Making My Pinhole Camera

BmNiOvWCcAEfqexAfter this mornings “Photoshop Sunday” post, I felt it was good but kind of out of the spirit of celebrating pinhole photography. Writing and sharing an image that was faking the whole thing. I was sitting on the sofa eating my Sunday brunch and googled “making pinhole cameras”.

To be honest it is quite easy to make a pinhole camera, the art is in perfecting it. Using my researched knowledge I went down the route of converting one of my old cameras, Canon 300d. This conversion method won’t actually destroy the camera, so it is still usable and I could easily port the conversion over to my other canon cameras. The method I used was involved taking the body cap and drilling a hole in the middle of it. Now a body cap cost about $3 to replace and I have a few kicking around and not a huge expense.

First I found the centre of my body cap and marked it with chalk. I then got out my wooden stool (this is our decorating stool, that I really don’t care what happens to), taped down my cap and drilled a large hole in its centre.
I drilled a large hole because really pinhole needs to be tiny. There is some complex maths you can use to determine the size of the hole, to be honest it’s in the name of this type of photography. A pinhole sized hole.

When creating camera obscures with my students we had to create a pinhole aperture and I used tin/aluminium foil, unfortunately I had run out and I had to improvise. I used some silver tape I had left over from putting the down the insolation foam. I stuck this over the hole got out my trusty pin and made a hole.

Now it was time to experiment. I set my camera down with my release cable and took a shot of my living room. The first few exposures were too dark but by reviewing the image with the histogram I was able to gage how far out I was.  When I got my first ok exposure the image was very faint although I could see details. I took the cap of the camera and held it up to the light. That’s when I saw that the silver tape was not completely blocking the light and there was a faint glow. I ripped this off and started thinking of something else to use.

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My new/old #canon #pinhole camera

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My eye was drawn to my Holga covered in my trusty black tape. I have to cover my Holga with it because it leaks light like a sieve.  I went looking for my black tape and put a bit across the hole and it was perfect, except when it came to piercing the hole. Once the hole was made for some reason the bit that was pushed aside would spring back and recover part of the hole making it smaller than I wanted. My wife then had an idea, “why not heat the pin and the melt your hole as you pierce it”. Eureka.

I headed to the balcony where my cat was basking in the sun and photographed him.

Pinhole test kryton

The image was not bad except that he moved and his head is blurred.

Next I thought a shameless selfy was in order. For this I attached my flash to reduce the exposure but it was still 0.5 seconds.

Pinhole self Portrait

The image isn’t so bad but it is quite soft on me but the background is sharper. I like the black and white conversion.

Then my battery died, well I hadn’t used the camera in a long time, so I put them on charge.

Once one was charged I loaded it back into the camera as the sun was setting and I wanted to get one more shot.

Pinhole sunset

This shot I really like, and it is the best of the three in my opinion.

Although I am pleased with the conversion of the camera I think I need to experiment with different hole sizes and technique in using the camera, a lot of images feel soft looking at them. I have also found that this system of taking pinhole images is attracting a lot of dust to the sensor, I have had to clean it twice since doing this. I am glad that I tried out making my own digital pinhole. I am considering it would be worth buying a pinhole adapted cap which might solve these problems and give me consistent images. Anyway I have a fun camera to play with.

Has this inspired you to create your own pinhole camera or do you already have one? Have you done anything for Pinhole day, still not too late to join in?

Let me know any thoughts in the comment section below.

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