Surveillance Photography Getting the Money Shot

13th May 2012 Surveillance 2 Comments

The Canon 70-200 F2.8 IS II Lens “The fastest Lens in the West” Getting the Money Shot

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  🙂


Lateo Surveillance

See why “Surveillance Photography is making a come back at the following link.

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About the Author


Lateo Surveillance Ltd is an experienced Private Investigator & Surveillance company working on behalf of legal, commercial and private clients, delivering pragmatic and diligent solutions. Lateo offer a wide range of investigation Private Investigator services to compliment our specialist core Surveillance Service, obtaining covert video footage. Investigating claims validation, such as; Personal Injury Investigation, Income Protection Fraud, Serious malpractice within the workplace, for example; theft, director fraud, employee fraud, absenteeism and misappropriation of funds.

  • Durham_PI

    18th May 2012 at 7:25 am - Reply

    Thomo – although we are a company that uses Nikon I really enjoyed your blog. It makes great reading, really informative and most of all makes me want to go out and get the Nikon equivalent!

    Can I just ask where you stand on a slightly slower lens such as the Nikon 55-300 f4.5? Given the Nikon’s (D7000) great low light performance (due in no small part to its incredible ISO ability) do you feel that these cheaper lens’ can also perform in a similar vein to that which you have described above? There is also the greater focal length which may well prove useful at times. I am undecided…… I get the cheaper lens with greater focal length and utilise the technology within the camera body or save up for the fast lens and get a 1.4 converter for the occasions when greater focal length is required!

    I have never been a fan of buy cheap buy twice but at the same time with the development of camera bodies are fast lens becoming less important than they used to be?

    Any thoughts that you have on this would be well received.

  • nick

    20th May 2012 at 11:17 pm - Reply

    This is something that i have considered often……I think i am going down the route of a fast lens with a tele-converter for when a longer lens is required. Yes, i now that you loose stops BUT rather have the faster lens for when greater distances are not required than not have a fast lens at all.

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