Jump to content

In Search of Long Range solution -Help!

Recommended Posts

I'm working on designing an observation system that will incorporate a handfull of PTZ cameras, tied to a viewing station for real time viewing. No brainer right? My concern is around image clarity at great distance.


Previous applicaitons like this we've used Pelco Esprite systems which were great for their time but the last time my customer did one was in the mid 90's.


I'm looking at about 2600ft maximum viewing distance and will need the ability to read an I.D. number that's roughly double the size of a US license plate. The Esprite cameras in place now cannot do this. Our cameras are, and will continue to be mounted approximately 50ft above ground on poles or towers that already exist.


My Pelco Rep is telling me that the Spectra IV with 35X optical will do this. I love the idea but have a hard time believing that at 2600ft the 35X optical will be enough to read an ID plate. I'd love to hear about succesful installations similar to this or any insight that might help me select the right optical package. This would be an expensive mistake to make....lol


Thanks for any insight you might have to offer!

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree, I doubt a 35x optical zoom will quite do it. You'll need your FOV to be, what, probably less than 10' wide to be able to ID the plates... ideally not more that 5-6'?


So by my calculations, for a 10' FOV, on a 1/4" sensor (which I believe the Spectra domes have), at 2600', your lens would have to be around 832mm(!!). For a 1/3" sensor (like in your Esprits), you'd be looking at a focal length of around 1144mm(!!!). If you want to cut that down to even a 6' FOV, you're now talking 1387mm or 1906mm - in other words, you're looking for a focal length pushing 2m! (Other calculators give me slightly different numbers, but not substantially different - you're still talking a LONG-ASS zoom!)


Now, "35x" merely states the range from shortest to longest focal length, not the actual focal length, but assuming just for the sake of argument that you're 4mm at the widest, your longest there will be 140mm. Not quite where you need it to be.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think there is regular PTZ dome that could fit the job. I have an 36x zoom JVC PTZ available and it won't do your job.


I should use an aprropiate PT head with a nice camera with a Pentax super zoomlens as you can vind below:




We used the following camera's for similar cases. (reading names / numbers on approching ship who want to enter the harbour)


The Global View Station 1000:





Vumii Dicoverii camera:





A challenge I expect should be moving air in hot weather which makes it hard / unable to read the numbers. Another challenge will be the vibration of the camera which makes it hard to recognize anything at such a range. You will be needing a very solid concrete/steel base en special build camerapole suited for the job.


with best regards,



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

The problem with most PTZ's housings is they don't support IP camera's. (housings that will fit a decent lens). We use a Seikou HZCG12240 240mm lens with a DVTel IP camera in an Esprit but we have to modify the PTZ to carry the IP signal up to the camera. And this combination just fits with some modifications to the curcuit board to make room in the housing. There is a Vendor in Australia who will do this for you, or Pelco are planning an IP version soon.


For bigger lenses Pentax look the go but I have never used them.


You can get bigger Pelco housings and put them on Legacy PTZ pedastools or even put a bigger housing on the Esprit but I stopped short of the latter option fo concerns of burning out the motors with the extra weight and windage. (The Esprit housings continuously use the motors to keep the housing still against the wind).


Housings that may fit the Esprit are EH4718 (457mm) or the EH4722 (558mm) the Standard Esprit housing is only about 350mm long. I have not made this modification myself it is possible but the holes don't quite match up so its no walk in the park. And as I mentioned before stress on the motors may be an issue.



I can't help you with the number plate issue as we look at trucks the size of the 3 story house up to 2.5 km away. And we have massive image distortion due to heat and dust. Typically we deal with 50 ~ 60 degree thermals comming out of a 500m deep pit. I am yet to deploy the megapixil camera and expect better results out of that but we have bench tested it and the modifications we make to the PTZ. This projects with 6 mobile camera towers has been approved and will be in opperation in the next few months. Then I might be able to help you wiht some number plate information.



This picture is taken with dirty lenses down a very hot pit. The amount of hot exhaust being expelled by the vehicles alone warps the image. It is taken with a PAL cameras with a 240mm lens. Squashed into a Pelco Esprit. In the preview the image looks worse than real life but as you see you wouldn't read a car number plate unless it was cristal clear with no distortion. To put things in perspective a car doesn't come up to the track height of this digger.





Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

If anyone is interested in serious solution you can talk to http://www.orionintegration.com.au. We are only an end use but are our own systems engineering department controlling around $10m of bleeding edge control systems on $300m worth of heavy machinery, so we make up anything we want or need. CCTV is not our leading system its just a bit of icing on the cake and doesn't have the big returns of our other systems. However being in an extreme environment we have had to manufacture our own stuff to come with heat, power and dust solutions for any of our systems. Recently we started talking to Orion Intergration and they had done many things we are already doing or want to do. So now we are outsourcing most of our CCTV mods to them. They are dealing with some big lenses, long distances and extreme temperature stuff. If you start heading down the modifications area talk to them and they could save you alot of heartache.


Just got off the phone to them about this topic and here is some extra info.


