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Cameras with Chris : The Great Debate!

There are tons of photographs of alleged paranormal activity out there. But the majority I see is crap. They are naturally occurring phenomena that people mistake as evidence because they don’t understand how a camera works. Well, “Cameras with Chris” is going to change that.  We are going to go over how cameras work ( and don’t work )  and their functions to hopefully avoid posting false-positives in the future.

Usually, one of the first pieces of paranormal investigation equipment that would-be ghost hunters acquire is a camera.  And so comes the great question; Film or Digital? Although both are great in their own right, we will go over the pros and cons of using these on investigations and see which comes out victorious!

Film vs. Digital


First we will look at Price. A film camera is usually less expensive than it’s digital counterpart, at first.  Although the initial price is cheaper, you will have to buy film and pay to have it developed. This can add up substantially. With digital, you can take as many photos as your memory can store, transfer them to a computer, and continue taking more.

winner: Digital

This brings us to the Amount of Pictures taken. Again, with film, you are limited on amount of film available. During investigations, most people will take hundreds of pictures. Although you can do this with Film cameras, it takes extra time unloading and loading film. Time that can be used investigating. Not to mention the cost of having hundreds of pictures developed! Digital Cameras address these problems easily and cheaply . You can buy an 8GB memory card for around $12 at your local Wal-Mart. That’s about 2,000 pictures that the one digital camera can hold. Plus, you can always switch SD cards if one becomes full.

winner: Digital


Now we come to the Negative.  Let’s say that you have just captured the most amazing ghost photo the world has ever seen and you want to prove to everyone that it is an un-doctored original. What better way than by showing an original negative of the film. With a film negative, you can actually hold an untouched, exact account of what the camera saw at that exact moment. True, it may be a processing error, but having the negative in hand can help to resolve it.

winner: Film


Next we will focus on Evidence Evaluation. With a Film Camera, in order to do a detailed evaluation of the photos, you may have to scan the pictures into the computer. This is the same as taking a photo of a photo and can cause some anomalies to appear on your image. But, with Digital, you can plug the camera straight into your computer and open the photos in an editor directly, making it not only easier to evaluate than with film, but safer.

winner: Digital


Now we come to Camera Error. Both types can have some errors that can occur either because of a malfunction or human. Digital is usually limited to wrong settings or shutter speed.  While, Film can have those same problems and you can add in double exposure and printing errors to the mix.

winner: Digital


In the end, Digital beat Film hands down.

“But,” you may be asking, “Oh Great, Wise Sage, what is your opinion on which one I should use?”

I say, if you can afford it, both. Some people swear by film, others by Digital.  The fact is, we are not sure how ghost can appear on photos, so why not have both in your arsenal just in case.  If money is an issue, then I suggest going digital for now.

Tune in next week for more Cameras with Chris as we go over the Basics of Digital Cameras!



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  • That’s a great technical look at both devices but what about in terms of investigating? or rather evidence? Does one seem to capture evidence more easily than the other?

  • I will be going more in depth about that later, let’s just say that digital can see into a greater spectrum of light.

  • Digital has the ability to pick up better photos period. Paranormal or not. I dont know about the now day film camera but in the past I have known them to have shadows or “echos” on them from film error or what not. Im not a professional but my gut tells me you may get more false positives from a film camera but then again if a ghost or spirit really can drain the batteries on equipment then I think it would be wise to carry both as I do not know many battery operated film cameras. Just a thought……..

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