Image-based stage and discharge measuring systems are among the most promising new non-contact technologies available for long-term hydrological monitoring. This article evaluates and reports the long-term performance of the GaugeCam ( www.gaugecam.org ) image-based stage measuring system in situ . For this we installed and evaluated the system over several months in a tidal marsh to obtain a good stratification of the measured stages. Our evaluation shows that the GaugeCam system was able to measure within about ±5 mm for a 90% confidence interval over a range of about 1 m in a tidal creek in a remote location of North Carolina, USA. Our results show that the GaugeCam system nearly performed to the desired design of ±3 mm accuracy around 70% of the time. The system uses a dedicated target background for calibration and geometrical perspective correction of images, as well as auto-correction to compensate for camera movement. The correction systems performed well overall, although our results show a ‘croissant-shaped’ mean error (-1 to +4 mm,) varying with water stage. We attribute this to the small, yet present, ‘fish-eye’ effect embedded in images, for which our system did not entirely correct in the tested version, and which might affect all image-based water level measurement systems.