Member Discussion

High-Megapixel Telephoto Lenses?

I am on a search for high-megapixel (>5) long-range telephoto lenses (100mm or even 200mm+ if they're out there).

Anyone have any recommendations? I've hit all of the usual suspects, and have found very little. 

Tamron has some fixed focal lengths up to 75mm, but they're classified as "suitable for sensors with a resolution of 720p or more." I'm not exactly sold on them being a solid choice for a 5MP or 4K camera.

Theia shows some 4K resolution and 4K "compatible" lenses up to 50mm, but nothing larger. 

Fuji shows some zoom lenses up to 2000mm, but they only support a max of 2MP. They also have some 3MP options that go up to 80mm, so that's at least getting warm but still not what I'm looking for.

Am I missing some other major players that have high MP zoom lens offerings?

Thanks in advance!

Telephoto or long vari-focal?

Great point --

I would prefer varifocal for flexibility, obviously, but I would be perfectly happy if someone had a range of fixed focal that went >50mm. So, if we went 75mm, 100mm, 150mm, 200 or 250mm, etc, that would be great as well.

What is the sensor format and resolution of the target camera?

for instance 1 1/2" and 4000x3000 

You can't really go by the "3MP" classification of lens makers without knowing the pixel pitch, since it varies so much.  

I'm doing my best to be flexible on this, but a sampling of the cameras I'm considering are:

  • Bosch Dinion IP ultra 8000 12MP, p/n NBN-80122-CA 
    • 1/2.3"
    • 4000x3000
  • Bosch Dinion IP starlight 8000 5MP, p/n NBN-80052-BA
    • 1/1.8"
    • 2992x1680
  • Axis P1357-E 5MP camera, p/n 0530-001
    • 1/3.2"
    • 2592x1944


So, a reasonably wide range -- any would suffice, even if I have my preferences.

You could consider a Canon EF or EF-S lens and the C-mount adapter (see our report on Testing EF Lenses On IP Camera for some more data).

This would open up a lot more options, and some of the alternate brands (Sigma, Tamron, etc.) can be good deals.

Interesting idea. I will look into that. I had forgotten about that report, but I remember reading it and thinking it was a good idea for sure. I guess I still question how they would respond in the high-megapixel environment, but most of those newer lenses are rated for that on SLR cameras anyways so I wouldn't think it to be a huge problem.

Thank you.

Canon's entry-level DSLR is up to 18MP these days, so I think the lenses will work just fine with any IP camera you are considering.

Just be careful to note the aperture of a given lens. You will pay dearly for a low F stop on a varifocal lens. However, a similarly rated aperture prime lens will surely be much cheaper.

EF 75-200mm f/2.8 $1250.00

EF 200mm f/2.8 $750.00

Here is an interesting 100mm tele from Kowa that won't break the bank ($150)

Its rated at 100 lp/mm, your Bosch 5MP sensor has a pixel pitch of ~4 microns which translates to roughly the same spatial resolution.

Unfortunately, the other sensor size/resolutions are increasingly more demanding because of their smaller size die and greater resolution.

Thank you. I appreciate it. That doesn't exactly solve my problem, but it does give me an additional option. I really need something in the 200mm range to accomplish exactly what I'm looking for, so I'm beginning to think I'm not going ot have an option other than to go to the method that Brian called out above (thanks Brian!).

Just curious, how far are you actually wanting to look and at what quality are you expecting with these lenses?

As far as I can, and the best I can get? :)

Getting serious now, there is a fenceline that is roughly 1 mile long, and there would be no option for any kind of direct line-of-sight or wireless mesh in the area. I have a fiber connection at a location at one end of the fenceline, and I'm trying to avoid having to use a dozen cameras to get the views I want. Further, the cost of some of the big telephoto lenses are totally asinine (ie the 2000mm from Fujinon for >$10K), so I'm trying to find a happy balance.

Ideally, I'd like to get no less than 35ppf on target, but I know that is unlikely to be feasible. I won't go any lower than 20ppf. What I've done in other areas is placed two cameras on top of each other -- one zoomed almost to the max at 50mm, and the other a wide-angle shot up close at about 6mm. This gives a view of basically the entire fenceline that, in this case, is sufficient because it's only about 800-900 feet. 

I did just realize that the 12MP Bosch camera actually has a 75mm lens option, which the handy-dandy calculator says will give me 20.9ppf at 2000' feet. That at least solves part of my problem and covers a shorter section of the fence, but I still need something for the back half of that mile-long fence.

If you're using the Bosch 12MP camera from what I remember they come from the factory with a fixed lens.  Not sure if you can change them after the fact but I could be wrong.  


They actually have a "-CA" version which has no lens. 


I appreciate the heads-up though -- thank you!

One thing to mention, if you are trying to cover 1/2 mile of fence with one zoom lens by aiming it parallel to the fence line, even if you get a lens that meets the requirements for PPF at the far end, almost everything in front of it will be out of focus.

See View a Face 3000 Meters Away and A Major Flaw in Long Lenses and PTZs Found

I do not see how this can work in this setting, and can only be partially workable if there is adequate lighting.  If there is lighting, that would indicate to me that there is remote power, so wireless would be a possibility.  By using a long-range tele lens and really high resolution camera, you would, number 1, have a camera with poor low light ability.  Number 2, you would have to have a really small iris adjustment for any level of view depth, and a related high F-stop which would provide no correlation at night to a ppf calculation since low light performance would be innefective.

Viewing along a fenceline, however, with several thermals, from a single spot at the end, using A-B tripwire analytics, integrated with a low light 1080 PTZ with preset response settings would be better, but 5000 feet is still a long way, but the PTZ iris could be open quite a bit. Even better if you can correlate to a PTZ that is not along the fenceline but facing the fence from a distance with auto tour presets and smarttracking.  A WDR lowlight 36x 1080 (200 mm 1/1.8") or two would be a best option.  Design the solution for nighttime as a worst case.  If money is the object, I still think you have better options with one or two of these at the end using multiple preset tours, maybe in conjunction with smarttracking and tripwire.  With nothing known about the lighting or the environment, quite a few varables.  You can customize the iris,shutter, exposure settings to optimize the view (and depth of view, since at a distant you will be looking, if a straight fence, at quite a deep area).