It’s a Personal Choice
There is no “best” ghost hunting camera, in terms of the style of photography. The two most common forms used in the paranormal field are film and digital photography. There are digital cameras which companies have converted into full spectrum cameras, but I prefer not to use them. If I want full spectrum capabilities or night vision, I use a camcorder. If you are choosing which form of photography to use, this article discusses the pros and cons of film and digital photography.
The Advantage of Film Photography
Though it has become an outdated style of photography, film cameras do offer two things to the paranormal field that digital cannot. The first is the chemical reaction created by light let in through a shutter rapidly opening and closing. Film shielded from light in a sealed tube is pulled along wheels inside the camera, allowing one frame of film to expose to light one by one. Once the film is used up, it retracts safely back into the tube. The film is then removed and processed in different chemicals solutions which stabilizes the film so it can develop into print photos and is safe to hold in the light.
The reason why the process of how film captures images matters, is that the chemical reaction inside the camera imprints everything coming through the lens. Digital photography takes images and translates them into broken down pixels which form the file. There are rays of light that the process can lose during that process of translation. Because of this, I bring 35mm film cameras with me. If I’m using my digital camera and I start to see orbs, I use the film camera as well. Two different methods mean twice as many chances of capturing evidence.
You can either find an old 35 mm style camera or use the instant Polaroid-style which is making a comeback. You can find the newer Polaroid styles and their film at craft stores and retailers. While the process of developing the film is different, you still have the chemical reaction of both forms. While the Polaroid film will be more expensive, it eliminates the time and cost of developing 35 mm film so that it may be worth it to some. It’s certainly something to take into consideration.
The Second Advantage of Film Photography
One of the complaints about digital photography, especially today, is that it is too easy to fake photos. Digital pictures and art evolves every day, and it can be harder to differentiate between fact and fiction. With most photos, unless I was there or trust the source, I take pictures with a grain of salt. With 35mm film, you at least have the negative as a way to give more credibility with photos. It’s difficult to manipulate film, both 35mm and Polaroid style, without ruining the film from light exposure. Having the 35mm negative at least lends a bit more credibility to photos.
The Con of Film Photography for Ghost Hunting
The one downside to film photography is the fact that it’s outdated. While this means it’ll be easier to find a 35 mm camera for dirt cheap online, when it comes to developing the film, it isn’t as easy. Fewer stores develop film and have started switching over to only printing digital photos. You may have to ship your film out to a developing center or learn how to develop it on your own at home with a kit.
If you are contemplating using a film camera, definitely check into the developing aspect first! Make sure there is a store in your area that still develops the film. If not, check into the alternative methods here to see if it’s money and time you are willing to invest. If you don’t want to deal with developing the film but want to try film, I recommend the polaroid style. Though the film can be pricey, it eliminates the time and cost of processing the film.
The Advantages of Digital Photography
Digital photography still uses a rapid shutter, but instead of the chemicals on film reacting, the image translates into a digital file. While this eliminates the chemical reaction spirits can use to affect the picture, it doesn’t mean they can’t distort the digital information. And unlike film where you need to wait until after the investigation to examine the photos, it’s instant. An immediate review will improve your reaction time when photo evidence starts to appear. That’s the significant advantage of digital photography. The second advantage is that it eliminates the cost of the film. So long as your memory card is working, the only price is the initial cost of the camera. Over time that investment will pay off.
The Con of Digital Photography
As I mentioned earlier, digital photos, while more cost-effective, unfortunately, are harder to provide as concrete evidence. Most wholehearted skeptics will always find a potential rational reason, no matter how unlikely it is. If you are working with a client and presenting evidence, the chances are they already trust you, and won’t care too much whether the photograph is film or digital, so long as they are getting answers.
Choose What Works for You and Your Budget
When deciding what camera to buy, and more importantly, the type, borrow some cameras from friends and see which style you prefer. If you can only choose one between film and digital format, I would select digital, but that’s just my opinion. The camera I have been using for the last three years is the Nikon D3400. The resolution is high enough for photos of all needs, and videos (not infrared) when needed. If you can do both, even better. They compliment each other well, especially having negatives to back up evidence further. I hope this helps your decision. If you have any further questions, comment below or send an email to Sean@SeanParadis.com.