8X10 pinhole build -

Discussion in 'Pinhole Photography' started by edcculus, Mar 14, 2013.

  1. edcculus

    edcculus Member

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    I'm in the planning stages of an 8X10 pinhole build. I've found most of the links on other threads on pinhole calculators, the one with the 4X5 dimensions (which I've scaled up to 8X10) etc.

    I will be utilizing paper negatives in this camera

    My biggest question - what is the best way to hold the film/paper at the back of the camera. I guess the most ideal would be an 8X10 film holder. I don't own one, so unless anyone can point me in the direction of one for ~$20-30, I'll need another alternative.

    If anyone else has dimensions for their 8X10 build, I'd love to see them. I think I have it figured out, but seeing other designs never hurt. Also, anything you learned while building. No need for us all to repeat the same mistakes!

    For the actual pinhole, I've heard the thinner the material the better? I have access to tons of scrap lithographic printing plates. I'd have to measure the thickness to be sure. Offhand, I'd say about the thickness of a regular business card.
     
  2. jbridges

    jbridges Subscriber

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    You might be deadest on creating your pinhole 100%DIY but I bought laser drilled pinholes from pinholeresources.com and am very impressed. The kit came with about 10 of various sizes with a sheet for recommended focal lengths and times. I make my own crude pinhole cameras too and found outsourcing this step easier. Plus they do a better job then I could ever do.
    I think someone else could help you better on attaching the film holder. My cameras are simple copy paper boxes and I attach my paper with a little bit of gaffers tape. Crude but it works.
    Good luck!
     
  3. edcculus

    edcculus Member

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    Thanks, I'll check out that site. I'm not opposed to buying pre made pinholes. That would take the guesswork out of having to drill my own and figure out exactly how big it is.

    edit: I tried going to pinholeresources.com, but it doesn't bring up a site. Cold you put in a direct link?
     
  4. TheToadMen

    TheToadMen Subscriber

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    The site is temporarily down. Eric posted the following on Flick on March, 6th 2013:

    "The Pinhole Resource website has been down since mid-Febuary because our server abruptly quit. We are trying to get it back up. Call us at 575.536.9942 to order pinhole products or for information.
    Nancy Spencer
    Eric Renner
    www..pinholeresource.com
    "

    I'm not sure, but their email could be: pinhole@gilanet.com
     
  5. Joe VanCleave

    Joe VanCleave Member

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    I made an 8x10 box camera from black foamcore board and black gaffer's tape, with a base of plywood for stability and to keep the center of gravity low to minimize wind-induced vibration atop a tripod.

    I made a storage slot behind the film plane, about 2" deep, with a movable partition that divides the storage space into two parts, one for exposed and one for unexposed paper.

    For attaching the paper to the film plane, I used several pieces of double-sided tape. Provided it's not too sticky, it will detach from the back of RC paper fine. If not, you can use loops of painter's masking tape.

    The camera is changed out/loaded using a changing bag.

    I also build a 5x7 version with similar design, except I cut down 8x10 paper into 5x8 pieces and use the extra 1/2" on either side to hold the paper in place using thin sheet magnets, which are connected via a gaffers tape hinge from the sides, with a sheet of galvanized steel painted black behind the paper at either side, for the magnets to attach to. This system has proven very elegant in operation and easy to reload in the field.

    One thing I've found handy for these kinds of one-shot cameras in the field is a small 3-legged camping stool to sit on while using one's lap to hold the changing bag and camera during the reloading procedure; this is especially handy in situations where there's nothing convenient to sit on.

    ~Joe
     
  6. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    Well, I've been wrestling with the idea of doing an 8x10. I was going to hold off a year, but a week or two back, the devil made me buy two 8x10 film holders off ePrey. My easy way out would be to upscale the 4x5 I built two years ago but I am considering some "enhanced" designs.

    Among my thoughts, a two-part body, at least the larger part with sloped sides, such that the design and focal length could be altered without a complete rebuild. The heavy rubber bands on pegs seemed adequate to hold a 4x5 holder, but I'm leaning toward a sort of lid assembly and catch for 8x10. The previous box was mostly made from scraps found around the workshop, but with the larger pieces required at 8x10 I may have to actually buy some stuff.

