The most famous ghost photographs ever taken.

Ghosts, the paranormal and the supernatural have always been debated. Do they exist? Are the photos the proof?

Ghosts, the paranormal and the supernatural have always been debated. Do they exist?

Many people have reported sightings before, but without any real proof, they're usually disregarded as mere stories. Being able to take photos of spirits obviously helps the cause, but are all of them real or have some been doctored?

Here is a round-up of the most famous "ghost" photos of all-time. Some have been faked no doubt, but they look so good on first inspection they could definitely convert some non-believers.

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Catherine Howard - 1800s

This image purports to show Catherine Howard, the fifth wife of King Henry VIII who was executed for adultery in 1542. She is said to haunt the Horn Room at Hampton Court Palace.

Naturally, these sorts of images are usually spoofed through double-exposure.

An unexpected guest - 1950s

Two boys sit happily on their mother's laps but a pretty terrifying and unexpected guest has also dropped in. Hanging disturbingly from the rafters.

The Ghost Pilot - 1987

In 1987, Mrs Sayer was visiting air airfield in England with her friend. She thought it would fun to take a photo of her sitting in the cockpit.

When the image was developed, there was a man sitting in the pilot's seat who hadn't been there when the photo was taken. A long lost pilot? No one is sure.

Boot Hill Ghost - 1996

Only Ike Canton's friend was seen when this photo was taken, The mysterious man wearing a hat behind him wasn't. Canton later looked more closely at the photo and decided the figure was in fact holding a knife, with the point ending just above his collar.

Goddard’s Squadron - Freddy Jackson - 1919

This image was taken by Sir Victor Goddard, of his squadron in 1919.

The ghostly image behind the fourth sailor from the left, at the top, is believed to be of Freddy Jackson. Jackson died a few days before the photo was taken by walking into a moving propeller.

Amityville Ghost - 1976

This photo, taken by Ed and Lorraine Warren, claims to show the ghost of 9-year-old John DeFeo.

DeFeo, along with his other brother, two sisters and parents, was killed by his older brother Ronald at their house in Amityville. Ed and Lorraine Warren were paranormal experts who entered the house and captured this image using a camera that consistently took infrared photos during the night.

The DeFeo murders were the inspiration for The Amityville Horror books and films .

Coventry Spectre - 1985

At first glance, you'd think there's nothing wrong with this photo. But look again, and you'll see a tall, dark figure wearing what could be a monk's frock, with a hood, in the top left.

This is a photo of the Coventry Freeman society showing everyone at the event, including the mysterious figure, bowing their heads. Nobody at the event was seen wearing that style of clothing.

Grandpa’s Ghost - August 1997

Somehow this lady's husband managed to appear in this photo despite passing away seven years before.

Denise Russell took this photo of her grandma, who lived alone at the time, on 17 August 1997.

Even though the photo had been developed, copied and given to other family members, nobody noticed the male figure standing over her until Christmas Day 2000. The Russell family say it's a spitting image of their grandpa who died in 1984.

Pawling Fire Department - 1988

The white figure in this photo is believed to be some sort of angel, overlooking Rose Benvenuto, who was involved in the car crash.

She said it could only have taken a miracle for her to survive the crash, and lo and behold, there's an angel-like figure in attending firefighter Sharon Boo's photo.

The Back Seat Ghost - March 1959

This photo was taken by Mabel Chinnery in 1959. It shows her husband in his car, but who is allegedly her dead mother-in-law on the back seat.

While paranormalists believe it to be real, others have debunked it as being a case of double exposure.

Mrs Andrews baby - 1947

This photo of a child appearing over a grave was taken by Mrs Andrews in 1947. She noticed the ghost when she had the film developed, but said it wasn't her daughter in the picture.

Despite there being some graves for children nearby, the child in the picture has never been identified.

The SS Watertown - 1924

This image taken from the SS Watertown shows the faces of two crewmen, James Courtney and Michael Meehan in the water. The two men died while onboard the ship and were given a burial at sea.

Other crew members on the ship saw the faces in the water but didn't initially take photos, they went back to a similar spot and saw them again. Five of the six photos showed nothing, but this was the sixth and clearly shows the faces of two men.

Newby Church - 1963

Some analysts think this photo taken at Newby Church in North Yorkshire, England is a fake because the character looks to be posing too much.

However, Reverend K.F. Lord insists there was nothing visible to the naked eye when he took the photo, and photo experts say it hasn't been double exposed.

Toys 'R' Us - 1978

The Toys 'R' Us store in Sunnyvale, California is allegedly haunted by the ghost of Johnny Johnson, and this image shows a silhouette leaning up against the shelves.

The same figure wasn't there when the photo was taken. The story goes that Johnny had a thing for a girl named Elizabeth, the daughter of a plantation owner - the plantation used to be on the Toys 'R' Us site - Johnny bled to death after cutting himself chopping wood, and now roams the aisles of the store searching for her.

St Botolph's Church - 1982

In the top right of this photo you can see a figure who apparently bears a similarity to someone that had recently been buried nearby.

If you look carefully in the upper right-hand corner of this photo, you can just make out a translucent figure. It was taken at St. Boltoph's Church in 1982, and at the time, there were only three people in the building.

A builder later contacted Chris Brackley, who took the photo, to tell him he recognised the face as being the same as someone he'd previously seen in a coffin in the church.

Worstead Church - 1975

Another church, another ghostly visitor. This ghost has been reported as being seen before in this location too.

Peter Berthelot took this picture of his wife, Diane, sitting on a pew at the Worstead Church in Norfolk, England in 1975. When they had the film developed, they noticed a ghost sitting on the pew behind Diane.

A man allegedly stayed in the church all night sometime in 1830 to try and disprove the theory of ghosts, but he claimed the following morning he had in fact seen the white lady seen in this picture.

Lord Combermere - 1891

This image taken of the library at Combermere Abbey in Cheshire, England by Sybell Corbett clearly shows a figure sitting in the chair on the left.

It's believed to be the ghost of Lord Combermere, a British cavalry commander in the 1800s.

The Brown Lady - 1936

This photo of 'The Brown Lady', is considered by many to be actual photographic evidence of ghosts. It was taken at Raynham Hall in Norfolk, England in 1936.

There had allegedly been many sightings of the figure before this photo and it's said to be the ghost of Lady Townshend. She was locked in a room in the hall by her husband when he found out about her infidelity and left there to die.

Corroboree Rock - 1959

Some of these ghostly photos could just be explained away as double exposures, but there's no denying they're interesting.

Nobody knows who the ghostly figure in this photo is, but it was taken in Alice Springs, Northern Territory, Australia in 1959.

Some people think it's just a case of double exposure, while others think it could be a spirit watching us, or something else, because it looks like they're holding binoculars.

Tulip Staircase Ghost - 1966

This photo taken inside the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, England, clearly shows a ghostly figure holding the handrail of the Tulip Staircase.

Photo experts have all agreed that it hasn't been tampered with, so is considered a genuine example of ghosts' existence.

Robert A Ferguson - November 1968

Because this photo was taken on a Polaroid, it's been deemed by many to be legitimate. It shows Robert A. Ferguson giving a speech, and the ghost of his deceased brother Walter peering over him.

Madonna of Bachelor's Grove - 1991

The Ghost Research Society of America took this photo at Bachelor's Cemetery in Illinois, after they noticed strange readings on their equipment.

They didn't see anything at the time, but when this image was exposed, it showed a woman in white clothing sitting on one of the graves.

The Wem Town Hall Ghost - November 1995

Although Tony O'Rahilly's photo appears to show the ghost of a young girl in the doorway to a burnt-down Wem Town Hall, it was later deemed to be a fake. The girl in question apparently appears on a postcard that appeared in the local paper.

Sefton Church - 1999

This picture at Sefton Church in Liverpool, England, clearly shows a man wearing a black uniform, believed to be the old church minister.

There were allegedly only two photographers in the church on the day it was taken, and neither of them recall seeing a physical being standing there when the photo was taken.

William Mumbler - 1860s

William Mumbler is credited with creating the first photo to show a ghost in the 1860s. But it in fact wasn't a ghost at all, it was simply an accidental case of double exposing a negative while taking a photograph of himself.

The entrepreneur in him turned this into a business, where members of the public would have their portrait exposed with an image of a dead relative.

Girls in Manila - 2000’s

A digital photo shows a ghostly figure touching one of the two girls seen in this photo, yet no one was there.

The two girls in this photo, taken in Manila, Philippines, didn't report seeing anyone or feeling any presence when this photo was taken. It was also taken on a digital camera, so it can't have been the result of double exposure.

Waverly Hills Sanatorium - 2006

This image was snapped in an abandoned tuberculosis hospital in Louisville, Kentucky in 2006. As you can imagine, in its heyday, the hospital saw an incredible amount of sickness and death - leading many to believe in the possibility that it could be haunted.

In recent years, it has become one of America's most popular destinations for ghost hunters.

This eerie image apparently depicts Mary Lee, a nurse who hung herself in the hospital. The story goes that this poor woman was impregnated by a doctor who worked in the hospital but later wanted nothing to do with her.

Tewin Bury Farm Ghost - 2008

Neil Sandwich took this photo of a farmhouse where his friends were getting married.

When he put the photo into Photoshop and adjusted the exposure, he noticed a mysterious white figure on the right-hand side, appearing to be peering out of a doorway. Cleaners at the farmhouse had apparently seen the ghost of a young boy wearing white clothes before, too.

San Antonio crossing ghosts

Years ago, sometime in the 1930s, it's said that a school bus full of children broke down near a railway crossing in San Antonio, Texas. Tragically, a speeding train hit the bus, killing several children and the bus driver.

This photo taken by Andy and Debi Chesney appears to show some ghostly apparitions that people have suggested look like ghosts of the children. Like any of these images, there is some debate about whether they're real and even if the history itself is true, but they're still spooky.

A ghostly pooch

This photo shows a tale of two four-legged friends. The dog on the left had a much larger pal (pictured on the right). When the little one died, he was later photographed seemingly appearing with his friend from beyond the spirit world.

A demonic spirit on a hospital bed

This weird vision shows a CCTV camera in a hospital. A demonic spirit appears to be trampling over the bed.

