The Canon 70-200 F2.8 IS II Lens
“The fastest Lens in the West”
If you’re a serious amateur or budding professional in a surveillance platform, a CROP rural observation post or green option and really want to get the money shot then personally I believe this is the DADDY, which will help you get it!
Before we into the meat and bones you might want to read Surveillance Photograph Getting the Money Shot “Canon EOS 7 D” first where you will get some general advice regarding camera types. The 7D is a seriously impressive piece of equipment the Auto Focus system will blow you away!
So lets look at why this is one of the most versatile lenses on the market for surveillance photography.
Ergonomics – Are fantastic, it really is built like a tank and will withstand many knocks and scrapes that inevitably happen inside your observation post whilst conducting covert surveillance. This is the VW of Lenses and built to last!!
Image Stabilisation IS – Phenomenal, camera shake is today still the biggest cause of a bad image, IS will help to reduce that problem by cleverly working hard to compensate for movement. It has a whopping 4 stop IS system which means shutter speeds four stops slower than normal can be used without causing a blurred image. In an observation post we do not always have the luxury of a tripod so image stabilisation really is something to seriously think about as we often only have seconds to whip up the camera to get the money shot.
Image quality – Again Phenomenal, I’ve heard many people saying “the quality doesn’t really matter for surveillance as long as we can ID” I can see what they are saying but, the better the image quality the better the image can be enhanced if needed. Surely we want to present the client with best possible product? The glass on this lens is nothing short of quality and will provide outstanding results!
Ultrasonic Focusing – Lightening speed ultrasonic motor focuses very quickly, accurately and importantly, quietly. Whether we are in the rural or urban environment noise and movement will give us away so this is always worth thinking about.
Speed – F2.8 aperture allows you to get the first & last light “money shot” I use mine from the back of my surveillance platform which reduces the light levels by at least two to three stops which means that if I was using an F4 or F5.6 lens the shot would be virtually unachievable.
Size – This lens is small enough to throw around no problem, I have carried it into a shopping centre under my jacket and pulled it out at the last safe moment and secured an image without being noticed, using only the street furniture as camouflage. I can use this from my surveillance platform with no problems at all; anything bigger would prove more difficult.
In Summary – I was still unsure as I was parting with my hard earned cash (£1800) if I was making the right choice. I wanted the largest focal length I could afford to allow a good stand off distance to be achieved. I had to compromise on focal length for speed, which in the commercial surveillance industry from experience was the right choice for me. Looking at all of the above and the fact it is water/dust proof and been used from many rural observation posts it is one piece of kit that goes with me everywhere!!
Ultimately it is expensive and if you are the type of individual who will only buy kit providing there is an instant return then this daddy is not for you!
You will have to do many jobs to get your money back, personally for me on a professional basis the ability to be able to review a workable image of good quality in lowlight situations and promulgate this to the team in minutes has made it a worthwhile investment for me. Happy Snapping :-)
See why “Surveillance Photography is making a come back” at the following link.