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  1. #1

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    Tutorial on DIY pinhole?

    I have been reading a thread on a site dedicated to "alternative imaging devices you can't put film into". They are using the body cap for a pinhole lens.
    They seem to have the basics down, i.e. not using the cap itself for the pinhole, but as a carrier for the pinhole material. They seem a bit confused about what to use for the pinhole itself and the best way to actually make the pinhole, what to use etc. They found where to buy commercially manufactured ones but want to know how to do it from scratch. I hope you guys can help.

  2. #2
    DWThomas's Avatar
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    I'd recommend checking the links at the Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day site under the Resources section.

    There's lots of good info out on the web.

    DaveT

  3. #3

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    Thanks, Dave. The trouble with all that info on the web is you don't know who to believe. I thought going here to a place where you guys put it into practice would be a shortcut. I grew up in Bucks Co., where are you from in SE Pa.?

  4. #4

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    The tools listed on that site are known to be good. Tom wouldn't put a bunch or trash up there. Notice that a couple of the links are to Kodak application notes, can they be trusted?

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    We used to say we believed in Kodak and God, and in that order. LOL

  6. #6
    DWThomas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by breal101 View Post
    The trouble with all that info on the web is you don't know who to believe. I thought going here to a place where you guys put it into practice would be a shortcut.
    Hmmm, well I've used some of it, having participated in the last four WPP Days. There are subgalleries here showing what I've done, but no actual tutorials. From my perspective, it's not rocket science. There are lots of things one might do to optimize results -- clean knife-edge pinholes, solid film holding, etc -- but some rather crude approximations will still produce results. I've used the pin-formed dimple and sanding technique to produce the pinholes in both soda can side walls (approx. 0.004" aluminum) and 0.002" brass shim stock. There is a Windoze program caled Pinhole Designer that can do a lot of number crunching and help figure out optimum sizes and exposures that I sometimes use.

    There's a few threads somewhere back in this forum that get into some of the mechanics too.

    Quote Originally Posted by breal101 View Post
    I grew up in Bucks Co., where are you from in SE Pa.?
    Central Montgomery County, near Harleysville.

    DaveT

  7. #7
    rwyoung's Avatar
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    http://idea.uwosh.edu/nick/Buildingacamera.pdf is a very simple camera to build. Nick also has a couple of other roll-film camera plans (The Populist) on his page. Just back up a bit from the PDF in the link and you will hit his page. http://idea.uwosh.edu/nick/pinholephoto.htm

    On the last page of the PDF is a nice, simple method for making your pinhole.

    Calculating the ideal size and other good stuff is quite painless with http://www.pinhole.cz/en/pinholedesigner/
    Download and run. Good stuff.

    Measuring the pinhole is a bit more tricky. There are several charts floating around the web that relate needle size number to final hole. Or you can measure the hole directly. I have a direct measuring microscope that I use, was about $50 from Edmond Scientific. Didn't buy it for this purpose but it works great. Another, even easier way is to put the pinhole on a flat bed scanner and scan at the machine's maximum optical resolution (600 to 900 dpi) then count the pixels and do the math.

    Or you can buy sets of pinholes from various sources. A good one is to search eBay for "pinholebilly". His are pretty good and you get a wide variety.

    As for pinhole material, aluminum soda cans work. So do the pie-pans. Or you can get thin brass stock from various sources (sold at hobby stores, hardware stores and auto parts shops). Or you can buy thin copper or aluminum sheet from places like Hobby Lobby. It is kept with the metal transfer and scrapbooking supplies usually. Thinner is better but there are practical limits. Aluminum foil and metalized duct tape work but are mostly just a pain in the butt to deal with. Also, get yourself some 600 grit or higher wet-dry sandpaper to help when making the holes. Polish it down to remove the cone shape made when pushing the pin through. Blow out the dust and then measure.
    Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things! http://rwyoung.wordpress.com

  8. #8
    Murray@uptowngallery's Avatar
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    The Renner book is well-received. I think near-real-time responses from pinholers will be practical and credible...they are more flexible and bigger risk-takers with regard to results than someone who researches the 'best' lens, camera, etc.

    Some pinholers lean toward the technical predictive side and others toward total random experiment.

    This is a good site, also stop by f295.org, although you'll find they/we need an arm twisted to say much critical :O)

    Oh yeah, ex-Levittowner, State Colleger, etc.
    Murray

  9. #9

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    Thanks for all the info, you guys are golden. Some of them were using gaffer tape, electrical tape or tinfoil. Surprisingly with fair results, you have an advantage using analog, no sensor snot.

    Pennridge '68 Penn State '72

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by breal101 View Post
    I hope you guys can help.
    I hope so too.

    I'm an absolute fanatic about perfect pinholes and goofy camera design. Otherwise, my life is a mess.

    But don't go down that road, at least not yet. I don't know if the two are related, but suspect that they are.

    My first pinhole camera, in 1974, was made as many were then out of a quaker oats box. I had read Jim Shull's _the Hole Thing_. I made two crude pinholes using a needle poking a piece of aluminum foil. For size, I just eyeballed it, and, 'cause my eyeballs actually worked then, got them close enough to the same size. I taped them in with black tape, as far apart as my eyeballs are, making a stereo pinhole camera. Then I loaded it with a cut down sheet of tri-x ortho, taped it into the windshield of the car, and drove around in Seattle on a dark, rainy night.

    It was wild!

    When I was in kindergarten, I had learned to merge stereo pairs while lying on my back on my rug looking at the ceiling after having milk and cookies, so the stereo thing was rather appealing to me. I dunno if I can still cross my eyes and focus in the wrong place.

    All this to say, you don't need to do Anything, really. If you want to make a pinhole in a body cap, just do it! Then you can run a test of brackets figuring the hole is going to be somewhere between f/90 through f/256. Make exposures in one stop increments on a bright sunny day with the sun behind your back. Use the Basic Daylight Rule: set your iso into your shutter speed at f/16. So, with something like HP5, you would be looking at 1/15th second down to maybe 2 seconds, not accounting for reciprocity failure. Record what you do, and when you see the one that is closest to normal, extrapolate or interpolate from there. easy. Too easy.

    Don't let the mystics turn you off. As Chief Pinhole Mystic, you have it from the horse's mouth.

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