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  1. #1
    NavyMoose's Avatar
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    Converting lens board into pinhole opening

    Hello All,

    I have a 4X5 field camera, and I am giving considerable thought to taking one of my existing lens boards and putting heavy cardboard across the opening, and using an exacto knife or small knife on my Gerber tool to make an aperture opening in the cardboard. I was thinking of using black hinge tape as the "shutter".

    From the threads I've read here and on other forums, most people make a 4X5 pinhole camera from paint cans or big cigar boxes. I wasn't able to find much info on what I am thinking of doing.

    Since this is a field camera, I am trying to figure out how large to make the aperture and how far to extend the bellows when shooting. I am guessing I won't be able to see much on the ground glass. I am also concerned about reciprocity failure and whether to use a fast film or a slow film to help prevent it.

    Any advice/recommendations are very welcome.

    'Thank you in advance :-)
    "Stand your ground. Don't fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war, let it begin here."
    CAPT. John Parker, Massachusetts Militia. 19APR1775

  2. #2
    Andrew K's Avatar
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    how big a pinhole you need really depends on the look you are after, and the focal lenght of the pinhole.

    What you need to remember is that the wider you go, the more likely you are to get the bed of the camera in your photo. What some people have done in the past is to create 2 lens boards - onewith a large pinhole, and one with the actual pinhole you will use.

    the larger one will create a very fuzzy, but bright enough image for you to see what you will be getting. Once you're happy lock the camera off and replace the lensboard with your shooting pinhole and take the photo

    For information I can recommend and of Eric Renner's books on pinhole photography..

    Cheers
    A camera is only a black box with a hole in it....

    my blog...some film, some digital http://andrewk1965.wordpress.com/

  3. #3
    SMBooth's Avatar
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    Google "MrPinhole" for a start it has all the info you need. But just to get you started a .3mm pinhole is acceptable for around 50-100mm film to pinhole distance

  4. #4

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    I have a speed graphic 4x5 camera. I made a hard cardboard frame to replace the lens board, so I don't make off the lens, I take off the entire lens board & the lens. On my cardboard frame, I made a 1/2" hole dead center. I then took a soup can lip 1" x 1" and made a pinhole dead center. I then duct taped the "pinhole lens" over the cardboard frame, making sure my pinhole was dead center (again). Since the "pinhole lens" is from a soup can, I use a small magnet to cover the pinhole as the shutter (I could, of course, use heavy black tape as the shutter). I also painted the "back" side of the cardboard frame with matte-black paint.
    Ric Johnson
    Proud member of the League of Upper Midwest Pinholers & f295

    "I think, therefore, I photograph."

  5. #5
    winger's Avatar
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    I made a pinhole for my monorail. I checked the charts (I think at Mr. Pinhole) to find a hole to film plane distance and pinhole size I could make. I used a piece of a soda can and colored it with black magic marker. When I shot, I just moved the front standard to the distance I chose when I picked the pinhole size, made the exposure (I used paper in the film holder so I could use a flap of matboard to cover the pinhole and be a shutter), and voila... I can't find the exposures right now, but I did get 2 decently sharp shots. I would think it would work just as well with a field camera.

  6. #6
    DWThomas's Avatar
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    I made a pinhole lensboard for my B&J Press a few years ago. I chose a fairly arbitrary spacing for a relatively "normal" view. The front standard can be clamped at a wide range of positions, so it is pretty flexible to work with. You can see the camera and some results in my PBase galleries. The B&J has a wireframe viewfinder, so one can even aim the camera with a pinhole setup.

  7. #7
    NavyMoose's Avatar
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    Thank you for all the responses! :-)
    "Stand your ground. Don't fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war, let it begin here."
    CAPT. John Parker, Massachusetts Militia. 19APR1775

  8. #8

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    I cut a large hole in a lensboard and then glued an old filter step-ring to it (in my case, leaving a 49mm thread). I then knocked the glass out of an old 49mm filter and replaced it with a piece of aluminium from a drinks can with a pinhole poked into it. I can then screw on the pinhole in its 49mm holder to the lensboard. I have made 49mm rings with a range of pinhole sizes from 0.2mm to 0.5mm and also one with a 3mm hole so that I get a fuzzy but bright image for composing the scene.

    Best regards,

    Evan

  9. #9
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ric Johnson View Post
    ...Since the "pinhole lens" is from a soup can, I use a small magnet to cover the pinhole as the shutter (I could, of course, use heavy black tape as the shutter)...
    Nice idea -- the problem with tape (I have used black electrical tape) is that the glue can come off the tape and muck up the pin-hole.
    At least with LF landscape, a bad day of photography can still be a good day of exercise.

  10. #10

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    I've made several pinhole lens boards for my LF cameras. Best material is model airplane plywood: it's strong, light and won't warp. Then cut a hole. I use copper shim stock for the pinhole and tape it to the board with gaffer's tape. You can even install a shutter with another piece of wood screwed lightly to the board. Thanks to Andrew K - Never thought of a big pinhole for viewing; great idea.



 

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