Recesky 3D Stereo Pinhole Camera: A Winter Affair

5

A few months back, I started this lomography business with a really nice and cheap plastic DIY TLR camera. I loved it so much that I just wanted to meet the rest of its family. Now, I’m going to introduce another member of its family to you. The TLR's sister’s name is 3D Stereo Pinhole camera, and it gave me a lot less trouble than the first one.

Image was taken from SnapShopAsia

Brand and Model: Recesky 3D Stereo Pinhole Camera
Photography type: Pinhole
Type of film: 35 mm
Photographic formats (the format can be switched while the film is loaded):
- Regular 4:3 (24 mm x 33.5 mm negative size);
- Panoramic 8:3 (24 mm x 72 mm negative size); f/146 with 0.25 mm pinhole;
- Stereo “3D effect” (it comes with a viewing contraption that supposedly allows you to see this format in 3D. You can also use some auxiliary software to get the blue and red 3D effect). Basically it takes two pictures of the same subject, side by side with some parallax effect (the viewpoint changes slightly).
Focus: Focus Free (0 – infinity)
Focal length:
- 3D and standard single picture mode: focal length of 25 mm; f/117 if with a 0.25 mm pinhole;
- Panoramic mode: focal length of 28 mm; f/146 if with a 0.25 mm pinhole;
Material: ABS Plastic
Size: 290 × 220 × 50 mm
Tripod Mount: Yes

Before going into the camera’s features, I would like to explain a little about pinhole photography. This term applies to the process of exposing a light sensitive surface (be it negative or photographic paper) without the use of a focusing lens. Instead, the picture is the result of the light passing through a tiny little hole on the walls of a dark, light tight room, usually a box of some sort, and then exposing the light sensitive surface inside.

I’ve had some experience with its most rudimentary form. I had a Photography class in the university, where I had to take pictures using a sealed shoe box and some photographic paper (see the results here ). I had to change the paper and develop photos inside the school lab every time I wanted to take a new picture.

This camera works on the same principle, using a box with little pin-sized holes. However, it uses films instead, making my job much easier in the sense that I can ‘shoot’ an entire roll of film before I have to develop it.

After the great results of my first roll of film with the TLR, I started really getting into it, and looking for even more outrageous ways to approach lomography. I looked into different kinds of photography and unusual formats. I still am completely in love with the panoramic format and so I really wanted to explore things like that. The answer came to me in the form of another DIY assembly camera kit.

The information available for the Recesky 3D Stereo Pinhole Camera is very scattered and has to be properly interpreted so it won’t get confusing. Even its name is quite a long, complicated thing. But after some thorough research (I even went as far as writing to the Recesky company for info about it, they weren’t very helpful though), I was able to purchase (through eBay), assemble, and try my first roll on this little black box of a pinhole camera.

The instructions to build this camera are available here, if you want to take a look at them beforehand. Sadly, they’re only available in Chinese, but the pictures are very easy to follow. I also used some auxiliary English online tutorials (there’s one here and another here) while building mine.

The assembly of the camera turned out to be very simple: one hour and I was done with it. The camera box feels quite sturdy but very light to carry around with you. It easily fits together and produces no light leaks inside the shell.

The film advancing is very smooth and you can go forwards and backwards as much as you wish, which is great for multiple exposures.

What’s really special about this camera is the fact that it doesn’t just have the one pinhole (little small orifice that is the only light opening to expose the negative), but has THREE openings instead. This is great because it allows you to do a lot of experimenting. The camera is all fully manual, and it works with the simple principle of covering the pinholes when you don’t want it exposing the negative, and uncovering them when you want to take a picture (the kit comes with little rubber lids to cover the pinholes).

There’s a separation plate inside the camera that you can switch on or off and that allows you to create a barrier between frames and make sure that light doesn’t leak into the next frame. This plate is controlled by a little switch on the front.

If the switch is turned to the side of the two little dots ( . . ) then the plate is switched on.
If the switch is turned to the side of the one dot ( . ) then the separation plate is switched off (it rotates upwards, outside of the frame).

