Your full spectrum camera doesn't really see the full spectrum

A common paranormal investigator's term is 'I took this photo with my full spectrum camera'. While you are using a converted camera that can see deeper into light our eyes cannot see, it DOES NOT see the full spectrum of light.
Sarah Chumacero
5th September 2017.
Photography, General, Paranormal Equipment, Paranormal Investigation, Stuff paranormal investigators need to know.
2537 page views.

I suppose this sounds like a bit of a strange article coming from someone whose blog is named 'Living Life In Full Spectrum'. It is just that I didn't think 'Living Life in IR' had the same kind of ring to it. Full spectrum is a term which is commonly used in the paranormal world and most specifically to camera or video camera devices. People either convert them or buy them pre converted, chuck an IR or UV light (or sometimes both) onto some sort of rig and shoot away. The photos are usually a pinkish/purple type colour or greenish depending on light you are using and it is this common misconception that have people calling their photos 'full spectrum photos' or that they have used a full spectrum camera. Unfortunately this is wrong. It is not a full spectrum camera and you are not seeing the full spectrum of light.

What is the full spectrum of light?

Full Spectrum light is the light which covers the Electro Magnetic spectrum in all wavelengths which are useful for plant and animal life. While this does include Infrared and Ultraviolet light, the Electro Magnetic spectrum also includes things like Gamma rays and Microwaves. It gets really technical so to keep it simple the main point you need to understand, is that is covers a spectrum of light much further than just UV and IR light which is as far as your camera even when converted can see.

So what does a converted camera see?

Essentially, you are removing filters that sit on top of the lens which allow you to see deeper into the IR and UV spectrum of light. To do so, you also need to use a booster which produces IR or UV light. While it allows you to see deeper into the IR and UV light fields (depending on which filters and you have removed and which booster lights you are using), it still will not allow you to see 'the full spectrum'.

Why does it matter?

I suppose maybe it is being fussy or overly technical but there is a reason people don't like it when this is referred to as a full spectrum photo or camera. At some point there is always someone presenting a photo taken with IR or UV light as their proof of the paranormal. When they present this evidence saying it was taken with a camera that can see 'Full Spectrum', skeptics, trolls and anyone else are going to jump all over it and school you. It could be the best photo anyone has ever seen, but by this point it wouldn't matter to them because they have found a 'hole' in your presentation. It is also an issue when you have a seller who is selling a converted camera with a description of 'full Spectrum'. Essentially the ACCC here in Australia would have an issue with this as they are selling an item with a false description that does not do what it says it does. If you are looking to buy yourself a camera to use on paranormal investigations, just be aware, if someone is promising you a full spectrum camera, it is technically not. It is just converted to see in IR and UV.

I guess like everything, it all comes down to knowing your equipment. Photographing or videoing in IR or UV is common practice and this will be sufficient for you to use in your investigations and make no mistake, this is what everyone is using - even Zak. Just remember all the little tricks that our lenses can play on us still apply even in IR and UV. We can still get shadowing, lens flare, reflections and these cameras even though converted can still pick up dust and bug orbs too. There is nothing wrong with using this tech and I used to take many photos myself in my early days using IR converted cameras. Know your equipment, and know what to call it and you will do just fine!

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