Penny the Matchbox Pinhole Camera

4

One day, I was bored and itching for a DIY project. After rummaging through the study for materials and scouring the internet for how-tos, I decided to make a pinhole camera out of a matchbox. Yes, I've built a camera! See the resulting shots below.

Photos by denisesanjose

Firstly, meet Penny, my matchbox pinhole camera. Disregard the “Snap!” tab as taking photos with it is not snappy at all. The shutter is a cardboard tab which you lift, revealing the pinhole lens, and exposing the emulsion.

I fashioned her out of the materials you see below (except I used expired Kodak UltraMax 400), using the steps on matchboxpinhole as a guide.

Photo via matchboxpinhole

Admittedly, I’m not OC and have low EQ. I tried to follow the instructions to the book but was more interested in shooting with it as soon as possible, rather than building the camera carefully and correctly.

In hindsight, I should have been more detail-oriented as there were major light leaks in my photos (not enough black electrical tape), cardboard threads around the frame (shoulda cut the edges cleaner), etc. but I think these little nuances add a certain charm to the photos.

Credits: denisesanjose

The first frame—and a half. Because of the very primitive rewinding knob (a soda can tab), the first two shots I took somehow ended up on the same frame.

Credits: denisesanjose

Mall, funeral, study. These indoor shots were exposed for about 5 minutes each. The hole I haphazardly cut out of the camera was square but not all the shots properly fit in the frame.

Credits: denisesanjose

Outdoors. These were exposed for about a minute each. The morning shots are overexposed while the afternoon shots are just plain blurry. I didn’t bother with a tripod. Or with measuring the microsized pinhole for its aperture.

Credits: denisesanjose

Rectangles and restaurants. Maybe it was my wayward winding, maybe it was the lab’s lazy scanning, but I ended up with non-square shots, such as these of milk tea and chili sauce.

Credits: denisesanjose

Cirque du Soileil. They came to Manila, circus tent and all, for Varekai. Cameras weren’t allowed inside but I managed to fit the camera into my clutch and security had no idea what it was so I was able to sneak some shots. Exposed for approximately 5 minutes each but, of course, all you’ll see are colorful blurs as the acrobats tossed about and flung themselves in the air. Amazing, really!

Credits: denisesanjose

Paola and light leaks. Probably the only decent shot out of the entire pinhole roll. My cousin napping on a couch with some serious light leaks on the side.

Photo by denisesanjose

Self-portrait #3. I was taking photos of the pinhole camera and decided to lift the shutter up for kicks. Exposed for just a minute since I was right by a window.

Credits: denisesanjose

Overall, even if it wasn’t a complete success, I still like the way the photos turned out, especially the blue, purple, and orange light leaks. Any serious analogue photographer should build at least one camera in his life just to say that you have and can. I recommend this relatively easy matchbox method which uses basic things you’ll find around your house.

If you want an even simpler pinhole camera, get the DIY Hole-On-Ex Paper Pinhole Camera from our shop and start your own little pinhole experiment roll in a snap!

The Hole-On-Ex is a palm-sized 35mm camera that you construct on your own. Shoot intense pinhole images and appreciate the mechanics of photography at the same time with the Hole-On-Ex Paper Pinhole Camera. Available in our Shop.

written by denisesanjose on 2012-04-10 in #lifestyle #varekai #cirque-du-soleil #pinhole #pinhole-masters-and-magic #film #kodak #diy #expired #ultramax #matchbox #pinhole-project

4 Comments

  1. pinkpix
    pinkpix ·

    Love for anthropomorphism and the name you gave her. And love for Penny and this article and the pics. Awesome!

  2. dogtanian
    dogtanian ·

    Nice article! Ive made a couple of these, you can see the results here :).
    www.lomography.com/homes/dogtanian/albums/1176883-homemade-…

  3. neanderthalis
    neanderthalis ·

    Great project. I find myself using my pinhole camera more and more lately.

  4. denisesanjose
    denisesanjose ·

    Thanks, guys! :-)

More Interesting Articles

  • Pinhole Vienna: Michael Feurstein and his ONDU

    written by bgaluppo on 2015-04-13 in #people #lifestyle
    Pinhole Vienna: Michael Feurstein and his ONDU

    Michael Feurstein is not only a software developer, new media enthusiast and drum/saxophone player — he's also an avid pinholer! The Viennese multitasker started shooting pinhole when he got an ONDU camera for his 30th birthday and has now begun to rediscover his beautiful city through a pinhole photography project. Get to know more about his project and new-found passion for pinhole photography!

    1
  • Inspiring Pinhole Photography Reads for World Pinhole Photography Day!

    written by plasticpopsicle on 2014-04-27 in #lifestyle
    Inspiring Pinhole Photography Reads for World Pinhole Photography Day!

    In celebration of World Pinhole Photography Day today, we've decided to make a compilation of all the amazing pinhole-related stuff we've seen, written, and read here in the Lomography website through the years. We're sure many of you will be out to take pinhole snaps throughout the day in celebration of the occasion, but in case you're itching for some more inspiring reads on pinhole photography, you might as well read on and check out our compilation!

