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I Built A 4x5 Pinhole Camera...

Posted by: Marcio Faustino on 05/07/2013 - 1:12 PM

But I am still try to make the pinhole smaller up to 0.5 mm in order to make it sharper. Not easy.

The tests are here:


Oldest Reply

Posted by: Andrew Pacheco on 05/07/2013 - 1:14 PM

Looks pretty good so far. I kind of like the softness. It adds a surreal, dreamy quality.


Posted by: Marcio Faustino on 05/07/2013 - 1:16 PM

I will have a couple of pinholes which I can replace depending on the effect, shatpness, etc I want. But I really want to get the sharpest as well as an option.


Posted by: Gregory Scott on 05/07/2013 - 2:17 PM

Isn't a cell phone just a digital pinhole camera? }:-D


Posted by: Lynn-Marie Gildersleeve on 05/07/2013 - 3:55 PM

Great first attempts Marcio. I like playing with cameras myself. Here was my first attempts at a pinhole I made.

My husband made a panoramic pinhole camera out of wood, stainless steel and tape though I've not tried to use it yet.


Posted by: Marcio Faustino on 05/07/2013 - 5:34 PM

My next pinhole camera will be 8x10.
I think make you own pinhole camera is the cheapest and easiest way to get into the large format.

I have never thought about it. Is it?


Posted by: Gregory Scott on 05/07/2013 - 7:24 PM

Almost. My first one had an aperture of about 1/64th of an inch diameter. Not much glass there would be my point.


Posted by: A M Johnson on 05/07/2013 - 7:33 PM

I'm building a 4x5 myself. It will be a view camera though. I have a Schneider lens with a Copal #1 shutter and a bunch of Regal holders all set to go.


Posted by: Michael Hoard on 05/07/2013 - 10:08 PM

Congrats, those are great photos for your first pinhole, I have always wanted to try there a formula, to be focused clearly the subject must be a certain distance from the pinhole box.....have you tried taking the photo from the area where the pinhole box is would that affect the over exposure....etc...


Posted by: Michael Hoard on 05/07/2013 - 10:13 PM

Hello Gregory, I think your answer would be no, because a digital camera deals with pixels and a pinhole is film, there are no pixels involved because a true pinhold has no lens, it is the perfect camera....the only grain would be from the type of film used....the speed of the film......


Posted by: Rich Franco on 05/07/2013 - 10:18 PM


What are you using to create the hole? It looks too big to me. Did you use an actual pin? How long are you exposures?



Posted by: Marcio Faustino on 05/08/2013 - 2:37 AM

To get a sharp image I need 0.422mm pinhole.

The first hole I made is about 2mm because I made a mistake. But the soft and blur effect is interisting and I may use it.
Then I made a smaller hole about 1.2 mm.
Then a smaller 0.8mm.

Yesterday night I finaly menage to make a 0.5mm hole which will give me a sharp image. But I will test it this morning.

I am using neddles to make the holes on a heave black paper, but I will make the holes again on aluminioum from soda can, just to make my camera 100% waterprouve (a professional camera rsrs).


Posted by: Marcio Faustino on 05/08/2013 - 4:02 AM

Yes! It is sharper now. :)

It is f200, 45sec exposure.

I think the white part was a light leak wich I can fix easy. :)

I am using print paper as negative paper. The Paper is Ilfors MGIV RC Satin. And as the test show it is ISO 6.


Posted by: Rich Franco on 05/08/2013 - 9:38 AM


Much better! And it's either a light leak, or a piece of the paper from the hole puncture inside. When you use the metal, use can sand the inside smooth and then spray it black and the whole inside of the "camera" black.

Good Luck!



Posted by: A M Johnson on 05/08/2013 - 9:52 AM

I was wondering about using print paper as photo paper. I was thinking in terms of using it in an 8x10 but the pin hole is a great idea.


Posted by: Rich Franco on 05/08/2013 - 10:17 AM


Print paper is used because it's cheap and much easier to "develop" vs 8x10 film and then sending it to get processed or trying to do the film your self, in total darkness!



Posted by: Marcio Faustino on 05/09/2013 - 4:56 PM

Now I have a flare issue that happens when shooting outside. It seems to be only with straight sky light. So I think it may be UV light which the paper is sensitive.
I will try a UV filter and see if helps.


