Company Seven.

  C-7 Home Page C-7 News Consignment Library Products & Services Product Lines Order Search

Distribution News Notes & Interesting Articles Overview Pricing Products Service or Repair

Questar Telescopes LD Surveillance Systems LD Microscopes Accessories

Questar logo from 1990's (27,482 bytes)

Questar Long Distance Surveillance / Ultra Telephoto Lens Systems

While typically deployed for use in long distance surveillance or studies at static installations or in mobile vehicles, when installed onto an optional computer controlled or manually guided mounting then these can be employed to observe moving objects too from land sea or air. When installed from a suitable vantage point, these (and their larger 180mm cousins) can be employed to observe nearby targets, or great expanses of territory or coastline by day or when suitably equipped by day or night.

Our 90mm models are so well made that they may show an object as small as a bicycle spoke from a distance of 1 mile away, the 180mm and larger models have the capability to reveal as fine details from twice the distance. As the aperture is increased, the ability of a similarly well constructed system to show an image clearly should improve proportionately. The 90mm systems tend to be sufficient for those agencies involved in surveillance or studies in an urban environment where the target may be as close as about 100 feet (30 meters). The need to use a 180mm model may be indicated when distances are 200 feet or are far greater, or when the target to be observed is not well illuminated, or in shadows.

Being "apochromatic" systems that provide razor sharp images free of false colors, the color fidelity and resolution have permitted drug enforcement agents to realize more quickly the nature of contraband that may be involved in a transaction, even when observed from great distances. These same qualities have permitted the safe, remote studies of wildlife and endangered species - at times reading banding information or other identifying marks on an animal thereby avoiding interfering with the animals day to day activities.

We have engineered these systems over many years for government use so that they:

    1. are compact, rugged, low maintenance, very high resolution systems. They are able to clearly show details as fine as a bicycle spoke nearly a mile distant on a steady day.

    Fire department HAZMAT personnel can read placards, and study damaged containers from safer distances. A license plate on a car may be read or photographed at a distance of several miles even with our most compact 90mm models, or at much greater distances with the larger models.

    2. The systems can be used visually, and they are ideal for gathering film or video images that is required for evidence. They offer a wider range of magnifications each with a degree of clarity that can not be approached by traditional (and physically much longer and heavier) refractive "Zoom" lenses.

    3. These are true apochromatic systems providing images free of false color revealing the true color of substances observed. For example, experienced law enforcement have been able to discern the nature of suspected substances being held in a pouch from great distances by noting the color, granularity or texture.

    4. These systems are weather and corrosion resistant, and engineered to be "Agent Proof": designed so that inexperienced operators are not likely to break them or lose components. And yet these are simple to learn to operate, and quick to put into service.

    5. While the manually operated MFL series have no real competition in performance and reliability, the highly capable automated "Step Zoom" systems are unrivalled in their capability to very quickly change magnification, focus and compensate for changes of light almost instantaneously - controlled on the scene by an electronic keypad, or remotely by a personal computer from anywhere in the world!

Questar Step Zoom 180 Telescope

Above: Questar Step Zoom 180 System with Control Keypad and optional video camera attached.

The determination of a best fit solution depends on many variables including the dimensions and resolution of the CCD or film camera. We invite you to contact us to let us help you choose a suitable solution for your requirements.

A Long History In Space Questar View from Gemini of Cape Kennedy 1965 In September 1965 the first telescopic images of earth were reported in "Newsweek" magazine; these images were taken through a Questar from the Gemini spacecraft, and they were news because this was the beginning of surveillance photography from space.

When the Apollo astronauts reported seeing a twelve and a half foot object from 1000 miles (1625 km) through a Questar, it was on the front page of the "New York Times".

In 1985 an aircraft hijacker was identified from a distance of two kilometers (1.23 miles). In 1986 a Questar was used to identify the cargo being unloaded from a freighter in Nicaragua from twenty five kilometers (15.4 miles). When video evidence of a SCUD missile launcher in Kuwait was presented to the United Nations for sanction of "Desert Storm", our Questar Step Zoom 180 provided those images from a distance of thirty kilometers (18.5 miles). These are but of few of the publicly known successes of the Questar systems which have been a leader in the international long range surveillance market for more than thirty years.

With experience in advising about the use of and producing such precision durable systems. we are in a position to provide to you an integrated system that is optimized to perform how and where you need it to perform. We integrate our lenses with the best electro-optics, support structures, motion control, packaging and environmental protection. An entire system may need to fit into a small case; including lens, tripod, camera and recorder. Or the requirement may be for a permanently installed day/night system with remote control of lens functions, pan and tilt, and camera selection, with complete remote control over image contrast and enhancement. Our experience takes the guesswork out of problem solving.

What began as a single lens design has developed into a full series of surveillance lenses, with accessories: fully integrated systems.