    I've tried to organize my thoughts with some drawings in TurboCAD, but I know so little about it and use it so infrequently that I spend more time wrestling with the tools than designing!

    My target would be WPPD the last Sunday in April, so I suppose one of these days the contemplation phase needs to transition to construction. :whistling: Of course I do have three pinhole alternatives to fall back on.
     
  7. ronlamarsh

    ronlamarsh Member

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    another source for quality pinholes is lenox laser
     
  8. edcculus

    edcculus Member

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    Good suggestion on the plywood bottom!
     
  9. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    I was pretty pleased with the home brew pinhole I did for my last 4x5 effort. I used dimple-and-wet-sand with 1 mil brass shim stock, chemically blackened for use. Given that 8x10 would want a larger hole, I would think it would be easier to get good results than with making little tiny ones.
     
  10. NedL

    NedL Subscriber

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    I recently built a prototype 5x7 camera out of double weight black matt board based on Joe's design above. I've used it enough now to learn what I like and what I don't. The storage compartment is handier than it might sound until you've tried it... the alternative is juggling envelopes of exposed and unexposed paper inside your changing bag. It's a great idea and makes it easier to change paper without fingerprints or scratches.

    I too have often wished I had something to sit on... the portable stool is a great idea. A couple of times I've found myself lingering in areas where there was a bench, just because it provided a place to sit and change paper.

    Mine has two minor differences:

    1) The paper is held in place by a mat window that is attached on 3 sides. To load the camera, I slide an unexposed sheet in from the top. This is easy to do in the changing bag and makes a nice 1/8" white border ( black when contact printed. ). I worried that sliding the paper in could scratch the emulsion, but that does not seem to be a problem, at least not that I've noticed yet.

    2) My wooden base is not actually attached to the camera. The camera sits on top of it on the tripod and is held in place by a couple of big rubber bands. That way the same piece of wood with a t-nut can be used for several different cameras.

    I'm contemplating an 8x10 wooden version too. ( But for WPPD my eye is on a popcorn container that will hold a sheet of 11x14... we'll see! )

    Have Fun!

    Ned
     
  11. rbeech

    rbeech Member

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    You should be able to find a 8x10 film holder on ebay for around $20.

    You also will want to attach a 1/4" nut on the bottom and side so you can attache the camera to a tripod.
     
  12. edcculus

    edcculus Member

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    Great stuff guys. Keep it coming!

    I'm scouting out some cheaper film holders on Ebay. Hopefully that will pan out. I think that in the end it will be the most convenient way of handling changing the film (well paper negative). I don't own a changing bag. I'm not opposed to buying one, but other than this project, I haven't needed one yet.
     
  13. NedL

    NedL Subscriber

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    If you are not going to use a changing bag, then I agree some kind of film holders could be useful. You might consider your likely use of the camera too... a simple box is easy to make or find, and you might be able to make several in the time it takes to make one that will accommodate a film holder.

    A "single shot" camera isn't awful, and it has some positive side effects. I often take my coffee can camera out with a single piece of paper in it knowing that I can only make one picture. There is a certain mindset that happens when you know you only have one exposure to make, and I enjoy it and like the "finality" of it and wondering how it will come out as I drive home. I have some old cameras that I use this way too and it makes the selection and taking of the photograph special... it focuses your attention! The changing bag and extra paper come along when it will be a longer photo day.

    With 8x10 negatives, since I will be planning to contact print them, I can imagine mostly working this way even if I have the ability to change paper in the field. Making two or three simple cameras instead of a more complicated one for film holders or changeable paper is something I'll consider.
     
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  15. edcculus

    edcculus Member

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    hey, not a bad idea at all. I never really considered that. No reason I couldn't build 2 or 3 of these things, load them all in the darkroom and take them with me. As long as I stay close to the car, I'd be good.
     
  16. NedL

    NedL Subscriber

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    Add a simple wood plank base for the tripod, with some small bungee cords to attach one after the other! I'm talking myself into this approach too!
     
  17. TheToadMen

    TheToadMen Subscriber

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    PM sent
     
  18. Joe VanCleave

    Joe VanCleave Member

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    I've built a number of simple craft-box or foamcore box cameras, using as a common support a piece of wood with tripod nut and several brass hooks on the sides to attached bungee cords. The wooden base gets attached to the tripod head and I can carry several box cameras in my backpack.