Posted by: Rich Franco on 05/09/2013 - 6:18 PM


What is your "camera" made from? You can make your own box using black mat board and black gaffer's tape and then spray the whole thing with black paint. The issue is usually the back where the film/paper goes in/out. Even better is a product we have here called Gator Board, which is a heavy duty foam core and the real stuff has a wood veneer and is real tough stuff.

As a last resort, try throwing a black cloth over the"camera" and see if that helps,



Posted by: Marcio Faustino on 05/09/2013 - 6:34 PM

I founded out the problem. Is the bigger hole which is curved reflecting lighting back to the pinhole.

But instead of fixing this camera I will build a 7x9 inches one that will make nacer contact prints. :)

The photos of my camera e from my camera are here:


Posted by: Murray Bloom on 05/09/2013 - 6:39 PM

Here's a pinhole camera that I made many years ago. Still works well:

Sell Art Online

and here's an image taken with it:

Art Prints


Posted by: Rich Franco on 05/09/2013 - 8:04 PM




What's really nice about Murray's camera, is that it uses a film holder, which will keep the film/paper flat through long exposures, your paper may bend and warp over a long exposure, which will aggrivate the situation,



Posted by: Murray Bloom on 05/09/2013 - 9:13 PM

Rich, the camera was built to last. It was made of high-grade modeler's plywood. Using film holders allows me to change film without a darkroom or changing bag. It's very light-tight. The pinhole was drilled and chamfered to provide a uniform hole, rather than the common practice of poking a hole with a sewing needle. This resulted in pictures that are really sharp, which belies the stereotype that pinhole camera images are soft and 'old-timey.'

There are also a couple of luxuries, like steel tripod sockets in the bottom and left side as well as 'viewfinder' arrows to indicate which way to point the camera. Yeah, I know . . .


Posted by: Rich Franco on 05/09/2013 - 9:21 PM


A work of Art and the work of an artist! Pinhole cameras are truly a tool to allow photographers to photograph stuff, rather than take snapshots! If you are going to use this camera to create images and everyone will be unique, then that says a lot about what and who you are. I do remember longer exposures though,



Posted by: Murray Bloom on 05/09/2013 - 9:31 PM

Based on my scribblings inside the camera, the lens is a 29mm f:195. That equates to a 5.3mm wide-angle in a full-frame world.


Posted by: Jim Vansant on 05/09/2013 - 10:36 PM

I built a giant pinhole camera years ago from a refrigerator carton. It was for an art in the park thing our art department put on to expose kids to art. It layed on its side and I had a white screen attached to one of the walls. A kid would get on each side of the pinhole and after their eyes adjusted for the dark they could see the park upside down on the wall. It was on another piece of cardboard and we would spin them around so they could see the whole park in motion. We got a really good response but I think it was mainly because they liked being spun around in a dark box. I did also have one for film that I took a picture of a pony on Assateague Island which came out pretty good, not sharp but no blur.


Posted by: John Ayo on 05/10/2013 - 6:42 AM

I've heard of making digital large format cameras from flatbed scanners. Would love to try it some day.


Posted by: Rich Franco on 05/10/2013 - 9:23 AM


Probably fun in the park, but I sure wouldn't want to go do landscapes and hiking and stuff with it.........



Posted by: A M Johnson on 05/10/2013 - 11:19 AM

@John Ayo, I've heard of that too. It sounds like a lot of fun and with an assistant, shouldn't be too bad to pack around. Inverter included.


Posted by: Marcio Faustino on 05/10/2013 - 3:20 PM

I made today a 12x12in camera to make 8x10in photos and 7x9in.

I like the larger prints but this big camera don't allow me to go to streets or woods shoot and change paper negatives in a change bag. It's too big.
It could be smaller but I don't want the images too wide. But maybe I will have to make a smaller one 8x10in, to take shots in the woods, which will be very wide angle shots.

The 4x5in one I think is perfect, I can go anywhere and since it's metal I can place on wet ground. 4x5 is too small. :(

I am now taking a 12h shot with my new camera. If I like it I will use for self portraits.

I bought tools to install on my pinhole cameras to allow use them on a tripod, and I have a rule which indicates the angle and direction of the shot, so I can know what will appear in the frame and what will not. But I want to make a perfect 8x10in camera.


This discussion is closed.