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Figure 0 - A digital camera can be adapted for ultra long range photography
A digital camera can be adapted for ultra long range photography

When your job is to collect information covertly, there are times when you will need to be both far from the subject, but at the same time collect as much high detail as possible. A typical 10 megapixel camera will often be able to capture a face or license plate from a block away, but there are times when you need even great imaging power, and the built in optics will not cut it. Some cameras offer a digital zoom function, but this really only expands the pixels of the image so no extra detail is captured using this function. To collect data from a greater distance, your camera needs more optical zoom power.



Figure 1 - Digital zoom is never as good as true optical magnification
Figure 1 - Digital zoom is never as good as true optical magnification

There are basically two ways you can bring your digital camera into the extreme zoom zone: using a proper interchangeable zoom lens for an SLR camera, or by retro fitting your camera to use a binocular or telescope or gun site like the ones shown in Figure 1. The first option will require you to own a digital camera that allow lenses to be changed. These become expensive, especially the telephoto zoom lenses - very expensive! The second option will work with any cheap digital camera, allowing it to see further than any costly SLR zoom lens, but at the expense of a little quality. By adapting a $100 digital camera to one side of a binocular, you will have a camera capable of taking images from a great distance, and although this setup will have some blurring around the edges, it will have similar zoom capabilities to those $10,000 lenses used by paparazzi to invade the privacy of many entertainment personalities.

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