This camera can take three different photo formats, and you can mix and combine between them if you want. The formats depend on how many pinholes you have open when taking the picture, and whether the separation plate inside the camera is switched on or off.

I painted them in this picture so that it becomes easier to understand. I’ll use these colours in the explanation below.

You get the regular mode photo, a 4:3 picture (24 × 34mm), when only one of the outside pinholes (either the blue or the pink one) are uncovered.

Credits: blablabla-anab

The panoramic format, an 8:3 picture (approximately 72mm long), is achieved by uncovering only the pinhole in the centre (painted green in the picture above) and having the separation plate switched off.

Credits: blablabla-anab

The stereo format is achieved by having the two outside pinholes uncovered (the blue and the pink) at the same time.

The 3D effect is achieved by viewing the two pictures, side by side, with an optical contraption that comes with the camera kit. The separation plate is supposed to be lowered (switched on).

If, like me, you forget to put the separation plate in place then you’ll get something like this instead (which in my opinion I think is way cooler).

Credits: blablabla-anab

If you feel like experimenting a little, uncover the three pinholes, all at the same time (blue, green and pink) without the separation plate on.

Credits: blablabla-anab

It also has an advance indicator that helps you to know how much of the film you should advance depending on the picture format you’re exposing.

Images from the Instructions manual.

You should advance half a turn if you expose on the 3:4 format ( . . ). Note that if you advance you should always exposed the same pinhole. If you expose both pinholes or the panorama ( . ) then you should advance a full turn. What I did was always expose both (memorize wich one, setting a rule for first and second one) and always advanced a full turn of film. Otherwise, it might become confusing.

Don’t forget to expose both pinholes in regular or stereo mode before advancing the film. What I understood from some guess work, and something I read somewhere, is that if you exposed just the one regular frame then you should advance only a half turn of the indicator. If you exposed the panoramic or stereo format (2 frames side by side) then you should advance the film a full indicator turn. This will get your pictures fully separated and avoid over exposures (if that is what you want).

This camera also has a shutter button, but it only works for the outside pinholes (blue and pink). This allows you to uncover both pinholes without trouble and then just use the shutter button to take the picture.

On the left picture the shutter ‘button’ is ‘closed’ and on the right it ‘opened.’ If you press it down, it springs back closed.

The hardest part about pinhole photography (aside the part where, in most cases, you have to build the box itself) is guessing the times of exposure. In order to get your calculations right you need to know very well how large is the opening you have (we’re talking the hundredth part of a millimetre here) and then calculate it in relation to the focal distance of your camera (the distance between the hole and the sensitive surface). This calculation will give you the ‘f’ value of your opening. It’s actually the same calculation that gives you the ‘f’ value of your camera lens’ aperture.

The calculations are a bit on the boring side really, but I improvised a bit in here. The manual that comes with the assembling kit actually gives you an ‘f’ value reference for this camera but have I mentioned it comes only in Chinese?

Actually, I came to understand (through here – please note that the Recesky camera is an exact copy of the original Gakkenflex) that there are two ways of making the pinholes for this camera. You can use the pre-made rubber ones that come with the camera (that’s what I did) or you can use foil or a metallic plate (like a coke can material) and pierce it yourself to the desired size. In the second case, they recommend a specific hole diameter to which they give some time references (I think, because again: it’s in Chinese!) and that is supposedly the ideal size. I just used what came with the camera to avoid any extra trouble.

It got a bit tricky here but I was able to find this online translation here and through this little nugget of information I was able to do a little bit of extrapolation.

I made this translated table, based on the link above. NOTE: the f values mentioned as f/128(. .) and f/180 (.) are valid only if you used the pinholes that came with the kit, like I did.

The bottom table is a conversion table that gives you time according to the f number of the aperture. The idea is to measure the light with a camera or light meter and calculate the values proportionally. For instance if your camera, with an f/16 aperture, gives you a shutter speed of 1/30 then you should use the pinholes (the stereo or regular mode is an f/128 and the panoramic an f/180) with the indicated exposure times of 2 seconds (for the stereo or regular format) or 4 seconds (for the panoramic format).