All our lens optics are manufactured (at a facility very near to Company Seven in Maryland) with hand-figured, matched optics, with final assembly done using the same care that is put into our space-qualified telescopes. All systems are designed for their specific purpose however, they all share some common features:

  • Lenses made to a very high level of perfection, by a staff that has continuous experience manufacturing optics of such designs for decades.
  • The Maksutov-Cassegrain design has only two precisely aligned optical elements; permanently collimated
  • Extremely compact and light weight: more than three thousand millimeters of effective focal length (e.f.l.) fits into a thirty five centimeter package weighing only six kilograms (13.2 lbs), almost five thousand millimeters e.f.l. fits into a sixty centimeter (23.6 inch) package weighing only eighteen kilograms (39.6 lbs)
  • Durability: each system fully motorized and enclosed to resist abuse and the elements
  • Versatility of Magnification: Multiple Focal Length and Step Zoom models permit quick changes of magnification; a single telescope can reveal a wide field of view or move in for close imaging or observation
  • Versatility of Illumination: Electro-Optics and Automatic Light Control systems permit a single lens to provide proper exposure revealing well illuminated objects, or peer into the distant shadows of a star lit night
  • Standard Spectral Transmission: from 330 nm to 2.3 microns suitable for use with Infra-red systems
  • Optional extended Ultraviolet and Infrared imaging: from 200 nm to 3.5 microns
  • All Internal Focus: lens barrel physical length does not change with focus
  • Each Unit Can Be Equipped: with visual eyepiece, video C-Mount, 35mm and Medium Format SLR mounts
  • Supplemental Optics: allow an 8 to 1 variability in field of view and depth of field
  • Available in motorized, microprocessor controlled, variable magnification versions
  • Optional CCD Imaging Systems including IP based cameras for access and control on a network
  • Optional Ruggedized Design and Construction: to survive shock and vibration
  • Optional precisely made Optical Flats (windows) are available to protect the lens, as are environment controlled enclosures to withstand the worst extremes
  • Optional Hardware: Video cameras and controllers, Lighting, Filtering, Image Storage, and Fixturing.
  • Dual Selectable Port Models: allow simultaneous mounting of two detectors or and eyepiece and detector/camera
Our Questar long distance surveillance optical tube assemblies are described in good detail in accompanying pages. We do offer specialized versions of each instrument which offer additional unique performance characteristics including:

  • The Questar "Field Ranger" surveillance lenses are day/night photo-visual capable instruments with the highest resolution and focal length available for Catadioptric systems of their aperture. These most simple and relatively lightweight of lenses are based on the Questar 3-1/2"/89mm, the Questar 7"/180mm, and the Questar 12"/305mm systems. Each may be equipped with a variety of attachments to provide variable magnification performance with eyepieces, or with video or film cameras.

  • The Multiple Focal Length MFL90 and MFL180 series systems provide the convenience of internally mounted auxiliary optics and filters, and are weatherized with seals at all mating surfaces. These feature the user selectable choice of five focal lengths and a selection of four filters, each position is controlled by two rotary dials mounted onto the back plate of the instrument. Focal length and status can be indicated by L.E.D.'s. The Questar 3-1/2 based MFL system provides effective focal lengths between 480mm at f5.4 up to 3100mm at f35. While the Questar 7 based MFL system provides effective focal lengths of between 635mm at f3.5 up to 4800mm at f27.

  • The SZ 90 and SZ 180 Step Zoom lenses share the weatherization and variable optical characteristics of the "MFL" series but the SZ systems also incorporate a hand held terminal programmable remote control permitting the selection of five magnifications, four in line filters, and focus. A microprocessor will adjust focus of the microscope when required as a result of changes in magnification or filtration. And all control functions can be addressed via an RS-422 port. All motorized functions are stepper driven, and a status report of lens function is displayed in an LCD window on the hand control.

  • The new Questar 182 Step Zoom system is a computer software controlled, long distance video instrument housed in a rugged environmental enclosure attached to our motorized alt-azimuth mount, all which are impervious to the elements. The 182 can be installed permanently with control of position and display of video through hard wire by a personal computer. It is possible to "air drop" a Questar 182 system to almost anywhere in the world, install the system in a camouflaged configuration, and then contol all of its features remotely. The system can operate from conventional AC, or portable DC power sources. The 182 housing is engineered with provisions to select one, or either of two cameras at the axial port of the main telescope (possibly one night vision camera and another conventional model), a protected finder telescope with single or dual head video camera to observe wide fields of view. The modular 182 system is designed to accept upgrades and options including a laser rangefinding, target bearing and distance display, GPS interfaces, artificial intelligence, automatic sun shield, satellite uplink: a selection to grow into the 21st century!


Contents Copyright 1994-2011 Company Seven All Rights Reserved