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  1. #1

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    How sharp can you get a pinhole image?

    Hi all,

    I will be getting into large format photography at some point next year but I am gradually purchasing the parts over time to spread the costs, anyway I have some 5x4 double slides coming in the post for the camera (I don't have yet) and I thought in the interim I might look into pinhole photography. I see that there is a nice guide for an 8x10 pinhole on this forum which looks like you just simply strap the film holder to a recess in the back with some rubber bands lol so I might look at making one of those as it seems pretty simple to make considering its a box with an opening at one end

    Anyway, I was just wondering about how sharp you can get a pinhole image, I know that with normal lenses there is a 'sweet spot' with regards to image sharpness and resolution, I am not after anything tack sharp as I don't really want the image to be clinical as it is with some digital images, but not massively blurred.

    Is anyone able to post up a pinhole image from a 5x4 camera and let me know what the calculated F stop is for the 'lens'? It would be cool to compare and see what the different effects on the image a small change to the F stop might bring.

  2. #2

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    low res scan of a contact
    f/176


  3. #3

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    There is an optimal pinhole diameter for any given format and focal length. Use this caclulator: http://www.mrpinhole.com/calcpinh.php

    The difficult part is creating the pinhole itself.

  4. #4
    RalphLambrecht's Avatar
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    Keep in mind that there are two optimal pinhole diameters,one for resolution and one for sharpness. i suggest optimizing for contrstnd sharpnessas that gets the most apparend sharpness, which the eye appreciates more than resolution. a high-resolution mage canstill look'unsharp'. a low-resolutionbut high-contrast image, on the other hand, looks sharper.
    Regards

    Ralph W. Lambrecht
    www.darkroomagic.comrorrlambrec@ymail.com[/URL]
    www.waybeyondmonochrome.com

  5. #5

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    Thanks for the comments, I might just go with a pre-made laser cut sort, or indeed use a pin/needle of a certain size, for a sheet of 5x4 the optimal specs are apparently:

    Focal length = 6.4"
    Pinhole diameter = 0.54mm giving F302
    Angle of view would be 53 degrees

    I'm going to get some materials together and have a look at some designs, I need to get development equipment together as well so I have a bit of time before I will be taking any shots with it!

    Playing around with some numbers I have found this to be perhaps something to aim for:

    5.5" focal
    0.5mm pinhole
    f279
    60 degree FOV
    3 second exposure on a sunny day with ISO 100 film

    Looks like if I aim for a pinhole at around 0.5mm and a focal length of around 5.5-6" it should be good for a 5x4.
    Last edited by m1tch; 11-29-2012 at 07:17 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  6. #6
    RalphLambrecht's Avatar
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    just start playing withit.pinholes are so much fun and surprisingly good at imaging.
    Regards

    Ralph W. Lambrecht
    www.darkroomagic.comrorrlambrec@ymail.com[/URL]
    www.waybeyondmonochrome.com

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by RalphLambrecht View Post
    just start playing withit.pinholes are so much fun and surprisingly good at imaging.
    I will have a go, my 5x4 double dark slides have arrived so I just need to build a camera now lol

  8. #8

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    Foamboard works a treat for the cam body, much easier and quicker than plywood etc. though also weaker.

  9. #9
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    If I wanted a sharp pinhole image I'd shoot on 8x10" film and reduce it to 4x5" when printing, that would double the resolution. Though, I'm not sure why I would want to do that, because if I wanted a sharp image I'd just use a lens.

  10. #10
    DWThomas's Avatar
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    Here's a 4x5 negative scan:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	_WPPD2011_Film_02_1B_SteamLocoCloseup.jpg 
Views:	178 
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ID:	60521

    A 0.305 mm pinhole @ 63 mm from the film plane, a relatively wide angle of view.
    Arista ULTRA 100 exposed 8 sec with the f/210 pinhole.

    The camera was a relatively fancy project using plywood.

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