When taking photographs during a paranormal investigation, it is important to know the short comings of your camera, as well as the important features. This is in order not so much to avoid contamination or anomalies, because those are a fact of life with digital photography, but to determine whether or not the anomalies are caused by your camera. Most of the time you will be taking photographs with your camera in automatic mode, which activates the flash. Set your camera to the highest mega-pixel resolution that your camera is capable of when doing so. Does the number of pixels affect the quality or likelihood of capturing an apparition? Not at all; but it does allow you to zoom in on critical sections of your photographs for closer examination without losing clarity of the image the closer you zoom in. What is more important than pixelization is the amount of memory your camera is capable of storing data to and how you download your camera’s images to your PC for analysis. Memory sticks (flash memory) are getting quite inexpensive, and can be used over and over again (the beauty of digital photography that you’re not paying for film to be developed). So get the largest size memory card you can afford, and if at all possible get a second or third memory card as a backup, because the more mega-pixels you have, the more memory it requires, and the less number of photos you can take. The speed at which your camera saves files to the camera’s memory is quite important. When you’re in a hot spot during an investigation and your camera hangs up with each photograph it takes, you could  miss that perfect shot because your camera is not ready!  Fresh batteries will also allow you to be sure that your camera is operating at optimal speed. Basically there are four categories of cameras to choose from, with two basic body styles we’ll be discussing in the next few sections. Remember, the purpose of this article is not to help you understand the technology or the marketing of cameras …it’s to help you understand how to determine and analyze contamination in your digital photographs before calling them “paranormally significant.” But before we get into that, we need to start with the cameras themselves. Ultra-Compact Digital Cameras – $100 - $300 Canon Powershot SD1400 IS At under $300, it’s hard not to like the  Canon SD1400 IS. The SD line has been a consistent performer and the SD1400IS is  no different. It's also their slimmest ultra-  compact to date. Key features include  quick startup and auto focus, as well as  the stellar DIGIC IV processor and an  upgraded 4x zoom that will handle most  small groups and portraits quite nicely. It  does have a few flaws, like the noise that  steadily creeps in above ISO 200, and you  won’t see anything of detail while on a  photo safari. But for parties and those  kiddie moments, it’s a great point-and-  shoot option to stuff in your pocket. And  with the ability to shoot HD video in 720p,  video on the go is both crisp and  convenient. It's available in four colors. A  good choice for $250. Quality is typically sketchy at this price  point, but Panasonic puts forth a solid  effort with the F3. It puts together a  respectable 12.1 megapixel sensor and a  fast, 4x zoom lens with optical image  stabilization. It takes great flash pictures  within its (admittedly limited) range and  has some great features including nine-  point focusing and high speed single point focusing, face detection, and Panasonic's  excellent Intelligent Auto Mode which  balances focus and exposure for the best-  looking shots in any given situation. In  short, it's a solid snapshooter, nothing  more. As long as you set your  expectations accordingly, you should be  happy with this little guy. You can have  this camera at around $120. Sony always puts out sexy ultra-  compacts, but the WX5 actually includes  some exciting tech inside as well, using  every trick in the book to help it  outperform your typical small-sensor  pocket camera. It can shoot up to 10  frames per second and uses some  software magic to create low-noise  composite images. It's apparently capable  to shooting rudimentary 3D images too.  