Apparently, the person in the bed passed away shortly afterwards. This image could easily appear in our list of the most famous monster photographs instead .

The Pink Lady

This image from Greencastle, Indiana was taken by Guy Winters and chums who were investigating paranormal reports about an abandoned house in the area.

This photo seemingly shows a ghostly woman bathed in pink and includes a final shot where the image has been digitally enhanced showing an incredibly human face on the apparition.

The Grey Lady - 2015

This image from 2015 was captured on an iPhone and seemingly shows a ghostly apparition. This figure could be that of the ghost of Dame Sybil Penn, a lowly servant of the Tudors who has haunted Hampton Court palace since 1829 .

The photo was snapped in the King’s Apartments of the Palace. While the so-called Grey Lady of Hampton Court is usually said to walk the corridors of the State Apartments and Clock Court. Interestingly this ghost is also said to be linked to weird and wonderful noises of a spinning wheel. That sound keep coming from behind a wall, which at one point was removed only for people to discover the spinning wheel behind it. Spooky stuff.

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7 Best Night Vision Camcorders for Ghost Hunting (Gets Real Spirits!)

Looking for the best night vision camcorder for ghost hunting?

Everyone has seen at least one of those ghost hunting television shows and how they use their cameras.

The intrepid paranormal investigators set up their gear overnight, and in the morning, they’ve captured footage of all kinds of creepiness!

Do you want to do the same?

Want to get authentic footage that will make even the most die-hard skeptic rethink their belief in the paranormal?

We’re here to help you do just that!

If you're in a hurry just check out these 2 camcorders  - Updated 2/9/2020 :

1) Panasonic HC-WXF991K 4K Ultra HD Camcorder with Wi-Fi - Editor's choice

2) Vlogging Camcorder with Infrared - Best budget option

While it’s true that the paranormal teams on TV have a larger budget and researchers to obtain the very ghost hunting gear, that doesn’t mean us little folk can’t do the same.

In fact, with the camcorders in this article, you can!

So then, are you ready to get real gear that gets real results?

Great, read on...

Table of Contents

  • 1.1 Ghost Hunting Cameras with Night Vision
  • 1.2 What is a Static Night Vision Camcorder
  • 1.3 Good Ghost Hunting Camcorders Are the Ones That Record Ghosts
  • 1.4 7 Best IR Camcorders to Capture Real Footage of Ghosts

The Best Night Vision Camcorders for Ghost Hunting

The truth is, picking the best night vision camcorder for ghost hunting isn’t rocket science.

It needs solid night vision capabilities, of course, and enough onboard storage to last the night or however long you intend to leave it running.

It should also have a durable, quality build, just in case it gets knocked over in the chaos that can erupt during night vision video camera ghost hunting.

Ghost Hunting Cameras with Night Vision

As you might have surmised, most of the best ghost hunting occurs at night.

Scratch that, it happens in pitch blackness.

How many times have you heard of a spirit manifesting in broad daylight in the middle of a strip mall? It’s pretty rare.

Set yourself up for success and invest some capital in the best night vision camcorder for ghost hunting.

For that reason, the primary factor in selecting your video camera or camcorder for ghost hunting should be its night vision capabilities.

Night vision is generally measured in terms of “minimum lux”, referring to the minimum amount of light needed for the lens and image enhancers to produce a viewable image.

Top quality cameras need as little as 0.0001 lux, or the amount of ambient light available in the middle of a cloudy, moonless night.

Sure sounds like prime ghost conditions, doesn’t it?

There can be a much bigger price tag attached to a camera with that level of capability, so you should have an idea of your budget before you set out.

There are plenty of ghost hunting cameras with night vision, and even an entry level model is often fine to get started.

As with most expensive gear, the best night vision camcorder for ghost hunting is the one you can actually afford and will use.

What is a Static Night Vision Camcorder

This is a term that gets thrown around a lot in ghost hunting circles, and it’s a little hard to find what it actually means.

Despite the prevalence of static-filled images in this hobby, a static night vision camcorder simply means one that doesn’t move around.

The best night vision camcorder for ghost hunting can function in this capacity, or it can be carried around.

Both scenarios are equally likely.

Basically, you just take one of your good ghost hunting camcorders, and you set it on a table.

If you want to get a little fancier, you can mount it to a wall .

And then you just leave it there for a little while.

Several hours hopefully, or all night if you can.

The longer the better, because as you know, even the most haunted location will only show clear evidence of the paranormal very infrequently.

As far as placement of the camera, most cameras do include some mechanism to mount to a wall.

Even if you prefer not to do this, it’s a good idea to secure the camera somehow in its place.

This could be as simple and low tech as a bungee cord or rope, or it could involve drilling holes for metal mounting brackets.

The best night vision camcorder for ghost hunting will have a standard hole mounting template and several different mounting options.

This allows for different levels of skill, budget, and willingness to permanently alter the ghost hunting venue.

Even if supernatural entities aren’t throwing stuff around, people can panic in the fear and confusion and knock your expensive camera over!

Buying the best night vision camcorder for ghost hunting doesn’t do you much good if it’s shattered into six pieces on the floor of a dirty abandoned mansion!

If you do need to carry the camera around, some type of lanyard, wristband, or other means of securing it to your own body is highly recommended.

Speaking from experience, it is really not fun when you lose your grip on something expensive and watch it fall to the ground.

You’re there to hear creepy footsteps, not the sound of electronics breaking apart at your feet.

Good Ghost Hunting Camcorders Are the Ones That Record Ghosts

Updated 2/9/2020 –  Some particularly crafty spirits, especially ones from more recent times, will be camera shy.

In those cases, it’s a good idea to disguise the camera by placing it in a box or covering it.

After all, the best night vision camcorder for ghost hunting is the one that will actually let you see ghosts! Without that, there’s no point.

For this reason, battery life and storage capacity are two additional important factors in selecting the best ghost hunting video camera.

The very best night vision camcorder for ghost hunting would be able to record indefinitely and never run out of juice or space, but of course that’s not an option.

At least, not yet.

Therefore, depending on your intended use, you might want to look into camcorders that can plug into the wall.

Of course, this won’t do you much good if your target is located in the middle of the woods or in an abandoned house with no electricity.

In those cases, a camera with a high capacity battery or even one that you can hook up to a solar panel or portable generator might be your best bet.

That’s pie in the sky fantasy stuff for most novice ghost hunters, but it’s a good goal to shoot for.

Down the line it might be your crew with the TV show and the team of researchers and the budget for all the latest gear.

When that day comes, here’s our 7 picks for the best night vision camcorders for ghost hunting (don’t forget the accessories!)…

7 Best IR Camcorders to Capture Real Footage of Ghosts

  • Sony HXRMC50U Ultra Compact AVCHD Camcorder
  • 4K Wifi Full Spectrum Camcorder
  • Panasonic HC-WXF991K 4K Ultra HD Camcorder with Wi-Fi
  • Video Camera Vlogging Camera Camcorder with IR capability
  • Bell and Howell DNV16HDZ-BKFull 1080p HD 16MP Infrared Night Vision Camcorder
  • 1080p HD Infrared Night Vision and Full Spectrum Camcorder
  • Hausbell 5052 HDMI 1080p Full HD Wifi Digital Video Camera

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Halloween photography ideas: Shoot ghosts on the staircase

Create Halloween photography based on real haunted images (with historical insight from a professor of the paranormal!)

Halloween photography ideas: Shoot ghosts on the staircase

Spooky season is here, so what better time to shoot some Halloween photography! And we've got a real treat – and, indeed, a few tricks – in store, as a professional photographer and a professor of paranormal beliefs are here to inspire you to shoot scary snaps based on historical haunted photographs! 

Canon ambassador Eberhard Schuy has taken some cues from actual paranormal pictures throughout history to take some high concept Halloween photography. And Professor Chris French, an expert in the psychology of paranormal beliefs at Goldsmiths University London, gives some context to the hotly debated authenticity of such images. 

This first image was taken in April 1946, and is claimed to depict the ghost of Sir Robert Peel descending the main staircase in Scotland Yard. Analyzing the photograph, Professor French identifies it as a long exposure shot. 

"A number of artefacts can lead to spooky images being produced by the camera itself or else the processing involved. These include long exposures giving ghostly images of someone walking through the scene, camera straps being caught in the flash resulting in mysterious 'energy swirls', and so-called 'orbs' produced when specks of dust are caught out-of-focus in the flash."

The main staircase in Scotland Yard with the ghost of Sir Robert Peel

Schuy explains how to recreate this shot yourself, using your own staircase, a subject dressed in subtle white or grey colors, and a torch. 

1) Take this shot at dusk, just as the light is getting low.

2) Select the highest aperture your camera is capable of – this should be an F value of around f/8 or above.

3) Switch off the automatic ISO setting and select the lowest value possible. Aim for a value between 100 or 200; this should produce an exposure time of at least 6-7 seconds.

4) Ask your subject to walk down a flight of stairs. They should stop at a pre-determined point for 4-5 seconds, and then continue walking quickly until they are out of the frame.

5) The shot should show a transparent figure, looking like a ghost on the stairs. If the person becomes too indistinct, simply shine a flashlight on them the moment they stop. 

Inspired by this famous historical image, Eberhard attempted his own modern interpretation – a more abstract approach, called 'In the Staircase', of a swirling spirit on a staircase, which you can see below.

In the Staircase

"For this technique I use a very light white cloth and asked my daughter to stand at the top of the stairwell and drop it, spreading the sheet a little so that it slowly sailed downwards," said Schuy. 

"Using a tripod to take the picture, I could use long exposure times creating this mysterious form without blurring the rest of the picture." Here's how he captured the image using a  Canon EOS 5D Mark IV  with the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM zoom lens:

1) Using a tripod or stable surface, position your camera facing upwards towards the staircase.

2) Rather than asking a subject to walk down the stairs, have them stand at the top of the staircase and drop a white, very light, cloth down the stairwell from top to bottom. The lighter the cloth, the slower it will fly.

3) Capture the photo, using an exposure time of around 1/4 to 1/2 second (you can use the instructions for the previous photo for guidance on how to achieve this). The result will be an ethereal swirling energy!

