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Subject: Re: underwater cameras for stream work
From: Justin Johnston <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Scientific forum on fish and fisheries <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Thu, 16 Aug 2012 16:36:25 +0000

text/plain (100 lines)

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Hi Gary,

I have used the most recent model, GoPro HD Hero II with the standard housing in the past.  The standard housing is not the best option.  The convex lens of the housing causes vignetting and blurriness underwater.  The video is still usable, but not nearly as clear as one would hope for.  Until recently, you could only get third party housings with a flat lens that eliminated the blurriness and vignetting.  GoPro just released their new dive housing for $49.99.  I picked one up last week and I am looking forward to trying it out in some Michigan streams next month.  I can forward on the results to you if you like.  Send me your e-mail to [log in to unmask]  I have not used the original gopro, but I have seen other peoples videos and they are pretty good as long as you are not underwater.  The resolution of the Hero II is better though, so if you are trying to catch details or smaller critters, you may want to pay for the Hero II.  One downside of the GoPros that I have noticed is battery life.  If you want more than an hour of footage at a time, you will absolutely need the battery "backpack".  The GoPro cameras are great and versatile mainly because it is a standard camera with all sorts of accessories to make it do different things, but all those accessories add up.  Your accessories will not likely be obsolete soon though because they have been maintaining the camera dimensions while updating the insides.  If you want video in low light conditions or in deeper water, you will need third party lighting as well.  For the purposes of observation, the lighting is likely to affect fish behavior, so you will need to put a lot of thought into that before using it.  For general shallow water video, I would recommend the following:

1)  GoPro HD Hero II Outdoor edition $299.99
2)  GoPro Cameramount Accessory Kit $21.99
3)  GoPro Dive Housing Waterproof Case $49.99
4)  GoPro BacPac Battery Charger $49.99 
5)  GoPro extra lithium ion battery $39.99
6)  If you want to see your video in the field, either GoPro LCD BacPac $79.99
7)  32gb Class 10 SD Card $35 on Amazon (or 2 if you are like me and want to keep taking video continuously)
8)  If you want better color while filming underwater with or without lighting, get a third party lens filter.  They are usually cheap ($15-$20) and are not easy to install.  If you aren't deep underwater, you probably wont "need" this very much.  It just gives you better color.
9)  I haven't gotten any lighting myself, and haven't really checked on the cost or how to connect it in to the gopro setup.  I have seen neat videos where the gopro was mounted to the housing of a professional dive camera that had lighting as part of that system and it is pretty awesome.  Every bit as good as professional video if you ask me.  

Total = $581.95 plus 7% tax = $622.69

My gosh, I can't believe I spent that much.  Please don't tell my wife.

Once you have that, you will need to use your imagination in terms of figuring out how to set it up underwater for observation.  I trust you want it to be inconspicuous so you wont be snorkeling with it underwater.  That will cost you more to figure out a good setup.  There are all sorts of mount types available.  I would expect that you would get the tripod mount so that you can have something to attach to a stake of some sort.  That's $15 I think.  Have fun with the engineering!


Justin C. Johnston, AFP
Environmental Manager
GAI Consultants, Inc.
385 East Waterfront Drive
Homestead, PA 15120-5005
412.476.2000 ext. 1442 | F 412.476.2020 | C 231.282.2192 |

CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: This communication contains confidential information belonging to the sender and may be legally privileged.  This communication is solely for the use of its intended recipient.  If you are not the intended recipient, inform the sender of the error and remove this email from your system.  If this transmission includes any technical information, design data, and/or recommendations, they are provided only as a matter of convenience and may not be used for final design and/or construction.

-----Original Message-----
From: Scientific forum on fish and fisheries [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Gary Grossman
Sent: Thursday, August 16, 2012 11:31 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: underwater cameras for stream work

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I know that some folks have been using GoPro cameras for underwater
observations in streams but they seem to come out with new models every
year.  Looks like some might no longer need housings.  Anyone have any
suggestions for the "best" current model(s) for work in fast flowing trout
streams? Jason, Seth, you out there?  I also noticed that some other pocket
cams have a water proof model like the Kodak Playsport that is waterproof
to 10 ft - wonder how it would work in a stream though? TIA, g2

Gary D. Grossman, PhD

Professor of Animal Ecology
Warnell School of Forestry & Natural Resources
University of Georgia
Athens, GA, USA 30602

Research & teaching web site -<>

Board of Editors - Animal Biodiversity and Conservation
Editorial Board - Freshwater Biology
Editorial Board - Ecology Freshwater Fish

Sculpture by Gary D. Grossman<>

Hutson Gallery Provincetown, MA -

My ukulele channel -

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