WinSCANOPY: Canopy Structure and Solar Radiation Analysis
Image Analysis for Plant Science
Regent Instruments Inc. since 1991




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Image Acquisition Component

Digital camera and a fish-eye lens
Self-leveling mount
Camera Remote Controller

When ordered as a complete system, WinSCANOPY is much easier to use. A standard system is comprised of the following components (some of which are optional):

Digital camera and a fish-eye lens  

The cameras and lenses that we sell range from low cost point-and-shoot consumer grade cameras with a fixed lens and a fish-eye lens converter to high-end digital single lens reflex (DSLR) cameras with a fish-eye lens.

When purchased from Regent Instruments, cameras and lenses come with a calibration file that indicates to the WinSCANOPY program:
1) the radius of the 180 degree field of view area.
2) the position of the hemispherical projection in the image(as illustrated below, it can vary significantly among different cameras of the same model).
3) the coefficients for non-linearities compensation in the image projection.
4) miscellaneous information about the camera and lens.
You can also provide the calibration parameters of your own camera and lens. The cameras, lenses and accessories that we sell are described in WinSCANOPY Systems specifications (we recommend to read the information below before to better understand the options offered).

Why is lens calibration important?

It is important to identify the hemisphere radius producing a FOV of 180 degrees and the centre of the hemisphere otherwise the calculated projections in function of zenith (solar angle, gap position) will contain errors. As an example, these images were taken with two different cameras of the same model. The hemispherical region position in the image differs (the one to the right is shifted downward).



Self-leveling mount  

A self-leveling mount holds the camera at horizontal level during image acquisition. Automatic leveling saves time and reduces risk of manipulation errors. Our mounts have a round shape that optimizes space and weight (hence their name O-Mount). They are made of robust plastic and are offered in varying weights and sizes.

The O-Mounts come with the SunBlocker. It prevents the direct sun rays from reaching the camera fish-eye lens, thus eliminating glare. It can be installed and removed in few seconds.

Without the sun blocker
With the sun blocker
  On the left side : Some O-Mounts come with a removable handle.
On the right side: O-Mounts with North Finder and Mini-O-Mount. A handle and a locking mechanism are provided for easy transportation. There is a standard attachment hole for easy mounting on standard mono or tripod.

The NorthFinder is an option for the O-Mount that indicates in the image the north position around the camera fish eye lens in real time. It illuminates a very small light called a LED close to the fish-eye lens in the magnetic north direction. By real time we mean that the LEDs are turned on or off to indicate north as you rotate or move the mount.

A very simple calibration procedure must be done once in a while by the user. This calibration, which takes only a few seconds, cancels out perturbations to the Earth's magnetic field caused by nearby objects (camera, mount, ...).

Note: Do not confuse the NorthFinder with the static LEDs found on other systems. Static systems LEDs are fixed and it's the operator which must turn the mount so that the LED is aligned in the north direction. This takes much more time and is prone to errors.

A Component of the NorthFinder
The LED is visible in the lower left direction (at time 7:30)
  sc_7   sc_8  
Camera Remote Controller  
The Camera Remote Controller allows to trigger the camera at distances up to 25 or 75 meters (depending on the model and canopy density). It is the ideal solution for acquiring images in forest canopies at different heights. Even at ground level, you will appreciate the ease of use compared to the camera's built-in timer. Unlike most remote controls sold with current digital cameras, our operating on radio wavelengths is not affected by ambient light, can be operated from behind the camera and works even when obstructed by tree branches and leaves.

The Camera Remote Controller is comprised of a very compact remote control unit (similar to those used to unlock car doors) and a shutter-presser controller unit that is installed close to the camera on the O-Mount.