Read more: 

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV review Best Canon standard zoom lenses Halloween photography ideas: phantom figures and apparitions Halloween photography ideas: levitating objects like a poltergeist

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James Artaius

The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients like Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photo and lighting tutorials, as well as industry news, rumors and analysis for publications like Digital Camera Magazine ,  PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine ,  N-Photo: The Nikon Magazine ,  Digital Photographer and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and talks at The Photography Show . He also serves as a judge for the Red Bull Illume Photo Contest. An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.

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The Best Night Vision Ghost Hunting Cameras You Need

The Best Night Vision Ghost Hunting Cameras You Need

Posted by GhostStop on Oct 22nd 2021

Amateur ghost hunters often underestimate the importance of the night vision camera. They charge up their cellphones, press record, and start exploring. Besides, the phone has a light.

However, the decision to invest in specialized equipment may signal a ghost hunter’s choice to take their passion more seriously. Just as any artist, tradesperson, or craftsperson has their “tools of the trade,” so too do paranormal investigators have their ghost hunting gear.

Night vision cameras are ideal for ghost hunting because they allow you to capture video in little-to-no light without the need for blinding white light and a camera flash. Additionally, because they are optimized for this purpose, they produce more reliable footage, they improve your overall energy consumption, and they free up other devices to serve more practical purposes.

The Best Night Vision Cameras for Ghost Hunting

The best night vision cameras use infrared (IR) light to record visual phenomena. Some are better suited for a static position, while others are best equipped for portability.

Full Spectrum vs Night Vision

night vision ghost hunting camera

The term ‘night vision’ refers to a camera that can see in the dark. More specifically, a camera that can see infrared light - light that the human eye cannot see.

A full spectrum camera is one that can see even further into the dark including ultraviolet (UV), infrared (IR) and visible light all at once. We like to refer to Full Spectrum technology as ‘night vision PLUS’. This full spectrum POV camera is best suited for beginners all the way through your pro years.

Capture Your Paranormal Investigation in Full 360° View

A reliable strategy for paranormal investigators is to mount a static camera in one area of the target location, while the team asks questions elsewhere. This 360 Degree Ghost Camera from GhostStop is the perfect sentry.

It captures floor-to-ceiling footage in a full, 360-degree view, making it ideal for central placement. If your exploration triggers activity in the original area, you’ll have every angle covered.

Record Paranormal Activity on Visible and Nonvisible Spectrum

Speaking of your exploration, you’ll need a reliable camera to carry with you or mount on your body. This full spectrum POV camera is an ideal choice because it captures footage in everything from ultraviolet light to IR, it’s compact, and it’s easy to install on tripods and head mounts.

The Best Night Vision Camcorders for Ghost Hunting

night vision video camera

Paranormal investigators reach for night vision camcorders when they want both functionality and higher resolution footage. If you’re targeting visual activity in dark locations, you may prefer an IR camcorder. Alternatively, if you need to conduct research across the entire light spectrum, you’d likely want a full-spectrum camcorder.

Collect Extrasensory Phenomena in Total Darkness

This Night Vision Camcorder captures 1080p High-Definition footage in low-light conditions with a built-in IR light. It even has motion detection to maximize your situational awareness.

Capture Full-Spectrum Ghost Hunting Footage

This dual-purpose Full Spectrum and IR Camcorder allows you to capture potential paranormal activity occurring anywhere from UV to IR. When you play it back, you still get that crisp 1080p HD resolution to maximize clarity.

Pair with a Suitable Light

While the term ‘night vision’ sounds like the camera can see in total darkness, it does not. Just like the human eye needs light to see, so does a night vision camera. The difference is that a night vision camera can see infrared (light we cannot see).

Some night vision cameras might have this built in, so you don’t even notice it. But they all need an illuminator to see - just like us. Full spectrum also still needs light. Though, this is easier to provide as they can see further into the light spectrum.

The Best Ghost Hunting Camera Package to Maximize Efficiency

If you’re looking to invest in solid, reliable ghost hunting gear, it’s recommended that get the most out of your investment. This Full Spectrum POV Video Package provides you with everything you need to start recording in UV, IR, and visible light conditions. The flexible tripod makes it easy to mount for both mobile and static applications.

The Best Ghost Hunting Equipment Suppliers You Need to Know

At GhostStop, we’ve been using night vision cameras for ghost hunting for more than two decades now. We love innovating new tools and tactics for improving your paranormal investigations. If you want to keep discussing the best ghost cameras with us, reach out to our team today.

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What is Ghosting in Photography? (And How to Prevent It)

Photo Ghosting is a type of flare that occurs when light repeatedly reflects off the surface of the lens making images look hazy. Here's how to prevent it.

Learn | Photography Guides | By Ana Mireles

Photo Ghosting is a type of flare that occurs when light repeatedly reflects off the surface of the lens and makes images look hazy with little contrast.

Ghosting flare is caused by a strong light source and appears as a clear artefact that’s located symmetrically opposite to it, with multiple orbs of different shapes and colours that can span across the entire image.

These artefacts/orbs are referred to as ‘ghosts’, with the number varying based on how many elements are in your lens – the more lens elements, the more ghosts!

Ghosting in photography is usually something you’ll want to avoid, but occasionally it can be used for creative effect.

Whether you want to completely eliminate ghosting, correct it with editing, or even use it deliberately in your images, this guide will show you how.

Table of Contents

What Influences Lens Flare and Ghosting?

ghost camera shot

Credit: Willsantt

Understanding what contributes to excessive ghosting flare in your photos will help you avoid it in the future… or it may help you deliberately look for it!

Here are the factors that influence veiling flare and ghosting:

The elements inside your lens – A camera lens has multiple lenses inside to correct spherical aberrations and other types of optical issues. The different lens elements determine how the light is reflected repeatedly and whether or not this reflection has an actual artifact created.

Lens coatings – the lens elements on a lens not only change in number and shape, but they also have different coatings. The type and quality of the coating impact lens flare and ghosting.

Focal length – Telephoto lenses create more flare than wide-angle lenses, so you can change the focal length and see if the ghosting appears or not.

Lens aperture – Changing the aperture can prevent or cause ghosting. Also, the ghost will be shaped differently according to the shape of the aperture, so try using different lenses.

Light source – Using a bright source in a direct line is vital. The position of the light source and how it hits the lens surface is one of the most important factors that create visible ghosting.

How To Prevent Ghosting

ghost camera shot

Credit: Hassan Ouajbir

Excessive light rays shining directly into your lens can contribute to photography ghosting and degrade image quality.

If you’ve ever asked yourself, how do I stop lens ghosting, here are the steps to take:

Use high-quality lenses – Camera lens manufacturers have developed some amazing coating technologies when designing lenses. For example, Canon lenses with Subwavelength Structure Coating (SWC) and Air Sphere Coating (ASC) are great to eliminate flare issues.

Take the HARD Photography Quiz! 🤯

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ghost camera shot

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So, what lens prevents ghosting? All pro-grade lenses and some entry-level lenses with good anti-reflective coating.

Use lens hoods – A lens hood is an accessory you can attach to the front of the lens. It’s designed to protect the front element from light rays coming from the side. Lens hoods exist in different shapes and sizes. If you don’t have a lens hood, try blocking direct sunlight rays using your hand.

Remove any unnecessary filters – All optical elements increase lens flare because light reflects on them – having fewer elements greatly reduce flare. So, take off anything you don’t need for a specific shot, as the UV filter.

Change your position – Avoid shooting directly into bright light sources. Just by changing the angle of view, you can prevent lens flares. If you can’t avoid it, at least block the bright point with your subject – this way, you might introduce a diffuse glow, but you’ll prevent different artifacts.

How Do You Fix Ghosting in Photoshop?

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Credit: Marta Wave

Removing flares and ghosts from your photos isn’t as hard as you might think, but it does require you to use editing software such as Photoshop.

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You can’t fix all lens flare with the same post-processing method. Here are some techniques that can help you to remove or reduce ghosting.


This is a very simple method you can use when the ghosting occurs on solid colours or patterns.

Step 1: Select the area around the ghost.

Step 2: Go to the menu Edit > Fill.

Step 3: Choose Content-Aware from the drop-down menu.

Step 4: Deselect.

Clone Stamp:

You can use this technique if you want to have complete control over the pixels you want to paste over the ghost.

Step 1: Select the Clone Stamp tool.

Step 2: Adjust the size and hardness of the brush.

Step 3: Pick a source point by clicking on it while you hold the Alt key.

Step 4: Click on top of the ghost.

Keep in mind that usually, there’s also a veiling flare when there’s ghosting that can drastically reduce image contrast. So, once you’ve taken care of all the unwanted objects from ghosting – add a Brightness and Contrast Adjustment Layer and increase the contrast of the whole image.

Final Words

Flare and ghosting can diminish image quality when they aren’t used on purpose as a creative tool. Now you know how to prevent it or fix it. This way, you’ll avoid chromatic aberration and image degradation.

Instead, if you want to experiment with ghost photography, use the elements that create flare to your advantage. I hope this article was helpful – if you have any questions, leave them in the comments section.


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A Look at the Cameras Used in the Latest “Paranormal Activity”

  • October 26, 2015

Jaron Schneider


“Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension” opens today, and it’s pretty interesting to read about how the camera operators shot the latest installment of the popular horror movie franchise. Director of photography John W. Rutland and his team supposedly set out to create a new type of look while maintaining the series’ familiar feel audiences have come to expect.

Rutland used a combination of three Sony camera models to achieve a first-person “home movie” perspective with a level of quality that held up to the big screen: — the PMW-200, the NEX-FS700, and the a7S.

“There are so many factors that go into choosing a camera,” Rutland said. “It was great having this flexibility with different looks and sizes. It made the movie turn out exactly the way we hoped.”

To remain consistent with the “Paranormal Activity” franchise’s use of first-person perspective, Rutland wanted to give the actors a camera that was small and simple enough to use, as if they were shooting a home movie.

“Having the actors actually operate the cameras really gives a much more realistic feel,” he said. “Where I might operate the camera my way, and it will look too clean, they might shoot it in a ‘sloppy’ way, but it’s perfect for the story. It had to have a raw look, not too clean or polished but still high quality. Since we were doing a lot of shooting at night, in low light, and lighting with practicals instead of using traditional movie lighting, the cameras needed to do well in low light.”

