What film to use in ahomemade pinhole camera ?

Discussion in 'Pinhole Photography' started by BADGER.BRAD, Jun 8, 2017.

  1. BADGER.BRAD

    BADGER.BRAD Member

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    I'm not quite there yet but at some point in the future I would love to have a go with a homemade pinhole camera. I just wondered if there was a generally used film size for pinhole cameras ? is it possible to use 35mm ? Has anyone done so ? Can anyone suggest any good how to vids or sites to have a look at ? Can you use a film camera as a starting point with out a lens ? this is a project that as a beginner I'd love to have a go at along with processing film/astro photograph/ infra red and Macro plus most likely a much more I come across as my knowledge expands.

    Thanks all
     
  2. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    Litho film is fun to use. You can load and process it under a red safe light...and comes in big sizes. Another cheap option is X-ray film. It can also be used with a red safe light, tends to be faster than litho film, and a little easier contrast control. Sheets up to 14x17 (and some larger).

    Photo paper is another option. A 4x5 as a pinhole camera is an easy way to start -- load up a bunch of holders with paper, or other options...play with the distance from hole to film. I would not bother with movements much.

    People have also drilled a hole in a body-cap of a 35mm and used their 35mm camera as a pinhole camera. (you might still be able to buy them, too.)
     
  3. TheToadMen

    TheToadMen Subscriber

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    Hi,
    First of all: welcome to APUG.

    A pinhole camera is in basic just a black box with a small hole in it. You can use any "normal" camera and replace the glass lens with a pinhole. For instance: use a regular 35 mm SLR, drill a hole in the body cap and put a shim with a pinhole onto the body cap. Or just Or use a cardboard box or a tin can with a hole, then use aluminum foil with a tiny hole made with a small needle. Anything is possible. Most important part is that the contraption is light tight without light leaks. Some cardboard is too thin an will let light shine through.

    As for film: in larger box cameras photographic paper is often used to make paper negatives (measure for ISO 5 as a start). If you use a film camera, you can use any regular B&W or colour film. Just get some cheap or even expired film to test.

    You can use a little program called Pinhole Designer (http://www.pinhole.cz/en/pinholedesigner/) to calculate the needed diameter for the pinhole or how big your f-number is.

    Some intersting websites:
    http://pinholeday.org/support/
    http://idea.uwosh.edu/nick/populist.pdf
    http://www.pinholeresource.com
    http://users.rcn.com/stewoody/makecam2.htm
    http://www.zeroimage.com/freeproject/oatmeal/oatmealcan.html

    And try a Youtube search for: make pinhole camera

    And remember: building and shooting is half the fun. Experiment and enjoy!

    Bert from Holland
    www.retrofocus.nl
     
  4. Craig75

    Craig75 Member

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    Thanks Burt (not wishing to hijack thread) - I have Eric Jenner's crazy book on pinhole photography and was going to have a bash this weekend with an empty paper box and a piece of paper but was wondering what paper speed was
     
  5. TheToadMen

    TheToadMen Subscriber

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    Photographic paper is often near 3 to 5 ISO.
     
  6. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    What's nice about photopaper/x-ray film/litho film is that one can set up the chemicals in one's darkroom and just load up your pinhole camera, make a test image and rush back in to the darkroom and process it. Try different exposures, learn how the pinhole sees, etc. So many variables (such as actual f/stop equivilent your pinhole is, reciprosity failure of different material -- and the wavelengths they are most sensitive to, pinhole-to-film distance, etc) that nothing beats doing it! Have fun!
     
  7. NedL

    NedL Subscriber

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    What Vaughn said is exactly right. If you are using photopaper, don't even worry too much about ISO speed. Just try one at 20 seconds... if it's too dark try 10 seconds and if it's too light try 40. After a few tries you'll have the basic exposure time for your camera and paper. It's a lot of fun and at least for me it brings back the magic and excitement almost like I'm a kid again.
     
  8. ransel

    ransel Member

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    I have converted several 35mm cameras to pinhole - Zorki-4, Argus C-3, Olympus XA. I have converted a couple 120 folding cameras, one was a Kodak Brownie but I can't remember the designation. I have made a home-made large format pinhole camera to take 4X5 film, and I have made several pinhole lens boards to use on my other 4X5 and 8X10 cameras, so not modification necessary.

