Private Investigators Camera

Started Oct 19, 2010 | Discussions
Bud Melless Regular Member • Posts: 329
Private Investigators Camera

Hello everyone;

Could anyone tell me the best camera to buy (under $1,000.00) that would reach out to say 200 yards? My son is a private investigator and is looking for a decent camera to do that job.

Any ideas would be very much appreciated. Thank you

Bud (Griz)

JamesRL Senior Member • Posts: 2,341
Re: Private Investigators Camera

Its the lens thats important I think not the camera, in that type of work, and sad to say if my guess is correct, $1000 isn't enough.

In general private investigators are trying to get a reasonable capture, enough for recognition, often in low light, and generally from a reasonable distance.

A good quality 70-200 f2.8 zoom on a decent crop camera that works well in low light would be fine.

In the Nikon line, the D90 is very good in low light, the best in its price range. Its being discounted as a new camera, the D7000 is taking its place.

A Nikon 70-200 f2.8 will be well above $1000, I've seen some of the older ones go for less used.

I'm sure others will weigh in, one of the third parties like Tamron or Sigma might be more affordable.

 JamesRL's gear list:JamesRL's gear list
Nikon D7000 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR +6 more
Chato Forum Pro • Posts: 46,027
Re: Private Investigators Camera

JamesRL wrote:

A good quality 70-200 f2.8 zoom on a decent crop camera that works well in low light would be fine.

200mm is about a four times enlargement. At 200 yards, i.e. 600 feet, that means you would be seeing the same as if you were 150 feet away. Not enough for recognition in my opinion. If he needs to be "close," then 400mm would be the bare minimum.

Dave

smallcams Veteran Member • Posts: 3,297
This will work fine for your son...

http://www.dpreview.com/news/1009/10091411sx30is.asp

I know several investigators that are using this model now. It works very nice at 200 yards.

The price is right, too.

-- hide signature --

BIG sensors!

Skywalker23 Senior Member • Posts: 1,164
Re: This will work fine for your son...

If you can find a Nikon or Canon DSLR body for under $500, you can then grab this Tokina 80-400mm lens.
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/429084-REG/Tokina_ATX840AFDN.html

Also, superzooms have disappointing image quality, especially at full telephoto. I know because I used to own one. That was 5 years ago, but I still try to turn people away from them--I think they only sell because they are easily marketable (big numbers like 26x, 30x grab people's attention).

 Skywalker23's gear list:Skywalker23's gear list
Ricoh GR Nikon D610 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-85mm F3.5-4.5G ED VR Nikon AF-S Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED VR Tokina AT-X 17-35mm f/4 Pro FX
Chato Forum Pro • Posts: 46,027
Re: This will work fine for your son...

Skywalker23 wrote:

Also, superzooms have disappointing image quality, especially at full telephoto. I know because I used to own one. That was 5 years ago, but I still try to turn people away from them--I think they only sell because they are easily marketable (big numbers like 26x, 30x grab people's attention).

This is true, but if the OP is only interested in being able to recognise people or places, the IQ of a good SLR is probably not needed. He seems to have a specific task in mind, and that task is not taking "good" photographs.

I think it's a good suggestion. Never occured to me.

Dave

doctorxring Senior Member • Posts: 1,341
Re: This will work fine for your son...

.

For 200 yards, in decent light, the Canon SX30is will get
that job done. $419 shipped. A bit less if you look around.

If shooting in very low light, then a DSLR with at least a 300 to 500mm
lens will be needed. Very tough on a $1000 budget.

.

 doctorxring's gear list:doctorxring's gear list
Sony RX100 II Sony RX1R II Sony RX10 III Sony a77 II Sony Alpha a7 +1 more
Mr Roygbiv rainbow Senior Member • Posts: 1,891
Re: This will work fine for your son...

Tell him to become a Photographer and go look for a decent job !
--
Roygbiv

Hansa Yindee
Hansa Yindee Veteran Member • Posts: 4,204
Re: Private Investigators Camera

.
.
Might have him ask other PI's to see what is working for them.

Could also rent some gear to see what might be aplickable....;-)
.
--
Jon in Thailand

http://www.flickr.com/photos/af2899/
.

 Hansa Yindee's gear list:Hansa Yindee's gear list
Nikon D50 Nikon D1X Nikon D300 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8G ED-IF Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR +9 more
Anders Hansen Junior Member • Posts: 48
Re: This will work fine for your son...

I think this is near perfect for a PI. It has a large zoom and it is much more discrete than a DSLR with a huge lens. It's also much easier to bring than the DSLR.

Regards,
Anders

Mentor_1 Veteran Member • Posts: 9,773
Re: This will work fine for your son...
1

Mr Roygbiv rainbow wrote:

Tell him to become a Photographer and go look for a decent job !
--
Roygbiv

OH NO!!!! someone p1$$ed in your cereal again
--
May the light be with you
Stop global whining
Stupid should hurt

JamesRL Senior Member • Posts: 2,341
Re: This will work fine for your son...

My concern with a superzoom, and I've owned a couple of them, would be low light performance. While I know the images don't have to be artistic, you do need to get an image thats good enough, and low light is where superzooms struggle. My impression is that many of these pictures are taken at night.

 JamesRL's gear list:JamesRL's gear list
Nikon D7000 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR +6 more
Mr Roygbiv rainbow Senior Member • Posts: 1,891
Re: This will work fine for your son...

After having breakfast this morning I went out and picked up a camera called a " SUPER SNOOPER SNIPER" It has fantastic telephoto low light capabilities . It also has a blue flashing light and siren sound when disturbed , I do not know where you can buy one of these because I found it !
--
Roygbiv

JEPH Contributing Member • Posts: 780
It's the CAR not the CAMERA!

Any camera transported in an Aston Martin will make an excellent tool of intrigue.

Ron Poelman
Ron Poelman Veteran Member • Posts: 6,276
Make sure it has skank mode.

He wall also need tat tracking, number plate diffuser and keyhole audio option.
Back stair anti-shake should be good for at least 3 stops.
Built in alarm is a must for those all nighters.
Rendition will be more believable if he can select an extra grain mode.
--

 Ron Poelman's gear list:Ron Poelman's gear list
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H2 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-R1 Sony SLT-A57 Sony Alpha a7R Sony a77 II +19 more
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