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Nikon D70
Digital Still Camera
Despite being several years old, the D70 is still an excellent camera.  Its resolution is a solid 6.1 megapixels and can take multiple shots per second in fully manual mode.  The flash can be toggled on or off, along with the option to adjust the intensity.  The shutter speed and aperture can also be adjusted in manual mode.  The focus can be toggled between automatic and manual, the latter being notoriously sensitive.  For multiple pictures, we usually let the camera auto-focus before switching the focus to manual mode.  That allows it to keep the initial focus but still be able to take pictures in rapid succession.

The lens is a standard 18-70mm Nikon lens.  We also have a Sigma 70-300mm lens but it finds little use during investigations.  It is mostly used to take leisure shots, such as pictures of San Francisco from Alcatraz Island.

The addition of an inexpensive remote control allows shots to be taken from several feet away.  This is useful because it's easy to set the camera nearby and take pictures with a tiny remote while operating other equipment, such as a Trifield meter or audio recorder.

Nikon D70s
Infrared Converted Digital Still Camera
The basic D70s is identical in most respects to the D70.  The LCD display screen is slightly larger and it uses a newer battery resulting in a longer battery life.

All digital cameras are sensitive to the infrared spectrum to begin with.  In order to maintain a proper white balance, manufacturers place a filter in the camera that blocks out most infrared light.  This camera has been modified by replacing that filter with a clear one.  This allows that infrared light in, resulting in capturing a wider spectrum that the naked-eye cannot see.

The flash is a standard Nikon SB-800 Speedlight which has been converted to illuminate only the infrared spectrum.  Similar to an infrared illuminator on a video camera, it allows us to take flash photography without disrupting the eyesight of humans.

For additional information and examples of infrared photography, you can visit the website of Patrick Burns, a respected paranormal investigator and infrared photographer.
Sony DCR-SR12 Camcorder
High-Definition Hard Drive Video Camera
The SR-12 sets itself apart from our other camcorders due to the way in which it stores its data.  Rather than using bulky tapes which may only last an hour, it stores data on an internal 120 gigabyte hard drive.  This gives us a huge amount of recording capability.  Each high-capacity battery gives it the ability to record continuously for many hours, and if hooked up to AC it can record for over a day.  The addition of a 8-LED Sony HVL-IRM infrared illuminator extends the nightshot range from 10 feet to roughly 75 feet.  It runs on two AA or one InfoLithium L battery.  We have a number of these illuminators and find them to be a huge benefit in many areas.

Another useful feature is Super Nightshot.  Super Nightshot operates by slowing down the frame rate and allowing much more light to be absorbed, similar to a longer exposure time on a still camera.  We use it when the camera is in a stationary position and is in such a large room that decent illumination would be otherwise impossible.
Sony DCR-HC96 Camcorder
Mini-DV Video Camera
The DCR-HC96 is a video camera using Sony Mini-DV tapes.  It is small and easy to use but the manual focus is very difficult to use.  This can cause problems with nightshot in large, dark rooms as the focus will sometimes lock up, even when the immediate area is properly lit with infrared illumination.  This camera and the massive hangar deck of the U.S.S. Hornet did not get along well.  Focus issues aside, this is still a good camcorder.

The battery life is very good with the LCD screen closed.  In addition to giving off unwanted light, it can cut into the battery life by 20 or more minutes.  We tend to leave it closed so the large batteries will last 120 minutes, which is exactly the time 2 tapes will last.
Sony CCD-TRV37 Camcorder
8mm Video Camera

The CCD-TRV37 is an older camcorder that uses 8mm tapes.  While it may appear to be inferior to the HC96, it does have a few useful features.  Manual focus can be very useful and is not standard on newer, smaller camcorders.  While the resolution is not as high as newer camcorders, the nightshot is aided by an infrared illuminator built-in under the lens that is more powerful than the one built into the HC96.  It's a simple matter of bigger camera, bigger light.  This allows for a good view without the need to mount an illuminator on top.

We skip the hassle of 8mm tapes and connect it directly to a laptop computer or other recording device, such as a VCR.  It then essentially becomes a makeshift DVR system that we can leave recording for several hours in a fixed position.  This makes leaving a camera set up somewhere less of a risk as it is really not worth anything and the cords can be run to a secure location, such as behind a locked door.  It may not be the most effective system, but we prefer it to spending a lot of money on something we might not get to use much due to security concerns.
Fujifilm J10
Full Spectrum Camera

This camera is similar to an infrared camera in that it allows white light to be captured in addition to infrared.  A full spectrum camera takes that one step further and adds ultraviolet light into the mix.  They are supposedly restricted in the U.S. but we were able to find a company selling standard cameras that had been converted to full spectrum.  A high-end full spectrum camera can cost up to $5000, so we decided to go with a fairly inexpensive model to explore the concept and decide if it is worth pursuing. 

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