The “home movie” camera the actors used was the PMW-200.

“That was easy enough for the actors to use, it had a good look, and the images held up well when blown up on a big screen,” Rutland said. “It had the right look but an actor could easily use it in autofocus mode with auto exposure, plus it was small and handheld.”

“The camera did really well in lowlight,” he added. “We pushed it up to 9db gain in some cases. Six dB was preferred, but at 9, as long as we shot it a little brighter, to darken back down in post, it worked.”

A main part of the storyline is when the actors find an old camera with footage on it that is central to the plot. For this, Rutland needed a camera that could resemble a traditional ENG-style shoulder-mount camera.

“We wanted a camera that was very different from a home video camera you hold at chest level in your hand,” Rutland said.

That specialty camera was the FS700, built-out to look like a shoulder-mount ENG camera and outfitted with a Cabrio Fuji 19-90 lens. In addition to being a set piece in the movie, the FS700 was also used by Rutland to shoot specific scenes.

“I would operate that camera because it was heavier and a little too advanced for the actors,” he said. “Also that camera played a lot at night. We shot with the FS700 at 6400 ISO at night and 3200 in the daytime, and when we watched it on a big screen, it was amazingly clean, with just the right amount of ‘intentional’ noise for the movie. I would shoot it a little bright and then bring it down in post, which would help take the noise down even more.”

The FS700 was the go-to camera for the main set pieces and the nighttime “big scares” in the movie.

“I’d have it on my shoulder and we’d be able to shoot at 6400 ISO, so the lowlight capability was great,” Rutland said. “With its super 35mm sensor, there was a visual difference between the FS700 and the PMW-200. That was important to the story because you want to see subtle differences when the family has their little home movie camera and when they are looking at this special camera they’ve found. We enhanced the differences even more in post by adding scan lines and other weird video artifacts to the footage found in the FS700.

“There is a scene where a character vomits right at the camera, and when you see it – hopefully in 3D – it’s pretty crazy,” he said. “We shot that as a composite of different elements. The actress did her take with nothing in her mouth, faking it. Then we shot a plate of an effects tube blowing this black sludge at the camera. We shot it at a much higher frame rate, so you really feel it coming right at you.

“If we had shot that at 24fps, it wouldn’t have had nearly the impact it does in the final result,” he added.

While Rutland shot with all three Sony cameras, the actors only used the PMW-200.

“They used it in Auto Focus mode and that worked well, but we also hooked up a single-channel follow focus to the camera’s iris,” he said. “That way I could pull iris from the wireless monitor. For example, they might point the camera at a big bright window where a character is standing and they’ll expose for the character rather than create a silhouette and expose for the window. By hooking up this follow focus, I was able to pull iris throughout a take and be able to pick and choose what the exposure should be.”

The production used two PMW-200 cameras: one was always stripped down, the other was built-out with a shoulder rig, monitor and the wireless follow-focus. “Having the two always ready was important because we moved really fast on this shoot and shot a ton of footage,” he said. “Having everything built out and ready was key for us so we could grab and go.”

The third camera used was the A7S, the movie’s “security” camera, used to lend a surveillance feel, which is another recurring element in the “Paranormal” movie franchise. Seven A7S models were positioned around the main house set, in out-of-the-way spaces, under cabinets or on bookshelves. It ended up working out perfectly for the film and the camera’s size and low-light performance really impressed Rutland.

“In one test, I increased the ISO in one stop increments from 3200 to 102,400 and it was crazy how noiseless the camera was at really high ISO,” he said.  “Another time we had the Camera Assistant walk around the big open 2-story house with just a lighter and it was lighting his face and the whole room to the right exposure. Incredible!”

The A7S helped the team get the wide angle “security camera look” they wanted.

“A full frame camera like the A7S has shallow depth of field,” he said. “To get around that and make everything stay in focus like a security camera would, we cranked the ISO up to 51200, and we stopped the lens down to f.8. That way, we could shoot in low light, get the right kind of texture and grain we were looking for and keep everything in focus. Even at 51200 ISO we actually had to add grain in post because it was too clean. ”

In the final cut, all three cameras matched well to produce a viewing experience that clearly had different looks but one overall cohesive feel.

“I’m a big believer in the right tool for the job,” Rutland said. “Choosing a camera is like deciding what film stock is most appropriate for the story. For our story, these three cameras were the right tools for us.”

This originally appeared on Sony’s Blog and has been republished with permission.

Jaron Schneider is the Editor in Chief of ResourceMagOnline, the Tech Editor for the printed magazine and an internationally published writer from San Francisco, California. Jaron specializes in evaluating video equipment, optics, storage solutions and audio equipment as well as software for the imaging industry. He is also the co-host of Resource Television and the popular ReWrap Podcast. Jaron is also the owner of Schneider Productions, a commercial video company with clients from around the United States including Lowepro, Grammy Award-Winning band "Train," HD Supply, Maurice Lacroix Timepieces, The United States Air Force Thunderbirds and many others.

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These Spooky Trail Cam Photos Will Send Shivers Down Your Spine

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Happy October! In celebration of this spookiest of months, we’ve compiled some of the freakiest trail camera photos of ghosts, wild children and UFO ’s on the internet. Boo!

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What’s a trail cam? Hunters, biologists and others place these remote cameras on game trails to see what walks by when nobody’s around. Triggered by motion, they capture whatever’s in front of them.

ghost camera shot

Sure, some of these are probably fabrications or Photoshopped. But they still give us the creeps. The video below, shot on a Cabela’s video trail cam , is good for a shiver and seems darned real.

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Writer and editor Sean McCoy

Sean McCoy is the Editorial Director of GearJunkie, and 5+ other All Gear websites.

He has been writing about hunting, fishing, trail running, camping, skiing, and more for 15+ years.

Prior to GearJunkie, he was the chief photographer for the Virgin Islands Daily News and former Editor In Chief for GearJunkie. Based in Denver, Colorado, McCoy is an avid trail runner, camper, hunter, angler, mountain biker, skier, and beer tester.

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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

How to photograph "ghosts" in a single exposure, techniques for photographing ghosts, defined ghosts and moving ghosts, ghosts everywhere.

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Ghost Hunting Full Spectrum Night Vision Waterproof Action Camera 1080P with Infrared Illuminator

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GHOSTPRO Full Spectrum Night Vision Action Camera with Full HD 1080P 12MP and Waterproof Housing The GhostPro gives GoPro a run for its money at just a fraction of the cost. The GhostPro camera is meant to be used as a night vision camcorder for ghost hunting, paranormal investigations, or UFO hunting, or basically anything done in low-light or complete darkness conditions. The GhostPro is great for hunting or fishing at night and it has a motion detection feature which can be used as a trail cam. Many GhostPro customers are active duty military and law enforcement enforcement officers. The GhostPro is full spectrum, so it picks up infrared, visible, and ultraviolet light spectrums. It shoots in full HD 1080P with 12MP still images. The camera comes with a waterproof housing that is interchangeable with GoPro accessories and mounts. The GhostPro is perfect for mounting to tripods and the wide-angle lens can record a better field of view. The camera is a great action camera and can be mounted to a chest harness mount, helmet, or hat. All you need with the GhostPro camera is an infrared light source for the camera to "see" or film in the dark. The camera comes with accessories. A SanDisk 32GB class 10 or higher SD card is recommended.

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Top 5 Best Cameras For Ghost Hunting + Reviews!

If there’s something strange in your neighborhood, who you gonna call? You might think of contacting some sort of ghost hunter. You may be the ghost hunter yourself. The best cameras for ghost hunting can put you ahead of the game for engaging in this form of entertainment.

Ghost hunting shows are extremely popular. They are on TV, streaming, and even on YouTube.

Whether you believe in the actual phenomena or not, the cameras and techniques used can also be adapted to other forms of video jobs. Surveillance, both live and remote, is a job that can be accomplished with these cameras, as well.

Top 5 Best Cameras for Ghost Hunting

1. 4k ultra hd infrared night vision and full spectrum camcorder review.

4K Ultra HD Infrared Night Vision and Full Spectrum Camcorder - Ghost Hunting Camera Review

Here is a camera that Venkman and Spengler would be happy using. It’s marketed as the only small video camcorder that can switch between IR and full light spectrum recording with one button. Many cameras have IR recording capability, but the option of switching with only one button isn’t common at all, especially at a reasonable price.

A relatively simple camcorder, this camera has some features that make it a great choice for general surveillance and for paranormal investigations.

Some of the extra features are an IR LED built in to the camera itself and the option to turn off the light when using external IR lights. Turning off the built in LED effectively doubles the battery life when shooting in IR mode.

Another nice feature is the 30X digital zoom. While digital zoom can never deliver the same quality as optical zoom, having any zooming at all is a great addition for a small, lightweight video camera.

Besides the digital zoom, the kit also comes with an auxiliary wide angle lens adapter attachment. While not especially convenient, it adds to your ability to capture an entire area under consideration.

Adapted and marketed by the Cleveland Paranormal Supply Co., you may wonder who actually makes this camera. It’s manufactured by Ordro, a video camera brand primarily sold in Asia and Europe, not in the USA, and closely resembles the features and form of a couple of cameras from both Sony and Samsung.

With the relatively low price and advanced features, the exact manufacturer isn’t really all the important to know.

The single best feature for ghost hunters is that IR button. Instead of having to go into an operations menu and choose options from a tree of features, you can simply stop recording, switch to or out of IR, and start recording again.

Another nice feature concerning IR recording is the LED illuminator. It emits IR light for better infrared imaging. Unlike other cameras in a similar price range, you can also disable the IR LED. This effectively doubles battery life when in infrared mode. You can then add in a light bank of specialty lamps for the IR spectrum.

One of the other nice things that comes standard with this video camcorder is the level of customer service offered by the Cleveland Paranormal Supply Co. It’s a small company with a very specific business model, helping those intrepid souls who investigate paranormal activities.

Whether you are in it because of deep personal beliefs, or simply into the entertainment aspect, the CPS Co will be your friends.


