It is important to understand the growth of CNT-diamond composite films in order to improve the inter-link between two carbon allotropes, and, in turn, their physical properties for field emission and other applications. Isolated diamond particles, continuous diamond thin films, and thin films of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) having non-uniformly distributed diamond particles (CNT-diamond composite films) were simultaneously grown on unseeded, seeded, and catalyst pre-treated substrates, respectively, using a large-area multi-wafer-scale hot filament chemical vapor deposition. Films were deposited for four different growth durations at a given deposition condition. The changes in surface morphology and growth behavior of diamond particles with growth duration were investigated ex situ using field emission scanning electron microscopy and 2D confocal Raman depth spectral imaging, respectively. A surface morphological transition from faceted microcrystalline nature to nanocrystalline nature was observed as a function of growth duration in the case of isolated diamond particles grown on both unseeded and catalyst pre-treated substrates. However, such a morphological transition was not observed on the simultaneously grown continuous diamond thin films on seeded substrates. 2D confocal Raman depth spectral imaging of diamond particles showed that the local growth of CNTs did not affect the growth behavior of neighboring diamond particles on catalyst pre-treated substrates. These observations emphasize the importance of surface chemical reactions at the growth site in deciding sp2 or sp3 carbon growth and the final grain size of the diamond films. © 2014, Springer Science+Business Media New York.