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Author Topic: Long lens recommendation for surveillance.  (Read 8485 times)

Hillsilly

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Re: Long lens recommendation for surveillance.
« Reply #30 on: December 18, 2012, 12:21:38 AM »
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.
Each jurisdiction will have its own standard operating procedure for handling and post processing of photographs (whether taken by a police officer, the general public or CCTV security cameras).  As long as the steps are followed, the photos will be admitted as evidence.  If there are claims that the photo has been tampered with, the officer that took the photo will usually be required to testify that it is the photo they took.  In the case of UV and IR forensic photographs, they might also have to explain any steps they've taken.  The jury will weigh up the credibility of the police officer in coming to their verdict.  In itself, nothing hard, but photographic evidence is obviously very damaging to a defendent, so they'll argue any way possible to have it excluded.  The data security kit makes it a little harder to raise objections as it is one less step to overcome.  (Yes - I watch a lot of CSI and Law & Order)
 
If you friend wants something discreet, try a micro four thirds camera with a 100-300 lens.  The Nikon V1 with a 70-300 would also be pretty competent in daylight - That gives you about 810mm in real lens talk. 
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Re: Long lens recommendation for surveillance.
« Reply #30 on: December 18, 2012, 12:21:38 AM »

expatinasia

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Re: Long lens recommendation for surveillance.
« Reply #31 on: December 18, 2012, 12:54:50 AM »
Something to consider here is the length of the lens. If the guy is sat in a car then he will need to be flexible.

For daylight something like the 70-300L with Kenko 1.4X (forget which one but might be DGX) may be a nice  portable option.

Then for low light something like the 70-200L usm is ii with either the same Kenko 1.4X or even Canon't 2.0X mk iii.
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PeterJ

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Re: Long lens recommendation for surveillance.
« Reply #32 on: December 18, 2012, 01:49:14 AM »
You guys are funny.  ;D You think Law Enforcement is like in the movies.  Unlimited budgets and computers that show you the fingerprints with cool noises as they check them.
I was thinking the same. When real-time GPS tracking was less ubiquitous I used to manufacture / sell battery powered devices with magnets etc that sent in data by GPRS. I had a few guys from the local undercover division visit for a demonstration to see how my $1.5K device compared with their $10K "law enforcement only" device that used a continuous data call that cost over $500 a day in comms costs.

Anyway they found it to be technically superior, just they couldn't use it because I sold it to anyone with the cash, a practice I wasn't going to change just for a few sales to them ::). Actually one of the best customer groups were jealous / suspicious partners that wanted to save the cost of a PI.

Don Haines

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Re: Long lens recommendation for surveillance.
« Reply #33 on: December 18, 2012, 08:49:21 AM »
Unlimited budget.... HA!  and who do you accuse of watching too much TV......

You do not decide to do survelience, you are assigned to do survelience. You assign competent people to do the task and anyone competent would know enough to go talk to experts in the field, the others who have previously done similar work, who have followed things all the way through the courts, who can better advise than us on equipment, and who can show them the equipment that needs to be purchased and how and where to purchase it. (government does not just run out and spend, there is a pile of paperwork and multiple levels of sign-off needed). Sometimes it can be borrowed, and sometimes it can be borrowed with an experienced user.

Experience is something that we do not have. For instance, he talks about use at night and none of us have mentioned Litton lenses.... none of use use them... none of us know what quality of image is necessary as evidence....this is not our field and it is delusional to pretend that it is. And there is a lot more to survelience than just pictures.... and once again, we know very little about it. If the guy is real, send him to the real experts for advice. If he isn't real, you are giving advice to a stalker or paparatzi wannabe.

Every few days I get emails from the director of the FBI. I also get lots of offers of millions of dollars and apparantly there are several women in Russia that want to marry my cat..... don't believe everything you see on the internet.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2012, 08:54:32 AM by Don Haines »
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aaronh

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Re: Long lens recommendation for surveillance.
« Reply #34 on: December 18, 2012, 11:22:50 AM »
I thought I'd follow up with more info and what my friend decided to do, in case you are interested.

