Recently, an inexpensive digital camera that can equip with a fish-eye converter lens, FC-E8, has been available from Nikon. The converter has more than 180° view angle and lens distortion. The objectives of the present study were to develop a procedure for calibrating the view angle and lens distortion of the fish-eye converter, and to examine the effect of the calibration on light environment estimates. Based on unpublished data provided by the Electric Image Technical Center of Nikon, a 12-order polynomial expression for the calibration was derived. The expression enabled us to calibrate the view angle and lens distortion for all selectable resolution digital images. Using a Nikon Coolpix 990 digital camera with the fish-eye converter, 105 hemispherical photographs were taken in 15 stands, and then the canopy cover and weighted openness were measured as the light environment estimates. The calibrated estimates were significantly higher than uncalibrated ones, but the differences were comparatively small, with the average differences being 0.658% for canopy cover and 0.344% for weighted openness. A strongly positive correlation between calibrated and uncalibrated estimates was observed. Both slope and intercept of the regression lines of the calibrated estimate against the uncalibrated one were significantly different between canopy cover and weighted openness, suggesting that the calibration effect would be different among light environment estimates. In conclusion, we should pay attention to the view angle and lens distortion of the fish-eye converter in estimating light environments using the Coolpix digital camera.
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