Digital photogrammetry has been used to develop and test an artificial river bed moulding and casting system, which allows the pebbles within a coarse grain river bed to be recreated for hydraulic research in a laboratory flow channel or flume. Imagery of both the original streambed and the cast facsimile was acquired using a non-metric Kodak DCS460 digital camera and digital elevation models and orthophotographs were derived and compared to assess the accuracy of the moulding and casting system. These comparative tests proved to be critical in modifying and developing the system. Additional imagery was obtained in the field using a non-metric Olympus C3030 “compact” digital camera to assess whether far cheaper camera technology could deliver data appropriate for such comparative examinations. Internal calibration parameter sets and data that were generated were compared with data obtained by the non-metric Kodak DCS460. These tests demonstrate that digital sensors built around highquality 35 mm professional camera bodies and lenses are required for comparative examinations and for similar system development.