1: Stick a 240mm lens in a Pelco Esprit with an IP camera in a hot environment and the camera will crap itself. You need to add a cooling system, this will cost about 5watt. This is because the 240mm lens reduces the air volume in the camera. Computer memory is about the first thing to fail electrically. Analogue cameras can take it IP's can't, but why do you want to stick a $1500 lens on a 640 x 480 camera.


2: If you are going to big lenses look at Cannon SLR lenses. They are much better than standard CCTV grade stuff.


3: If you go for a bigger housing on an esprit the stepper motor will stop working if it senses an overload. I mentioned that I was worried about overheating in the previous post They said its not an issue just the thing will stop working. They make modifications to overcome this


4: Pelco will sell an Esprit with a longer housing as a special order. But the other part numbers I mentioned earlier may be the go they are from the old legacy systems. They are substancially wider making for more air space. However more windage as well.


5: Orion do make extensive modifications like turning Esprit to IP and power mods to reduce power consumption (a must for solar installations) You can spend up to $20k AUD of one Esprit PTZ from them. Before you all turn away and think that is rediculous my first attempt at Solar power mobile trailer based cameras cost $36k per camera for power and remote connectivity. After investing $600k on 4 massive 5 ton trailers I now have that cost down to $8k per camera though the synergies of many other systems on the trailer and the sheer size of the trailer. We are about to build a further 6 smaller trailers for $400k including 12 cameras. So turning a 2 camera trailer into a 4 camera trailer for the cost of $20k per PTZ can be worth it. Or if you put a single camera in a remote location the cost of power can be enourmous. Reducing power consumption it the best way to reduce the infrustucture cost. These guys have done all the hard work, just pass the bill on to your customer and get it right the first time.


6: Anyone interested in the Esprit IP conversion. We were doing this ourselves, Pelco don't do it because they have to change the slip rings to meet RF compliency. If your willing to take the RF issues on yourself you can make the mods your self. (like there are lots of devices going to be affected by the RF from an unshield ethernet cable in a PTZ sitting 10m from any other device.) Anyway its more that just running a few extra cables. The RS485 cables have to bypass the baseboard which has filters in it. So you need to modify the filtering in the mainboard in the top of the PTZ. Again you can get Orion to do this for you.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Woody, the boys at Orion know their stuff. Have met with them a number of times.


We have done a fair share of long range testing with numerous cameras and lenses. I second their advise of using the EF mount Canon Lenses or similar. Best coupled with high MP rated cameras: The Camera in the shot has RS-485 on the back, would be hard to find and housing and PT head for that one though I know one of the copper mines are using these cameras with smaller lenses, 24-70mm, 70-200 and 400mm.







Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

That's a nice peice of equipment, the EH5729 might give it a go. but its only 150mm high and about 750mm long. But you should be able to get a special order from Pelco for a longer one. Just need to secure it so it doesn't get ripped off. What camera do you recommend for that type of equipment? I am not particularly impressed with most CS mounts. They are fairly flimsy when you consider you are hanging a couple of $k off the end of them and are sitting them in a several $k of PTZ and power system. At the end of the day the camera is the cheepest component of the excersize and starting to be the weak link in the system.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is there contact info

[edit by mod - please contact the admin to purchase advertising for your company]

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe a dumb question, but with all the big numbers being thrown out how much would it cost to erect a couple of towers and bring power to them to cut down the distance? It may be cheaper in the long run as then you could use some standard stuff.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Not a dumb question at all. The reason why we look at high end cameras and lenses is because of the cost of infrastructure. Because we work in a dynamic environment where we build mountains and valley in a day, we either have to place our cameras miles away from the action or go mobile. These are around $145k and will support in excess of 12 cameras. But we run many other comms systems off them as well. When we started we were paying 70k for a trailer that could only support 2 cameras. So we sized up and threw in as many synergies as possible and came up with these beasts. 5.5kw solar. 1.7 tonnes of battery. 15m mast with 45kg headweight. We have three of these some with cameras on them and others we mount cameras on frames right on the side of the pit. After taking out the cost of the other services powering a camera is down to under $8k each. So in many cases its worth throwing the money at the better camera and lens unless your willing to fork out some big bucks for trailers of other infrastructure.





Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites



I can design you a long range camera system to meet and exceed your requirements and offer both OEM and private label.


We have options up to 5000mm and can give you distances of 20-45km depending on atmospheric conditions.

cooled Thermal imagers up to 1280 HD resolution with germanium lens up to 1200mm

Extreme weather IP 67 -50~65C

Wireless transmission up to 40km (Line of sight)

Mobile or Fixed

Solar or Wind powered

2-4 axis Gyro stabilization

Raid 6 storage up to 512TB



Active IR Demo Videos 1-3km 0 lux: http://www.ascendentgroup.com/zlid.htm


Ascendent Technology Group offers Extreme Long Range Active IR, Cooled thermal imager and long range motorized zoom optics. Ascendent also offer 1024X1280 HD Cooled thermal imager with lens up to 1500mm but we usually integrate it with Active IR so you get get identification not just detection.


