There are many myths about vampires - the whole garlic thing, crucifixes and holy water, and of course the whole matter of reflections.

According to many tales a vampire will cast no reflection when in front of a mirror; in addition, a vampire's image can not be caught on film. So what then of digital cameras?

Before we tackle that question, we should first know why the myth exists in the first place. Mirrors were thought to show a person's soul. As a vampire has no soul (unless he is Angel) we must logically conclude that there will be no reflection. The same hold true for film and photographs - they too were thought to be creating an image of the soul. (Interestingly enough, some people were even afraid to have a picture taken of them, for fear of having their soul stolen!)

Based on these assumptions we must then conclude that a vampire would not show up in a picture taken by a digital camera for any mechanical device that reproduces and image of a being is actually only capturing their essence or soul.

But wait! The story of the nosferatu extends further back than the history of film - so why then was photography adapted to the tale?
Early cameras relied heavily on mirrors to capture the subject, and then burn it into the film. (Pardon my basic knowledge - if I am wrong please feel free to let me know!) Therefore it would be impossible to photograph a vampire because his lack of reflection would assure that nothing got put onto the film.

But now back to the original question - Could one photograph a vampire with a digital camera? To my knowledge no mirrors are used within them (though I have no to play with or dissect - donations are accepted!) and thus the concern over reflections is moot.

What does this all mean? I don't know. It was just a random thought that occured to me recently.

Who knows, maybe someday see a legitimate, non-porn, non-angst-ridden-goth VampireCam.com!

A vampire would not show up on a digital camera image, as the elements used to capture the pixels involve light receptive cells that are functionally the equivalent to mirrors. A vampire has no corporeal form that any known physical device would be able to detect. (Outside of the bizarro end of quantum physics) They stand at the intersection between the plane of the living and that of the dead. They are neither in this world or the next, so any mechanism that can reflect or absorb light bounced off of matter in only one of these planes cannot detect them. Ergo, a digital camera cannot record a vampire.

A person can see a vampire as the human mind/spirit/whatever is bound to the plane of the dead by their inescapable mortality. We also have to bring in the fact that vampires can change their form, and influence the minds of mortals. The camera has no mind to influence (except maybe some fuzzy logic focussing mechanism, but that is probably too crude and artificial for the vampire's inate and ancient methods of hypnotism to affect).

Oh yeah, and vampires don't exist, negating the who argument.

But if the silver argument is true, why don't they have shadows? Except Nosferatu did. But it was cast by the Moon. Curiouser and curiouser.

Actually the vampire would show up on a digital camera. The actual myth is that SILVER does not reflect vampires. The fluids used to develop film contain silver and mirrors used to be made of silver. So in turn unless a digital camera used silver wiring and LSD (Liquid Silver Display) then a vampire would show up in the preview, but if it were printed using silver based ink then he would not be in the printout.


Oh yeah same as fondue it is all hypothetical because real vampires don't exist, just crazy people who drink blood.

Given: the image of a vampire is not reflected or captured by silver

Most digital cameras have a simple lens and CCD behind them. There are no mirrors involved in these cameras. A digital camera (and similar video cameras) would likely (but not necessarily) capture the image of a vampire.

Going off subject to film cameras we get a rather different issue that becomes interesting to explore (that does have some repercussions back upon the digital camera).

First the type of camera makes a difference. A simple point and shoot camera like the disposable Kodak cameras would have no problems at all as they do not involve any mirrors. In most of these cases, the optics is a simple hole in the box that approximates the viewing area (leading to parallax error, but that has nothing to do with vampires) and anywhere from a plastic aspherical lens element to maybe two or three glass elements. No mirrors.

However, the TLR (Twin Lens Reflex) and SLR (Single Lens Reflex) cameras involve a mirror - that is what the "R" stands for - reflex. This would reveal itself as you just can't see the vampire through the camera making it very difficult to focus on the vampire. Realize, this makes the use of telescopes and telephoto reflex lenses right out of the question too (the moon could be populated by vampires and we could never see them through a modern reflector telescope - have to go back and check with the refractors). A view camera, being a very large point and shoot would allow for this. Sharq notes that the older 6x6 Polaroid type cameras do use a mirror between the lens and the film for enlargement of the image onto the film. Meanwhile, the newer Polaroid cameras use a drastically smaller film. Once again, there is a 'however' that brings us to the second issue.

Silver halide is used in all types of film (and glass plates). When exposed to light, the silver halide crystals become reduced (as opposed to oxidized). From this it can safely be assumed that a vampire's image cannot be captured on film and that all movies that include vampires are done by actors who have some soul (they may have sold it, but there is a soul somewhere).

Interestingly, at the dawn of photography silver halide was not used to capture the light. Silver halide was first used in 1839 while the first pictures were taken in 1826. These early photographs used asphalt as the "film" - though it took about 5 days to properly expose the "film". In theory, this early photography could capture a vampire's image if the vampire was cooperative enough to lie in the sun for 5 days. Clearly, given the subject, this is impractical. There may be some films where a different compound is used for sensitivity in other areas of the spectrum such as infrared and ultraviolet. However, I am uncertain if this is the case (and suspect it is still silver based). Not to mention the fact that vampires are rather cold being undead - the best bet is ultraviolet. The difficulty with ultraviolet is that it is not transmitted by glass and would require a special (and expensive) lens.

Returning back to the issue of vampires and digital photography, there is the question as to if this is silver, or if any reflective metallic surface will work. If this is not the case, then it seems rather unlikely that a digital camera, filled with shining thing-er-magis will be able to record a vampire's presence. Even if it was, gold and silver are often used in electronics for their excellent conductivity (especialy gold which does not oxidize). Silver may very well be used in the CCDs too.


http://www.kodak.com/US/en/corp/researchDevelopment/whatWeDo/
http://www.ftc.gov/opp/global/fknr_tst.htm
http://www.calpoly.edu/~bdillon/report.html

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