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Author Topic: Long lens recommendation for surveillance.  (Read 8962 times)

aaronh

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Long lens recommendation for surveillance.
« on: December 17, 2012, 10:48:12 AM »
Hi, I've got a friend in law enforcement who is asking me for a recommendation for lens/camera combo for surveillance. I naturally thought to extend the question to you all!

What would you recommend as a set-up for surveillance? My friend won't be able to spend a ton of time learning the ins and outs of it and he's not interested in photography as an art. He will need to use it time to time at night and won't be using a flash (obviously).

Your thoughts?

P.S. Budget doesn't necessarily matter. Unless you are concerned about the fact that our taxes will be footing the bill... :)
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Long lens recommendation for surveillance.
« on: December 17, 2012, 10:48:12 AM »

Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: Long lens recommendation for surveillance.
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2012, 10:54:03 AM »
I'd get the new 600mm f/4 MK II and TC's along with a 1D X which will autofocus with a 2X TC attached which gives you 1200mm.  I think its better than the 800mm and a 1.4x TC.
Don't forget that a combination lile this needs a pro level tripod and head, another $2,000 or so.
 
Of course, adapting the 600mm to a micro body with 1 inch sensor will give lots of magnification, but holding it stable might be a exercise in futility.

neuroanatomist

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Re: Long lens recommendation for surveillance.
« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2012, 12:02:44 PM »
I'd get the new 600mm f/4 MK II and TC's along with a 1D X which will autofocus with a 2X TC attached which gives you 1200mm.

I conducted surveillance on an 'Ipswich' savannah sparrow with just such a combo.  :P


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crasher8

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Re: Long lens recommendation for surveillance.
« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2012, 12:12:30 PM »
Isn't that what Jim Rockford kept in his trunk next to the small printing press?

candyman

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Re: Long lens recommendation for surveillance.
« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2012, 12:28:50 PM »
Isn't that what Jim Rockford kept in his trunk next to the small printing press?

I know him. But does the younger generation?
Yeah, he was always prepared

Drizzt321

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Re: Long lens recommendation for surveillance.
« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2012, 12:37:06 PM »
How far away does he need to do surveillance? As Neuro said, the 600 f/4 with 2X TC on the 1DX or 1Dm4 for the 1.3x FOV crop. Don't forget to get one of those lens wraps to hide the great BWL if that's a concern. If he's at closer distances. you can go for the other, shorter primes, or go for the 100-400 for more versatility between closer and further reach. Oh, and don't forget he should get a really good tripod or other support devices if he's going to be shooting at night with the BWL glass. Hmmm...the other thing might be a good laptop which he tethers to the camera to view the images on a larger screen.

Oh, and doesn't Canon have some kind of strong signing of an image that it comes from a person/camera? Maybe he should look into that, since it probably would help with chain of custody kind of thing for any evidence.
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K-amps

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Re: Long lens recommendation for surveillance.
« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2012, 12:39:39 PM »
I'd get the new 600mm f/4 MK II and TC's along with a 1D X which will autofocus with a 2X TC attached which gives you 1200mm.  I think its better than the 800mm and a 1.4x TC.
Don't forget that a combination lile this needs a pro level tripod and head, another $2,000 or so.
 
Of course, adapting the 600mm to a micro body with 1 inch sensor will give lots of magnification, but holding it stable might be a exercise in futility.

+1: I'd  recommend dark skins to go over the large white Bazooka.
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Re: Long lens recommendation for surveillance.
« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2012, 12:39:39 PM »

neuroanatomist

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Re: Long lens recommendation for surveillance.
« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2012, 12:40:47 PM »
Isn't that what Jim Rockford kept in his trunk next to the small printing press?
I know him. But does the younger generation?
I Googled him, but the first hit was some Canadian Football League player.   

Besides, I always liked Barnaby Jones better.   :P
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emag

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Re: Long lens recommendation for surveillance.
« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2012, 01:09:12 PM »
Have your friend call these folks and discuss his needs:

http://www.supercircuits.com/

aaronh

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Re: Long lens recommendation for surveillance.
« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2012, 01:24:09 PM »
Thanks for the suggestions! I had originally recommended looking into a 7D and the 100-400. I'll ask him about what kind of distance he is talking about here. From what I understand his job requires a lot of sitting in a parking lot...

I too had to look up Jim Rockford :)

Good call on the lens wraps as well.

What does this mean: "Oh, and doesn't Canon have some kind of strong signing of an image that it comes from a person/camera? Maybe he should look into that, since it probably would help with chain of custody kind of thing for any evidence." Strong signing?
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Zlatko

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Re: Long lens recommendation for surveillance.
« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2012, 01:36:51 PM »
How far away does he need to do surveillance?
This is the question.  Because it determines the focal length of the lens.  The ultimate low light telephoto is probably the 200 f/2 ($$$), but whether that is the appropriate focal length depends on the subject distance.