2. Canon VIXIA HF R800 Camcorder Review

Canon VIXIA HF R800 Camcorder Review

A small, lightweight video camcorder, this camera has an outstanding zoom range for such a diminutive tool. Optically, the zoom has a 32X range, extending to 57X digitally. This is so much zoom that it’s actually a little difficult to hand hold at maximum magnification. That’s a typical problem with smaller cameras and very long lenses.

That’s where Canon’s optical image stabilization comes in. The Vixia HF R800 has an image stabilization system that helps ensure better recordings when dealing with camera motion from shaky hands or even walking around.

Even with a feature like this, it can be sorely taxed by a combination of low light, hand holding, and lower temperatures.

A view screen that doubles as a touch screen for camera control menus makes this smaller camera relatively easy to operate in the field under difficult situations. Not having to press tiny buttons to access deep menu options is a lot better to use when filming under what could be viewed as stressful conditions.

There are also some special recording options available in camera. A slow motion mode is available as well as a fast motion mode. You can film and playback right in camera for a slo-mo effect of rapid action.

Or you can record about 20 hours of video for playback in about 60 seconds. This can really add to the interest level of any surveillance video.

A high capacity, long life battery pack is included as regular equipment for this camcorder. The battery indicator on the viewscreen shows a real time indicator of the exact amount of charge left.

One other feature useful for surveillance and ghost hunting investigations is that the R800 can connect with the Canon Connect Station CS100. This compact device has a full 1TB of storage. That equates to about 150,000 photographs or 70 hours of video.

The camera connects to the CS100 with a USB cable and the simple operation of transfer or playback can be readily done in the field.

3. Sony 4K HD Video Recording FDRAX33 Handycam Camcorder Review

Sony 4K HD Video Recording FDRAX33 Handycam Camcorder Review

Sony came up with a great idea for a camcorder, design a superior video camera lens, and then build an amazingly full featured camcorder to take advantage of that lens. No surprise that this video camcorder makes the list of best cameras for ghost hunting.

First thing to say about the lens is that it’s a Carl Zeiss zoom lens. Specifically, the Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* f/1.8-3.8 Wide Zoom lens. Zeiss lenses are high quality, the T* designation signifies the lens has advanced anti reflection coating on the elements, important for small zooms with lots of elements.

It’s a 10X zoom (with up to 20X digital zooming), which may not seem like much to some readers, but this zoom starts out wider than most other zooms on small camcorders.

This can really be beneficial for the type of remote or low profile surveillance situations that this camera is likely to used for. Besides the surveillance or ghost hunting, general use of this camcorder for vacationers, YouTubers, and others will benefit from having a wider angle lens.

An image stabilization function allows for shooting in low light or when walking around. The faster than usual lens also helps provide great low light recording. NFC and Wi-Fi allow a lot of options including synching up to five cameras together for simultaneous recording of the same event.

The touch screen menu controls and a very nice microphone round out some features that should provide a high quality recording of whatever subjects you’re in to. There is even manual control of certain functions, focus, exposure, white balance, iris, and shutter speed.

The price of this excellent video camcorder is the only thing that may hold back some people from considering it. It’s about double to three times the cost of some other cameras we looked at.

However, when you factor in the fantastic wider than average lens, the advanced controls, and ease of use, you do get a lot of bang for your bucks spent.

4. Panasonic Full HD Camcorder HC-V770 Review

Panasonic Full HD Camcorder HC-V770, 20X Optical Zoom, 1/2.3-Inch Bsi Sensor, Hdr Capture, Wi-Fi Smartphone Twin Video Capture Review

This camera has an interesting feature and capability built in to it. You can link to another camera via the Twin Video Capture function. Link your compatible smartphone video camera for a picture-in-picture (PIP) view of a different camera angle or position to be recorded along with the main camera recording.

Using the Panasonic camera app on your smartphone or tablet, you can also control almost all camera functions remotely and monitor what is being recorded from a distance. You can also use function to record on a different device or for live video surveillance, making the HC-V770 one of the best cameras for ghost hunting.

Looking at the other features of this camera, we find it has a 20X optical zoom lens. Optical zoom is always going to give you better video, clearer looking images, than a digital zoom. Digital zoom is nice to have, it keeps cameras and lenses smaller, but it definitely comes with a sacrifice, image quality.

Another reason for digital zoom is to give you that boost when you need it, it can be a great tool. Just be aware of the differences between optical and digital zoom.

A design feature that makes this camera a good choice for low light surveillance is the back side illumination imaging sensor.

What a BSI sensor adds to your capabilities is that it provides higher quality recordings because of cutting back on digital noise. In low light situations, one of the things that degrade image quality is electronic noise. Contrast issues are one of the other problems in low light imaging.

High quality audio recording and a really effective image stabilization function also add to the value of this camera for surveillance work. An interesting feature in several Panasonic video camcorders, including this one, is called Level Shot.

When turned on, it basically takes your uneven hand holding stance and corrects it before it even makes it to the film stock. I mean video tape. I mean whatever! You get the idea.

This camera also has manual controls for Focus, White Balance Mode and Settings, Shutter Speed, Iris, Sharpness, Color Saturation, and Brightness.

This camera is not as expensive as prosumer models, but is quite a bit higher priced than simple camcorders.

5. Canon VIXIA HF G20 HD Camcorder with HD CMOS Pro and 32GB Internal Flash Memory

Canon VIXIA HF G20 HD Camcorder with HD CMOS Pro and 32GB Internal Flash Memory Review

Canon makes some of the best digital video cameras available, the G20 is another good example of this basic statement. It is a prosumer level video camcorder with a built in zoom lens and extremely high quality recording of both audio and visual.

It’s expensive, but not nearly as expensive as their pro series cinematic video products. If you need better video quality than this camera, you’ll need to examine DSLRs with video recording or the specially made for video interchangeable lens, larger sensor video cameras. Both Canon and Sony make a fine line of professional video cameras.

This prosumer level camera is good enough that you can find some professional videographers using this as either a B-roll camera or as back up. For anyone breaking into professional video or simply wanting a superior camera than the run of the mill small camcorder, this is one of the better choices available.

Basically, what makes this camera better than entry level camcorders is a combination of heavier duty build quality and better than average optical and sensor quality.

So, though it may look like the less expensive has similar features, this camera does it all better. Kind of like with a car. You can drive basic transportation or an exotic super car. But, in between is the better than average sedan or SUV. That’s the G20 for video.

Basic features of this camera are a 10X high quality zoom lens, a larger, high MP sensor, and a wide range of usable video camera features. Manual control of almost every aspect of video recording is available, or use canon’s very capable automation.

The camera is also quite a bit heavier than most entry level camcorders, but if you are wanting the best cameras for ghost hunting, surveillance, or general purpose video recording, it’s hard to beat the quality of this G20 from Canon.

Some other things that makes this camera a good choice is that it is part of a complete system of high end video recording equipment. You can attach external microphones, controllers, and recorders to the G20 in order to expand your capabilities.

How to capture paranormal activity with a camera

How to capture paranormal activity with a camera

One of the most important factors in this genre of videography is low light performance and infrared recording. Remote recording ability and long battery life is also vital.

Many of the same techniques for low light or remote videography will apply to ghost hunting. Using a high ISO or otherwise increasing the sensitivity of the sensor.

Other low light techniques can be employed, such as using a tripod or other camera mount.

Holding the camera by hand is another option, but in very low light conditions, this usually isn’t the best option. If you are going hand hold it, be sure to practice your hand holding techniques before you get out into the field. You can also consider a gimbal, unless you’re actually going for the ‘shaky-cam’ effect.

Some additional techniques or options to consider is a bank of infrared (IR) lights to take advantage of your camera’s IR recoding mode. With a light bank, you could comfortably hand hold any video or still camera.

Some paranormal researchers seem to think that being with the camera is the best way to capture interesting footage, others prefer using their equipment remotely. If this is your preferred method of operation, you’ll need to either have your equipment plugged into a wall socket or have long life batteries.

The best cameras for ghost hunting give you those options.

You might find some of the other tips listed on these web pages useful:

  • 10 beginner tips for capturing ghosts
  • How to conduct a ghost hunt (wikihow)
  • Ghost hunting tips and adventures

How I found the Best cameras for ghost hunting

How I found the Best cameras for ghost hunting

The features you’ll want in your cameras for ghost hunting are the similar to the requirements for surveillance or other surreptitious or low light videography and photography.

  • Video Quality. A primary consideration for most video endeavors, image quality is especially important in low light or false color applications. If the shooting conditions are already iffy, having less than outstanding video image quality can make or break the shot.
  • Night Mode. A video camera with a night mode optimizes the settings for best low light performance. You can accomplish the same things by changing all the relevant settings yourself, but a night mode is easier to deal with in rapidly changing video situations.
  • Infrared recording. Also labeled as IR, this recording mode is very important for certain types of surveillance and virtually indispensable for paranormal investigating.
  • Battery Life. For remote surveillance, low light, cold, and all night sessions, good battery life is essential.
  • Besides the visual elemen t, surveillance and ghost hunting alike can benefit from good audio recording and reproduction. Either a very good built in mic, or the ability to attach an external mic of some kind will help ensure that you get good audio.
  • Flip Screen. Purely for convenience, a flip screen makes video recording easier in low light situations.

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What Causes Ghost Images On Security Cameras – Scientific Reason With 11 Causes

August 3, 2023

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By Rose Marie

Picture this: you’re watching a chilling horror movie, and just as the protagonist is about to encounter a terrifying ghost, a ghostly image suddenly appears on your security camera feed.

Your heart skips a beat, your breath catches in your throat, and you can’t help but wonder, “What causes ghost images on security cameras?”

Well, fear not, for there is a scientific explanation behind these mysterious phenomena. In this article, we will delve into the world of security camera technology and uncover the underlying causes of ghost images.

Let’s start it.

what causes ghost images on security cameras - causes revealed

What is ghosting in security cameras

Ghosting refers to the presence of faint or transparent duplicate images in video footage captured by security cameras.

These ghost images can make it difficult to accurately identify individuals or events on camera, hindering the purpose of having a surveillance system in place.

One common misconception about ghosting is that it’s purely a paranormal occurrence, but in reality, it’s often a result of technical issues .