This guy was closest to the reality of the situation:

You guys are funny.  ;D You think Law Enforcement is like in the movies.  Unlimited budgets and computers that show you the fingerprints with cool noises as they check them.

If your friend is sitting in a parking lot, that means he needs something reasonable for the inside of a car ( a 5 year old american sedan with lousy shocks and brakes).  A crop DSLR and an 18-200 is probably where he wants to start. It is not unusual to shoot surveillance photos from 6 feet away, and the 18-200 gives tremendous range while easily handheld, and relatively inconspicuous.  A large aperture lens like a 70-200 f2.8 will add to the night shooting ability.

After talking more to him about his needs, he ended up getting a T4i kit w/ 18-135 & 55-250. All the fancy CSI/NASA equipment would be "cooler" but it's a little overkill for him. Thanks for the help!

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TexPhoto

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Re: Long lens recommendation for surveillance.
« Reply #35 on: December 18, 2012, 11:47:57 AM »
No problem! One thing people rarely consider with surveillance photography is you must capture the scene, the place. what was happening where? Headshots with wonderful bokeh from a 600 f4 will be a nice souvenir for the bad guy, but will not do much in court.  The bad guy need only be recognizable, he is not selling underwear.  And the photos are only meant to compliment officer testimony, not replace it. 

Of course monster lenses do have their place, but the opportunity to use one from waaaaaay far away is rare.  Long shots must be set up way in advance, and buildings, trees, damn SUVs!, etc tend to get in the way.  A guy in a car with a kit lens can move, and can blend.

Remind your friend to set his camera clock.  Nothing worse than having t explain in court that all your photos are digitally dated and time stamped, but... the camera was off by 2 minutes, 1 hour, and 9 years.  Oh and cover any lights on the front of the camera with black electrical tape. (for obvious reasons)  Use P mode with Auto ISO instead of full auto (green box, idiot mode) because full auto will deploy the flash when it wants to.  Or more complex settings if he is comfortable with that.

Good luck to your friend, hope he stays safe. 
« Last Edit: December 18, 2012, 01:04:15 PM by TexPhoto »

emag

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Re: Long lens recommendation for surveillance.
« Reply #36 on: December 18, 2012, 01:42:13 PM »
T4i and 55-250?  That says 'surveillance' to me.  Sounds like someone couldn't get an uncontested.

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Re: Long lens recommendation for surveillance.
« Reply #36 on: December 18, 2012, 01:42:13 PM »

Don Haines

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Re: Long lens recommendation for surveillance.
« Reply #37 on: December 18, 2012, 02:13:07 PM »
Show me one police force in a G8 nation that does not have cameras...... Any officer doing survelience can simply walk down the hall and sign one out.... assuming that it is official business.....
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serendipidy

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Re: Long lens recommendation for surveillance.
« Reply #38 on: December 18, 2012, 02:44:57 PM »

Every few days I get emails from the director of the FBI. I also get lots of offers of millions of dollars and apparantly there are several women in Russia that want to marry my cat..... don't believe everything you see on the internet.

LOL ;D

You mean I really didn't win $100 billion USD in the Nigerian lottery?  :o
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SJTstudios

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Re: Long lens recommendation for surveillance.
« Reply #39 on: December 18, 2012, 02:48:31 PM »
Again, it's all about the distance.
Considering you've said "surveillance, I believe he will be a distance.

I'd go for a 1dx, since you can slip 2 cf cards in, the battery is great
Then the Gps module, it is small, light weight, and won't get in the way
Both the canon iii tc's he'll need them.
A big tripod
A monopod, if he is moving
A gimball head
Bracket foots, and all the gear.

