does nothing to enhance
images taken beyond 5 or 6 meters.

I've sent cameras to past 60 meters have never had any flooding issues.
 They're hardy, versatile, and have great image quality (as long as you use
a flat lens underwater).

Feel free to contact me if you think of any more questions,

Holden Earl Harris
T: 649.332.3361
F: 649.946.3246
*School for Field Studies
Center for Marine Resource Studies
Turks and Caicos Islands*

More information about the Coral-List mailing list