    I usually try to use the lowest ISO film I can. If I don't have any I use a neutral density filter over the pinhole so I can keep my exposure times longer.

    Also, I just took a Canon body cap to my Canon 5D digital camera and cut a hole in it, made a pinhole in some thin copper sheeting and taped it to the inside of the body cap, and use it for making digital pinhole images. All work great and are a blast.
     
  9. Craig75

    Craig75 Member

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    Good tips! Im excited to try. Looks fun and good way to deprogram from "normal" ideas of film photography. Im hoping it will teach me to just mess around more. Some of the images on eric jenners book were real mindmelting.
     
  10. canuhead

    canuhead Member

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    I prefer using large format film or photo paper in holders for my pinholes. Obviously there's the cost savings of photo paper and the contacts look fine as well.
     
  11. Patrick Robert James

    Patrick Robert James Subscriber

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    There are some fantastic pinhole cameras that aren't even that expensive (<$100). You might want to consider those before going through the frustration of making one yourself.
     
  12. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    youcan also buy laser cut pinholes ( or zone plates ) from a variety of sellers
    they are a perfectly cut pinhole / zone plate with a hole with a known aperture
    relative to f 16, so if you have a meter you can do a reading multiply it by
    whatever the factor is and you have a great ball park exposure ..
    i got a set years ago from william christiansen
    great person to work with
    ( interview with him )
    http://www.withoutlenses.com/articles/interview/pinhole-is-pinhole
    i think he goes by the name pinholebilly on eba..
     
  13. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    There've been 35mm pinhole cameras in the past and I think Renner's book had pictures of some.
    Make 'em from film cans withe single frame or others that take rolls.

    Is Renner's site still active?
     
  14. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Member

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    any film will do but I'd chose ISO200+, because you need the speed with such small apertures.
     
  15. redrockcoulee

    redrockcoulee Member

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    Xray film is much less expensive than photo paper as well.
     
  16. lantau

    lantau Subscriber

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    Just to add my opinion: I'd go for 4x5 film. You can take individual images and process them. Unless you really think you'll fill an entire roll of film with pinhole images in whatever is short enough a time for you, sheet film is more flexible. Another motivation for me is to shoot slide film. Shoot 1-3 slides and have them processed. The feedback will help with the next frames. Still not cheap, but better than blowing a roll of 135-36 Provia/Velvia. Also I believe the larger format helps getting higher IQ out of the pinhole. Those 4x5 slides definitely impressed me. If only the financial barrier to add LF for my MF and 35mm equipment wasn't so high...

    For b/w I use cheap fomapan film and process in trays. Easy enough and very satisfying! As others said you can also use ortho film or paper and develop under red light.
     
  17. narsuitus

    narsuitus Member

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    My first attempt at a pinhole camera was a modified Argus C3 35mm rangefinder. I used color 35mm roll film between 100 and 400 ISO. Bracketing my exposures enabled me to determine the best exposures.

    My second attempt was a homemade 4x5 inch sheet film pinhole camera made by modifying a Pringles Potato Chip can. I used black & white film between 100 and 400 ISO.

    My next attempts were 4x5 inch and 8x10 inch sheet film homemade pinhole cameras made from Oatmeal cans, PVC pipe, and foam core boxes. I used black & white film between 100 and 400 ISO.

    My most recent attempts were not performed with film cameras.

    [​IMG]

    Pinhole Cameras by Narsuitus, on Flickr


    Here are links to some of my pinhole images:

    <a href="http://www.pinholeday.org/gallery/2006/index.php?id=102" rel="nofollow">www.pinholeday.org/gallery/2006/index.php?id=102</a>

    <a href="http://www.pinholeday.org/gallery/2008/index.php?id=372" rel="nofollow">www.pinholeday.org/gallery/2008/index.php?id=372</a>

    <a href="http://www.pinholeday.org/gallery/2009/index.php?id=1171" rel="nofollow">www.pinholeday.org/gallery/2009/index.php?id=1171</a>

    <a href="http://pinholeday.org/gallery/2016/index.php?id=369" rel="nofollow">pinholeday.org/gallery/2016/index.php?id=369</a>

    <a href="http://pinholeday.org/gallery/2017/index.php?id=31" rel="nofollow">pinholeday.org/gallery/2017/index.php?id=31</a>