And for super length, the 600 f4 is ii

At mid. Range, 300mm 2.8 is ii

At night, the 300 will be good, because you have the fast aperature.

But there are all kinds of other possibilities based on his needs.
-modify the cameras for thermal or infared
-hook up the camera to nvg's.

At dark, there are issues

My law enforcement in Fl has a really cool system the showed me, they had...
Spotting system
--------------------
A 1ds3 thermal image modified w/ 24-70mm 2.8
A 1ds3 infared w/ 70-200 2.8 is ii

Capture system
------------------------
A 1div thermal 300mm 2.8 is ii
A 1div infared 600mm f4 is
A 1div 400mm 2.8 is ii

Each system is mounted to a modified Gitzo athena head.
They have gps devices
All have the cable outlet plug batteries connected to a small power pack, and are returned to the station via satellite dish.

There are 3 capture systems and 1 spotting system.

The tech crew sets them up on ridges, in trees, anywhere.

Each system is monitored by one of the 4 tech specialists.

They've actually talked to homeland security about its possible border patrol use, butit's expensive! And only good for night.

I work as an intern for my local photography store, and they come in to upgrade and get things fixed, it's expensive, but a super expensive system.

My point is, he will be needing to see various things. When I hear surveillance, I think long range spy remote controlled cameras.

But if he just needs daytime manned shooting, it's just like a safari hunt. He brings along one body (1dx), but he will need various lenses, equipment.

And if it is something out in the desert or something, maybe even a camo suit.

The military does this stuff all the time, so try and find someone who does that.

Ask him to specify the surveillance, because there are various types he could need to do.

The setup could be simply an 800mm, a 1dx and a sandbag, but it may even be as complicated as my law enforcements.

And remember that desperate times call for desperate measures.

If he's trying to spy on teens selling drugs, a 1dx may not be necessary, but if someone is crossing the border with weapons, it could be that important.

aaronh

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Re: Long lens recommendation for surveillance.
« Reply #40 on: December 18, 2012, 02:49:48 PM »
T4i and 55-250?  That says 'surveillance' to me.  Sounds like someone couldn't get an uncontested.


Haha. Nope, that's not the case.
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aaronh

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Re: Long lens recommendation for surveillance.
« Reply #41 on: December 18, 2012, 02:52:28 PM »
I asked him about some of the more serious high-tech they must use (he works for Homeland Security) and they do have all that stuff. He just needed something small and simple to keep with him for when he was out doing whatever it is he does. He said he mostly needs it for taking pictures of license plates and stuff like that.
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cayenne

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Re: Long lens recommendation for surveillance.
« Reply #42 on: December 18, 2012, 03:33:33 PM »
I hope they all have proper warrants for this surveillance....

I don't like the way the powers that be are constantly trying to avoid this....but that's another thread.

<steps off soapbox>

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Re: Long lens recommendation for surveillance.
« Reply #42 on: December 18, 2012, 03:33:33 PM »

dr croubie

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Re: Long lens recommendation for surveillance.
« Reply #43 on: December 18, 2012, 04:06:36 PM »
http://www.flickr.com/photos/siimvahur/4171598852/#

It was designed for the KGB, so if it's good enough for them...
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TexPhoto

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Re: Long lens recommendation for surveillance.
« Reply #44 on: December 18, 2012, 04:25:05 PM »

Every few days I get emails from the director of the FBI. I also get lots of offers of millions of dollars and apparantly there are several women in Russia that want to marry my cat..... don't believe everything you see on the internet.

LOL ;D

You mean I really didn't win $100 billion USD in the Nigerian lottery?  :o

My all time favorite spam message claims the BMW corp is awarding me 800 million Euro (about $1.2B at the time)  and... a Jeep.  Seriously BMW is giving me 1.2 Billion and a Jeep!  No extra Beemers laying around I guess.

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Re: Long lens recommendation for surveillance.
« Reply #44 on: December 18, 2012, 04:25:05 PM »