Here I was a little confused because the picture above mentions the times for ISO 100 but in another part of the instructions it led me believe that the film recommended is 200 ISO.

What I did was to load the camera with a 200 ISO film, and then I printed the following conversion table, that I got from here and used it in conjunction with my other camera’s light meter or a ‘sunny 16’ paper exposure mat (here).

The rest was more or less guessing work, and the results can be found in my album at my lomo home.

Hope this was helpful. Please let me know if you chose to buy this camera and let me know how it went!

written by blablabla-anab on 2012-02-28 in #reviews

5 Comments

  1. neanderthalis
    neanderthalis ·

    I have one of these! I found that I needed to glue the rings that hold the pinholes in, because every time I removed the cover, it pulled the ring off and I would have to search for the little pinhole bit on the ground. It was so fun to put together just like the TLR. I will have to take this camera out this weekend because you reminded me how fun it is to use.

  2. superlighter
    superlighter ·

    great article, very useful!

  3. blablabla-anab
    blablabla-anab ·

    @neanderthalis Yes, I felt that need as well. I actually came up with some extra tricks for this baby. I'm thinking on writing a tipster for it as well :) Yes, I'll have to take an extra roll out as well ^___^ It's a lot of fun!

    @superlighter Thank you! I'm glad you found it useful. :)

  4. endjinn
    endjinn ·

    Pinhole photos kind of give me a headache.

  5. blablabla-anab
    blablabla-anab ·

    @endjinn lol, That's good to know, i guess :) Sorry for any inconveniet headaches this article may have caused...

More Interesting Articles

  • My Week In Film: December 1st-7th, 2014

    written by alienmeatsack on 2014-12-08 in #lifestyle
    My Week In Film: December 1st-7th, 2014

    December brings with it Winter, the end of the year and the last chances to get those photographs taken that you wanted to do the rest of the year. I decided to kick off December with a slew of photography adventures and a few camera purchases.

    1
  • My First Lomo Affair: Litumai and her Diana Mini

    written by icequeenubia on 2014-07-31 in #lifestyle
    My First Lomo Affair: Litumai and her Diana Mini

    She was supposed to get a Diana F+ camera but ended up with its equally charming small sister Diana Mini. Find out why Andrea Lituma, litumai in the Lomography Community, considers this mishap as "the best mistake ever" in this edition of My First Lomo Affair!

  • Worry Less, Shoot More: On Using the Actionsampler

    written by icequeenubia on 2014-04-02 in #reviews
    Worry Less, Shoot More: On Using the Actionsampler

    I got my first Lomography camera, an Actionsampler, during a raffle in one of the photowalks I attended. I was just starting to explore film photography then and having this plastic fantastic camera definitely gave me the perfect overview of what lies ahead the analogue road.

  • Shop News

    Get 20% off on the Lomography Experimental Lens Kit

    Get 20% off on the Lomography Experimental Lens Kit

    Satisfy your hunger for creative snap-shooting with this lens package made especially for Micro 4/3 digital cameras.

  • LC-A Goes To: Saint Petersburg, Russia

    written by chooolss on 2014-06-05 in #world #locations
    LC-A Goes To: Saint Petersburg, Russia

    As the iconic LC-A celebrates its 30th birthday this month, we think it's only timely that we look back to Lomography's roots and shine the spotlight on the camera's birthplace, Saint Petersburg. If you haven't been there yourself, or if you have and simply wanted to be reminded of the beauty of the place, we've compiled a few select lomographs taken using no less than the LC-A by our community members!

  • A Salute to the Masters: Homes for Italians (A Tribute to Dan Graham)

    written by sirio174 on 2014-03-31 in #lifestyle
    A Salute to the Masters: Homes for Italians (A Tribute to Dan Graham)

    In 1966, American artist Dan Graham published an article about typical one-family homes in ordinary American suburbs built after World War II. He used a cheap Kodak Instamatic camera, with a deliberately amateur approach. In this article, I wrote a tribute to him with a series of photos taken in the suburbs of my city, Como, using my pretty Diana Mini camera. Read more after the jump!