    Alternatively, I've also built foamcore box cameras with a storage compartment in the back for exposed and unexposed sheets, changed out using a changing bag. For these types of cameras I build the bottom of the foamcore box onto a dedicated piece of wood, with tripod nut built in. Then, all I need is a large changing bag carried in a small daypack, plus light meter, notebook and tripod.

    ~Joe
     
  19. NedL

    NedL Subscriber

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    Hi Joe, I just added the hooks on Saturday and got some "mini" bungee cords. Simple, effective and works like a charm! And the hooks can hold the cords when not in use! Simple things like this make it easier to concentrate on making the photo... thanks!
     
  20. edcculus

    edcculus Member

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    I'm traveling for the next 2 weekends, so my end of this build is going slow. Updates when I get something ready!
     
  21. Joe VanCleave

    Joe VanCleave Member

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    Another simple camera idea is to go to Hobby Lobby and find those photo/video storage boxes. They have one that's covered in black felt, including the lid where it wraps under and mates with the body of the box that also is covered with felt. Meaning that the storage box comes from the store already light-tight, all you have to do is cut a small hole in the center of the lid for the pinhole and shutter (I use a rotating piece of Masonite secured by a small machine screw and nut as a shutter).

    The lid can be kept secure by several large rubber bands (or several small bungee cords).

    The inside of the box is not quite tall enough for 8x10 paper, so you simply curve the paper slightly and it will fit fine in the bottom of the box.

    This is the easiest box to convert to pinhole that I've yet found in a store.

    ______________

    Another idea are those black with aluminum trim file storage boxes at office supply stores. These have a slot and groove fastener for the lid, which you need to paint flat black, but otherwise these boxes can be light-tight as-is, provided the hinges are not flimsy and the lid is able to lock securely to the body of the box.

    The ones I've seen at Staples are lined on the inside with a black, felt-like fabric, all you would need to do is cut a hole in one side for the pinhole and shutter, and fix a simple plate on the other side to secure the paper or film.

    Or affix arm sleeves to the box and you could change out the paper in the field?

    And I think some of these boxes are legal-sized, meaning they might fit 11x14 paper.

    ~Joe
     
  22. NedL

    NedL Subscriber

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    We don't have "hobby lobby" here, but I've seen those paper photo/video boxes at our local craft store. They were on sale for less than $4 each a couple weeks ago. I don't know if the version I saw has felt or not. I measured 7.5 inches wide, and gave up on it without considering that the photo paper could be curved a little. I made my 8.5 x 10.5 x 5 box on Saturday out of 6 pieces of black mat board... so totally homemade, but it probably took me 2 hours of time to make it. The lid is attached on only one side like a hinge, and then I made a simple cover ( like those video boxes have ) that fits tightly over that. The combination of the lid and cover seems to be light tight so far. It is totally fun and I was thrilled to see what an 8x10 paper negative looks like!!!

    Here's the one from yesterday, with the mat board box held to pine board with t-nut on tripod with Joe's hooks+bungee! This negative looks really neat.

    8593048060_027e17752f.jpg
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 26, 2013
  23. Joe VanCleave

    Joe VanCleave Member

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    Ned, that's a fine image, you should be proud. It's amazing what a simple pinhole box and paper can do in the hands of someone talented.

    ~Joe
     
  24. NedL

    NedL Subscriber

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    Joe, that means a lot to me coming from you. Thank you.
     
  25. edcculus

    edcculus Member

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    Ned, thats a great image!!! Is that a scan of the paper negative and reverse it in the computer, or did you contact print it onto paper for the positive image?

    Joe, thanks for the idea of the photo box. I may have to try that out since its essentially a cheap "off the shelf" pinhole box. Any idea on where to start with pinhole size?
     
  26. NedL

    NedL Subscriber

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    Thanks! That one is an inverted scan, but I do like contact prints. I just got a new contact frame ( the photographers formulary one ) and my first impression is that it will work really well. I've had trouble with softness ( and a weird sort of "swirlyness" that's hard to describe ) when using a thin piece of glass from a cheap picture frame.

    I put a couple photos of my camera on my flickr page.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 27, 2013