What is a Full Spectrum Camera? How can it be useful as a Ghost Hunting Camera?
Full spectrum camera conversions are not difficult to understand. A normal digital camera has a CCD (or CMOS) sensor that is only allowed to "see" the visible light spectrum, up to about 750nm. The near Infrared (IR) range, approximately 750nm - 1200nm, is mostly blocked out by an internal IR-cut filter inside the camera lens. By removing the IR-cut filter, the camera's sensor (its "eye") is allowed to see a broader spectrum beyond what the human eye can see. What might be hiding in the invisible Infrared spectrum? This camera can see what we see plus what we cannot. Note: Our full spectrum cameras do not have the visible spectrum filtered out. True full spectrum cameras include the visible spectrum.
What Are the Advantages of the Full Spectrum Camera?
- A flash unit is not needed in dark settings if an Infrared light source is used. Infrared is invisible to the human eye, but to the full spectrum camera it appears very bright. Without using the flash unit, the full spectrum camera can become your eyes to see into dark environments.
- The full spectrum camera and Infrared light source will not disrupt the environment, which maintains the integrity of the ghost investigation. The investigator's eyes will be able to see better in the dark conditions, not being blinded by the constant popping of the flash unit. You can even work without using a regular flashlight by carefully watching the full spectrum camera's LCD screen.
- False orbs caused by dust, pollen, lint and moisture, created when the particulate reflects the light of the camera's flash in front of the lens, will no longer be a problem. In other words, dust orbs can only be photographed if the IR light source is too close to the camera lens. If you keep the light source away from the camera lens and still photograph an orb, there is a good chance that the orb is emitting its own light source visible to the full spectrum camera. Read: Ghost Hunting Cameras.
You Have 6 Light Sources to Choose From:
- An Infrared illuminator sold for use with video cameras that have night-shot capability (Sony, for example)
- An Infrared flashlight
- A Multi-Spectrum light
- A Full Spectrum light
- An Incandescent Black Light bulb (which emits both Infrared and Ultraviolet - this is A/C but not the fluorescent, tube version)
- An IR bulb (A/C powered heat lamp - used for aquariums and sold at pet stores)
All three light sources emit Infrared light that will illuminate the environment for the full spectrum camera. The black light bulb is a great method to use in buildings with A/C power; but with both the A/C powered IR and Blacklight bulbs, you need an insulated heat shield. The IR illuminator and IR flashlight require batteries but can go anywhere.
Use a Strong Light With the Camera
We have found with full spectrum cameras that the stronger the Infrared light source the better the ghost hunting camera will be able to see in the dark, having a much more clear image. Light is directly related to image quality. While the full spectrum cameras and video recorders will see Near UV (such as with a UV flashlight), in low-light conditions while ghost hunting, it is best to use Infrared light sources. Of course, all of the models of camera we experimented with can see the expanded range of light from Near Ultraviolet to Visible to Near Infrared.
All sorts of light may be experimented with, of course, especially combinations of light sources. However, this can create multiple shadows and confusing light patterns that may make discerning paranormal evidence more difficult than sticking with Infrared.
Get an IR Pass Filter Kit
We should also mention that ull spectrum cameras and camcorders can be easily switched back and forth, from full spectrum to Infrared, if you purchase an IR-Pass Filter kit. By blocking the visible spectrum, the IR Pass Filter turns the full spectrum camera into an Infrared unit in a snap! You can pick one up, here: IR Pass Filter Kit.