Scientific Explanation Of Ghost Images In Security Cameras

Ghost images on security cameras are typically the result of a phenomenon called image retention , also known as image persistence or image burn-in.

Image Retention - scientific cause of ghost images on security cameras

It occurs when an image that was previously displayed on the camera’s screen leaves a faint residue that can still be seen in subsequent frames.

The retention of the previous image creates a ghost-like effect , with the overlaid image appearing translucent and distorted.

One of the primary reasons for image retention is the type of display technology used in security cameras.

Many cameras, especially older models, employ liquid crystal displays (LCDs) or cathode ray tubes (CRTs) as their screens.

These technologies are prone to image persistence , particularly when displaying static or high-contrast images for prolonged periods.

As a result, when these cameras capture moving objects or people, the residual image of the previous frame can linger, creating a ghostly effect .

In recent years, advancements in security camera technology have mitigated the issue of ghost images.

Many modern cameras now utilize more advanced display technologies , such as light-emitting diodes (LEDs) or organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs).

These technologies offer faster refresh rates and reduced image persistence, resulting in clearer and more accurate footage.

So, ghost images on security cameras are not the result of supernatural occurrences , but rather a consequence of image retention caused by display technologies and environmental factors.

As technology continues to evolve, the occurrence of ghost images is becoming less common.

What causes ghosting on CCTV cameras

When it comes to ghosting on CCTV cameras, there are several key factors to consider. Let’s discuss these causes one by one.

1. Lens Flare May Produce Ghost Images

Lens flare can create ghost images, adding an ethereal and mysterious quality to security camera footage. This phenomenon occurs due to lens distortion, light refraction, lens aberration, lens reflection, and lens artifacts.

When a strong light source enters the camera’s field of view, it can cause scattered light that interacts with the various elements of the camera lens.

As a result, these interactions produce unwanted image artifacts known as ghost images.

Lens flare typically a ppears as bright spots or streaks in the footage, often overlapping with the intended subject and obscuring important details.

It is crucial to address this issue as it can compromise the clarity and accuracy of security camera recordings, potentially hindering effective surveillance efforts.


By employing techniques such as anti-reflective coatings on lenses or adjusting camera angles to minimize direct exposure to bright lights, one can significantly reduce the occurrence of ghost images caused by lens flare.

Anti reflective coating to prevent ghost images on security cameras

2. Glare from Contaminants

To minimize the impact of glare from contaminants such as dirt, shadows, smudges, bugs, and other obstructions on your surveillance footage, it’s essential to regularly clean and inspect the camera lenses for optimal performance.

A dirty lens can significantly affect the quality of your footage by causing ghost images or blurriness.


  • To prevent smudges and dirt buildup on the lens surface, use a soft microfiber cloth to gently wipe away any debris. Avoid using abrasive materials that may scratch the lens.
  • Additionally, be mindful of shadows cast by nearby objects or structures that could interfere with your camera’s line of sight.
  • Adjusting the position or angle of the camera can help alleviate this issue.
  • Lastly, insects and bugs can often be attracted to security cameras due to their heat emissions or bright lights. Inspect your cameras regularly for any signs of insect activity and remove them promptly if necessary.

3. Improper Camera Settings

Make sure you adjust your camera settings properly to avoid those annoying ghostly images that can ruin your surveillance footage.

Camera placement plays a crucial role in capturing clear and accurate images.

Adjusting the exposure level based on the lighting conditions in the area can help capture clear and detailed images.

Additionally, other camera settings like focus, white balance, and frame rate should also be adjusted accordingly to avoid any distortions or discrepancies in the footage.

By paying attention to camera placement and settings, you can maximize the effectiveness of your surveillance system and ensure that ghostly images do not compromise the accuracy of your footage.

Must Read: Why Do My Security Cameras Go Black?

4. Slow shutter speed & Frame rate

A slow shutter speed can result in motion blur and ghosting , making it difficult to capture clear images.

Shutter speed - what causes ghost images on security cameras

Similarly, a low frame rate can also contribute to ghosting as it may not capture fast-moving objects in real time.

To minimize ghosting in security camera footage, it’s crucial to increase the shutter speed and frame rate can help reduce motion blur and improve image quality.

5. Ghost Images Produced Due To Impact Of Lighting

The impact of lighting on security cameras can lead to ghost images , where objects or people appear as translucent duplicates in the video feed.

Several factors contribute to this phenomenon, including camera positioning and environmental conditions.

  • If a camera is placed too close to a strong light source , such as a street lamp or floodlight, it can cause overexposure and create ghost-like figures.
  • Similarly, poor lighting conditions like low light or excessive brightness can also affect image quality and produce ghostly images .
  • Another factor to consider is infrared interference from other devices emitting infrared signals nearby. This interference can disrupt the camera’s ability to capture clear images and contribute to ghosting effects .
  • Additionally, reflective surfaces like glass windows or shiny objects within the camera’s view can reflect light back into the lens and create distorted images.

To minimize these issues, it is important to carefully position security cameras away from direct sources of light and take into account any potential reflective surfaces in the environment.

6. Role Of Video Compression in the Creation of Ghost Images

Video compression plays a significant role in distorting and blurring the footage , contributing to the creation of ghostly apparitions .

When security camera footage is compressed, it undergoes a process that reduces its size to conserve storage space and bandwidth.

However, this compression can result in various artifacts that compromise video quality .

Bandwidth limitations often force cameras to use high levels of compression, leading to data loss and image distortion .

Compression artifacts such as pixelation, blockiness, and smearing can cause ghost images to appear on the footage.

These distortions make it difficult for viewers to accurately identify objects or individuals captured by the camera, potentially compromising their safety.

Therefore, understanding how video compression affects security camera footage is crucial in ensuring clear and reliable surveillance imagery without ghostly anomalies.

Must Read: What Causes Video Loss In Security Cameras? 5 Causes & Fixes

7. Damaged Or Defective camera sensor Produces Ghost Images

A damaged or defective sensor can have various effects on your security camera system, leading to ghosting issues that can compromise the safety and security of your premises.

Defective image sensor can cause ghost images on cameras

Ghost images caused by a damaged sensor often appear as faint, transparent duplicates of the original image, creating confusion and making it difficult to identify objects or individuals clearly.

Must Read: Can Security Cameras Be Jammed – Fact-Based Answer

To troubleshoot this issue, it is crucial to inspect and maintain your camera’s sensor regularly.

  • Cleaning the sensor with specialized tools and following proper maintenance procedures can help prevent ghost images caused by a faulty sensor.
  • Additionally, ensuring that the camera isn’t exposed to extreme temperatures or physical damage can also contribute to preventing these issues.
  • By taking proactive steps in maintaining and caring for your camera’s sensor, you can ensure a reliable and accurate surveillance system that provides peace of mind for your safety-conscious audience.

8. Image Processing Settings Like Brightness, Contrast, and Digital Noise Reduction

If you’re experiencing ghost images on your security camera, it’s crucial to consider the image processing settings that could be causing this issue.

  • One of the key factors to examine is the brightness and contrast levels , as improper calibration can lead to distorted images.
  • Similarly, digital noise reduction algorithms play a significant role in refining the footage quality by reducing unwanted noise, but if set too high, they may inadvertently create ghost-like artifacts.
  • Color correction techniques can impact how accurately the camera captures and reproduces colors, which ultimately affects image clarity.
  • Another vital aspect is image stabilization , which helps counteract any camera movement or vibrations that could result in blurry or double images .

Image stabilization can help to prevent blurry or ghost images

  • Lastly, image sharpening should also be taken into account as excessive sharpening may introduce halos or duplicate objects within the frame.

By thoroughly understanding and optimizing these image enhancement techniques, including their impact on color correction, image stabilization, sharpness, and noise reduction algorithms, you can ensure reliable surveillance footage without any ghostly disturbances.

9. Wiring and Wireless Issues Cause Ghosting

Addressing wiring and wireless issues can greatly reduce ghosting in surveillance footage .

Signal interference, power supply issues, inadequate shielding, environmental factors, and camera placement all play a role in causing ghost images on security cameras.

You can significantly reduce ghosting on security cameras for enhanced surveillance effectiveness, by addressing these wiring and wireless issues by;

  • Using high-quality cables with proper shielding
  • Placing cameras strategically in optimal locations

10. Bad Connection Or Ground Loop Leads To Ghosting

Having a bad connection or experiencing a ground loop can result in annoying ghosting on your surveillance footage.

These image distortions occur due to interference problems caused by faulty wiring or improper grounding.

Additionally, ground loops can introduce unwanted electrical currents that interfere with the video signal, resulting in ghosting effects.

To minimize these issues, ensure that all connections are secure and free from any damage. Properly grounding your cameras and other equipment can also help eliminate potential power supply issues and reduce interference.

11. Outdated Firmware With Bugs Can Cause Ghosting

Outdated firmware with bugs can lead to annoying ghosting on your surveillance footage but don’t worry, there are ways to fix it.

To address this issue, here are some steps you can take :

  • Firmware updates needed – Check if there are any available firmware updates for your security camera system. Manufacturers often release updates that fix bugs and improve compatibility with different devices. Updating the firmware can potentially resolve the ghosting problem.
  • Firmware compatibility issues – Ensure that the firmware you’re using is compatible with your specific security camera model. Sometimes, using outdated or incompatible firmware versions can cause glitches and image distortions.
  • Firmware glitches troubleshooting – If you’ve already updated your firmware and still experience ghosting, try resetting your camera system to its default settings. This can help troubleshoot any software-related issues that may be causing the problem. Additionally, power cycling the cameras by disconnecting them from the power source for a few minutes before reconnecting might also help resolve minor glitches.
  • Seek professional assistance – If all else fails, consider reaching out to technical support or contacting a professional in surveillance systems. They’ll have expertise in diagnosing and resolving complex issues related to outdated firmware bugs.

By following these steps and ensuring that your security camera system has up-to-date and compatible firmware, you can minimize or eliminate ghosting effects on your surveillance footage.

Remember – Staying proactive about maintaining your security equipment not only enhances safety but also provides peace of mind knowing that potential issues are being addressed effectively.

  • Why Do Security Cameras Lag?
  • Why Is My Security Camera Blurry?
  • What Causes Ghost Images On Security Cameras – Scientific Reason

Frequently Asked Questions FAQs

How do I fix a ghost image?

