Pinhole color film recommendation

Discussion in 'Pinhole Photography' started by narsuitus, Nov 27, 2005.

  1. narsuitus

    narsuitus Member

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    Recently, I have been experimenting with a pinhole camera. My main regret is that I did not do this experimenting back during the days when I was shooting and developing a lot of black & white film.

    My question is, which color films (slide or print) (sheet or roll) work better with pinhole cameras?
     
  2. PhotoPete

    PhotoPete Member

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  3. Donald Qualls

    Donald Qualls Member

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    If you prefer C-41 (or have a lab that can do it locally, but not the same for E-6), you might also look at Fuji Superia 100. From my reading, it needs no reciprocity correction out to 120 seconds -- which will cover a lot of interiors and practically all daylight situations, even at ISO 100. Best of all, Superia has the latitude of negative film -- more of your exposures will make good final images.
     
  4. PhotoPete

    PhotoPete Member

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    Actually, the Fuji Provia is better than the Velvia, but the exposure latitude is smaller for sure with E-6. The right lightmeter will go a long way to making you happy with your pinhole slides. What format will you be shooting?
     
  5. narsuitus

    narsuitus Member

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    I am using an Argus C3 that I converted to a pinhole camera. If I don't get the results I like in 35mm, I will convert a 120 camera or build a large format sheet film pinhole camera.

    I just tried the Fuji Provia and like the way it handles long exposures. However, I don't like having to bracket like crazy to get a decent exposure. If I go with the 4x5 or 8x10 inch sheet film format, I cannot afford to bracket as much as I do with 35mm.

    Next I will try the Fuji Superia 100. Hopefully, the wider exposure latitude of this color print film will allow me to shoot without so much bracketing.
     
  6. Lukas Werth

    Lukas Werth Member

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    Whatever you take, my advice is use print film, as it can handle much more contrast, and has a much larger exposure latitude than slide film. And, I would use a 400 ASA film.
     
  7. Poptart

    Poptart Member

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    With pinhole color the trick is to use a contrasty film, because pinholes naturally produce a low-contast result.
     
  8. Donald Qualls

    Donald Qualls Member

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    That depends on the camera, Poptart. I've got one, a converted Balda Baldixette (retracting lens 6x6 on 120) that, due to a combination of factors affecting pinhole placement inside the camera, acts as if it has both a lens hood and an internal baffle to capture stray light; I get images that look just like those from a lens camera except for the pinhole "almost sharp" and near-infinite DOF.

    I'll attach an example...
     

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  9. Lukas Werth

    Lukas Werth Member

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    To the best of my knowledge, this is wrong. Much depends on the camera construction, of course, but the long exposures alone often necessitate reduced development. And, contrasty films tend to have less exposure latitude.
     
  10. pgomena

    pgomena Member

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    I have found that pinhole negatives tend to be far lower in contrast than lens- photograph negatives. I usually give my b&w pinhole negatives N+1 development just to give them some zip. (N+1 as tested for my lens-camera development time). This includes negatives exposed for as long as two weeks in very low levels of light. High-contrast scenes I usually give normal development instead of N-1. My usual pinhole film is Tri-X, in 4x5 and 8x10.

    I have used both normal and higher contrast color negative films in my pinhole cameras and prefer the higher contrast film. The diffraction inherent in pinhole images just makes for a flatter image. In bright sun with heavy shadows, though, I probably would choose a normal contrast film.

    Peter Gomena
     
  11. Lukas Werth

    Lukas Werth Member

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    Do you mean diffusion? But yes, on second thoughts, there should be something in it if several people report it. I have seen instructions for making pinhole cameras advocating additional walls inside the camera to reduce stray light. However, my own experience is that it is wise to take care that the shadows receive enough exposure, and if they do, in many motives the highlights tend to become quite dense. In addition, there is the light fall-off in the periphery. Such variables should also depend, at least partly, apart from camera construction on preferred motives and image widths.
     
  12. Donald Qualls

    Donald Qualls Member

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    I don't think it's either diffraction or diffusion that's causing the low contrast commonly seen in pinhole images. Rather, it's flare -- specifically, what large format photographers call "bellows flare", caused when a lens with too large an image circle is used; bright light then scatters from the inside of the bellows (or lens cone, or camera chamber) and produces an overall fog on the film that reduces contrast.

    As I said before, I have one camera that doesn't do it at all (i.e. produces images of about normal contrast for the film and development), which I believe is due to a hyper-efficient internal baffle and de facto lens shade resulting from the conversion of the lens to pinhole. Additionally, my AutoPin Polaroid 210 shows very little flare and thus good contrast (with prints for which I have little or no contrast control), probably (I think) because the folds of the bellows capture more light than they scatter. By contrast, a couple of my other cameras that were originally made with lenses that barely covered the format, and converted to the ultra-wide coverage of a pinhole, give pretty normal contrast in controlled light, but flare terribly with a bright sky even just outside the frame.

    Light fall-off can be an issue, but doesn't really affect perceived contrast, which isn't really the full-frame brightness ratio but rather on a scale just above the micro-contrast that influences perceived sharpness. In addition, reduced perceived sharpness tends to reduce the perceived contrast as well -- scenes with the same brightness range will look less contrasty if slightly fuzzy than if perfectly sharp.
     
  13. pgomena

    pgomena Member

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    Good points, Donald. Diffraction certainly will cause "fuzziness", and a fuzzier image will look less contrasty than a sharp one, and flare will kill contrast. Thinking back to my various pinhole contraptions, the more flare present at the time of exposure, the lower the contrast of the images. On occasions where I was shooting in overcast conditions with the sky to my back, my pinhole images were contrastier. A lens shade apparently is important even if there is no lens present, and internal baffling will help reduce flare. I found that images I made in a high-contrast situation with an old clamshell 5x7 camera produced the grainiest pinhole images I've made yet. Now I have an idea why -- Lots of light bouncing around inside.

    Peter Gomena