Pro-level tripods are big and easy to spot.  Leaning the camera on something sturdy, perhaps with a bean bag, may be more practical.  Or perhaps a monopod or a very short tripod/stand, like what some sports photographers use for their remote cameras. 

The essentials are going to be:
- high res, high ISO camera = Canon 5D3, 1DX, 6D, (or Nikon D4, D800, D600?)
- wide aperture (f/2.8 or faster) prime or zoom with image stabilization, probably a discrete non-white lens (Nikon, Sigma) or white lens with an appropriate dark cover.
- practice focusing; practice steadying the camera.

Depending on the distance, a camera with quiet shutter mode may be of use (5D3, 6D).  Also, it will be important to learn how to turn off / tape over anything that lights up on the camera.

Zlatko

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Re: Long lens recommendation for surveillance.
« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2012, 01:39:38 PM »
What does this mean: "Oh, and doesn't Canon have some kind of strong signing of an image that it comes from a person/camera? Maybe he should look into that, since it probably would help with chain of custody kind of thing for any evidence." Strong signing?
Canon offers a Data Security Kit for some cameras, although a quick google suggests it's been cracked.

Drizzt321

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Re: Long lens recommendation for surveillance.
« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2012, 02:19:00 PM »
What does this mean: "Oh, and doesn't Canon have some kind of strong signing of an image that it comes from a person/camera? Maybe he should look into that, since it probably would help with chain of custody kind of thing for any evidence." Strong signing?
Canon offers a Data Security Kit for some cameras, although a quick google suggests it's been cracked.

Yea, that's what I was referring to. Too bad to hear it's been completely cracked.

Oh, and maybe he should also get the GPS logger for the 1DX/5d3 if that's what he gets? That will help place the location of where he's shooting, and I believe even a digital compass to say which direction he's shooting in.


How far away does he need to do surveillance?
This is the question.  Because it determines the focal length of the lens.  The ultimate low light telephoto is probably the 200 f/2 ($$$), but whether that is the appropriate focal length depends on the subject distance.

Pro-level tripods are big and easy to spot.  Leaning the camera on something sturdy, perhaps with a bean bag, may be more practical.  Or perhaps a monopod or a very short tripod/stand, like what some sports photographers use for their remote cameras. 

The essentials are going to be:
- high res, high ISO camera = Canon 5D3, 1DX, 6D, (or Nikon D4, D800, D600?)
- wide aperture (f/2.8 or faster) prime or zoom with image stabilization, probably a discrete non-white lens (Nikon, Sigma) or white lens with an appropriate dark cover.
- practice focusing; practice steadying the camera.

Depending on the distance, a camera with quiet shutter mode may be of use (5D3, 6D).  Also, it will be important to learn how to turn off / tape over anything that lights up on the camera.

The 200 f/2.0 would probably be overkill, although I'd love to own one :)  The 70-200 2.8 IS would probably do just as well, and be much cheaper as well. Add on the 2X TC, and you get the 140-400, even though it does go to f/5.6 it probably could still be usable at high ISOs like on the 5d3/1DX.

Great point about the big tripod. A beanbag on a car/wall or good quality monopod would be less obvious and easier to move around with. I'd also make sure to be using the lens-hood, even though it'll make it bigger and bulkier, it might help prevent reflections off of the front element of the lens. Most photographic lenses aren't made with the non-reflective coating like military/surveillance binoculars/scopes generally have on them.
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Re: Long lens recommendation for surveillance.
« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2012, 02:19:00 PM »

wookiee2cu

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Re: Long lens recommendation for surveillance.
« Reply #13 on: December 17, 2012, 02:34:00 PM »
Since he's not interested in photography, why not just pick up the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/889965-REG/Canon_PowerShot_SX50HS_Digital_Camera.html

50X optical zoom, 24-1200mm, 12.1MP, Full HD 1080p Video, Optical Image Stabilizer and High-Speed Burst HQ for 13fps Shooting.

Kernuak

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Re: Long lens recommendation for surveillance.
« Reply #14 on: December 17, 2012, 03:22:15 PM »
Since he's not interested in photography, why not just pick up the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/889965-REG/Canon_PowerShot_SX50HS_Digital_Camera.html

50X optical zoom, 24-1200mm, 12.1MP, Full HD 1080p Video, Optical Image Stabilizer and High-Speed Burst HQ for 13fps Shooting.
I was thinking along the lines of a compact, although I couldn't offer any suggestions and low light could be an issue. While the big teles and the zooms offer good image quality, they aren't exactly discreet for surveillance.
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Re: Long lens recommendation for surveillance.
« Reply #14 on: December 17, 2012, 03:22:15 PM »