Digital Versus Analogue
Cameras. A Study Into Which is Better for Paranormal Investigation.
paranormal investigation became mainstream one of the key
factors of an investigators kitbag is the humble camera. Photography
and the paranormal have been kindred spirits ever since the
camera was invented and 'spirit photos' started to appear,
and since then innumerable photographs have appeared over
the centuries that appear to show apparitions, anomalies and
other things that could be considered paranormal.
So it's easy to see why today
the camera is an essential part of any investigators kit.
But the film camera does have its disadvantages. Firstly,
to have any chance of taking decent photographs you have to
have a decent camera and know how to operate it. The trouble
with cheap cameras is that they're notorious for camera-shake,
and you could easily blur a photograph and mistake something
innocuous for paranormal activity. Not only that, but decent
film is also a must so that if anything is captured then it's
as crisp and clear as possible. Add on top of that the cost
of developing the film once it's used up, and even then you're
not guaranteed a result - all of the photos could most probably
have nothing unusual in them.
It's probably because of this
that digital cameras have been embraced as they have in the
investigative world. Although decent digital cameras are still
quite expensive, they do have the big advantage of being able
to show the photo that has been taken instantly rather than
having to wait whilst it's being developed. Plus, because
digital cameras work with a memory card rather than a roll
of film you can pretty much take unlimited shots, check them
out for anything unusual, and if there's nothing there they
can be quickly wiped and the process start again. Processing
costs are eliminated and eventually the camera can pay for
But are digital cameras as
essential to paranormal investigation as we'd like to think?
Do you really have a chance at capturing something paranormal
with a digital camera? Hopefully such a question will be answered
in this study.
most important thing that needs to be focussed on here is
the light spectrum. The eye can only distinguish and register
approximately 5% of the overall spectrum of light that's around
us. The rest is totally invisible to the eye. Now, it has
been suggested innumerable times in recent years that spirit
resides in the infrared part of the full spectrum; a particular
area that the human eye cannot register. This could be a possible
reason as to why people cannot see spirit (Also, it could
help explain clairvisual abilities in individuals - could
these people have an eyesight that is able to register the
light spectrum that spirits reside in?).
Going back to the digital camera.
When it was first being designed and created they needed to
make the programming and manufacture as cheap as possible
to keep overall costs to a minimum, so when they were programming
the range of light that the camera would be able to register
and photograph it was kept to within the small spectrum that
the eye can register, nothing more. Why would they? Such light
is invisible and programming the camera to register and capture
it would prove utterly pointless and thus an un-necessary
expenditure. So digital cameras can only register this small
spectrum of light. When a photo is taken it digitally converts
the light from this part of the spectrum and this part only
and converts it into the digital image that appears on the
viewfinder. All other light, since the camera has not been
designed to register it, has been filtered out. Therefore,
when a photo is taken, just this area of light is captured.
cameras, on the other hand, work with a much simpler process.
A film that is ultra-sensitive to light is securely put into
the camera and wound into place. Then, when a photo is taken
the shutter is opened for a fraction of a second to expose
just enough light onto the film to produce a perfect representation
of what was being photographed. The most important thing to
remember with an analogue camera is that the light that's
exposed onto the film has not been electronically filtered
beforehand. The analogue camera is non-biased as to what light
is captured onto film and thus the entire light spectrum is
photographed, not just a tiny percentage. Since the camera
can capture the particular spectrum of light that spirit is
said to reside in it therefore can be assumed that if there
is a spirit in the frame when the photo is taken then it has
been photographed. However, since the light is invisible to
the eye, it therefore will be invisible in the photograph.
Although this study suggests how spirit is better captured
on an analogue camera, it cannot yet suggest possibilities
as to why they become visible in some pictures and not in
others (unless it might be the simple reason of spirit simply
not wanting to be photographed, and quickly moving out of
the way before being snapped).
But the past has shown us time
and time again that pretty much that all genuine apparition
photos have been captured using an analogue camera. As technology
progresses however I'm guessing that manufacturers will start
producing digital cameras that can register more and more
of the light spectrum until perhaps they can capture the full
scale, but until that happens I firmly believe that if you
want the best chance of capturing paranormal phenomena on
camera then a 35mm analogue film type camera is the one to
Copyright 2007 Michael Harbidge. See Copyright page for full