If you have a ghost image on your camera, try the following steps to fix it:

1. Use post-processing software like Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom to enhance the image. These software often provide tools to reduce ghosting effects.

One common technique is to use the “Clone Stamp” tool to remove the ghosted portion.

2. Adjust the image’s contrast and brightness levels to reduce the visibility of the ghost image.

3. Experiment with different filters or effects in the post-processing software to creatively mask or minimize the ghosting effect.

4. If the ghost image is caused by a faulty camera sensor, it may require professional repair or replacement. Contact a camera service center for assistance.

Can someone hack your camera and watch you?

Yes, it is technically possible for someone to hack into your camera and watch you remotely, but the likelihood of this happening is relatively low. However, it is always essential to take precautions to protect your privacy.

Here are some steps you can take: 1. Keep your camera’s firmware up to date. Manufacturers often release firmware updates that address security vulnerabilities, so regularly check for updates and install them.

2. Change the default username and password of your camera’s admin settings. Use a strong, unique password that is not easily guessable.

3. Enable two-factor authentication if available. This adds an extra layer of security by requiring a second verification step, such as a code sent to your phone, to access the camera remotely.

4. Regularly check for any suspicious activities or signs of unauthorized access, such as strange recordings or unusual network traffic. If you suspect a security breach, contact the camera manufacturer or a professional for assistance.

How do I stop my camera from ghosting?

To prevent ghosting in your camera, follow these steps:

1. Ensure that your camera lens is clean and free from any smudges or dirt. Use a microfiber cloth or lens cleaning solution to gently clean the lens.

2. Adjust the camera settings, such as shutter speed and aperture, to avoid overexposure or motion blur. Experiment with different settings to find the optimal combination for your desired shot.

3. Use a tripod or stabilize your camera to minimize any movement during the capture process. This will help to reduce the chances of ghosting caused by camera shake.

4. Avoid shooting directly into bright light sources as it can result in lens flare or ghosting. Position yourself or the subject in such a way that the light source is not directly in the frame or use a lens hood to block excess light.

Can ghosting be corrected?

Yes, in some cases, ghosting can be corrected or significantly reduced through post-processing techniques.

However, it depends on the severity and cause of the ghosting.

Software tools like Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom offer features such as cloning, healing brushes, and filters that can help to alleviate or remove ghosting effects.

Additionally, using advanced editing techniques like layer masking or HDR imaging can also minimize ghosting.

What causes light ghosting?

Light ghosting, also known as lens flare, occurs when unwanted light scatters within the lens system of a camera or human eye, resulting in hazy or ghost-like artifacts in the image or vision.

Some common causes of light ghosting include:

1. Directly shooting into a bright light source , such as the sun or artificial lighting, without taking necessary precautions. 2. Using a dirty or smudged camera lens or eyeglasses, which can scatter light and create unwanted artifacts. 3. Reflections from shiny surfaces, like glass or water, can cause light to bounce around and create ghosting effects. 4. Low-quality or poorly coated camera lenses can be more prone to lens flare and ghosting compared to higher-quality lenses.

Ghosting on security cameras is a common phenomenon that can occur due to various reasons.

It’s important to understand the causes behind these ghost images in order to effectively address and prevent them from occurring.

Understanding and addressing the various causes of ghosting on security cameras is essential for maintaining clear and accurate surveillance footage.

By taking into account the above factors, it becomes possible to minimize this issue and ensure reliable monitoring capabilities for enhanced security purposes.

  • Ghostly Figures In Security Cameras ( Source Link )
  • The ghost in the machine: Spirit and technology. ( Source Link )
  • Reasons Why Security Monitors Show Ghost Images? ( Source Link )

CCTV Not Working On Mobile Data – 5 Reasons & Troubleshooting

Light colors and their meaning on security cameras.

6 effective ways on how to stop security camera lens from fogging up

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Best camera for ghost hunting ( Night vision, Full spectrum, video)

Ghost hunting is an exciting activity that requires the right equipment to capture paranormal evidence. 

One of the most crucial pieces of gear that ghost hunters need is a quality camera. With so many different options available, finding the best camera for ghost hunting can be a challenge. 

In this guide, we will explore some of the top cameras to help you capture the clearest pictures and videos of any spooky encounters during your next ghost hunt.

5 best cameras for ghost hunting

Table of Contents

Sony 4K HD Video Recording FDRAX33 Handycam Camcorder

The Sony 4K HD Video Recording FDRAX33 Handycam Camcorder is a popular choice for many ghost hunters due to its compact size and integrated 4K technology. 

The camcorder also features Balanced Optical SteadyShot image stabilization that provides clear and stable footage for ghost hunting investigations. 

While it does not come with an external viewfinder, its Night Shot IR System makes it a perfect tool for capturing ghostly apparitions in the dark. 

Although it only shoots at 25fps in 4K, this night vision camera still proves to be a worthwhile investment for ghost hunters who prioritize high-quality footage. 

Its price point also makes it an attractive option for those who want to capture paranormal activity without breaking the bank. 

Overall, the Sony FDRAX33 stands out as a reliable and cost-effective choice for ghost hunters who want to film their investigations in 4K.

  • The Sony AX33 camera allows the user to use external accessories such as a microphone, light, or flash, which can enhance the quality of the videos.
  • The camera has a stabilizer that keeps the videos stable even when shooting on the move.
  • It has NightShot, which enables shooting in low-light conditions.
  • The camera can shoot in 4K resolution.
  • The users found the camera to be a good value for money, especially when purchased at a discounted price.
  • The camera uses more memory compared to other models.
  • The touch screen may be difficult to use for some users, and some areas may be unresponsive.

Canon VIXIA HF R800 Portable Video Camera

The Canon VIXIA HF R800 Portable Video Camera is an excellent choice for ghost hunting enthusiasts. 

Its 57X advanced zoom allows for detailed capturing of paranormal activity, while its super range OIS helps to stabilize the footage, eliminating any blurry shots. 

The 3.0-inch capacitive touch panel LCD screen makes it easy to view the recordings, even in low light conditions. Plus, with its small and compact design, this video recorder is easy to carry around during investigations. 

  • The Canon VIXIA R800 camcorder is compact, lightweight, and easy to carry.
  • It has a bright and clear screen with the crisp video.
  • The on-screen menus are intuitive and easy to navigate.
  • It has a quick start-up time of about 2 to 3 seconds.
  • The camcorder has a long recording time with a 64GB SD card and can take still images while recording video.
  • Slow-motion and time-lapse recording are built-in features, as well as some basic fades and transitions.
  • The zoom is smooth and controllable, and the zoom speed is adjustable.
  • Face detection and tracking are built-in, and it can convert video clips into time-lapse video.
  • It records stereo sound and has a built-in lens shield.
  • The record button can be difficult to reach depending on how the camcorder is held.
  • There is no option to set the default memory to record to.
  • There is no WiFi capability, making streaming to the internet impossible.

Panasonic Full HD Video Camera Camcorder

The Panasonic Full HD Video Camera Camcorder is an excellent choice for those looking for a camera to use for both vlogging and ghost hunting. 

With its ultra-sharp 4K recording, in-camera effect editing for slow/fast motion capturing, and night vision capabilities, it is no wonder that it is a top pick for paranormal research equipment. Additionally, this night vision camcorder offers 60i and 30p modes, which were used to record the first two seasons of ‘Ghost Hunters’. 

It is important to note that this camera is not just limited to ghost hunting, as it also offers many features that make it a great choice for vlogging. 

Overall, the Panasonic Full HD Video Camera Camcorder is a versatile and reliable choice for anyone looking for a camera for both paranormal investigations and vlogging.

  • Good video quality, even in low-light situations.
  • Has a mic input for better audio options.
  • Intelligent Auto Mode produces satisfying footage.
  • Offers a range of options for different environments and situations.
  • Good for family and sporting events.
  • Audio quality may not meet expectations, especially in loud concert environments.
  • May need additional gear to achieve optimal audio quality.
  • Camera struggles to adjust to sudden changes in lighting, creating a subtle “chop” in video.

ZOHULU Camcorders Video Camera 4k

The ZOHULU Camcorders Video Camera 4k is an excellent addition to any ghost hunter’s arsenal. 

With its 4K Ultra HD resolution, it offers exceptional image quality while capturing paranormal activity. Additionally, its upgraded Novatek High-level Chip and Sony COMS Sensor 30 MP ensure clear footage even in low light conditions. 

The camera also boasts a 30X digital zoom, giving ghost hunters the ability to capture even the faintest of shadows. When combined with its durable design and easy-to-use features, the ZOHULU Camcorders Video Camera 4k is an excellent choice for any serious paranormal investigator. However, it is always recommended to use the camera in tandem with other equipment, such as night vision infrared lighting, for optimal results.

  • IR night vision is effective in small rooms.
  • LED lighting helps to navigate in the dark without interfering with night vision or full spectrum mode.
  • Battery life lasts for up to 30 minutes with constant use of night vision, full spectrum, and LED lighting.
  • Camera takes beautiful pictures.
  • Resolutions from VGA to UHD work beautifully and are crisp.
  • Touchscreen is smooth and easy to manage settings.
  • DVR buttons are simple to use.
  • 3mm adapter to hook up a microphone is convenient.
  • Flashlight mount swivels and is easy to set up.
  • Macro lens makes a big difference in image quality.
  • IR light doesn’t reach far.
  • Flashlight gets hot and doesn’t reach far.
  • App for Wifi has negative reviews and doesn’t work.
  • Remote control may not work well with weak battery.

ORDRO 4K Camcorder Video Camera

The ORDRO 4K Camcorder Video Camera is an excellent choice for those looking for a high-quality camera to capture their ghost hunting adventures or vlogging content. 

Equipped with infrared night vision, this camera can capture crystal clear images and videos even in low light conditions. Its 4K ultra-HD resolution ensures that every detail is captured accurately, resulting in stunning footage. 

Compared to other camcorders, this full spectrum camera for ghost hunting stands out with its ability to shoot at 60fps for smoother footage, and its 3.1-inch IPS touchscreen display for easy operation. 

