Affordable Full Spectrum Camcorder/Still Camera
November 25, 2011 Leave a comment
by Tony Harrington
“Ghost Hunters” seems to set the trend for the must have gadgets in the paranormal investigations field. So, when they introduced the “Full Spectrum” camera/camcorder, it was only a matter of time before the market became flooded with high-priced variations on the technology. The saddest part of all was the price-tag on many of the devices which were simply your garden variety electronic devices modified by having their ultra violet and infrared filters removed by some guy with a screwdriver set.
It seemed that full spectrum was the new “Thermal Camera”, with many people realizing that thermal cameras will forever be out of their budget. So began the selling of modified cameras and camcorders for a grand a piece. Unlike their thermal counterparts though, over the course of a few years, the steep price attached to full spectrum devices began to come down as cheaper cameras hit the market.
With the HD boom in full swing, the market now has plenty of camcorders capable of recording in full 1080p High definition and presents consumers the ability to do so on a budget.
Seven years ago when I purchased my first camcorder with Nightshot I was ahead of the technology curve, but the camera recorded to film, the advent of recording to a flash drive was just around the corner but unbeknownst to many. So I had a camera that could see in the dark but over time the trade off of having to purchase tapes became burdensome. This coupled with the fact that the images just weren’t up to snuff when it came to clarity in today’s HD era left me feeling inadequate. So the search for a replacement camera was underway.
After some research and review reading, I heard rumor of an affordable HD camcorder that filmed in complete darkness with the aid of an IR lamp (which I already had), recorded to a removable SD card, and was also modified to record in full spectrum. When i found the item listed on eBay through A1 Supershops I was skeptical. It was only $169.00 and had free shipping, a free bracket to mount an IR/UV lamp and came with a free 4 GB SD card which allows for 2 hours recording time. It was exactly what I was looking for and the reviews were overall positive and the seller had high marks as a seller.
Considering the low cost of the camera and the free shipping and the additional goodies tossed in at no charge I bit the bullet and paid my money. Two business days later I had in my hand the Aluratek Cinecam modified video camera. And I have to say, this is a powerful little beast that delivers pristine clarity, full spectrum range, high definition video and 12MP full spectrum still shots.
Here are just some of the features that you get with the camera:
Compact Design: This camera is small and lightweight, but don’t let that fool you into thinking that it is poor quality. From what I have experienced just by playing around with it, it is a powerhouse for its size.
Free 4GB SDHC Class 4 Memory Card (supports up to 32GB SDHC Card)
3″ Flip Out LCD Screen
HDMI Cable To Attach To Your HDTV
Runs On Rechargeable Lithium-ion Battery Pack
Comes With All Cables Including HDMI Cable, Wrist Strap, Software, Camera Case and Power Adapter / Charger.
Download to Your Computer With Included USB Cable
The camera comes with a full 30-day warranty by the seller. The original manufacturers warranty has been voided because of the modification to see in the full spectrum, but the modifications have actually made this a better product than the unmodified version. The focus works faster and returns sharper images than the unmodified version. The guys at A1 know their stuff and their feedback rating of 100% positive speaks volumes.
These guys are actually Northern Michigan Paranormal and use the very cameras and equipment sold through the shop. Their name is on the line and they take their products seriously.
Of course if you purchase the camera you will want to pony up another 60 bucks for an IR/UV lamp attachment that is designed specifically for the modified Aluratek Cinecam. The lamp is a beast with 5 IR bulbs and 4 UV bulbs that creates the full-spectrum and night vision combination that allows for full spectrum recording in complete darkness.
The lamp is designed by Coparatech out of Colorado and they too ship fast and have outstanding seller feedback.
I have not yet used this camera on investigations as it is brand new, but just by playing around with it at my house I have to say, I am impressed.
The recording time seems to be around 2 hours continuous use which seems relatively short, but, if you have a power outlet, you can easily charge the camera and it will be ready to go shortly. Additionally, the camera is modified so if you are recording outside, everything takes on a pinkish/magenta hue. This camera is designed for paranormal investigations and seeing the full spectrum of light from IR to UV and everything in between, so do not think you can use this to record a day at the park and expect to see green grass, blooming flowers, and tall green trees. You won’t, you will see a strange color palate that comes from having filters blocking IR and UV light removed.
The only downside I can see to the quality of the camera is that when recording in full 1080P, panning or moving the camera creates excessive jitter. Downgrading the picture quality to 720p from the settings menu fixes this issue. 1080P is fine for mounted cameras that will be stationary on a tripod though.
Speaking of the menu, the navigation between menus and features takes some getting used to. the LCD is not touch screen and toggling back and forth between settings can become infuriating until you get the hang of it. Expect to fumble a recording once or twice in the beginning and chalk it up as a learning curve.
Lastly, the zoom is a nice feature, but image quality deteriorates quickly as you zoom in on objects so use it fleetingly or not at all if you can help it.
They say you get what you pay for, but in the case of A1 Supershops and their fine modified HD camcorder, you get so much more. A great device, a plethora of accessories, a 30-day warranty, and a true HD experience in full-spectrum that eliminates the need for bulky camcorders and clumsy video tape.
Where Can You Buy the Camera: http://myworld.ebay.com/a1supershops/?_trksid=p4340.l2559
Where Can You Buy the Lamp: http://myworld.ebay.com/coparatech/?_trksid=p4340.l2559
Video Courtesy of A1 Supershops (This is legitimate, the quality is this good in real life and in complete darkness. I just haven’t posted my own video yet so I am using the sales video as an example here.)