Advatanges Over Thermal Imaging

Active IR

imaging has significant advantages over thermal imaging by producing images with up to 500% higher resolution. Active IR also has the ability to go through optically pure substances such as windshields. Since thermal relies on heat waves it works great for long range detection but does not have the ability to capture details making virtually useless for identification unlike optical systems.



Unparalleled Active IR Imaging

Unlike Unlike traditional IR

night vision cameras that use standard CCD, lens and LED’s that operate autonomously, Ascendent’s Active IR cameras have integrated AMC (Automatic Processor Control) and EPC (Electronic Photocell Control), MICF and a host of other technologies, to ensure the Optics, image sensor, lens, MICF and Super bright IR LED’s work in tandem to eliminate hot-spots, washout, and under exposure usually associated with IR cameras for flawless active IR performance up to 200m (650ft) Ascendent’s IR are optimally spaced and use different sized and angled LED’s to provide evenly distributed IR to offer both long rage and wide angle illumination the (MICF) mechanical IR cut filter blocks parasitic light before it reaches the sensor father enhancing the image clarity. Ascendent’s IR cameras are designed to offer absolute performance and use the highest quality components and unique manufacturing processes to increase performance and reliability, such as dual PC board design and hand welding of all the IR LED’s (Vista and Apex Series). All these components are integrated into Rugged IP 66-68 Nema 4X enclosures constructed of extruded aluminum and thick high impact optically pure polycarbonate to withstand the most brutal assaults and extreme climates for 24/7 surveillance in mission critical applications.



Zoom Laser IR Diode (ZLID)

Ascendent's ZLID laser illuminators combine laser diode technology with precision engineered optics and sophisticated electronics to provide extreme long range Active IR illumination greatly exceeding both performance and Distance over traditional IR LED illumination in application that require over

200m (650ft) of illumination. Ascendents ZLID (Zoom Laser IR Diodes) Technology (IR Laser) synchronizes IR intensity and area illumination with motorized zoom lens for outstanding active IR performance, eliminating over exposure, washout, and hot-spots for unparalleled performance at distances up to3.5km (11,500ft) in complete darkness.


The Sigma Series PTZ delivers long range day/night surveillance. Its powerful 20-3000mm motorized zoom lens can detect intruders at distances of up to 35km. The high-output, continuous-wave laser provides recognition for up to 8km and identification up to 3km. Ascendents Sigma series provides unparalleled video surveillance and situation assessment for perimeter protection and border defense.


Key Features:

3000m (9,845 ft) Identification performance Distance in complete darkness (Optional 8km)

ZLID : Zoom Laser Infrared Diode (Syncs with Zoom Lens)

Lens: 25-1500mm, 40-2200mm 20-3000mm 1000mm-5000mm motorized Zoom Lens

1/2 EMCCD infrared high sensitivity True Day Night camera

Dual MICF IR cut filter switch for true day night performance

Endless 360 degree, Heavy Duty Pan-Tilt-Zoom (PTZ) Positioning,

Extreme environment -45C~60C with anti corrosive coating

Optional FLIR Cooled Thermal Imager 680×480 resolution Or Ascendents 1024X1280 Thermal Imager

Integration with AVA Video Analytics


Industry Leading Performance

Ascendent’s Active IR module combines laser diode technology, quality precision optics and sophisticated electronics. This creates long range active IR illumination greatly exceeding both the performance and distance of traditional IR LED illumination. The ASCLIR3000M-810 (IR Laser)

synchronizes IR intensity and area illumination with motorized zoom optics for flawless active IR imaging. This eliminates overexposure, washout and hot-spots for outstanding night time performance at great distances.



Superior Image Quality

The Sigma series incorporates highly tuned 1/2 ” EMCCD imaging equipment that is optimized for long range surveillance to render superb detail rich color by day. At night or 0 lux environments the Sigma series intensifies IR light on an electron level for clean crisp monochrome images. This in tandem with its laser illuminator to capture minute details resulting in identification and prosecution of trespassing parties.


Long Range Zoom Optics

IR optimized optics for 24/7 long range surveillance up to 90,000Ft (30KM) by day and (3.2km) 10,000ft in 0lux (complete darkness) while maintaining excellent clarity. Making it the clear choice for perimeter protection, homeland security, critical infrastructure and military logistics.



Who Is Ascendent?

Ascendent Technology Group

Inc. is a dynamic fast growing company committed to providing the CCTV industry with innovative and advanced products and technologies. With a singular commitment to the aggressive pursuit of product development and customer satisfaction, Ascendent continues to be an industry leader. We

believe our sophisticated products provide simple solutions to the most complex security demands. Ascendent is proud to provide exceptional customer service and professional quality products.


Solutions Provider

First and foremost Ascendent is a solutions provider. Ascendent offers customization at a fraction of the time and cost of our competitors. Ascendent’s customized approach allows us to design and configure a complete end-to-end solution based on your requirements rather than manufacturers’ specs and limitations. With our in-depth knowledge of critical infrastructure and technological expertise Ascendent is continuously developing and manufacturing complete solutions and can design products to suit any application from industrial to global enterprise.


Best Regards



Phone: 250.426.8100 Ext 114



Skype ID: tim.ascendent

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now