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through the pinhole

April 15, 2007

water tower
A couple of weeks ago I came across a guide to making a pinhole camera out of a small tin. It seemed like a nice idea, and reminded me of walking round Kyoto with Graeme and his brother and their pinhole cameras a couple of summers ago, so I was toying with the idea of trying to make one when it occurred to me that I probably already had the materials to hand to try some pinhole photography there and then. Some digital pinhole photography, in fact. A few minutes later I was ready to go, having set aside my Canon lenses in favour of a pin-pricked piece of black card attached to the camera body with masking tape. And look! It worked!

The pictures I took indoors came out quite dull and misty but they proved the general principle, so a couple of days later I took my hi-tech pinhole camera for a sunny late afternoon wander around the neighbourhood. The results are (obviously) pretty lo-fi, and I had to turn the contrast and saturation up a bit on my computer, but I quite like their grainy, dreamy feel. The speckles, incidentally, are almost certainly an indication that I need to clean the inside of my camera.

Anyway, if anyone else feels like having a go, let me know — I’d love to see the results. I think you could probably place the pinhole over another lens, but you’d have to use longer exposure times (the above were all about a couple of seconds at ISO 100 and propped on a wall and the ground respectively). Experiment is the only way really. The smaller the pinhole the sharper the image should be, but the less light you’ll get (so you’ll need a longer exposure). There’s lots of info on Wikipedia. Good luck.

posted in the U.K.3 comments


  1. Posted by may — April 16, 2007 at 1:20 am

    aww i’ve to try this someday! i love the speckley pics!

  2. Posted by graeme — April 17, 2007 at 5:53 am

    that is such a brilliant, brilliant idea!
    makes me want to buy a digital kiss, just so i can make digital pinholes…!

  3. Posted by lva — April 17, 2007 at 6:15 pm

    Not totally sure, but I reckon with a bit of playing around almost any digital camera will do… or non-digital, for that matter – except you’d probably end up wasting a lot of film.