This week's "Nova" episode on PBS, "3D Spies of WWII", explored allied aerial photo reconnaissance over occupied Europe. The program credited the Spitfire as the aerial platform.
I know that other aircraft were used in photo reconnaissance flights. But, for the life of me, I can't figure out why they might have used Spitfires at all. Yes, it was a wonderful fighter, but fighter maneuverability works against it as a photography platform. The early Spitfires also lacked endurance.
Seems to me that for aerial photo reconnaissance during war, you want a long-range, stable platform with some self-defense capability, and maybe speed to flee if that seems the better course. Those requirements suggest that you convert medium and heavy bombers, like DeHavilland Mosquitos or B-17s. (The Mosquito *was* produced in a photo reconnaissance version.)
To my question, then: Why convert a home defense fighter like a Spitfire, badly needed for home defense, to a reconnaissance role? What unique value would a Spitfire bring to that mission?