MAKE A PINHOLE CAMERA
You can produce a working camera with simple materials~
scissors, and needle
Materials (above) include
cork, #10 needle,
paper, aluminum foil.
Push needle through
cork (left). Sandwich
foil between sheets of
paper. Place combination
(below) on soft
wood; press with cork.
How to make the pinhole
you don't know what you're
missing if you've never made a
pinhole camera and taken pictures
with it. Not only do you get a sense
of accomplishment from taking photographs
with such simple equipment-a
cardboard box with a hole
in it-but the kinds of good pictures
you can take are almost unlimited.
Anybody can make one of these
fascinating devices. All you need is
some cardboard, black photographic
tape, India ink, scissors or an Exacto
knife, a piece of aluminum foil, and
a fine needle. You can follow the
simple plans we have supplied or
you can design a camera of your
own once you understand the principles
on which it operates.
Physically, the camera is made up
of two cardboard boxes. (A more
complex pinhole camera will have
three boxes.) Each box has an open
end, and one box is slightly smaller
than the other so that both can fit
Construction plan for a simple one-shot camera
Plan (left) for making 4x5 oneshot
sheet-film pinhole camera.
When working on hinged back,
paste base tracks (see crosssection
drawing) 41;\6 inches
apart. Wider tracks (A) that
hold film in place are pasted
over base tracks. Key to detail
of front: (B) square cardboard
cutout holding almninum foil
to front, (C) foil, (D) pinhole,
(E) cardboard flap used as shutter,
(F) front of camera. Pictures
(right) show assembled
parts and complete camera. 1.
Hinged back open on camera
front (left), camerl). back (right).
2. Rubber band holds shutterflap
up and front and back together.
3. Shutter flap openfor exposure.
Photographs by Joseph Foldes
You c:an make either a wide-angle or telephoto pinhole camera. Area covered depends on film-to-pinhole distance. Both pictures were
made from same position; left, picture made on camera with pinhole 8Y2 inches from film, and right, shot with pinhole 3 inches from film.
Here's the completed camera
1 2 3
together forming a light-tight unit.
The front, smaller box, has a small
hole in it which acts as the lens. A
piece of film is placed inside the
back of the rear box either by using
tape or the more elaborate slot system.
(Loading must be done in
complete darkness, of course.)
How does the pinhole act as a
lens? Theoretically, t~le pinhole is
so small that it admits only one ray
of light from any given point on
objects in front of the camera. Light
rays enter the pinhole from all
points and form an image on the inside
of the camera. The sharpness
of the image depends on the size of
the hole. The smaller the hole
(aperture), the sharper the image.
First, let's consider plans for making
two types of pinhole camerasthe
simple one-shot, and the sheetfilm-type
camera, and second, how to
take indoor and outdoor pictures
(If you own a press-type camera
and don't want to go to the trouble
of making the box, you can turn this
camera into a pinhole type by substituting
for the lens a piece of
aluminum foil with a pinhole in it.
The foil can be fastened over the
opening on the front standard of the
camera with black photographic
tape to insure against light leaks.)
A plan for the simple one-shot
camera appears on page 46. ''''ith
this camera only one picture can be
taken during a shooting session. The
photographer using this pinhole
camera must go into the darkroom
or use a loading bag to unload and
reload before making another shot.
The hinged back allows for easy
loading of sheet film, and is extra
protection against light leaks.
Once you have cut out the pieces
of cardboard, blackened them on
the inside with diluted India ink,
and assembled them into box form,
you are (Continued on page go)
How to build a pinhole camera for use with film packs
Pinhole camera with film pack
back allows photographer to shoot
more than one negative during a
session without running to darkroom.
Three boxes (right) must
be constructed. Inner box fits
into back (illustrated opposite
page). Front fits over these boxes.
String or rubber band holds
wlits together. Pinhole is made
as illustrated on page 46 and
taped inside the front box.
Inner Box Back Front
Only your imagination
limits types of
pictures you can make
Ac:tion pic:ture made with pinhole
camera and 2 speedlights
placed within 18 inches of subject.
Kodak Super Panchro-Press
Type B film was forced in DK-50
at 68 degrees for 25 minutes.
Outdoor portrait was made with
a 16-second exposure. The
model leaned motionless on rock.
Still life was made with two
#2 photofioods, 3 - feet from objects,
and 60-second exposure.