  • How to Make Pinhole Camera from a Soda Can

    written by Jill Tan Radovan on 2014-04-27 in #people #lifestyle
    How to Make Pinhole Camera from a Soda Can

    Justin Quinnell’s expertise when it comes to pinhole wizardry is unquestionable. This photographer and lecturer from Bristol, United Kingdom, has crafted the most unusual of pinhole projects, from installing cameras onto ships cruising around the Caribbean to taking photos of his kids being born from inside his mouth. One other project that he is known for is being able to make a pinhole camera from a soda can. Watch the video below and learn how!

  • Shop News

    Sit, Stash & Fold

    Sit, Stash & Fold

    Get both appealing LomoDices for your home! These cardboard cubes can be used for different things – they make great, stylish seats but you can also stash small items inside and fold them for storing!

  • My Lomo’Instant Quick Tips

    written by tomas_bates on 2014-11-12 in #gear #tipster
    My Lomo’Instant Quick Tips

    I backed the Kickstarter project for the Lomo’Instant earlier this year and was thrilled to receive it last week. I love how the camera naturally encourages you to experiment with its different features, whether it’s through flashing your multiple exposures with different colors or trying different creative techniques after your shots has been ejected. Here are a few tips from what I’ve discovered from playing with the camera so far (and a couple of tips I want to try out in future)!

  • Pinhole master Justin Quinnell invites you to celebrate World Pinhole Day

    written by jillytanrad on 2014-04-26 in #lifestyle
    Pinhole master Justin Quinnell invites you to celebrate World  Pinhole Day

    Although already equipped with a degree in Photography, Justin Quinnell got into pinhole photography a little over a decade ago, when he became the Head of Photography while teaching in a college in Bristol, United Kingdom, a time when "one person would have a fully manual Zenith B beside another with a fully automatic camera. " We've had interviews with Justin in the Magazine through the years, and one thing hasn't changed: his enthusiasm for pinhole photography.

  • Fresh from the Lab: One Roll of Film and the Lubitel 166U

    written by fadjaradiputra on 2014-11-07 in #lifestyle
    Fresh from the Lab: One Roll of Film and the Lubitel 166U

    Adi, Ekeu, and I did a lomowalk around downtown Bandung last Saturday, the beginning of November. We planned to use our Lubitel cameras with only one roll of film each. We were inspired by the One Roll of Film Project by four Tokyo-based photographers with their Hasselblad cameras. This is about the one roll of film I shot with the Lubitel 166U, which made me love shooting in medium format even more.

    8
  • Shop News

    Lomo Instant Boston

    Lomo Instant Boston

    Here is another way to enjoy analogue experience and capture great memories in an instant! This package includes the best creative lenses for your LomoInstant camera!

  • Lomo’Instant on a Sunny Day

    written by jacobs on 2014-11-06 in #gear #tipster
    Lomo’Instant on a Sunny Day

    I recently had the opportunity to take the world’s most creative instant camera — the Lomo'Instant — for a stroll on an unusually warm and sunny November day. My goal was to acquaint myself with the endlessly cool features and infinite possibilities the camera possesses while creating some beautiful photographs in the meantime. Read on to see the results!

  • Ekeupratama is our LomoHome of the Day!

    written by Eunice Abique on 2015-04-18 in #world #news
    Ekeupratama is our LomoHome of the Day!

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

    2
  • Photo of the Day by feurstein

    written by Eunice Abique on 2015-04-18 in #world #news
    Photo of the Day by feurstein

    It was definitely a busy day for this humble stand. A steady stream of people passed by looking for fresh fruits to buy.

  • Shop News

    Lubitel & film bundle

    Lubitel & film bundle

    This beautiful camera features such ability to let users choose and switch between 35mm or 120 formats! Shoot more, save more! Get this Lubitel camera and get 15% discounts with Lomography Films!

  • Meet our LomoGuru: ihave2pillows

    written by Eunice Abique on 2015-04-18 in #people #lifestyle
    Meet our LomoGuru: ihave2pillows

    Ed Choi regards Lomography as one of the best things that happened to him. In this interview, the latest member to join the roster of LomoGurus talks about how cross processing slide films sparked a great friendship, taking instant photos in Himalayas, and creating the perfect double exposure photograph.

    1
  • Derek Woods' 365 Days of Lomography Recap - February 14-28

    written by Julien Matabuena on 2015-04-18 in #people #news
    Derek Woods' 365 Days of Lomography Recap - February 14-28

    This latest update on Derek Woods' 365 Days of Lomography project covers the latter half of February and wraps up his two-month adventure with the LC-A. Dive in!

  • Score These Awesome Analog Treasures at Up to 50% Off!

    written by Julien Matabuena on 2015-04-18 in #gear #news
    Score These Awesome Analog Treasures at Up to 50% Off!

    Set sail to the Lomography Online Shop today and get limited edition items and other collectibles for less!