View Full Version : Why Pinhole Camera's ?
09-17-2005, 10:30 AM
The actual Idea of making a pinhole camera appealed to me, so after having done some research, and also after browsing a large variety of images shot with pinhole cameras I ditched the idea, I probably am missing the point here but why on earth would people use a pinhole camera, certainly not for image quality I would think...
09-17-2005, 10:48 AM
Go look at Martha Casanave's work at www.marthacasanave.com. She did a whole series of images alone the Monterey coast using her pinhole camera. They're quite wonderful. She and Ryuijie Douglas were here in Portland, Oregon for a workshop and the attendees just ate up her work and want her to come back for a pinhole/cyanotype workshop.
To say "Why Pinhole?" is like saying why use Holgas? Why Platinum? Why color? It's a preference. Photography is not one way or another. It fun to experiment. To explore. We currently have the sharpest lens and the ability for the cleanest tonal images but sometimes its fun to outside the box and try something simple like pinhole and sometimes doing this opens another way of seeing an image or a whole series of images.
09-17-2005, 11:30 AM
To me, the idea of pinhole was that I could build it myself with basic raw materials, have a rugged camera that I could pack anywhere without fear of damage (it was cheap - if it's damaged, I could build another one) and then I could produce a very viewable image. It seemed to me to be the most result for the least technology - maximum personal enjoyment with maximum analog photography if you wish.
Somewhere I have pics of the box I built - I'll post them if I can find them
09-17-2005, 12:05 PM
You can also do things with pinhole that you can't with lenses. For instance, I have some negatives taken with the camera down on the ground, plants a few inches from the pinhole are about as (un)sharp as trees fifty feet away. There's no lens made (at least for "normal" perspective on 9x12 cm) that can approach that. Also, you can use very long exposures -- that sounds like a disadvantage, but there are things that you can say about a subject by making moving objects invisible, or cyclic or rotating objects show as streaks or circles. You can't stop the motion of a wave, but you can show the shore itself in spite of the surf, or you can record the overall impact and extent of the surf (as a sort of fog, growing in density as you near the average water surface) -- and its much easier to make images like this at f/300 than at f/32.
Finally, pinholes allow for curved and distorted, even anamorphic film shapes that can produce interesting or even startling effects from completely mundane scenes.
why on earth would people use a pinhole camera
The novelty of using a camera without a lens.
The link with the camera obscura.
To enjoy the effects available, to name but three reasons !
09-18-2005, 07:48 AM
cause it is cheep and lots of fun to build a camera from scratch. :)
the quality of the images ... some people hate the "everything in focus but nothing is sharp" made by minute apertures, some people love that stuff. i enjoy making images that have a dreamlike quality to them and that sort of thing is pretty easy to do with a pinhole camera.
09-19-2005, 11:28 PM
I love the simplicity of the whole concept of pinhole imagery. I've made several cameras and even used an old 8x10 field camera as a pinhole camera with very good results. (I've also had some very poor results. There is a learning/practice curve.) I've taped simple cameras to pillars inside a large photo studio and made week-long exposures. Pinhole photography makes the concept of time very elastic.
The 8x10 images were made on film, and when contact printed, were amazingly sharp, especially at focal lengths of from 5 to 10 inches. The inherently low contrast allows a fairly astonishing compression of scene brightness ranges as well, especially with a pyro developer.
09-21-2005, 03:29 AM
Because it is fun to build a pin hole camera from some box and have fun with the pictures you make. I have made some pin hole cameras from a round box with photo curved in there. Great distortion. Very funny stuff!
09-23-2005, 06:10 AM
As with most things, because it is there.
09-23-2005, 07:02 PM
Two years ago, I built some pinhole cameras. It was a great experience for me because it made me realize a few things.
1. It made me realize that a camera is really a very simple device.
2. It made me realize that you donít really need a high-price fancy electronic whiz to produce decent photographic images.
3. It made me appreciate the technological advances photography has made.
4. It made me realize that I have a personal preference for sharp images vs. the fuzzy artsy stuff.
I only wish I had experimented with pinhole cameras back during the days when I was shooting and developing a lot of black & white sheet film.
09-24-2005, 11:49 PM
where else can I build my own camera and lens and get results like http://images.depressing.org/art/115340106942d1d25baf341.jpg for the price of a can of Coca Cola and a safety pin? all without the need to know anything about optics
(a "100% crop" of a 300dpi scan of a 4x10" print of the above photo http://images.depressing.org/art/191964517342d1d23d16cbe.jpg )
i enjoy the long exposures and the challenge of needing to alter and fix problems with the lens and camera to make it better, all knowing it will effect my image... nothing better than having some extra control over an aspect of image creation.
09-25-2005, 08:48 PM
Go look at Martha Casanave's work at www.marthacasanave.com. She did a whole series of images alone the Monterey coast using her pinhole camera. They're quite wonderful.
I'll say! She has objects AT the front of the camera in focus along with everything else in the image. I mean depth of field out the kazoo! I've never seen a site that compelled me to get out the pinhole and shoot like that one.