Imagery for OOI is collected to support a wide range of science questions, from geology to biology. Subjects of interest include changes in megafauna population density and activity, details of microbial mats, vent and seep flow rates and shape changes over time, and sedimentation processes. The cameras need the ability to image the sediment surface in sufficient detail to identify organisms (e.g., sea pens, fish, crustaceans, etc.), determine the presence/absence and changes in physical bedforms like ripples in the sediment, and identify biogenic features such as tracks and trails made by mobile fauna. Color images are required to assist with organism identification and to image phytodetritus flux to the seafloor.

Cameras that are attached to the electro-optical cable infrastructure (Endurance Oregon sites at 80 and 600 m depth, and on the Cabled Array) have the potential to increase the image capture rate during seismic activity, anoxic incidents, plankton blooms, or storm events to observe short-term changes in seafloor populations and features. Cameras deployed at sites without cabled infrastructure (Endurance Oregon 25 m and all Washington sites) have a reduced sampling rate and are equipped with onboard battery packs and increased data storage capacity to accommodate power and data communication constraints.

(text and images courtesy of Interactive Oceans)

Data Products

This instrument measures the following data products. Select a data product's name to learn more.

Data Product Code DPS
Still Image CAMSTIL

Instrument Models & Deployed Locations

The OOI includes the following instrument makes and models for this instrument type. Follow the links below to find out where in the OOI this instrument has been deployed. You'll also find quick links for each instrument to Data portal, where you can plot and access data.

Class-Series Make Model
CAMDSA Kongsberg Modified OE14-408
CAMDSB SubC (formerly Kongsberg) Rayfin (formerly Custom Digital Still Camera Assembly)
CAMDSC SubC (formerly Kongsberg) Rayfin (formerly Custom Digital Still Camera Assembly)

Reference Information

  • The OOI cameras are currently a mix of models:
    • All of the cabled units (instrument code CAMDS-B and CAMDS-C) are now SubC Rayfins with Aquorea LED lamps and ROS PT-25 pan & tilt units. 2019 was the first deployment of Rayfins on the midwater mooring platforms (200 meters depth at Oregon Continental Margin and Axial Base). 2020 was the first deployment of Rayfins at the seafloor sites (Oregon Shelf, Oregon Offshore, Hydrate Ridge, and International District Vent Field on Axial Seamount).
    • The uncabled cameras (CAMDS-A) are modified Kongsberg 0484-6002 Color Digital Still Cameras and 2x OE11-150 Lamps, which provide 5 MPixel images with a 55° diagonal field of view.
  • Each camera and computer controller (along with onboard data storage and battery power in the case of cameras on uncabled infrastructure) are contained within a watertight pressure housing, constructed of titanium, which minimizes corrosion.
  • All still cameras, even the ones deployed at the shallow-water 25 m inshore sites, require additional lighting to reliably capture color images. The lights are attached to a crossbar that angles them at ~45 degrees from the camera lens (with respect to the field of view), and the dimmable LED lamps have a 68° beam and luminous output of 1,480 lumens with a color temperature of 3,100k and typical CRI of 80.
  • Only cameras on the cabled infrastructure have pan & tilt capability, which allow the camera to be aimed at a specific object or to correct the field of view in case the camera mounting is bumped or shifts during deployment.
  • A Laser Reference Unit is mounted externally, directly above the camera, and projects parallel beams of red (635nm) light, allowing for accurate size classification of objects in the field of view.

Primary Science Discipline


Research Themes

Access Data

CAMDS on the Data Portal

The digital stil camera deployed at Endurance Oregon Offshore site (600 m). Unlike the cameras placed at Axial Volcano, the camera at Endurance Offshore is designed to look at the seafloor in general, observing animal activity, sediment transport, detritus falls, and bioturbation. Photo Credit: NSF-OOI/UW/CSSF, Dive 1747, V14. Creative Commons License