Make a Pinhole Camera
(Continued jrompage 48)
ready to make your "lens." The pinhole
itself is made in a small square piece of
aluminum foil, the kind used around
kitchens. (See page 46 for step-by-step
illustrations.) Place the aluminum foil between
two pieces of smooth writing paper
and then put this "sandwich" on a soft
wood support. A drawing board is good.
Now, using a #10 sewing needle, push the
needle through the combination. This will
leave a hole about 1/100 inch in diameter.
(The needle can be pushed through a
cork first so that you don't accidentally
make a bigger hole than you need when
pressing down on the paper and foil.)
Remove the aluminum foil carefully
from between the papers and tape it
over the opening in the cardboard on
the front end of your pinhole camera.
A heavy rubber band can be used to
keep the front and back sections of the
camera together. Remember, all loading
or unloading must be done under darkness
of a loading bag or a darkroom when
using this single-shot camera.
A step beyond the simple one-shot
pinhole camera is the film-pack pinhole.
Extra effort is required to make this
unit, but it pays off. The photographer
with a sheet-film-pack pinhole has 12
times the shooting power of his fellow
photographer who has a single-shot camera.
The "pack" pinhole allows several
different exposures or test exposures to
be made of a scene with only the pull of
the black tabs in the pack. (Plans for
"pack" pinhole are on pages 48-49.)
Extreme care must be taken when
working on the film-pack back of the
camera. If you use the plans given here,
a piece of heavy black velvet should be
attached to the outer, front side of the
back slot in the pack. The cloth will
make the back light-tight.
A few "do's" to remember while working
on either of the cameras: paint the
inside surfaces of your camera with diluted
India ink to insure that stray light
rays are not reflected inside the camera.
Check the edges and corners of the
camera for light leaks. Seal any leaks
with pieces of black photographic tape.
Cut pieces for the camera with great
care so parts will fit together well.
Here's what makes a picture:
FILM: Since pinhole apertures vary
from about f/192 to f/384, you should
use a fast panchromatic film in order to
be able to give shorter exposures. Color
pictures can be made also with pinhole
cameras. In color work, only tests will
give you an idea of how to expose properly,
and what filters to use.
EXPOSURE: For a pinhole camera
which has a "lens" made with a #10
needle, and placed 5 inches from a fast
panchromatic film, the following exposures
might serve as a guide: (For best
results run exposure tests. Shoot several
shots, varying the time on each.
Develop normally and choose the best
negative for a standard of exposure.)
Bright subject in full sunlight, 8 seconds,
under thin clouds, 20 seconds: Average
subjects, in full sunlight 16 seconds,
under thin clouds, 40 seconds. Dark
subjects, under full sunlight, 40 seconds,
under thin clouds, 100 seconds. Indoors
use two #2 photo-flood lamps, one on
each side of the subject, pointed at it
from 3 feet away. Expose 1 minute.
PROCESSING: It is best to develop
film by inspection. However, the above
exposure guides are based on development
in Kodak Dektol, diluted one part
stock solution to three parts water, for
4 min at 68-degrees F with agitation.
VIEWFINDER: The most common way
of judging what areas will be included
in a picture made by a pinhole camera
is to sight from the center, back part of
the camera, at eye level, using the front
corners of the camera to designate the
right and left hand limits of the picture.
By holding your hand about 4 or 5
inches above the front section (this depends
on whether you're taking a
vertical or horizontal picture with your
4x5 camera), you can get an approximate
idea of your coverage.
FOCUSING: Since the "lens" opening
is somewhere within a few points on
either side of f/200, you need not worry
about focusing. Your picture will be as
sharp in foreground as background.
IMAGE SIZE: This depends primarily
on the distance of the film from the pinhole.
If the pinhole is 3 inches from a
4x5 piece of film it will produce a wideangle
effect. Using the sam~ film, but
moving the .pinhole 5 inches away, you
will get a view that could be classified
as "normal." Using the pinhole beyond
the normal focal length for 4x5 film will
start producing a telephoto effect. You
must remember that as you increase the
focal length of your pinhole camera, that
you are increasing the time of exposure
also. If on a pinhole camera with a
5-inch focal length the exposure in
bright sunlight is 16 seconds, the exposure
for a pinhole camera 10 inches
long will be slightly more than 4 times,
or about 70 seconds. For extra long pinhole
cameras it is best to run exposure
SHUTTER: Since most pinhole exposures
are long, a cardboard piece
hinged over the front of the pinhole
camera can act as a shutter. It is operated
manually. With flash, electronic or
flash bulbs, the duration of the light acts
as the shutter. The open-flash system is
used when working with flash. Open the
shutter, fire, and then close it.-I!!!