buzzybee's blog

Digital Pinhole Photography

posted by buzzybee, Apr 16, 2007 2:22 PM — 9 comments

Step 1:

Take the camera body cap ... which if you're anything like me, is still in your camera's original box!

Step 2:

Drill a small hole ... approx. 3-4mm in diameter in the centre of the camera body cap.

Step 3:

Place the cap on a piece of cardboard and draw around it in ink pen. Cut out the circle and gently make a hole in the centre with a needle or pin.

Step 4:

Put double sided sticky tape around the outside of the card circle and stick it on the inside of the camera body cap. Make sure the pin hole is showing through the centre of the hole you have previously drilled out.

Step 5:

Screw the "new" camera body cap onto the camera and voila.. you have your digital pinhole camera.

Step 6:

Go out and shoot. Remember with pinhole photography you need long exposures. It's a great opportunity to be able to photograph moving objects as you can get some really interesting effects.

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I will put some of my efforts in my gallery shortly. I propose that we celebrate World Pinhole Photography Day on April 29th and share our images the following week.
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Comments | RSS

1. posted by mkdieb, Apr 16, 2007 8:40 PM

what a great idea! i think im going to try it!! i had just been reading about older pin hole cameras and this is perfect timing!!


2. posted by lolajuice, Apr 22, 2007 9:56 AM

Can't wait to see your pinhole pics...


3. posted by cslcsl, May 11, 2007 8:12 AM

I've followed your instructions but I can't seem to get any of my photos in focus... what am I doing wrong? Thanks in advance.


4. posted by wootz, May 14, 2007 10:39 PM

I was thinking about the same, but you already worked it out! Please upload some of your pinhole photo's, can't wait to see them!


5. posted by paula, May 23, 2007 9:55 PM

Hurry and put your efforts up so we can see what me might expect to strive for.
I absolutely love the idea and have always wanted a pinhole camera without the hassle. Now I can take shot after shot and view the results and improve faster.
Thanks so much - the best lessons are simple ones on which one can build with their own creativity.


6. posted by buzzybee, Jun 4, 2007 2:28 AM

Hi... sorry not to have got any of my photos online or replied to this blog for sometime, but I've had a hectic few months. I'm off to NZ on Friday for a break and a chance to photograph some beautiful scenary. I'm taking my pinhole setup and promise to put them online when I get back.

Now, in answer to cslcsl's question re the focus. It's all to do with the size of the pinhole you have created. With an ordinary camera where you're using a lens, the depth of focus (DOF) reduces as the aperture increases. However with a pinhole camera because you are dealing with a very small aperture the camera essentially acts as if it has infinite DOF. I don't want to get all scientific about how the pinhole camera works, but if you are interested check out, [EXT http://homepages.inf.ed.ac.uk/rbf/CVonline/LOCAL_C- OPIES/DRAPER2/L01.pdf]this URL[/EXT]

The things which can affect the focus of your pinhole camera is if you have rough edges on the pinhole or most likely that it is too small. Try making different sized holes and experiment, but there is an excellent explanation [EXT http://www.pinhole.cz/en/pinholecameras/pinhole_01- .html]here[/EXT] on making the actual hole. The exact science of creating the exact sized hole was perfected by the British Nobel prize winner, Lord Rayleigh, of Rayleigh waves fan (for those of you interested in physics).

Good luck and let us know how you get on!


7. posted by buzzybee, Jun 4, 2007 2:29 AM

oops... my external linking didn't work too well.. sorry about that!


8. posted by harmeet, Jun 18, 2007 1:45 AM

same here.
Has anybody tried this? If so please post some pics online so I can see exactly how this works before I de-face my camera's cap.


9. posted by hilstu, Jul 16, 2009 7:12 PM

Pinhole photography by nature does not give very sharp results, and that's much of the reason we choose this style.

However, because the card stock use for the hole is still relatively thick, this will give a very diffused (or unsharp) look to the results--perhaps a bit too unsharp for some purposes where you'd want to retain a certain level of finer details.

As an alternative for when you want a slightly sharper image (but still, an image that will retain the "pinhole camera" look), use foil instead of cardboard. (Even better, try to buy a piece of .005" thick brass from a hobby shop to use instead of foil, as it's going to be much stiffer than the foil, and so more durable against damage.)

After drilling the hole, take a bit of steel wool and polish both sides to remove any burrs that drilling may have caused. A very fine emery board will work, too. The brass will also work better here, as catching a burr in the foil may just tear or distort the hole in the foil, but the brass is stiff enough to stand up to heaving burnishing with either steel wool or emery board.

As a last step, you might blacken the side of the brass or foil that faces into the camera so it's non-reflective.

Try the method with cardboard first, and if it gives the results you desire, no need to go further. But if you'd like a bit more detail for some shots, try the foil or sheet brass. You'll then have alternative looks for your pinhole imaging, using your "interchangable lens" pinhole camera!

Ron Hildebrand

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