All this comes in a truly sleek and  minuscule camera body featuring a 5x  zoom, 1080i HD video, and a 3-inch  touchscreen. Whew. All that for a  reasonable $299. Panasonic Lumix F3 Sony Cybershot WX5 The ultra compact digital cameras range from 5 mega-pixel to 12 mega-pixel resolution and are often limited to storing your photographs only in a .jpg format. The cameras are usually thin and lightweight, easy and convenient to carry around. The controls and capabilities of the cameras vary depending on the manufacturer, as do the features, such as manual controls, small buttons and dials, built-in flash, viewfinder, and zoom. Some units do not have a view finder and rely on a digital screen for viewing the subject. Some include a plug-in rechargeable battery, while others require the standard commercial batteries. Most are easy to use, work fairly well, and require little maintenance. You are probably looking for simplicity in camera operation when you purchase a compact digital camera. You want a camera that is easy to use, compact (as the name implies), lightweight, and simply point-and-shoot. Some of these cameras offer scene modes with manual over-ride controls, totally automatic or semi-automatic controls with no addition equipment required. Again, the view finder is sometimes a digital screen, and the flash is built in and automatic. This equipment is not quite the least expensive, but a very good buy for the image quality. The cameras are moderately priced, depending on the features and number of mega-pixels you're requiring. They are certainly good cameras for the budget oriented who are still willing to pay a little bit more Advanced Digital Cameras – over $300   When you're looking for a camera with more advanced features to satisfy creativity, or which are built with better lenses, these cameras are all-inclusive, yet are still fairly compact and easy to port around. Think of them as advanced cameras made for lazy photographers who want the simplicity of a point and shoot yet the added benefits of optional manual controls and a variety of advanced features. Many of the models include mega telephoto zoom lenses, while others provide wide angle capabilities. These units also have view finders built in, or rely on a digital screen, and the flash units are automatic and built in. Some even have add-ons available such as converter lenses, remote control, external flash and filters. Some models even have image stabilization technology. They are priced in the moderate to high category. These models are very popular among digital camera enthusiasts. Near-pro Digital Single Lens Reflex Cameras – $499 - $1499 Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) cameras are quickly becoming the preferred medium for serious amateur and professional photographers. Of course, they are higher priced than their counterparts above, sometimes from three to five times more expensive. However, many serious amateur photographers find the benefits justify the expense.  DSLR cameras have many benefits compared to the combined lens and body cameras, such as multiple detachable lenses, each of which is designed for specific purposes; wide-angle, portrait, telephoto, and other specialty lenses like Infra-red (IR) or low light-no flash. The detachable lenses have higher-quality optics, making for sharper images. Files can be saved in a multitude of formats, including RAW data (data that never loses its quality when resized), or standard formats like .jpg, .tiff, .png, etc. A DSLR's viewfinder allows the photographer to see directly through the lens as the image is taken, unlike most cameras that use a viewfinder system. This allows the image to reflect exactly what will come out on the photograph without it being offset, providing a truer perspective. The flash units are usually an add-on piece of hardware; however, some lower-end units have one built in. These units elevate and disperse the light at a better angle, often avoiding anomalous contamination. Disclaimer – Although In the Shadows Paranormal Project uses Canon and Olympus DSLR cameras, it should be understood that the camera is only as good as the photographer. Nor do we recommend or suggest this equipment. It is here only for comparison. However, before you buy anything, always do your research first! The 10.1 megapixel P7000 is Nikon's  foray into enthusiast/high-end compact  territory, a direct competitor to powerful  shooters like the Canon G11, Samsung  TL500, and Panasonic LX5. The goal here is excellent image quality, achieved with a larger-than-average CCD sensor, a  powerful processor, high sensitivity, RAW  shooting, full manual control, and  heightened image stabilization. The  feature that really makes the P7000 stand  out from its peers is the 7.1x zoom lens,  the longest we've seen on any high-end  compact. The twin-dial interface is also  the most dSLR-like of the bunch. Image  quality and low-light performance will  determine if this camera becomes a  favorite in this competitive field, but  judging by the specs alone, this looks like  a great camera to complement a dSLR  set-up or help budding photographers. We  found it for $399.00 on-line! 10 megapixel; 5x optical zoom; 28mm  wide-angle; Optical image stabilization;  2.8-inch LCD monitor; 720p HD video; 1.7-  inch CCD sensor; Max aperture f2.8;  Optical viewfinder; and High dynamic  range shooting. The G12 is Canon's latest  high-end compact, an excellent camera for photo enthusiasts and anyone interested  in very sharp shots from a small camera.  