pinhole camera



The pinhole camera: Focal Length (for 4x5 sheet film): 98mm
Pinhole Size: 0.22mm
Field of View: ~110degrees horizontal
Pinhole Aperture: f/445
Format, 4x10, 5x10, 4x5. etc..



The total cost:
Box for camera: Free, found around the house
Lens: Free, made from coke can
Paper Developer: $4.95 (enough for over 200 pictures)
Rapid Fixer: $4.95 (enough for over 200 pictures)
3 large plastic trays. Free, found around the house.
1 Safelight bulb. $12 at a photography shop.
Paper (or film): $15 for 25 8x10 sheets of . Enough for 50 4x10" inch photos.

This one is mine. As you can see it is made out of a Smashing Pumpkins - Aeroplane Flies High box set. This box is very ridged and has 2 layers of thick cardboard on the walls, the lid has only 1 layer of cardboard. Surrounding the cardboard seems to be a plastic vinyl material. The lid is hinged.

I had to add about 1/2" of a electrical tape around the edge of the camera. This acts as a light baffle and stopped the light leaks that were causing problems. It seals quite nicely to the lid, its soft and plyable.

(an example of the light leaks)

The shutter is very simple. Its just like putting your hand in front of an open lens. The shutter is just a piece of plastic that slides around on a screw. I move it with my hand. A common exposure for bright sunlight with this camera is around 1 minure 30 seconds.

After the time for the exposure has elapsed I swivel the plastic and close the opened shutter.

The film, or paper is put inside in a U fasion. This seems to keep the focal length nearly equal for all parts of the film. Leaving it in generally the same amount of sharpness throughout.

I used duct tape to attach the pinhole to the front of the camera. I had previously used electrical tape but it did not hold very well.

After taking the camera outside, opening the shutter for the required time, closing it and returning inside. I enter the room with the safelight. Remove the sheet of 'blank' paper from the camera and put it into a container of Developer. After 2 minutes I wash the print with warm water from a faucet for 30 seconds as my stop bath. Once thats complete I put the paper into the Fixer tray for at least 2 minutes, usually about 5. I then rinse the paper and turn on the light to inspect the image.. It is washed for 10 minutes after this in running water. The dark time of whole process takes about 5 minutes, the rest can be done with lights on.

This is a 'contact print'. What was done to make it was to place the negative (white image above) on top of a new sheet of photo paper, Emulsion to emulsion. Place a sheet of glass over this so its pressed flatly down and perfectly flat together. Then some light is showin on the sandwhich for a few seconds. It makes a positive 'normal' copy of the image. This image in particular is an 8x10" print from a 4x10" negative.

Another contact print. This one was trimmed. As you can see this system provides fairly decent quality.