4M Pinhole Camera


If you are looking for a cheap and simple self build pinhole camera which you can experiment with and mod as well, then the 4M pinhole camera is a good place to start.

I first noticed this camera when I was Christmas shopping with my girlfriend and after a couple of not so subtle hints; lo and behold it ended up in my stocking on Christmas day. It only costs £10 and I’m sure you can find it cheaper online, but its price belies its versatility. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t like some of the serious pinhole cameras you can find, but as a fun little thing to chuck in your bag on a sunny day and play around with. I think it’s great.

The camera itself comes in kit form and is really aimed at the child’s science experiment market. When you get it out of the box the body is in three main parts, you also have the rewind and take up spools and the very simple shutter mechanism. It takes 15 minutes to put together (less if you don’t have a small toddler trying to eat the small parts whilst you’re doing it) and to begin with you will think that it will just fall apart, but once it’s assembled it starts to feel a little bit more solid.

This isn’t however an easy to use camera and the first time I tried to load some film in it I almost gave up. In the end I realized you need to wrap the film leader really tightly around the take-up spool so that it moulds to it and doesn’t slip, even then it is a bit of a battle to get it to take the film properly and requires a lot of patience.

Once it is all snapped together it is a case of operating the simple lever sprung shutter to let the light in. The instruction manual was a bit vague about exposure times and seemed to imply that 1 second would do for just about all lighting conditions, but having used my Diana F+ pinhole function a few times, I guessed this was probably misleading. Lots of my shots ended up over or under exposed but that’s all part of the learning curve. I also realized that I made the pinhole too big as my images are very very soft.

Credits: simonh82

What really makes this camera great is the potential for lots of lomo style fun. It uses 35mm film rather than photographic paper as is common with some pinholes, so slide, black and white and colour negative film can all be used. You can also do multiple exposures by simply opening the shutter again, but what is most fun is making your own multi pinhole camera. I’ve wanted to do this ever since seeing the Diana Multi Pinhole Operator, but deciding that £45 was too much for my liking.

My first attempt was not very successful; again the pinholes were too big, so there was no definition between the overlapping images. My next attempt was better and I got a few shots was happy with, but it could still be improved.

First multi pinhole attempt:

Credits: simonh82 & kylethefrench

Second attempt:

The downsides to this camera are the utterly useless viewfinder (why even bother); the lack of tripod mount (perhaps too much to expect from a £10 toy); and the crappy spring on the shutter which means you’ve got to check that the shutter is closed properly after taking a shot.

Anyway, for £10 you can’t really go far wrong; whether you want to play with it yourself, or introduce a child to the joys of analogue photography, this little black box will is just the thing.

written by simonh82 on 2011-05-28 in #reviews #self-build #pinhole #user-review #lomography #pinhole-camera


  1. simonh82
    simonh82 ·

    Arrg! Two missing galleries. I've put some of the multi pinhole photos in to this album. The ones towards the end are from my earlier attempt. www.lomography.com/homes/simonh82/albums/1714375-home-made-…

  2. zipper
    zipper ·

    I have managed to load the film (I feel very proud for this...) I don't know how far to wind the film for the first exposure, and then the subsequent exposures.

  3. odax
    odax ·

    I'm using this camera right now. I found that the aluminium foil they provide for the pinhole was ridiculously hard to make a decent hole in, so I used some thin shim stock instead.

    @zipper , I'm winding it about 8 to 10 clicks between each exposure. I haven't finished the roll yet so I might be horribly wrong about this.

  4. jltiug
    jltiug ·

    I just developed a roll taken with this camera!
    It's really challenging to get the pinhole size and the exposure time right...

More Interesting Articles

  • The Great Lomo'Instant Tag Competition of 2015!

    written by jacobs on 2015-01-15 in #competitions
    The Great Lomo'Instant Tag Competition of 2015!

    Looking for a chance to share your best Lomo'Instant snaps with the world and win seriously cool prizes? Then we've got good news for you — The Great Lomo'Instant Tag Competition of 2015 is on! And even if you don't have a Lomo'Instant yet, now is the perfect time to get one. Pick one up now so you can join in on the fun!

  • A Photo Board of 1960s Fashion

    written by Kwyn Kenaz Aquino on 2015-06-06 in #world #lifestyle
    A Photo Board of 1960s Fashion

    If theater has the stage then fashion has photography. It is through pictures that trends and new looks are wheeled from coast to coast. Even 50-year-old prints can sway next generations of fashion plates. Take Jacqueline Kennedy's shipshape style and the mod crowd of New York and London, all veritable influencers until today.

  • Junior Wholesale Manager Position UK

    written by hannah_brown on 2015-05-05 in #world #news
    Junior Wholesale Manager Position UK

    The UK team is looking for a full-time Junior Wholesale Manager. If you love Lomography and have experience in this field, then we need you! Read on for the full job description.