The G series has traditionally been very  well received in the photo-enthusiast  community, so Canon stuck to the formula:  it sports the same sensor, similar body,  and familiar interface over last year's G11.  Notable upgrades include 720p HD video,  a high-sensitivity system (also seen in the  SD4000 and S95 this year), and an  upgraded image stabilization system. It's  considerably bulkier than the S95, which  won't work for everyone, but for an all-  around high-performance compact, there's  no substitute. Yours for about $419.00.  Another 10 megapixel camera from  Panasonic, the Lumix DMC-LX5 is the  much-anticipated successor to the LX3, a  compact digital camera that proved  especially popular with experienced  photographers due to its fast lens, full  range of manual shooting modes and  RAW file support. The new LX5 aims to  build on the success of its predecessor  with a new 3.8x, 24-90mm zoom lens,  large 1/1.63-inch 10 megapixel CCD  sensor and HD movie recording with  Creative Movie Mode for adjusting both  the shutter speed and aperture. Other key  improvements to the LX5 include a re-  designed user interface, Power OIS anti-  shake system, Intelligent Resolution  technology and an optional electronic  viewfinder. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-  LX5 is available now in black or white for  about $385.00 on the Internet. Canon Powershot G12 Canon EOS 7D Panasonic Lumix LX5 Canon did not shy away from the  megapixel race, as the new Canon 7D has  a demonstrated with its new 18-megapixel  APS-C sensor with a 1.6x crop factor.  Each pixel is 4.3 microns in size.  Designed for speed, this camera with dual  DIGIC 4 chips to speed processing of  these large 14-bit files, as well as keep up  with the shutter's 8-frame-per-second top  speed. Even the sensor had to be  tweaked to enable such speed, with an 8-  channel readout to more quickly draw the  image off the sensor. The Canon 7D's  buffer can handle 94 JPEGs at top speed,  or 15 RAW images, great for chasing  elusive ghosts.   What is clear is that the Canon EOS 7D is  replete with features, many of which seem  like the fulfillment of an enthusiast  checklist. but for a price around $1600,  and worth every cent! (Lenses not incl.)  Pentax is a name that will evoke fond  memories for many photographers whose  first SLR experience would have been with  a Spotmatic, KM, K1000 or ME Super.  Although the company's market position  isn't as well entrenched as it was during  the halcyon days of 35mm film, it  continues to attract a devoted following of  enthusiasts. The K-7, Pentax's latest  enthusiast/semi-pro level DSLR. Also has  a handsome feature list. The sleek, pared-  down elegance is a nice change for  Pentax, but it's what’s on the inside that  has changed the most: although the  megapixel count remains the same, just  about everything that matters has been  replaced, revised or spruced-up. For 15.1  megapixels, this camera is actually quite  an improvement with a wish-list full of  features that of most photographic  enthusiasts crave and only around  $899.00 retail. (Lenses not incl.)  The D7000 is a powerful and feature-  packed DSLR which once again  illustrates Nikon's canny ability to satisfy  the desires of both gadget fanatics and  traditional photographers. Offering  semi-  pro performance without the complexity,  Unlike some rivals which appear to  concentrate on the latest must-have  technologies, Nikon never loses sight of  what traditional photographers want. So  along with 1080p movies, a microphone  input, dual memory card slots and auto-  focusing while filming, the D7000 also  features faster continuous shooting,  greater viewfinder coverage, more  sophisticated metering, and above  average construction for its class. There's  something for everyone here. Bottom line  here, is that the D7000's 16 Megapixel  sensor can deliver you excellent results  at around $1200 on-line.(Lenses not incl.) Pentax K-20 Canon EOS 7D Nikon D7000 Photography as an Integral Part of Paranormal Investigation Camera Equipment Ghost Hunting 101 The content of this website is the copyright of World Nexus Publications © 2008-2011