  • Sprocket Rocket: a Great Camera for Your Beach Life!

    written by sirio174 on 2014-07-09 in #reviews
    Sprocket Rocket: a Great Camera for Your Beach Life!

    If you are looking for a panoramic camera to document your adventures on the beach, you should try the Sprocket Rocket. It's easy to use, cheap, and can get you amazing results! In this article, you can see how I used this camera to document a short vacation in Liguria, from Varazze to Alassio. Take a look after the jump!

  • Shop News

    Immortalize your best shot on Aluminium!

    Immortalize your best shot on Aluminium!

    Carefully enlarged from your negatives onto premium photographic paper by lab professionals, each picture is a unique piece of craftsmanship.

  • LomoChrome Purple 120 and 35mm: Expect the Radical!

    written by myahcat on 2014-08-01 in #reviews
    LomoChrome Purple 120 and 35mm: Expect the Radical!

    I was given a roll of LomoChrome Purple 120 by a friend who was keen for me to try it out since he didn't have a medium format camera. I really didn't expect the results I got when I took it out for a test run on a bright winter's day in London.

  • Diana F+ Part 1 The Camera: A Dozen of Possibilities

    written by dopa on 2014-06-27 in #reviews
    Diana F+  Part 1 The Camera: A Dozen of Possibilities

    The original Diana F is a plastic beauty from 1960s Hong Kong. The Diana F+ is a reinterpretation, which is in no way inferior to the old Diana. It´s so versatile with all the optional accessories and lenses like no other lomography camera. And because of this, I will show you what makes this camera so special.

    3
  • Summer Hot Spots: Blaavand, Denmark (Part Two)

    written by dermanu on 2014-09-22 in #world #locations
    Summer Hot Spots: Blaavand, Denmark (Part Two)

    When I was a child, I regularly went to Blaavand, located at the Danish west coast, with my brothers and parents. I stopped going there as I grew up. In 2012 however, we hit the road again. It was my first return visit in about 20 years. I took the chance and packed as many cameras as possible into my luggage. In part two of my journey log, I'm going to show you the pictures I took with my Lomography cameras.

  • Shop News

    Give your space a facelift with your own analogue print

    Give your space a facelift with your own analogue print

    Really want to bring your film photos to life? We’re now offering totally analogue fine art prints in a host of large sizes and formats! Carefully enlarged from your negatives onto premium photographic paper by lab professionals, each picture is a unique piece of craftsmanship.

  • Summer Hot Spots: Blaavand, Denmark (Part One)

    written by dermanu on 2014-08-31 in #world #locations
    Summer Hot Spots: Blaavand, Denmark (Part One)

    When I was a child, I regularly went to Blaavand located at the Danish west coast with my brothers and my parents. However, I didn't anymore when I grew up. But in 2012, we hit the road again. It was my first visit there in about 20 years. I took the chance and packed as many cameras as possible into my luggage. In this article, I'm going to present to you the photos I took with my Nikon F-501 SLR.

  • Photographer Gilbert Blecken Captures Iconic Musicians on Film

    written by hannah_brown on 2015-03-02 in #people #lifestyle
    Photographer Gilbert Blecken Captures Iconic Musicians on Film

    Back in the 1990s, Gilbert Blecken was a big music fan and wrote for his own small music fanzine. He would interview bands in between sound checks and take photographs of them. He was never a professional photographer or worked for a company; he simply did it for his fanzine. Twenty years on, Gilbert’s photographs have matured into an amazing documentation of some of the biggest music icons of that era. We caught up with Gilbert to ask him about these photographs and the fascinating story behind them.

    3
  • Catfordst is our LomoHome of the Day!

    written by Eunice Abique on 2015-03-02 in #world #news
    Catfordst is our LomoHome of the Day!

    From everyone here in Lomography, congratulations to catfordst for winning Home of the Day!

    3