  • Shop News

    Diana Mini and Flash Petite Noire at 25% off

    Diana Mini and Flash Petite Noire at 25% off

    At 25% off you can take dreamy 35mm images with this little black beauty. Beam coloured light into your shots with its accompanying Diana Flash Back accessory and be the analogue king of the night.

  • Lomopedia: Leica Minilux

    written by cheeo on 2014-09-01 in #reviews
    Lomopedia: Leica Minilux

    If you have a penchant for silent but reliable point-and-shoot cameras that can fare well in low light conditions, then Leica Minilux may be the camera for you.

  • December 8th Advent Offer: Save 10% On Film Today! (Online Code: FILMFANTASY10)

    written by jacobs on 2014-12-08 in #news
    December 8th Advent Offer: Save 10% On Film Today!  (Online Code: FILMFANTASY10)

    Do you know the best way to keep a Lomographer happy this holiday season? Load them up with tons of wonderful analogue films for their cameras! With today's awesome Advent deal, you can do it with a 10% discount as well. So head on over to our Online Shop and start the holidays off right.

  • Take a Peek Through The ONDU Pinhole

    written by shhquiet on 2015-03-17 in #gear #news
    Take a Peek Through The ONDU Pinhole

    Have you ever tried going lens-less when taking a photo? Try shooting with ONDU Pinhole Cameras and see what it's like to take photos through a tiny pinhole. Check out these lovely shots taken by Lomographers; if you do have some ONDU pinhole photos of your own, upload and tag them accordingly so that we can see them!

  • Shop News

    Fisheye One Pearl Blue

    Fisheye One Pearl Blue

    Snap dazzling 35mm fisheye shots at the push of a button with this shimmery blue lightweight beauty.

  • Lomo’Instant Sanremo Update – Pre-Orders Now Open For Next Shipment Batch

    written by tomas_bates on 2014-12-03 in #news
    Lomo’Instant Sanremo Update – Pre-Orders Now Open For Next Shipment Batch

    Have you been eying up the beautiful Lomo’Instant Sanremo Edition? Well, now’s the time to place your order! We are starting to ship the current batch of pre-orders right now (the delivery date will depend on your location) and are now taking pre-orders for the next batch which we estimate will be ready to ship by December 12th. This next batch of pre-order cameras will be the last stock we have for delivery before the upcoming holidays and will be delivered on a first come, first served basis; so place your pre-order now to secure your place in the queue and avoid disappointment!

  • December 19th Advent Offer: Save 10% On Film Today! (Online Code: FILMFANTASY10)

    written by jacobs on 2014-12-19 in #news
    December 19th Advent Offer: Save 10% On Film Today! (Online Code: FILMFANTASY10)

    Can you ever have enough film for your treasured cameras? Are you going to take a ton of awesome analogue photos this holiday season? If the answer is yes (and we know it is), then now is your last chance to save on our super selection of analogue films!

  • December 17th Advent Offer: It’s Time to Accessorize your Photographic Fun! (Online Code: ADVENTACCESSORIES)

    written by jacobs on 2014-12-17 in #news
    December 17th Advent Offer: It’s Time to Accessorize your Photographic Fun! (Online Code: ADVENTACCESSORIES)

    If you're still on the hunt for the perfect gift for your DIY friends and family, today is your day! With our super Advent deal, you can save a smooth 20% on our range of accessories for the Konstruktor camera, as well as our wide selection of other Accessories. Head over to the Online Shop and bulk up your cameras now!

  • Shop News

    Shoot recognizable images with the Petzval

    Shoot recognizable images with the Petzval

    You want your subject be the center of attention? Petzval lens photos are recognizable for sharpness and crispness in the centre, strong color saturation, wonderful swirly bokeh effect, artful vignettes and narrow depth of field that will make your subjects stand out!

  • Top 5 Noteworthy Architectural Details

    written by kenaz on 2015-07-16 in #world #lifestyle
    Top 5 Noteworthy Architectural Details

    A building is a story of collective effort. The people who dreamed it up and polished every surface are anonymous to many, but their work announces a unique identity. For tourists, architecture is a marker of place, like souvenirs with flags and national costumes. For the camera-lugging traveler, a strong visual statement is what matters most.

  • Creative Ways to Shoot a Familiar Place

    written by Robn Kester on 2015-03-17 in #gear #tipster
    Creative Ways to Shoot a Familiar Place

    Unless you are well-traveled, there’s a pretty good chance that you are going to be shooting the same places over and over again. Here are some ways you can mix it up and make those same places fun when you shoot at them next.

  • Reviews on Rewind: Diana Multi Pinhole Operator

    written by Julien Matabuena on 2015-04-26 in #gear #reviews
    Reviews on Rewind: Diana Multi Pinhole Operator

    Pinhole photography is too simple, you say? Shake things up a little and push the limits of your creativity with the Diana Multi Pinhole Operator!