Combined with its lightweight and portable design, this is the best night vision camcorder that is perfect for anyone looking to take their content creation to the next level.

  • Professional retail packaging with well-organized contents and included accessories.
  • 12x optical zoom and high-quality 4K resolution video, with built-in night light.
  • External charger with a foldable wall plug and 2 included batteries for easy battery swapping.
  • External microphone, foldable handheld stabilizer bar, and super macro lens.
  • 3.5″ IPS HD screen that can be tilted and rotated to face forward.
  • Touch screen and built-in night light.
  • Overall high quality and professional-level camcorder.
  • Some users experienced issues with the microphone not picking up sound well unless they were right up on the camera.
  • When the battery is changed or dies, all settings and the date/time must be reset, which can be a hassle.
  • One user found the remote to be nonfunctional.

Ghost hunting camera buying guide

Consider the cost of your ghost hunting camera before making a purchase. High-end models can be expensive, so you may want to start with a basic model and upgrade as you become more experienced.

Night Vision

Look for a camera that is capable of capturing images in low light or no light conditions. Ghost hunting often takes place late at night, so having a camera that can capture images in the dark is essential.

Look for cameras that offer higher resolution and are capable of capturing detailed images, even in low-light situations. The higher the resolution, the better chance you have of capturing an image that might reveal the presence of a ghost or other paranormal activity.

Battery Life

Make sure to choose a camera with good battery life, as you do not want to be stuck in the middle of a hunt without power! Look for cameras with rechargeable batteries or replaceable batteries if possible.

Recording Options

If you plan on recording audio during your hunts, make sure that your camera has this feature available. Some cameras also offer loop recording capabilities which allow you to continuously record without having to manually stop and start each time you need to change tapes or discs.


Many ghost hunting cameras come with additional accessories such as infrared illuminators, motion sensors, and remote controls which can add an extra layer of convenience and control when doing your investigations. However, these accessories should be lightweight so that you can walk easily.

Frequently Asked Questions

What makes full spectrum cameras better for ghost hunting.

Full spectrum cameras are better for ghost hunting because they allow you to capture images not visible to the human eye. This includes infrared and ultraviolet light, which can help reveal any paranormal activity in a location.

Full spectrum cameras also have better low-light performance, which makes it easier to capture images in dark environments commonly associated with ghost hunting.

Why do you catch much more on a Full Spectrum Camera?

Full spectrum cameras are able to capture a wider range of light, allowing them to pick up more detail. This can be useful for capturing night scenes and other low-light situations where traditional cameras may struggle. Additionally, full-spectrum cameras are able to pick up ultraviolet and infrared light that other cameras cannot detect, which can help reveal details that would otherwise be hidden from the human eye.

Why does full spectrum have a purple tint or hue?

Full spectrum lighting has a purple tint or hue because it contains all the colors of the visible light spectrum, including violet. The longer wavelengths of red and orange appear less bright than the shorter wavelengths of blue, green, and violet, making the overall light have a purple tint.

I am Sam Billings, an entrepreneur who runs a printing business. In my free time, I enjoy the thrill of the hunt and often spend hours pursuing game. I am passionate about hunting gear and equipment, and I take great pleasure in helping fellow hunters find the right gear for their needs. From rifles and scopes to clothing and accessories, I am always happy to share my knowledge and expertise.

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Drift HD Ghost action camera review: Everything-but-the-kitchen-sink action cam

It might be pricey, but it has a ton of features and very good video quality.


  • More than two decades experience writing about PCs and accessories, and 15 years writing about cameras of all kinds.

There's no shortage of options when it comes to action cams, but Drift Innovations' Drift HD Ghost manages to differentiate itself with design and features.


Drift HD Ghost action camera

The bottom line.

Rather than the wide, blocky design of camcorders like the GoPro line , the Drift HD Ghost has a slimmer and longer bullet-shaped body. Though the shape isn't quite as good for chest mounting, it is better for POV mounting on the side of goggles, masks, and helmets. The shape also gives it room for a built-in Gorilla Glass-protected 2-inch LCD for framing and playback and a battery big enough to supply up to 3 hours of recording time. Plus, it's removable so you can put a new one in if you need to keep shooting.

There's built-in Wi-Fi for connecting to iOS devices (and eventually Android, too), which can be used to frame shots, change settings, start and stop recordings, shoot photos, and play back video. You can also transfer movies to your smartphone for viewing, editing, and uploading.

That's really just the start of what this thing offers, which is good because it's not cheap at $399. And you really are paying for features here since its video is just above average for a higher-end action cam.

In the box Even the most basic action camera comes with a couple of mounts to get you started; Drift goes beyond that, so you don't immediately feel like you need to go out and spend more money.

Included in the package along with goggle and flat- and curved-surface mounts is a wearable RF remote for starting and stopping recordings and changing shooting modes. Colored LEDs give you visual feedback so you know what you're doing, and the remote can be used to control multiple cameras (should you have the need and finances).

ghost camera shot

Two things you won't find are a protective housing and a memory card. The HD Ghost takes microSDHC cards of up to 32GB, but one isn't included. This isn't uncommon with action cams (or other cameras for that matter), but it means you'll have to get one before you can start shooting.

The lack of a housing is because the camera is pretty tough on its own. The battery, card, and ports are all under a removable hatch on the back with a waterproof seal, helping make the whole device waterproof down to 9 feet. The lens is replaceable in case it gets damaged, and with the screen protected with Gorilla Glass, the camera can take a good deal of abuse. The polycarbonite housings used with GoPro and other cameras, especially the waterproof ones, will be able to stand up to more, but minor drops shouldn't be an issue for the HD Ghost.

Design and features For ease of use, having an LCD built in makes a big difference, not only when setting up your shots, but for changing settings, and quickly playing back clips or photos to see if you got the shot you wanted. On the opposite side of the body, there's a standard quarter-inch threaded mount, giving you more mounting options than just the quick-connect mount that comes with the camera.

The camera measures 1.3 inches wide by 2 inches high by 4.1 inches deep and weighs 5.9 ounces. Strapped to the side of a helmet or pair of goggles, you won't exactly forget it's there, but it's not overly big, either. The lens covers a field of view of 170 degrees, giving you a wide, distorted view. You have to be careful just how far back you mount the camera or you may cut off one side of your video with whatever it's attached to. (You can change the angle of view, but it appears to do this digitally, which degraded video quality some.)

ghost camera shot

If your picture isn't quite straight enough when mounted or you had to turn the camera to a horizontal position, the lens rotates up to 300 degrees, so you can level things out. Depending on how it's mounted, it can be difficult to test what your picture will look like using the LCD, which is where the Wi-Fi comes in handy.

The Wi-Fi is only meant for connecting directly to a smartphone. At the time of this review just an iOS app was publicly available; an Android version was in beta, and there are no plans for a Windows Phone version.

The app gives you a live preview of what the camera sees, as well as full control over settings and the power to start and stop recordings or take pictures. While settings can also be changed with the large buttons on top of the camera, if you're making a lot of changes, the menu system is tedious to navigate; using the app is a much better experience. Still, it's nice to have both options.

ghost camera shot

Again, the battery, memory card slot, and ports are all at the back of the camera. There's a Mini-USB port for transfers and charging, it has a Micro-HDMI out, and there's a 3.5mm jack for connecting an external mic. The camera comes with two hatches to cover all of this up, one that's waterproof and one that's more splash-resistant with covered openings for the USB and mic jack.

Shooting options Recording resolutions are plentiful on the HD Ghost. It can be set to record in MP4 and MOV formats in 1080p at 25 or 30 frames per second; 960p (4:3 aspect ratio) at 25, 30, or 50fps; 720p at 25, 30, 50, or 60fps; and WVGA at 25, 30, 50, 60, 100, or 120fps. Set to any of these resolutions at 25 or 30fps, the camcorder can simultaneously capture movies and photos.

ghost camera shot

You can set the camera to record everything until you run out of space or use a Flashback Video Tag/Loop mode that shoots video in a continuous loop letting you save only events you tag, up to 5 minutes after they happen, creating instant clips for sharing.

The HD Ghost can also be used for burst-shooting 5-, 8-, or 11-megapixel photos at up to 10fps as well as time-lapse photos, snapping off shots at 0.5-, 1-, 2-, 3-, 5-, 10-, 30-, or 60-second intervals.

Video quality Editors' note: We are currently in the process of testing and reviewing as many of the latest action cameras we can get our hands on. Because of this, the video quality analysis that follows is largely based on our experience with minicamcorders that use similar components to action cameras.

For the HD Ghost's $399 price, it's not unreasonable to expect great video quality. Keep in mind, though, that a lot of what you're paying for here is features. In general, its movies are very good and most users will be pleased with the results. Its 1080p shows nice detail without looking overprocessed. However, if you've got a scene with a lot of movement or a complex subject, you will see more artifacts and a loss of detail. These things are common to the category, though. (Basically, if you like what you see in the clips above, you should be happy with what this camera can do.)

Color, while maybe not as punchy as some competitors, are very good as is its white balance. Sudden exposure changes are handled well, too, but highlights blow out pretty easily.

There were also aliasing artifacts and there's a fair amount of chromatic aberration (purple fringing) in high-contrast areas. And if you're shooting in low light, you'll notice an increase in noise/artifacts. That's not unusual, though, and well-lit indoor video was still watchable.

Dropping the resolution definitely costs you some detail, but the 720p/60 video is still very good. In the end, the results are above average, especially considering the flexibility of the camera and all it can do.

Audio quality is fine, but for action videos you're probably going to want to turn the mic off anyway or you'll be capturing a lot of wind noise. For still subjects, the built-in mic did a decent job and there are three levels of sensitivity adjustment. And you can always plug in a better external mic, which you can't do with other cameras.

ghost camera shot

Like many camcorders, the HD Ghost takes better video than photos. Just because a photo is 11 megapixels doesn't mean you're going to get a lot of fine detail. They're good for sharing online or small prints, but don't expect to do a lot of enlarging and heavy cropping.

Conclusion If you're looking for an action cam that you can take out of the box, pop a memory card into, and start shooting with, the Drift HD Ghost is certainly worth considering. Its video quality is very good, but it's the whole package that makes the HD Ghost a standout.

Score Breakdown


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