Best Camera + Software for Remote Telephoto?

Discussion in 'Digital SLR' started by Guest, Nov 23, 2005.

  1. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Hi there

    I have a project which requires an SLR with a very long focal length
    lens mounted in a difficult to reach location. I would like help
    choosing a camera and lens that would allow me to take photos from a
    little distance away, connected with a data cable. Here are my
    detailed requirements:

    1) 1000mm (35mm equivalent) focal length at 12 Megapixels. (I need to
    see 500 dpi at 20 feet, but the field of view doesn't need to be any
    larger than 1 degree, so I won't be using all of those pixels)

    2) At most 5000mm minimum focal length

    3) On-screen preview at at least 3 frames per second (no need for
    capture at this speed, just preview). This will likely require that
    the shutter mirror lock-up.

    4) Perform from a PC, through USB or firewire, without access to the
    camera:
    *digital zoom (optical zoom will be fixed)
    *digital pan
    *focus
    *capture

    (The numbers are high because the camera is for remote visual
    inspections)

    I know I can get high end cameras (Fuji S3 Pro, Canon EOS 5D, Nikon
    D2S) and lenses (500mm telephoto with 2x crop ratio) to do this, but I
    don't know whether the 'remote capture' software that comes with these
    (used for studio sessions?) is up to the task.

    Can anyone with experience with remote software let me know? Should I
    be looking at high end digital video cameras with still capture
    instead?

    Thanks,
    Brendan
     
    Guest, Nov 23, 2005
    #1
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  2. Guest

    Guest Guest

    2) should be: 5000mm minimum -focus distance-
    Sorry,
    Brendan
     
    Guest, Nov 23, 2005
    #2
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  3. I don't know of any cameras that can do this. Certainly none of the
    DSLRs can -- they don't do LCD (or remote) preview at all, because
    their sensors lack the circuitry (and use the space for bigger and
    hence better pixels). Also, none of the DSLRs perform digital zoom
    that I'm aware of. That's always done in post-processing if you
    really need to crop. If digital pan means what I think it does, same
    thing.
    Ah. I thought the requirements were looking a mite peculiar :).
    I've made only moderate use of the remote capture software with my
    Fuji S2. I don't think it will run at the speed you need. I should
    point out that the S3 Pro doesn't meet your stated megapixel
    requirements. And, um, what's the Nikon D2S? I know of the D2H and
    the D2X, and the second of those makes your 12 megapixels.

    The coming-out-in-december Nikon D200 may be a good bet for this in
    the Nikon line. It's a more-pro-level body than the Fuji S2 or S3 or
    the Canon EOS 5D, in particular shoots faster sequences. Obviously I
    have no actual experience with this camera, though!
     
    David Dyer-Bennet, Nov 23, 2005
    #3
  4. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Thanks David.

    I'm sorry to hear you don't think the remote software would be
    appropriate. In the time since I compiled this list, I found the names
    of the manufacturers software:

    Nikon Capture Control
    Olympus Pro Studio
    Canon Remote Capture

    I have no experience with these, so if anyone has used them, please
    speak up!
    I also found some third party remote software:

    Breeze Systems DSLR or PS Remote
    (http://www.breezesys.com/products.htm)
    Pinetree Camera Controller
    (http://www.pinetreecomputing.com/camctl_features.asp)

    Both of the above seem to have hacked a 'live remote viewfinder' (no
    better than 3fps, and no digital panning or zooming). They can control
    the shutter speed and aperture, and (in non-slrs) the zoom, but they
    cannot control the lens' manual focus which is a dealbreaker.

    So I might be looking at digital camcorders instead, but since they
    have poorer pixel density sensors, I need an even LONGER lens - up into
    telescope territory. This isn't going to be as easy as I hoped :(

    (I did mean Nikon D2X, sorry)
    Brendan
     
    Guest, Nov 23, 2005
    #4
  5. Guest

    Jeremy Nixon Guest

    If you need to control manual focus on the lens, I don't think *any* of
    the digital SLRs are going to meet your requirements.
     
    Jeremy Nixon, Nov 23, 2005
    #5
  6. Guest

    Guest Guest

    If you need to control manual focus on the lens, I don't think *any* of
    You're right Jeremy. I think I'm going to try a different approach:
    (The following is for the poor souls who google their way here years
    from now trying to do the same thing as me)
    There is a class of digital cameras called "machine vision cameras" or
    "firewire cameras" or (if they're low light) "microscopy cameras. A
    couple of good (3 MegaPixel - 6MegaPixel) examples are here:

    http://www.xlimaging.com/content/products.html
    http://www.pixelink.com/products.asp?id=9
    http://www.prosilica.com/products.htm

    These cameras have NO optics, or media. They are designed to attach to
    your own instruments (I will probably use a "spotting scope" like this:
    http://www.birdwatching.com/optics/zeiss_diascope.html to compensate
    for the fewer pixels) Most importantly, they come withsoftware that
    lets me preview the live image at better than 15fps, digitally pan and
    zoom, and capture frames to disc.

    So in the end, not really an SLR question at all. Sorry to research
    out loud. I hope someone else finds this useful
    Brendan
     
    Guest, Nov 23, 2005
    #6
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